|1/31/2019 4:10:00 PM|
Public hearing for wastewater facilities plan Feb. 19
The nine-member Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission has for many months now, worked on prioritizing capital needs, repairs and upgrades for the regional sewer system, and is ready to present the plan to the public. It has also chosen a financing option for an expected set of projects costing multi-millions of dollars.
Last week a public hearing date was set for February 19 for citizen input on what’s being proposed.
Rate payers and CLJSTC city officials in Center City, Lindstrom, Chisago City, Wyoming and Stacy and the South Center sanitary district (generally servicing Hazelden) are invited to comment on the wastewater facilities plan February 19. The hearing is during the regular commission meeting, which starts at 4:30 p.m. The CLJSTC meeting room is in the Lindstrom City Hall/Community Center.
The Facilities Plan is necessary to qualify for low interest financing from the Clean Water Revolving Fund, through the state’s Public Financing Authority.
Consultant Ron LaFond of Stantec, said the costs for the Facilities Plan are estimated at $4.5 million but financials won’t be known until bids come in.
The commission has nearly paid-off what it borrowed beginning about 30 years ago, when the main wastewater treatment plant was rebuilt to treat wastewater as a Sequencing Batch Reactor.
Financing advice has been provided by Springsted & Associates, which reports that existing debt-service drops dramatically by 2025, when it goes to less than $50,000 annually, down from $700,000 now.
New loan debt service, if approved, will cover interest costs gradually at first and only on sums the CLJSTC actually borrows. The net effect on what users pay to be provided with sewer service had not been estimated last week. CLJSTC budget variables are endless, it was noted. The budget for 2018 actually finished a over $100,000 in-the-black, and Chairman Mark Wolcott commented that much of last year projections were that the budget would be overspent.
This facilities plan is not going to gather any dust, with some projects proposed to be underway by spring 2020. LaFond said the plan doesn’t have to happen in specific order of how it’s laid out, though.
Commission Chair Wolcott asked if a piece of equipment or a lift station “goes to heck” and needs attention immediately, can the plan be revised? LaFond assured the commission that amendments are allowed.
Pumping capacity for the system needs attention and corridor lift station interiors are the plan priority. There are eight lift stations in the system, with the oldest equipment (30-plus years) in member cities of Chisago, Center City and Lindstrom.
Stacy and Wyoming are relatively recent additions to the sewer network.
Commission representation is two from larger cities such as Wyoming, Chisago, Lindstrom. The county has one member, George McMahon, and Center City and Stacy get one vote on the commission.
Shafer, North Branch, Harris and Taylors Falls all operate independent municipal systems.
Nobody using individual septic in rural areas is part of the CLJSTC.
Once the neediest lift stations have been addressed, the upgrades and equipment replacement for the treatment plant itself, estimated at $1.4 million, are a couple years into the work plan in 2022.
The “Chisago Main” lift station will be scheduled for work in 2023 due to the capacity it handles and extent of work. This site alone is slated for $1 million.
In 2024 the CLJSTC is planning to repace a maintenance vehicle that runs about $350,000, called a “vac truck.”