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City approves new curb stop financing option

Eric Levinson's driveway is undergoing repairs following work on his curb stop.

After months of discussion about the costs of curb stop repairs, the city of Woodbury is giving residents an additional option to pay the bill.

Homeowners who experience failing curb stops will be able to finance the payment over 10 years instead of having the full amount on their tax bills all at once.

According to the old policy, when the city orders repair of a curb stop, the cost is added to the utility bill.

The amount becomes a pending assessment against homeowners' next year's property taxes if the bill is not paid and a 3 percent administration fee is added without a public hearing.

In working with the city attorney, staff developed a new process that will allow homeowners to pay the costs over the longer period of time without classifying it as delinquent.

The policy reflects a state statute that requires a public hearing, but city staff has developed an agreement and waiver for the public hearing that homeowners would sign.

"If the property owner does not sign the waiver, then the 10 year option will not be allowed," according to a staff report.

The interest rate for the repayments will be set annually. This year's was set at 3 percent.

Homeowners would receive the necessary paperwork and a letter explaining the options with the utility bill for the curb stop repair, which can cost up to $6,000.

The policy is not retroactive, it started after council approved it at the Aug. 29 meeting.

The process for the property owner to request the 10 year term is consistent with the policy for special assessments for urban mixed residential properties, staff said.

The discussion of financing curb stop repairs started when about a dozen failed in 2011 - a year that saw inconsistent weather patterns.

Generally speaking, every home has its own curb stop except townhouse developments in which connected units may share a single service.

A curb stop is the valve on the service line that is used to turn the water on and off to the home.

Main water distribution lines are located out in the street. Per city code, the service line begins at the connection to the main line and from there to the house is the responsibility of the homeowner. Part of that service line is the curb stop.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.