Herald JournalHerald Journal, Feb. 9, 2004

Lammers appointed to Howard Lake city Council

By Paul Maravelas

Rick Lammers took his seat with other council members upon his appointment to the Howard Lake council Tuesday.

Mayor Gerry Smith appointed Lammers to fill a council seat vacated by Don Danford, who resigned in January due to ill health.

Last month, the council wasn't able to reach a consensus on appointing a replacement.

Smith said that, in this situation, it was left to him as mayor to make the appointment. Smith said he met with six candidates, and had spoken with all of them; he spent a week interviewing and evaluating, he said.

Resident chastises council

During a part of the meeting devoted to citizens' comments, resident Jan Gilmer berated the council's long-range planning.

He questioned how the sewage from the city's new developments would be dealt with. "Within a five year outlook you're looking at 800 more homes in this town . . . this disposal plant will never hold that volume," he told the council.

City Engineer Brad DeWolf agreed, but explained that the city planned an upgrade in the near future that would accommodate the increased volume.

"You've got a problem," Gilmer continued, "you're not looking far enough ahead; your debt load is $45 million. You're going to have to tax; you're going to be like Lake Minnetonka or Wayzata."

Smith disagreed, stating that the sewer improvements will be paid for with user fees. The city has developed a 10-year comprehensive plan, Smith said, and a capital plan that extends for 20 years.

Gilmer asked if new drinking water arsenic standards were being met, and asked if the city's ability to maintain the standard would be affected by growth and the resulting increase in water use.

DeWolf explained that the city will have to upgrade its water treatment plant to accommodate an increase in volume, but current arsenic levels are below state maximum.

An expansion of the water treatment plant is already part of the city's capital improvement plan, DeWolf said.

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