Special Assessments

Special Assessment Process

North Dakota Century Code provides cities with the authority to levy assessments on private property for public improvements. Special assessments are used to pay for projects such as street paving and reconstruction; installation of water and sewer mains, sidewalks, curb and gutter, storm and sanitary sewers; as well as weed-cutting and removal of diseased trees.

There are several opportunities in the formation of a special improvement district and in the special assessment process for citizen involvement and input from affected property owners. Following is a step-by-step description:

  1. When property owners petition for improvements or the City Commission and City Engineering Department decide work needs to be done, they create a special assessment district that includes all property benefiting from the improvements.
  2. Boundaries of special assessment districts must be considered and approved by the City Commission.
  3. Once approved, a district is then published in the city’s official newspaper, the Mandan News, two times over a two-week period. Property owners have the right to protest if the district is not health- and safety-related like a water and sewer project. If more than 50 percent of owners in the district protest the work, the project is cancelled.
  4. If a district is approved, the City Engineer takes bids on a project. After bids are received, a contract and bond are executed and considered for approval by the City Commission.
  5. When construction of a project is completed, the total cost of the improvement is determined, including construction cost, testing and inspection, engineering, legal fees, bonding fees, and fiscal and administrative services provided by city staff.
  6. The chairman of the Special Assessment Commission is notified to levy costs to properties within the district according to degree of benefit, if any.
  7. In determining special assessments, consideration is given to the distance of the property from the area of improvement. Calculations may be on a per lot basis, according to the front footage or square footage of a parcel, or any combination thereof. Sidewalk, curb and gutter assessments are based on the actual amount of work completed on a respective property.
  8. Project costs are spread over a varied term of years. Water, sewer and street projects are generally spread over 15 years to coincide with the bond issue. Interest rates are determined at the time of the bond sale. 
  • Services deemed to be for the general welfare, public health or public safety are the repair and replacement of private water or sewer mains, connections to the city’s main lines and removal of diseased trees. These costs are typically spread over a five-year period.
  • Weed-cutting and snow removal charges and delinquent utility bills are assessed back to the property and included within the respective year’s certification to the county. A 10 percent fee is administration fee is attached to health and safety, delinquent bills and weed-cutting projects.

 9. Once assessments are determined, lists are published in the Mandan News twice in a two-week period.

 10. Property owners have the right to protest their special assessment at a scheduled public hearing before the Special Assessment Commission.

 11. If the property owner’s protest is denied, the individual may appeal that decision before the City Commission.

A three-person Special Assessment Commission is responsible for determining which properties within an improvement district benefit from construction work performed and for spreading assessments fairly among properties. It is not their job to determine whether the work should be done. As outlined above, there are several opportunities for public input about the necessity and scope of projects earlier in the process.

Annual installments of special assessments must be certified by Nov. 1 of each year by the city auditor to the county auditor for collection with property tax collections. Special assessments may be paid by a property owner without interest through Feb. 15 of the year following. Payment of full or existing balances may be made at the Auditors Office at Mandan City Hall, 205 2nd Avenue NW.

For more information on special assessments, call at 667-3271 or send an e-mail.

To request a form to authorize special assessments for tree removal or curb stop, waterline, or sewer repair, call Public Works at 667-3240.

North Dakota Century Code 40-24-02 Payment of special assessments - Interest. All special assessments levied under this title may be paid without interest within ten days after they have been approved by the governing body and thereafter shall bear interest at an annual rate not exceeding one and one-half percentage points above the average net annual interest rate on any warrants or bonds for the payment of which they are pledged on the total amount thereof remaining unpaid.