(1) Upon the request of the owner appealing a special assessment and the payment by him or her of the estimated cost of preparation of the transcript to the city or village clerk or such clerk's designee, the city or village clerk shall cause a complete transcript of the proceedings before such city or village to be prepared. The cost of preparing the transcript shall be calculated in the same manner as the calculation of the fee for a court reporter for the preparation of a bill of exceptions as specified by rules of practice prescribed by the Supreme Court. At such time as the completed transcript is provided to the appellant, the appellant shall pay the amount of the cost of preparation which is in excess of the estimated cost already paid or shall receive a refund of any amount in excess of the actual cost. An appellant determined to be indigent shall not be required to pay any costs associated with such transcript preparation.
(2) For purposes of this section, indigent means the inability to financially pursue the appeal without prejudicing the appellant's ability to provide economic necessities for the appellant or the appellant's family. Indigency shall be determined by the court having jurisdiction over the appeal upon motion of the appellant. The court shall make a reasonable inquiry to determine the appellant's financial condition and shall consider such factors as the appellant's income, the availability to the appellant of other resources, including real and personal property, bank accounts, social security benefits, and unemployment or other benefits, the appellant's normal living expenses, the appellant's outstanding debts, the number and age of the appellant's dependents, and other relevant circumstances.