Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Council OKs $500,000 bond for sewer extension

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 1/31/18

TOWER— The city council here approved a resolution Monday night that issues bonds totaling $500,000 for a sewer extension and related sewer renovation at the Hoodoo Point Campground. The bonds come …

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Council OKs $500,000 bond for sewer extension

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TOWER— The city council here approved a resolution Monday night that issues bonds totaling $500,000 for a sewer extension and related sewer renovation at the Hoodoo Point Campground. The bonds come with an interest rate of 4.25 percent, according to Nick Skarich, of Northland Securities, who handled the bond sale.

Debt service on the bonds will total about $38,000 a year for the next 20 years, which is slightly less than the $42,000 originally estimated. The city expects to pay for the bond primarily through fee increases at the campground, although a budget presented by the city clerk-treasurer last fall indicated the fee increases and additional revenue from the creation of seven new seasonal RV sites, would generate about $31,000 a year.

The funds will pay the cost of extending the municipal sewer line to a lift station near the campground as well as repairing old feeder lines that direct campground sewage to the lift station. Those lines were in bad condition and may have been allowing considerable infiltration of surface water into the campground’s septic system drainfield, causing stress to the system. The project also will extend the sewer connection to seven additional RV sites.

In other business, the council approved advertising for bids on the demolition project at the former Standing Bear Marina. The city will be seeking IRRRB commercial demolition dollars to help pay for the work, which will clear the way for the new owners to renovate the facility. The demolition work will include the removal of old docks, dock canopies, and a collapsing sea wall, replacement of heaved pilings, and some interior wall demolition in the marina’s main building. Some of the work is scheduled to be done on the ice yet this winter, with the remainder to be completed at ice-out.

In other action, the council gave the green light for a plan to install one or more sewage holding tanks at the airport. City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith said that one of the pumps has failed at the lift station that serves the airport and that the Airport Commission has recommended installing holding tanks rather than fixing the pump. City engineer Jason Chopp said the initial cost of installation of a holding tank would likely be less than replacing the pump at the lift station. He estimated the cost at about $5000-$6,000, unless it has to be buried deep, which would probably double the cost.

“Have you seen pumping prices?” asked Councilor Brad Matich.

Chopp estimated that a 4,000-gallon tank would provide about a month of capacity, although others on the council suggested that sewage flow at the airport is pretty low, with only a handful of hangars actually having flush toilets. The bathroom at the arrival and departure building also sees minimal use. Mayor Josh Carlson suggested that the airport might be able to get by with a smaller tank.

While the city works out those details, the council gave its approval to apply for a MnDOT emergency aeronautics grant to help pay for the project. The grant would cover 80 percent of the cost of the work.

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