NYM City Council hopes to build development costs into lot sale price

Photo by Tucker Henderson
A vacant lot at the South Point project south of New York Mills could soon be home to a 60-unit apartment building, as well as several single family homes. 

By Chad Koenen


To assess or not to assess, that was the question in front of the New York Mills City Council when it came to a pair of lots in the South Point project. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting last Tuesday night, the NY Mills City Council discussed two lots that were developed due to a large 60-unit apartment complex in the yet-to-be-developed South Point area. 

As part of the discussion, the city council discussed what it should do to recoup some of the costs associated with getting the vacant lots ready for development. The city could have assessed each property $47,000 to recoup some of the costs for installing the utilities and roads, but several members of the city council expressed a concern with such a high cost for the property given the current state of the economy. 

Michael Weber, of Apex Engineering, said the estimated assessable cost of $47,000 may seem high, but given the current costs associated with inflation, as well as supply shortages, the costs for the lots are right in line with other communities in the region.

“If I were to look at this project and where the costs were two years ago, it would have been $30,000-35,000,” he said. “These costs are very similar to what we were forecasting for other projects in the region.”

While the council has the right to assess for things like street, sidewalk, storm water, sanitary sewer and waterman improvements, it can also deviate from that assessment policy if desired.

Councilman Josh Hoaby expressed a concern regarding such a high assessment on two residential lots in the South Point project. 

Councilmen Latham Hetland and Jerry Nesland said they preferred a second option presented to the council, which would not put assessments on these two properties in South Point, but would rather allow the city to sell the vacant lots for a set dollar amount. The goal would be to sell the lots and recoup as much of the costs associated with getting the property ready for development as possible.

Hetland said the two lots that are being sold in South Point are unique in that they are a result of a 60-unit apartment building being constructed in the area.

Nesland said he would prefer to just sell the lots without an assessment already attached to the property. That would give the city some flexibility in selling the lots given the rising interest rates, as well as inflation that could hurt the city’s ability to quickly sell the property if it is priced too high. He asked that the city check with the League of Minnesota Cities, as well as the city’s attorney to make sure it wouldn’t be setting a precedent for future projects in the city. 

The council will get input from the city’s attorney and League of Minnesota Cities and will act whether it should sell the properties with assessments or build in the cost for the assessments into the sale price at a future city council meeting.

Road turned back to NY Mills

Otter Tail County has officially turned back a small portion of road in the heart of downtown NY Mills to the community. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday night, the city council approved a resolution revoking County State Aid Highway 94 from the intersection of Centennial 84 Dr. To North Main Ave. The road will then go northeasterly on North Main Ave to Park Street.

As part of the resolution, Otter Tail County will provide the City of NY Mills a one-time payment of $50,000 to take over the maintenance and ownership of approximately .07 miles of road in downtown NY Mills. A resolution turning back the road to the city was already approved at the county level and will essentially put main street under city control.

Nesland said the county nor the city realized the road was still on the county’s books, and not under the city’s control, until just recently. As a result, the city was already maintaining that one block of road, which was officially owned by the county. 

The amount of road being turned back is essentially one block from the former bakery building to Centennial 84 Drive.

In other news

• Heard the liquor store report for Mills Liquors that showed the combined gross sales for the month were up 11 percent from last year, while the combined cost of gross sales were up 1.25 percent as a percentage of sales from last year. Payroll expenses were also up 2 percent as a percentage of sales from last year, which resulted in net revenues for the month of September being down 2.7 percent as a percentage of sales from the previous year. 

• Heard the NY Mills Fire Department responded to 22 calls for the month of September, most of which were medical calls. There was just one call for a rural garage fire in September. 

• Heard the police department responded to 144 calls for service in September and issued nine citations and two arrests. 

• Heard the public works report, which stated that a gas leak survey discovered three minor leaks on a few meter sets and custom piping. The city staff will be going back to the leaks and make the necessary repairs. The City Center utility shop addition is also moving along as the roof is complete, brick work will be wrapping up and the overhead door installation and framing will follow interior wall sheeting. 

• Heard from Bob Lahman of Parkers Prairie who is running for the Otter Tail County Commission in District 4.