Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 24, 2003

New water, sewer rules discussed by New Germany City Council

By David Cox

Discussion of new rules governing soil and water issues dominated the New Germany City Council meeting Wednesday.

The primary issue was compliance with MN Statute 103B.235, which requires communities to adopt a local water management plan that complies with the county's watershed plan.

The concern in New Germany is the cost of implementing this unfunded mandate.

"Our problem is that no money has been budgeted for this," said Mayor Franklin Schoenke.

City engineer Kreg Schmidt described the $18,300 cost estimate for preparation of a complete storm water management plan as "a worst case scenario."

Schmidt stated that the $9,075 storm water modeling portion of the plan was unavoidable because this component is unique to each city.

In contrast, the cost for the rest of the project could be considerably less than the $9,225 estimate because the city could choose to adopt parts of the county plan to satisfy requirements, thereby reducing engineering costs.

Schmidt also strongly encouraged the city to request funding assistance from the county.

Prior to starting to develop the model, the council would need to identify any areas that might become part of the city by the year 2020, said Schmidt. He added that one of the primary benefits that the model would provide to the city would be the ability to use it as a planning tool when looking at any new development projects.

City Clerk Shelly Quaas noted that the city has money in the budget for engineering fees, which could be used to cover some of the cost of the project.

Dave Drealan of Carver County Planning and Zoning presented information covering the history and the process for implementing the Carver County Water Management Plan. The major issues addressed by the plan include erosion and sediment control and storm water management, Dealan said.

The items affected are projects in sensitive areas, such as those bordering Department of Natural Resources (DNR) waters, and projects over one acre in disturbed area.

Drealan stated that the county has "some money" available to help cities implement a storm water model. When questioned by the council, he was unable to provide details regarding the amount of money that the city might receive.

The Crow River Watershed Fund may have also have some money available, Drealan said.

Tim Gieseke, district manager of Carver County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) also presented information to the council.

Gieseke discussed the proper use of sediment controls and the importance of planning to avoid problems in later stages of construction.

Another subject that was discussed at the meeting was the status of Sam Montgomery's Black Forest Estates Development.

Montgomery proposed a cost sharing arrangement with the city in which he would pay 25 percent of the cost of a new lift station and force main, and the city would pay the balance.

This was based on his calculation that the first phase of the development would be equivalent to 14 percent of the residences in the city. He offered to pay 25 percent of the cost in order to help the city and his development move forward.

Schmidt suggested an alternative to the proposal, stating that the total development is expected to include 180 residences, which based on the current 150 residences, would be equivalent to 55 percent of the total residences in the city.

He recommended a cost apportionment where Montgomery would be responsible for 55 percent of the cost of the improvements, and the city for the remaining 45 percent.

Montgomery expressed a concern that he might not be able to complete the development beyond the initial 20 units because of the limitations of the city's sanitary sewer system.

Schmidt agreed that the system would need to be updated, but estimated that the city has the capacity to add 40 more units with the current system.

Schmidt estimated that the total cost of the lift station and force main portion of the project would be $400,000. He outlined three general options that could be used to fund the project. Schmidt also discussed how trunk and water fees could be used to help fund the needed improvements.

The council requested that Schmidt prepare a written recommendation to be submitted prior to the Wednesday, April 16 council meeting.

Schmidt and Montgomery were both asked to attend that meeting.


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