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How special assessments could cause one Fargo couple to lose their home

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FARGO—A Fargo couple says they're out of options and could lose their home to the cost of special assessments.

First, a little background on special assessments; they're a way of paying for infrastructure projects like paving roads or water main replacements.

A Fargo couple tells me they have to pay so many assessments they can't afford to live in their home of 21 years.

The Kings, Terry and Rhonda have lived in their Fargo house for decades, long enough for it to become a home.

"We used to have a big garden but not for a couple years," said Terry King, homeowner.

They've put countless hours into improving it, and are nearing retirement age.

Now longtime Case Quality Engineer Terry says the couple can't afford to keep their home.

With the city expanding up to his once rural front step, and project after project, King is now looking at shelling out big bucks on special assessments, $390,000 worth, before selling 3/4 of his property.

"We're paying specials on widening a drain, paving 25th Street, they raised 64th Avenue," said Terry.

Now he's looking at up to $135,000.

"With property taxes and specials it's going to be about $800 a month," said Terry.

So much, he doesn't believe he can afford to stay in his home of 21 years.

"One option would be to walk away from it another would be to sell it," said Terry.

He's tried, but says people lose interest when they see the specials cost.

The City says those unsatisfied with their special assessments have options:

"We bid out the process, then they have a 30 day protest period at the beginning of the project then it's the construction phase, and we certify the numbers," said Dan Eberhart, Special Assessments Dept. Fargo.

There are several stages of protests and other help available for those struggling.

"There is a grant program it's income based, they can apply for," said Eberhart.

King says if nothing can be figured out, his longtime home could become a thing of the past

"There's a number of nights where you just can't go to sleep because you worry about what's going to happen in the future," said Terry.

The Kings are in talks with city officials to see if anything can be done.

They're also worried another gravel road along their property could be paved in the coming years- meaning another special assessment.

The couple says they were told by their bank in the they couldn't refinance because the property was "unmarketable" with excessive specials.