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Heidi Shaffer, Published April 14 2010

Mapleton council approves $1.5 million street project

The Mapleton City Council on Tuesday approved plans for a $1.5 million street improvement project.

The city will start advertising for bids for the four-block project along Meridian Road today, amid some residents’ concerns over city spending.

Mapleton, 12 miles west of West Fargo, plans to use a special assessment to cover its $825,800 share of the project, said Mayor Mark Anderson.

Cass County will fund construction on the road, while the city will pick up the tab on curb and gutter, water and sewer improvements. A federal grant will cover the 10-foot pedestrian and bike path also going in.

Residents living closest to the street will pay about $100 a year, while those living farther away would pay about $40, Anderson said.

“They want to assess the whole city for a project that benefits only the people that live right along it,” said Mapleton resident Eric Hillman.

The council OK’d the plans 4-1. Council members Larry Graf, Larry Dell and Carlita Dietz approved the project, as did Anderson. Council member Gordy Pederson opposed the motion.

The project comes as some residents at the meeting expressed concern over city spending. According to the city’s budget report, expenses are outpacing past years, while revenue has stayed stable.

Spending on 2009 flooding set back the city of 750 people, said Dietz, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency didn’t match 100 percent of what was paid out.

Hillman, who is seeking a seat on the council in the June 8 election, said the mayor’s spending of tax dollars is irresponsible.

“It’s a total disregard for the people’s money,” Hillman said.

But Anderson said the city sought as much financial assistance with the project as possible through grants and other funding.

If the city accepts bids on the project, work will get under way in June and finish in November.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511