Herald Journal Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, April 8, 2002

Water tower issue still not settled

By Lynda Jensen

Howard Lake Council members made it clear that the water tower scuffle with Wright County is far from being settled, even though the county was acting as if everything had been resolved.

One of Howard Lake's water towers stands on land that is owned by Wright County.

"I've noticed they've become quiet since we told them there may be no parking or the road may be closed," Councilman Shelly Reddemann said, referring to First Street, which is a city owned road and the main entrance to the fair.

It is also a road that may contain four fairgrounds buildings built on city right of way, on its northern half.

Most recently, a report by Wright County correspondent John Holler made it appear that the county assumed its previous offer ended the issue, which was for the county to give itself free water use up to 185,000 per year; what the county fair uses anyway.

The issue initially erupted last year when the city disputed an unsigned agreement concerning water usage at the fair, based on a memorandum of understanding.

The memorandum gave unlimited water use at the fair, with no expiration date, and was passed by the Howard Lake City Council in July 1999, in order to have the water tower built, Administrative Assistant Kelly Bahn said.

The city is in the process of checking the legality of the contract, Bahn said.

Previously, both the city and county passed resolutions in 1994 to allow five years of free water use for the county, starting in 1995. This expired in 2000.

Most recently, county commissioners offered an agreement to pay for water service beyond 185,000 per year, but to receive water free up to that point.

Council members set a workshop date for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 to discuss all of the issues before they meet with county officials.

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