ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

No assessments: Crosslake City Council votes 3-2 not to assess residents, businesses for sewer project

Vote came days after the council heard from angry business owners who cited lack of notice about the project's timeline, road closures and lack of assessment information for project that starts May 16

Crosslake sewer expansion project map.jpg
The Crosslake Chamber of Commerce shared this map of the County State Aid Highway 66 sewer extension project. Phase 1 will start May 16, 2022.
Contributed

CROSSLAKE — No assessments.

Crosslake residents and businesses along the County State Aid Highway 66 sanitary sewer extension project route will not pay assessments for the project that will begin Monday, May 16.

That’s according to a 3-2 vote that occurred Wednesday, May 4, at a Crosslake City Council workshop to talk about assessments and connection fees for the $2.5 million project that’s been in the works since 2018.

The council will still hold a public hearing for residents and businesses to speak about this topic at 5 p.m. Monday, May 9, before a regular monthly council meeting at 7 p.m.

At the May 4 meeting, council members Marcia Seibert-Volz and Aaron Herzog voted against not assessing benefiting properties. Seibert-Volz has argued the city should follow its sewer ordinance, which she said specifically lists user categories.

ADVERTISEMENT

Council member Dave Schrupp kicked off the meeting by reading a letter that outlined his reasons not to assess residents and businesses for the project.

Those reasons included:

  • No one was assessed for the original sewer collection system installation.
  • No residents or commercial entities on the original system were assessed.
  • Assessment amounts for businesses appear to be unreasonable following city policy.
  • Businesses asked for lower assessments, but that is impossible to do because of city policy.

“The assessment policy sounded great three to four years ago, but was not well received by city residents and businesses,” Schrupp wrote. “In the past we have not assessed road improvements because we have the ability to pay for bonds with general levy dollars. Not an issue so far.”
In response to an emailed question after the meeting, City Administrator Mike Lyonais said in an email that the project would be paid for in the following way, using rounded numbers:

  • $500,000 cash up front from the city that would be reimbursed by Crow Wing County in 2024.
  • $315,000 from a Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District grant.
  • $258,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
  • $1.5 million in new general obligation improvement bonds, which includes the issuance costs.

The council also voted 4-1, with Seibert-Volz opposed, to change the residential sewer system connection fee to $5,500 and to change the commercial connection fee to $9,200.

At a special meeting Thursday, April 28, the council heard from angry business owners who said they were unaware of the project's timeline and their businesses will suffer with roadwork occurring during their busy summer season.

They also were unhappy with a sign that went up announcing CSAH 66 would be closed starting May 16.

The council also was berated for not having set possible assessments yet for the project.

The April 28 special meeting was set specifically to talk about assessments for the sewer extension project. Mayor Dave Nevin and Seibert-Volz had met and devised a new assessments plan that they presented to the council.

ADVERTISEMENT

Other council members hadn’t had time to digest the plan, so the May 4 workshop was set to again discuss assessments and sewer connection fees.

Read more of Crosslake City Council news
Council approved a new St. Patrick's Day parade route; will seek proposals for a city attorney, labor attorney and city buildings cleaning service.
Department sees large increase in fire calls, emergency medical service calls
One council member votes against budget approval, saying it could be further reduced to help taxpayers
Dave Schrupp and John Andrews did not seek reelection and attend their final regular council meeting

The sewer project will take place in two phases, which Crosslake Chamber Director Cindy Myogeto outlined in an email sent to businesses:

  • Phase one, from around Sundance Ridge Condominiums to Daggett Pine Road just past Marine 66, will start May 16 and is scheduled to be complete by July 4. Local traffic will detour from Daggett Bay Road (which travels past the City Administration/Police Department) to Daggett Pine Road; however, commercial traffic (semi-trailer trucks) would be asked to use County Road 1.
  • Phase two, from just past Marine 66 to Moonlite Square convenience store, is scheduled to be complete in late August and will require a longer detour using either West Shore Drive for local traffic or County Road 1.
City Engineer Phil Martin talks to Crosslake City Council on April 28, 2022.png
City Engineer Phil Martin, of Bolton & Menk, talks to the Crosslake City Council about the County State Aid Highway 66 sewer extension project during a special meeting to talk about assessments April 28, 2022, at city hall.
Echo Journal Screenshot

The agreed upon goal of the sewer project is to protect the lakes. What hadn’t been agreed upon was whether the affected property owners should pay the assessments or whether those costs should be spread among all Crosslake taxpayers.

The council did agree that “Road Closed” signs should be changed for the benefit of businesses.

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICSCROSSLAKECROSSLAKE CITY COUNCIL
Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
What To Read Next
Three different owners shared the same, community centric vision
Musical, cultural talks, ice fishing contest are coming up
Event is Feb. 2 at Chalberg Theatre at Central Lakes College in Brainerd
Named to President's or Dean's lists