Chapter 11
Special Assessments
General Power Relative to Special Assessments:
Section 11.1  The Council shall have the power to determine by resolution that the whole or any part of the expense of any public improvement be defrayed by special assessment upon the property especially benefited in proportion to the benefits derived or to be derived.
Detailed Procedure to be Fixed by Ordinance:
Section 11.2  The Council shall prescribe by ordinance the complete special assessment procedure governing the initiation of projects, preparation of plans and cost estimates, creation of districts, making and confirming of assessment rolls, correction of errors in the rolls, collection of assessments and any other matters concerning the making of improvements by the special assessment method.
Such ordinance shall be subject to the following provisions:
   (a)   No resolution finally determining to proceed with establishing any special assessment district for the making of any public improvement shall be enacted until cost estimates have been prepared and a public hearing has been held on the advisability of so proceeding, which hearing shall be held not less than ten days after notice thereof has been published and sent by first class mail to all property owners in the proposed district as shown by the current assessment roll of the city.
   (b)   No special assessment roll shall be finally confirmed until after a meeting of the Council has been held for the purpose of reviewing such roll, which meeting shall be held not less than ten days after notice thereof has been published and sent by first class mail to all property owners in the proposed district as shown by the current assessment roll of the city.
   (c)   No original special assessment roll shall be confirmed except by the affirmative vote of five members of the Council if prior to such confirmation written objections to the proposed improvement have been filed by the owners of property in the district which will be required to bear more than fifty per cent of the amount of such special assessment.
   (d)   No public improvement to be financed in whole or part by special assessment shall be made before the confirmation of the special assessment roll for such improvement.
   (e)   No special assessment district or districts shall be created by the Council for any one public improvement which includes property having an area in excess of twenty-five per cent of the total area of the city. No public improvement project shall be divided geographically for the purpose of circumventing this provision.
Special Assessment Powers:
Section 11.3  The Council shall, in the exercise of its power of special assessment, have power to provide for the following, but this list shall not be exclusive:
   (a)   For the construction of public parking facilities as a public improvement financed in whole or part by the special assessment method.
   (b)   For installing a boulevard lighting system on any street as a public improvement to be financed in whole or part by special assessments upon the lands abutting thereupon, provided that the property owners of a majority of the frontage on such street or part thereof to be so improved shall petition therefor.
   (c)   For the payment of special assessments in annual installments not to exceed ten in number. The first such installment to be due upon confirmation of the special assessment roll, and subsequent installments to be due on July first of succeeding years and to be placed upon the annual city tax roll, if delinquent, and for an interest charge only until the due date of each such deferred installment not to exceed six per cent per year, subject to the right of advance payment of any such installment with interest only to the date of payment.
Disposition of Excessive Special Assessments:
Section 11.4  The excess by which any special assessment proves larger than the actual cost of the improvement and expenses incidental thereto may be placed in the general fund of the city if such excess is five per cent or less of the assessment, but should the assessment prove larger than necessary by more than five per cent the entire excess shall be refunded on a pro rata basis to the owners of the property assessed as shown by the current assessment roll of the city. Such refund shall be made by credit against future unpaid installments to the extent such installments then exist and the balance of such refund shall be in cash. No refunds may be made which contravene the provisions of any outstanding evidence of indebtedness secured in whole or part by such special assessment.
Additional Assessments: Correction of Invalid Special Assessments:
Section 11.5  Additional pro rata assessments may be made when any special assessment roll proves insufficient to pay for the improvement for which it was levied and the expenses incident thereto, or to pay the principal and interest on bonds or other evidences of obligation issued therefor; provided that the additional pro rata assessment shall not exceed twenty-five per cent of the assessment as originally confirmed unless a meeting of the Council be held to review such additional assessment, for which meeting notices shall be published and mailed as provided in the case of review of the original special assessment roll.Whenever any special assessment shall, in the opinion of the Council, be invalid by reason of irregularity or informality in the proceedings, or if any court of competent jurisdiction shall adjudge such assessment to be illegal, the Council shall, whether the improvement has been made or not, or whether any part of the assessments have been paid or not, have power to cause a new assessment to be made for the same purpose for which the former assessment was made. All proceedings on such reassessment and for the collection thereof shall be conducted in the same manner as provided for the original assessment, and whenever any sum or part thereof levied upon any property in the assessment so set aside has been paid and not refunded, the payment so made shall be applied upon the reassessment or if the payments exceed the amount of the reassessment refunds shall be made.
No judgment or decree nor any act of the Council vacating a special assessment shall destroy or impair the lien of the city upon the premises assessed for such amount of the assessment as may be equitably charged against the same or as by regular mode of proceeding might have been lawfully assessed thereupon.
Contested Assessments:
Section 11.6  No suit or action of any kind shall be instituted or maintained for the purpose of contesting or enjoining the collection of any special assessment (a) unless within thirty days after the confirmation of  the special assessment roll written notice is given to the Council of intention to file such suit or action stating the grounds on which it is claimed such assessment is illegal and (b) unless such suit or action shall be commenced within sixty days after confirmation of the roll.
Collection of Special Assessments:
Section 11.7  Upon the confirmation of each special assessment roll the special assessments shall become a debt to the city from the persons to whom they are assessed and shall until paid be a lien upon the property assessed for the amount of such assessment and all interest and charges thereon. Such lien shall be of the same character and effect as created by this charter for city taxes.
Special assessments, or installments thereof, which become due on July first of any year shall be collected in all respects as are city taxes due on July first of the same year, and if uncollected on the following first day of March, shall be returned to the County Treasurer with unpaid taxes as provided in Section 9.18.
The initial special assessment installments which become due other than on July first shall, if unpaid for ninety days or more on May first of any year, be certified as delinquent to the Council by the Treasurer and the Council shall place such delinquent assessments on the tax roll for that year together with accrued interest to July first of such year. The total amount of such assessment and interest shall thereafter be collected in all respects as are city taxes due on July first of that year and shall be subject to the same fees and penalties as are city taxes due on that date and if uncollected on the following March first shall be returned to the County Treasurer with unpaid taxes as provided in Section 9.18.
Special Assessment Accounts:
Section 11.8  Except as otherwise provided in this charter, moneys raised by special assessment for any public improvement shall be credited to a special account and shall be used to pay for the costs of the improvement for which the assessment was levied and expenses incidental thereto or to repay any money borrowed therefor.
Assessments for Removal of Hazards, Etc.
Section 11.9  The assessment for the cost of the construction of any sidewalk or the abatement of any hazard or nuisance to be made pursuant to Section 2.3(t) or Section 2.3(u), or for the cost of removing snow, ice or other obstructions from sidewalks or trimming and removal of hazardous trees to be made pursuant to Section 2.3(v) or Section 2.3(w), shall be made by resolution of the Council. Notice of the time at which the Council will act thereon shall be given by first class mail to the owner of the property to be assessed as shown by the current tax roll of the city, except that no notice shall be required in the case of assessments for the removal of weeds, snow or ice. For the purpose of collection of such assessments, the adoption of such resolution shall be equivalent to the confirmation of a special assessment roll. The amount of any such assessment shall become a debt to the city upon adoption of such a resolution, be due at such time as the Council shall prescribe, and shall be subject to the collection fees and become a lien as provided in Section 11.7. Every such assessment shall also be subject to Sections 11.4, 11.5 and 11.6.
Failure to Mail Notice:
Section 11.10  Failure to mail or receive any notice required to be so sent by this chapter or by ordinance shall not invalidate any special assessment or special assessment roll.