Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 10, 2003

Unbudgeted water management plan could slow New Germany development

By Dave Cox

New Germany City Council was forced to consider the unwelcome prospect of a new requirement that could result in $18,300 in unbudgeted expenses for the city in the coming months.

The discussion stemmed from a Feb. 26 letter to the city from engineer Kreg Schmidt, outlining requirements for a storm water management plan and a tentative schedule for implementing such a plan. The council reviewed the letter during its meeting Thursday.

According to Schmidt's letter, "All local government units within the Carver County water resource management area have until June 4, 2003 to adopt and implement a local water management plan consistent with the goals and policies established by the Carver County water management plan."

The local water management plan would need to be part of the city's comprehensive plan.

"If the comprehensive plan is not complete, the Metropolitan Council will not grant its required approval for sanitary sewer extension permits, which would lead to stoppage of development within the city," Schmidt wrote.

Schmidt noted in his letter that nearly 50 percent of the projected cost associated with preparing the plan is related to creating the overall storm water model for the city.

The county had some type of generic model ordinance that a city could adopt to meet the new requirement, city clerk Shelly Quaas stated, according to meetings she's attended.

She asked Schmidt about this, and was told that the plan adopted by each individual city would vary, and that some are much more detailed than others, Quaas said.

Former mayor Paul Engelhart attended the same meetings as Quaas, and said that he did not recall anything about the city incurring the kind of substantial expense for developing a plan that Schmidt's letter described.

Schmidt did indicate that some county funding may be available to help with the development of the water management plan, and he advised the city to send a funding request to Carver County.

The council decided to table the discussion until the March 19 meeting, when it could discuss the specific requirements with Schmidt in person.

Moving to another subject, the council passed a motion to grant a request from Sam Montgomery for a six-month extension of the preliminary plat for Black Forrest Estates second addition.

The council also discussed a proposed cost-sharing arrangement between Montgomery and the city. In a Feb. 21 letter, Montgomery proposed a plan where his development would pay 25 percent of the cost of a new lift station and forcemain, and the city would pay for the balance.

Noting that the city may lack the cash to pay for these items, Montgomery stated in his letter, "We would be willing to construct the new lift station and forcemain and finance the city's share of the improvements. All we would ask is that the city repay its contribution over a reasonable period of time."

Montgomery also said in his letter that it is his understanding that the new lift station and forcemain are improvements that the city will need to make whether or not there is any development in the city, and unless the city finds someone to share costs with, "city taxpayers and sewer rate payers will bear 100 percent of these needed improvements."

After a brief discussion, the council tabled the proposal until the Wednesday, March 19 meeting which both Montgomery and Schmidt will attend.

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