Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, Sept. 23, 2002

HL plans to make offer for purchase of water tower land

By Lynda Jensen

The contentious water tower issue surfaced again during the Howard Lake City Council meeting Tuesday, as the council discussed making an offer to Wright County for purchase of the land under the tower.

The offer follows an exchange of correspondence and meetings related to water use at the fair grounds, tied to the county's ownership of the water tower land.

The issue is long standing, and originates from a misunderstanding between the city and county, because no signed contract was made regarding the issue.

Both entities made separate resolutions regarding water use and the water tower, but disagreed about what the resolutions meant.

The county's last proposal was to pay for water over 185,000 gallons.

The last meeting with the county was in the spring, when Council Member Shelly Reddemann and City Administrator Kelly Bahn met with commissioners over the issue.

During the summer, city council members conducted a workshop over the issue and decided to make an offer for the land. An appraisal was ordered to this end.

The property was appraised at $24,000 by real estate agent Don Hokanson of Litchfield.

Hokanson used three different pieces of land to make his determination:

· a parcel located on the west side of the golf course in Howard Lake. This land sold for $2.57 per square foot for 14,375 square feet.

· a parcel of 2,500 square feet bought by the City of Cokato for a sanitary sewer lift station at $7,500.

· a parcel of 28,269 located on the north side of Cokato $2.21 per square foot.

"With the current city ordinance governing the land, the quality of the land is not as important as the type of land, location and setting," Hokanson wrote in his report.

The city carefully tabulated how much average water use the county went through since 2000, and plans to deduct the charges for water and sewer against the list price.

Charges for water would be about $981 and sewer $1,804; although the latter was disputed since it was debated whether the water actually enters the sewer system.

"It's not water going into the sewer system," council member Tom Kutz pointed out, which was echoed by council member Shelly Reddemann. Water used for animals at the fair is generally used to wash them down, which goes down a drain that probably ends up in tile, Reddemann said.

The county used 370,530 gallons of water in 2002, according to the city water meter that was installed there in 2000.

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