What are Special Assessments and where do they come from?

A developer of a new subdivision or the property owners in an established neighborhood may request a project by petitioning the City for new improvements, such as water lines, sewer lines, or paved streets. The owners of the property within a set improvement district pay for that project. The cost of the project is taxed to the property as a special assessment. Other improvements that may be assessed include sidewalks and weed mowing.

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1. What are Special Assessments and where do they come from?
2. What is an improvement district?
3. Why doesn't the City just build it?
4. Why doesn't the City pay for it?
5. Why wasn't I notified?
6. Why is my assessment higher than my neighbor's?
7. How do I pay the assessment?
8. What if I can't afford the assessment?