Engineering - Special Assessment Areas
What is a Special Assessment Area?
A Special Assessment Area (SAA) is an area legally defined through ordinance by the City Council for the installation of public way improvements. There are two basic types of Street Improvement SAA's. The first is a Street Extension SAA, which involves the installation of curb and gutter, sidewalks, and drive approaches where such improvements have not previously existed.
The second is a Concrete Replacement SAA, which involves the reconstruction of deteriorated concrete in the public way. Both types of SAA's may also include roadway and drainage improvements, accessibility ramp construction, and placement of topsoil and sod in the parking strip. SAA projects upgrade communities through the elimination of drainage problems, pedestrian safety concerns, and unsightly conditions in the public way.
What does it cost?
Improvement costs for a Concrete Replacement SAA are shared by the City and the residential property owner on a 50/50 basis. Business property owners pay the total cost of improvements adjacent to their properties. Property owners participating in recent concrete replacement SAA's have paid approximately $10 to $12 per lineal foot for 4-foot wide, 4-inch thick sidewalk, and $14 to $18 per lineal foot for curb and gutter. These figures are provided for property owner cost estimating only; actual costs may vary based on specific construction needs and bids received from contractors when the Special Assessment Area is created.
Property owners participating in a Street Extension SAA pay the total cost of improvements adjacent to their properties. These costs vary widely based on the construction needs of a specific location, but are usually in the range of $35 to $50 per lineal foot for sidewalk, curb and gutter construction.
At the completion of the project when actual costs are determined, a special tax assessment is placed on all abutting properties according to the proportional benefit received from the public way improvements. Property owners can pay the assessment in one lump sum or through equal annual installments. The installment plan for Concrete Replacement SAA’s is generally spread over five years, and installment payments for Street Extension SAA’s are generally spread over ten years.
Interest charges are accrued on the unpaid balance at a rate established by the City Treasurer. This interest rate is set when the City obtains a municipal bond for the project. Favorable interest rates have always been obtained because of the excellent bond rating held by Salt Lake City. Property owners who pay the entire assessment within fifteen days of the initial notification avoid any interest charges.
How do I get an SAA in my neighborhood?
Property owners can petition the City for the installation or reconstruction of public way improvements through a Special Assessment Area. Those signing the petition must be the owners of the properties adjacent to the requested public way improvements, not residents that are renting or leasing the property.
A petition form is provided at the end of this information sheet for your use in collecting signatures and determining support of the proposed project. Apparent support of the project, as indicated by those signing the petition, must represent greater than 50% of the total lineal front footage of the proposed public way improvements for the City to consider creation of a Special Assessment Area.
How long does it take?
SAA petitions are given immediate attention. The time frame from receipt of a petition to construction is approximately 18 to 24 months, pending the availability of capital improvement funding. Activities that occur during this time frame include public meetings to address property owner concerns, defining the project scope, designing the project, preparing cost estimates, determining the availability of funding, and complying with all SAA bonding requirements.