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City talks assessments for utilities project

The utilities portion of the Highway 10 and Highway 59 reconstruction project won’t be an overwhelming cost to area residents and businesses.

Tuesday evening, at the regular Detroit Lakes City Council meeting, City Engineer Jon Pratt talked about the sewer and wastewater portions of the project, which will also include Thomas Avenue and Morrow Avenue.

The total cost of utilities for the project is estimated at $1.5 million. The utilities are being done in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s highway project.

The highway project includes bringing a connecting frontage road from the downtown portion of the city to the west side of town with the big box stores. It also includes an underpass at Highway 59 and Thomas Street.

For the utilities portion, Pratt said he looked at the sewer and water lines and determined which should be replaced. There will also be a couple lift stations that will need to be moved, and a water main loop by Airport Road to service the stores and development in that area will be included.

Any utilities that the city needs to relocate, like the lift stations for example, will not be assessed to property owners.

About $88,000 of the $1.5 million project will be assessed to property owners, and the city share will be $1.4 million.

The sanitary sewer assessments will be about $47 per frontage foot of lots, sewer service laterals will be $2,100 each, and the water main loop portion will be $385 per acre to the businesses west of town from the old Grover’s property to the airport.

The water main loop is a secondary, back-up line to use if there are any problems with the main line. Pratt said it’s difficult to assess the project because it is a secondary line. That portion of the project is $350,000, and the businesses will be assessed $50,000 of the cost.

Construction on the Highways 10/59 project is scheduled to begin in May 2015. It is a MnDOT project with cooperation from the city.

It should be finished the following year.

Next summer, MnDOT will hold a series of public meetings for comment and to show people the plans.

Other items at the council meeting Tuesday included

  • Liquor license costs are increasing for 2014.

On-sale intoxicating liquor is going from $3,300 a year to $3,400. On-sale 3.2 malt liquor, off-sale 3.2 malt liquor and off-sale grocery stores are increasing from $300 a year to $315. On-sale intoxicating special is going from $100 per event to $125.

  • Pratt also gave a brief update on the Minnesota Avenue project that has been going on all summer and isn’t quite finished. The north portion of the street is completed, but the south portion from Frazee Street to Willow Street has yet to be paved. He said if Mother Nature cooperates, the street will be paved Thursday, but if not, it will be filled in with gravel for the winter and finished next spring.
  • There will be a public meeting at the Dec. 10 regular meeting of the council to go over the construction improvements to Washington Avenue from Highway 10 to Frazee Street.
  • The city council and Becker County Board have entered a joint agreement with Oertel Architects, LTD, of St. Paul for a space needs assessment and cost analysis for a new joint public works facility. The $27,000 cost will be split by the city and county.
  • Because of the late spring this year, the Detroit Country Club struggled to make up for a substantial loss in green fees and asked the council to accept interest-only payments on the Country Club’s loan from Dec. 31 to May 1, 2014. They also requested the city forgive the first of the year lease payment.

The County Club lost about $118,000, or 13 percent, in revenue due to the late spring.

With the two requests from the Country Club, it will be able to relieve about $48,000-$49,000 over the five month period.

The council approved the requests.

  • The council entered into an agreement with Short Elliot Hendrickson for a facilities study to explore options for wastewater treatment improvements.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.