Local Improvement Districts

Local Improvement Districts (LIDs)

LID is short for "Local Improvement District", an organization of concerned property owners cooperating to improve their property and the neighborhood appearance. Affordable financing of public improvements is established and administered according to state law.

Initiating an LID

A property owner sees a need for a public improvement in their neighborhood. Contact is made with the city about the proposed improvement, and if the improvement meets with the city's standards a request is made to Engineering for an LID petition.

Petitioning for an LID

A petition is created and includes:

  • Description of Proposed Improvement
  • Legal Description of LID Boundary
  • Instructions on Legally Qualified Signers
  • Sign-up Sheet
  • Boundary Map
  • Rough Estimate of Assessment

A petition is circulated by petition initiator.

Petition certification for LID

A vaLID petition is certified by the city engineer and signatures of qualified property owners representing over 50% of the LID area constitutes a vaLID petition. Qualified property owners may add or delete their names from the petition from the date of certification to the close of the formal public hearing with city council.

Forming an LID

A vaLID petition and preliminary assessment roll are presented to city council by the city engineer. A formal public hearing date is set by city council. Property ownerships are obtained from the county assessor/treasurer's records. Certified notices containing the public hearing date and preliminary assessment are mailed to all property owners within the LID

An informal meeting is held to discuss the proposed LID with property owners. City council holds a formal public hearing on the proposed LID; public testimony for and against the formation of the LID is given. City Council responds and takes appropriate action.

Creating an LID

City Council takes jurisdiction and orders preparation of an ordinance officially creating the LID, and also authorizes the city engineer to begin design by preparing plans and specifications and calling for bids. City council officially adopts ordinance at following meeting.

Design & Competitive Bidding for LID

The improvement is designed by city engineering staff, and construction plans and specifications are prepared. The project is advertised with a call for bids in which prospective contractors submit sealed bids to construct the project.

Contract Award & Execution for LID

An acceptable bid is submitted to City Council for award. An acceptable bid must be within the engineer's estimate by not causing the LID assessment to exceed 10% over the preliminary assessment. The contractor is advised of award.

Construction for LID

The contractor is given a notice to proceed, and construction begins. The Engineering Department usually informs the property owners of: Construction start date, estimated project duration, contractor name and phone number. The City Engineer will declare the project substantially complete once the majority of the physical work has been completed. "Punch list items" such as clean-up may still be required. The City Engineer will certify the project complete after the contractor has satisfied all the requirements within the contract; this action is taken to city council for final approval. 

Finalizing the LID 

Final assessment roll is presented and a formal public hearing date is set by City Council. Following project completion, a final assessment roll is prepared based on actual costs. Notices contain the public hearing date & final assessment are mailed to property owners.

City Council holds a formal public hearing on the proposed LID, and public testimony is received regarding the final assessment roll. The Council responds, approves a final assessment roll and directs the city attorney to prepare a final ordinance. City Council officially adopts the final assessment roll by ordinance at the following meeting.

LID Final Publications 

The LID ordinance is published in the local newspaper the Wednesday following the city council meeting, becoming effective five days following the publication. Collection/prepay notice is published the same day that the ordinance becomes effective, and the 30-day prepay period begins.

Prepayment of LID 

During the 30-day prepay period, no interest is due on the LID assessment. Property owners are mailed a prepay notice prior to start of 30-day prepay period. The notice contains the final assessment, installment interest rate, and payment options.

Financing of LID

The remaining balance of the total LID assessment roll, following the prepay period, is financed by the sale of municipal bonds. Each individual LID assessment is automatically billed in ten annual installments plus interest.

LID Installments

Annual installments are mailed 45 days prior to the due date, which is the anniversary date of the last day of the 30 day prepay. Interest is computed annually the day following the installment due date. The balance of the LID assessment may be paid off at any time.

Deferral of LID 

LID deferrals are available through the Cowlitz County Assessor. Qualified applicants must be 60 years old with annual disposable household income not to exceed $40,000. Application must be made annually. The deferred LID assessment is paid by the Washington State Department of Revenue with an added interest of 5% annually (effective January 1, 2007) See the State of Washington's Department of Revenue Website for more information. The deferral is due and payable upon sale of property or death of qualified applicant.