Kelly says constructing a brand-new street might not benefit many people, at least initially.

    Several years ago, faced with citizens upset over skyrocketing assessments when street reconstruction projects were undertaken, the Crookston City Council radically changed its assessment policy. The result was a flat assessment rate for affected property owners of $25 per front foot on reconstructions, and a $12.50 rate for bituminous overlay projects.

    Council members at the time, however, hinted that as costs inevitably rose over time, they'd likely have to revisit the cheaper assessment rates from time to time to potentially increase them.

    But here we are, several years since that policy change, and the $25 and $12.50 per front foot assessment rates remain.

    But that might not be the case from here on out when various residential or commercial developers ask the city to extend current streets and roads or build new ones entirely in order to accommodate their developments.

    The city Ways & Means Committee this week granted Public Works Director's Pat Kelly request to consider assessment rates on new street reconstruction on a case-by-case basis. The council kind of already knew they reserved that right, but Kelly said increased development activity of late on the residential and commercial front warrants putting something official in writing.

    "Before it was easy to assess individual homeowners, but now a developer might want us to build a road to somewhere, but it could potentially be just a road to them," Kelly said. "You're potentially assessing people along the way even if it doesn't really benefit them."

    The city spends a lot of money each year as it is on reconstruction and overlay projects, he continued. "Then if someone needs a $300,00 new road on top of all our other projects, we'll have an option when it's a completely new, virgin-ground road," Kelly explained. "This gives us flexibility and clarifies some things."