City considering LID for sidewalk improvements

Weiser city councilmembers are exploring the idea of setting up a Local Improvement District (LID) to give homeowners the opportunity to repair their sidewalks, gutters, and curbs.
 An LID is a common form of financing through government entities that provides property owners an economical way to pay for upgrading various utilities or infrastructure, including sewer, domestic water, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters.
 Payments are made through property assessments with a long-term payment plan and relatively low interest rates.
 Weiser Mayor Randy Hibberd presented the idea to city council members during a regular meeting on Aug. 8. The council agreed to begin the research process.
 “We’ve done a lot of sidewalk improvements, a lot of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) installations on our sidewalks, which I do see as forward thinking for the city; the challenge is that we have sidewalks that end. A lot of the older areas don’t have sidewalks,” councilmember Layna Hafer told the Weiser Signal American on Aug. 15. “This would be an opportunity to try and start filling those gaps, so that we can create some continuity within the city. The council is currently considering this. I would like to know more about it, and I think that’s what the mayor was doing, just putting it out there and asking how the council feels about looking into this opportunity to improve our sidewalks. I think we’ve supported the idea and it’s not something that puts the city into a financial monitoring position. It’s just that we can steward the opportunity for people to utilize an LID.”
 Mayor Hibberd said the repayment period for LIDs tend to be long-term, offering property owners the opportunity to pay over time without stretching their budgets. Property owners would not be required to utilize it.
 “Usually, it’s for a specific section of town,” he said. “You can use it for fixing up sections of a downtown and those property owners pay for it through their taxes. In this case, it’s the entire city, for people to fix up their curb, gutter, and sidewalks, but it’s on a voluntary basis. So, if I decide to fix up my sidewalk, my neighbor is not obligated to fix up his.
 “It allows you to pay for it through your taxes, through a 10-year or possibly longer period of time. The way it works, you set up the district and find out who wants to have improvements made. We go out for bids for a contractor and the contractor contacts each resident and finds out what exactly needs to be done. Some people may just need a section or two repaired. Others may want to replace the whole sidewalk, but the curb and gutter are good, so it’s tailored for each person.”
 Once the scope of the project is determined, the city will use a bond agent who sells a bond to investors for paying the cost. Taxes are assessed and used to pay the bond back. The city does not directly finance it, according to Hibberd.
 “The council approved getting started with the process and it is quite a process,” he said. “I received a draft of all of the steps involved and it is certainly involved, so we are just at the start of the process right now.”


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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