The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


         Oregon council on Monday will vote on a resolution to install sanitary sewers, including restoration and resurfacing, for a segment of South Norden Road.

        The portion of South Norden Road that will receive the improvements extends from the centerline of Seaman Road southerly for a distance of about 1,213 feet to Wolf Creek.

        “It will be an eight-inch sewer line that will extend from the sewer we put in on Seaman Road,” said Public Service Director Paul Roman. “It goes south of Seaman to being just north of Wolf Creek.”

        Area residents signed a petition seeking the sanitary sewers and submitted it to the city.

        “Residents did come in with sanitary sewer needs on Norden Road,” said Mayor Mike Seferian at a committee of the whole meeting last Tuesday.

        Councilwoman Sandy Bihn wondered why North Norden Road was not getting sanitary sewers.

        “There was actually another petition that was circulated north of Seaman. I don’t believe that passed,” said Roman.

        “It was not successful,” said Hufford.


Longer term

        Bihn also questioned the 10-year property assessment. She said she has heard complaints from some residents over the years about the difficulties in selling their properties with an ongoing tax assessment.

        “I’ve had quite a few complaints from people who have assessments on their properties who are getting lower sales prices because of the term. So why did we choose 10 years?” asked Bihn. “If you purchase any of these properties, it’s factored into your monthly costs. We want to make our properties in Oregon as attractive as we can. So I’m just wondering why the term is 10 when the asset has a life of far more than 10 years.”

        Finance Director Kathleen Hufford said the 10-year term was arbitrary.

        “We could definitely change it to a longer period of time,” said Hufford. “But the city would be fronting the money for a longer period of time.”

        Seferian said he understands there are people who will complain about it.

        “It is a legitimate piece of the purchase of a house. For most people who buy houses, the sanitary sewer may already be in – it’s incorporated into the cost,” he said.

        Seferian recalled when he was a councilman and chaired the Water and Sewer Committee, there were people who wanted a shorter term to pay off the assessment.

        “They wanted to pay for the sewer, or go even less. They didn’t want that hanging over their heads. Then there is a mix of people who do. So as a balancing act, which do you choose? I think at the time, we chose to go to that shorter term just so people could have it off their taxes,” he said.


Lower value

        “It does make a difference in how much you can sell your house,” said Bihn. “I can tell you, absolutely, from the people I’ve talked to, it is an issue. It got them a lower value on their properties.”

        She said the assessment is tens of thousands of dollars for many with larger frontage.

        “That’s a lot of money for a 10-year loan added onto your monthly fees,” said Bihn. “I at least want to entertain the conversation that maybe the assessment ought to be 20 years instead of 10 just in terms of making the properties more attractive to sell.”

        Councilman Steve Hornyak said he assumed such improvements might increase property values.

        “While there’s a cost attached to it, the reason people are looking to have this done is because there will be an improvement to their property, lifestyle, home value, and service quality. I would argue there’s an increased valuation to their home by having that service now available to them. Thus, I don’t know why they would ask for it if there was not an improvement or enhancement.”

        Bihn agreed.

        “It does add value. There’s no doubt. Generally, I think most homeowner loans are in the 15 to 20 year range as opposed to 10. I’m just suggesting this asset is a long term asset and we perhaps want to think of it in the same way. For those who have lower frontages, it’s probably a bargain because they don’t have to replace their septic system and they couldn’t do it this cheaply. For those with greater frontages, I would argue, not necessarily.”

        Seferian said the terms could be included on circulated petitions.

        “That part of the equation usually isn’t included in the petition document,” said Hufford. “It’s something we could definitely think about adding.”

        Roman said the assessment is a balancing act.

        “The city is fronting the money out of the sewer capital fund. I’m trying to do sewer rehab, but I’m told there’s no money for rehab because we gave it all out. So it is a way of getting money back sooner,” he said of the shorter term.

        City Administrator Mike Beazley said he would look at some other options.

        “We tend to cash fund these instead of issuing debt. Some other communities issue debt and roll the debt cost into the assessment. We used to issue debt, but we haven’t in a while,” said Beazley.






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