City to set multiple assessments on Tuesday

On Tuesday, the City Commission will hold public hearings and set several assessments.

Those include assessments for streets, special improvement lighting districts, the boulevard district and Portage Meadows.

Street Assessment

The street assessment is city-wide and funds the city streets division in the Public Works department.

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The division maintains about 383 miles of streets and alleys. Maintenance includes pavement rehabilitation and restoration, street cleaning, snow and ice removal, alley maintenance and the nuisance weed program. Traffic Operations division is funded through the street division and is responsible for the maintenance of all roadway signs, signals and pavement markings.

The street assessment is reviewed annually and city staff review actual and anticipated expenses and future capital projects to make a recommendation.

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No increase is recommended this year, so the assessment will remain at the same level as last year, or $0.014702 per square foot to generate $4,583,265 for the streets division. That equates to about $110 annually for an average sized lot of 7,500 square feet, according to the city fiscal department.

The last street maintenance increase of 10 percent was approved in fiscal year 2016.

Boulevard District

City staff are proposing a 3 percent increase for this fiscal year to help meet increases in operational costs for additional tree planing and watering. Last year, the boulevard district assessment was increased 7 percent.

The Park and Recreation Department, Natural Resources-Boulevard Division maintains the 13,331 street trees in the boulevard district. Services funded by the assessment include pruning, removal, planting, leaf pickup and streetscape design.

The proposed assessment this year is $0.010892 per square foot, generating $386,564 for the boulevard division. The assessment would be about $81 for an average 7,5000 square foot lot with an increase of $2.38 for that lot size, according to the city’s fiscal department.

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The boulevard district is separate from the newly created park maintenance district and the funds don’t crossover.

Great Falls Boulevard District

Properties within the blue shaded area are assessed for the boulevard district. City map.

Special Lighting Improvement District

No increase is proposed for the 27 special improvement lighting districts with about 9,429 roadway lights in the city.

About 97 percent of roadway lights within the city limits are owned by NorthWestern Energy. The city pays a maintenance fee to NorthWestern for those lights in addition to a fee that covers electrical transmission and distribution. The electrical supply for street lights is currently being furnished by Talen Treasure State.

The remaining three percent of roadway lights are owned by the city and the assessment funds the maintenance of the light poles and the electrical current, according to the city.

The assessment generates $1.164 million for those roadway lights.

City lighting districts

Portage Meadows

In 1977, the city created a special improvement maintenance district for maintaining the green belt of Portage Meadows Addition. The assessment covers the cost of materials, snow removal, labor, water, mowing labor, fertilizer costs and labor and aerification labor, which were part of the original planned unit development.

City staff are proposing a 7 percent increase this year to cover increased operations and capital improvements to the irrigation system.

The proposed assessment is $0.073832 per square foot or $332.32 for an average lot in the district, which is 4,501 square feet, according to the city fiscal department.

The assessment will generate $62,145 for the district operations and is an increase of $21.74 over last year.

The Portage Meadows assessment last increased in 2015 by 24 percent, according to the city.

Portage Meadows district

The Portage Meadows assessment district. City map.