By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake City Council considered ideas for correcting storm drain issues causing a negative water/sewer budget balance at last Tuesday’s budget workshop.
“The inflow and infiltration (I and I) issue has improved considerably, through recent street and infrastructure projects. However, due to that fact that we have not completed all street and utility improvement projects around town, as well as the fact there are some trouble spots, I and I will continue to be a problem,” City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller said.
The council has decided to look at a couple locations in Howard Lake that seem to be problem areas.
One area is by Howard Lake estates, according to Council Member Jan Gilmer.
Council members discussed another area in the northwest part of town, where a swamp may be draining into nearby storm drains.
City staff is working with the city engineer to determine the next steps, acording to Haggenmiller.
The council is considering multiple options, including:
• an analysis that will explain how 2013 compared to previous years in terms of rain events, or how completed and ongoing projects may have impacted this issue.
• possibly initiating phase two of the sump pump compliance program, which will likely consist of a point-of-sale ordinance, directing property owners to renovate their non-compliant properties to bring them up to code, at the time of sale, according to Haggenmiller.
• a full analysis of suspected trouble areas.
• an analysis that will show potential cost and benefit of completing additional infrastructure work, versus paying for the treatment of the water.
City staff have determined it’s time to complete a housing study in Howard Lake.
A housing study could provide vital information for potential home buyers to fully understand the Howard Lake housing market, and for the city council to make informed decisions, Haggenmiller said.
Levy to stay flat
The 2014 revised budget will result in a flat levy, according to Haggenmiler.
This means there will be no increase in the city portion of property taxes for the coming year.
“This was made possible through some proposed cuts and increased local government aid,” Haggenmiller commented.