MASON CITY, Iowa - Dozens of Mason City residents packed in to the Mason City Council meeting Tuesday to oppose a pavement project for the Central heights neighborhood. It's a project they petitioned for over a year ago.
“I work full-time, my husband works full-time and we barely make ends meet,” said one Mason City resident. “We have two kids that go to Newman and we struggle every day.
“I don’t know why I am being charged for this. The road my property is on is perfectly fine and paved.”
Some residents say they see it as a colossal tax increase.
“I received a preliminary assessment for $14,596,” said one resident.
“I received two for my two properties, one for $45,000 and another for $28,000.”
That money would go to fund the project and would be paid over a 10- to 15-year period, according to the city.
Neighbors, however, say that grants were available to pay for the repaving and accuse the city of blowing the money elsewhere.
“We know some went here, we know some went to West Haven, why didn’t it go to Central Heights?”
For its part, the city maintains there are no misspent funds and said there was never any money earmarked to pave Central Heights.
“I have a file that I looked at like a year ago when this project was starting to move forward that a state audit showed that money was spent where it was intended," said City Engineer Mark Rahm.
Rahm said those estimates are the maximum residents would have to pay and that the competitive bid process to construct the project would determine the actual cost. For now, the council voted to postpone the vote to give all sides more time to get the facts.