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Oshkosh leaders looking to replace special assessments

Posted at 7:49 PM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-30 20:49:23-05

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Some use city roads and sidewalks with little thought about who's paying for them. But, what happens when you’re forced to pay thousands of dollars to fix them?

  • The City of Oshkosh has proposed a deal that would do away with special assessments
  • The new plan would get money from vehicle registration fees and an increase in utility payments from residents

Town leaders are close to finding a substitute for special assessments that have cost many residents thousands of dollars. But, there is no cut-and-dry solution that will benefit everyone. Whether you’re a city resident or a business owner, it is important to pay attention to it.

(The following is a transcript of a previously aired story)

The city of Oshkosh has over 900 streets. At any given point, any of those streets could be deemed in need of a “special assessment.”

Repairs, in other words.

City manager Mark Rohloff took me to Waugoo Avenue, one of the most historic streets in Oshkosh. Here, assessments are pricey.

"What we are proposing to do is to get rid of special assessments, which, for this neighborhood, can be 8 to $10,000 per property," says Rohloff.

The city's new approach to paying for them? Collecting money through a vehicle registration fee of $35 a car in Oshkosh. Other money would come from a bump in utilities. Between a quarter and a half percent.

However, a major drawback of this proposal has come from those who have previously paid special assessment fees.

“Projects beginning in 2024 would no longer have any special assessments. But, if you had a project done in 2023 or 2022, you’re still paying the assessments and you would be paying this feel.”

Homeowners aren't the only ones who have felt the sting of an assessment. Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rob Kleman says business owners get hit hard too by special assessments.

“If you are a business property owner, and there have been plenty of them that have paid 100,000 to 200,000 in special assessment and that’s recent…you’re probably not too excited right now to pay in roads and streets that you have…already…paid-in [full].”

Going forward, The City of Oshkosh is holding a series of public information sessions to help residents better understand the proposal.