Council tables vote on benefit district

At the conclusion of another long and energetic discussion with residents living in the affected area, the Hillsboro City Council at its Sept. 2 meeting again tabled action on a resolution that would create a neighborhood benefit district to pay for street improvements in the West Winds housing division.

This time, with council and homeowners both frustrated about the stalemate, the chances of the resolution resurfacing anytime soon seem uncertain at best.

?We can?t seem to get to the point where this motion can pass because we?ve had it at how many meetings already?at least three or four?? Mayor Delores Dalke said as the discussion wound down.

The proposed benefit district, which would include property owners in West Winds and several that own houses outside the development along Floral and West A Street, would be assessed the estimated $227,000 needed to curb, gutter and hard surface a two-block section of B Street on the north end of West Winds.

The street project is seen as one component of a larger effort to divert storm water draining off of West Winds that has flooded yards along Floral over the past two years or so.

But residents present at the meeting, most of them from Floral, said the financial burden on them would be unfair?particularly since it was a ?bad decision? made by a differently comprised city council in the mid-1990s that allowed the West Winds development to proceed without an adequate drainage plan in place.

Dan Suderman, who recently purchased a home at 209 S. Floral, said he was informed by the mayor that his portion of the special assessments would amount to $35,000 over 15 years.

?When I did the math, it?s going to cost me $170 a month for 15 years,? Suderman said. ?So when somebody says ?I can tell by looking? that I ought to spend $35,000 to build a street, it irritates me.?

Suderman was referring to city engineer Bob Previtera, who had explained why hard-surfacing that stretch of B Street was important for a long-range drainage solution in that area.

Suderman and other residents present suggested Previtera hasn?t seriously considered dealing with the significant amount of water that drains off agriculture acreage and into West Winds from the west.

?That not what I?m concerned about,? Previtera admitted. ?I?m just concerned about the drainage coming off those lots that feed into the street that?s to be improved. That?s the only water I?m considering. I have nothing to do with anything west of there. Just the internal drainage system.?

Ron Brown, who has road-construction experience and lives at 115 S. Floral, resurfaced his frequent contention that much of the flooding problem could be alleviated in ?30 minutes with a highloader? to build a simple berm along the west edge of Hickory Street to detour runoff water from the agricultural acreage, and to widen the ditch that carries the water away.

?I understand your theory, but it?s not going to be that simple,? Previtera said. ?The grades there, north/south, are virtually flat.

?I?m certainly going to look at it from your point of view because we do need to deal with it now and not later,? he added. ?That?s always been my feeling from the council?we need to work on D and Oak because that?s the backbone of the whole project, and then start working on the internal portions of the project.?

Enlarging the ditches along the gravel Oak Street to carry water through a larger drain pipe under D Street has been part of the proposal from the start.

In the end, the council seemed to conclude that the best move might be simply to move ahead with the D and Oak portion of the project and simply wait to see how it affects drainage.

?From where I sit, I have a hell of a time making a decision because I don?t know what the right answer is,? Councilor Shane Marler confessed after hearing the variety of ideas that had been discussed.

?No matter what we do, somebody?s going to be upset. We understand that?sometimes we upset people. But because I?m not an engineer and because I?m not a farmer, I don?t know what the right answer is.

?I don?t think I?m any closer now to knowing the correct answer than I did before.?

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