St. Paul approves $640K in settlements over street maintenance assessments

The St. Paul City Council approved more than $640,000 in settlements with various property owners this week over special assessments charged for regular street maintenance.

Property owners who sued the city claimed they were assessed for street sweeping and lighting fees disproportionately to their properties’ actual value and that the fees amounted to unconstitutional taxation.

A Ramsey County judge ruled in May that the charges were “non-uniform taxes” and the city needed to show a special benefit to the property owners. Rather, the court found that routine street maintenance fell under a general benefit to the city and should be funded through taxes.

That ruling spurred the city to pursue a 15% property tax increase to help pay for street maintenance. This year, Mayor Melvin Carter has also proposed a 1% sales tax increase for road repairs.