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What’s the city going to do?

Posted: June 25, 2014 - 4:28pm

An open letter to all Homer City Council members, Mayor Beth Wythe and City Manager Walt Wrede:

The city plans to assess $3,283.30 to each lot owner as part of a special natural gas assessment. Apartment complexes will be assessed one $3,283.30 payment, no matter how many apartment units will benefit from the gas line.  Condominium owners, however, will be assessed $3,283.30 per unit. 

Believing this would result in unfair treatment to condo owners, a Homer citizen filed a lawsuit against the city, and on Jan. 6, 2014, Judge Charles T. Huguelet agreed.

The judge ruled that “the city’s assessment with respect to condo owners is arbitrary and unreasonable” and that the special assessment against each condo unit violates Alaska Statutes. His ruling is based on the premise that the assessment must be proportionate to the benefit received, and charging “nine condo unit owners in one building a total of $29,549.70 to receive access to natural gas while charging similarly sized and larger office buildings and entire apartment complexes $3,283.30 for the same gas line is not proportionate.”    

Despite this clear ruling, City Manager Walt Wrede has stated that Judge Huguelet’s ruling does not apply to all condos. This leads us to believe that the city of Homer will still try to assess condo owners individually.

The purpose of this letter is to ask the Homer City Council for clarification on its intent: Will the city of Homer assess individual condo owners?  

As concerned citizens and taxpayers, we would like assurance that the City of Homer will not disregard Judge Huguelet’s Memorandum Decision and Order. We ask that Homer City Council correct Ordinance13-02 so that it complies with Judge Huguelet’s decision. If it is the city’s intent to individually assess each condo unit, it is also the intent of the undersigned condo unit owners to individually appeal the assessment based on Castner v. City of Homer, resulting in increased legal expenses for the city.  

Doug and Margarida Kondak, High Tide Condominiums

Martin and Regula Wild, High Tide Condominiums

Jim and Ruth Lavrakas, High Tide Condominiums

Amy Springer, Interlude Condominiums

David Duke, Baywatch Condominiums

 

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jvelsko
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jvelsko 06/26/14 - 04:54 pm
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gasline assessments

Way before Mr. Castner won his lawsuit against the City of Homer over its flawed gasline asssessment policy and, in fact, before the Council actually accepted the assessment policy proposed by City Manager Walt Wrede and staff, I provided to Walt Wrede and to members of the City Council information that if acted upon would have saved the City tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
The current assessment process is patently illegal. If you want to know why Google Alaska Statute 34.08.730. Then Google Steinbach vs Green Lake Sanitary District 2006 WI 63 8/31/06.
At least Walt returned my e-mail, even though he ignored the precedent setting information. With the exception of Bryan Zak, not one other council member saw fit to respond to me.

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