Week of September 15, 2019

To paraphrase one former council member years ago, we are just one sewer problem away from a disaster. Well, that time has come. 
The Birchwood Lane lift station is down to one pump with no back up now and no replacements available; the station is falling apart from the inside out; and its design violates OSHA and MPCA minimum standards. And it only serves 14 homes--an extremely small group for a half million dollar structure.
Lift stations are great when they work well...but they require daily monitoring, frequent repairs, and are extremely expensive to replace. And the Birchwood Lane station needs to be replaced. 
Fortunately, we have an alternative. Gravity. It works 24/7, does not need monitoring or repair, and costs nothing.

White Bear Township has made this solution possible by allowing us to connect to their sewer system creating a downhill run for us. It would have made sense to initiate this project in 1998 when the Birchwood Lane Lift station was completely rebuilt.  That didn't happen and we have since spent about three times what it would have cost to put in a gravity pipe way back when.
The new pipe will cost about the same to build as our annual levy.  However, this is still much cheaper than a new lift station for both construction and maintenance.
As a result, the council decided to spend down our reserves to pay for the new pipe. We considered bonding for the project but since we earn virtually no interest on our money, and since we are told bonding alone costs $25,000, we decided we would loan ourselves the money and rebuild our reserves by increasing taxes the next four or five years. This will mean a substantial increase in your city taxes (about 30%) but it will be short term.  We hope you agree this is the best resolution.
Please feel free to reach out to me, any staff, or council members if you have any questions.