ATWATER -- Following a brief project update and public hearing Friday night in Atwater, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners unanimously approved the base assessment rate for the first phase of the Diamond Lake sanitary sewer project.
The $2,395,120 total assessment that's being charged to Diamond Lake residents covers the cost of installing a low-pressure line around the lake and some associated costs.
The individual property assessment is $6,580.
When work is completed next spring, sewage collected from the lake will be treated at the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District's facility in Spicer.
Several residents asked questions about options for paying the assessments.
Residents can pay the entire assessment within 30 days without incurring any interest. A partial up-front payment can be made with the remainder spread over a 20-year period, or the entire amount can be paid over 20 years with an interest rate of 4.66 percent.
County Public Works Director Gary Danielson said the low interest rate the county received on the project bond is being passed onto residents.
The Commissioners also approved a resolution that does allow assessments to be deferred in certain hardship cases.
The county received two letters from residents who objected to being charged the base assessment.
Larry Miller wrote that the septic system for his seasonal cabin met the standards and therefore he was not mandated to hook up to the municipal sewer system. He asked for an explanation of why he was being charged the base assessment.
Danielson said even though property owners don't hook up to the system now, they may need to hook up in the future when their septic systems fail. Having the common loop available for when that does happen is a benefit to the residents and therefore they should share in the cost of installing it, he said.
Those who do not hook up now will not have to pay the second assessment that will cover costs for installing grinder pumps and individual service lines. Another hearing will be held next spring when the project is finished to deal with those assessments.
Brad DeWolf, an engineer from Bolton & Menk Inc., said 299 lakeshore properties, or 84 percent, will be hooking up to the system now.
Another eight homes, or 23 percent, that are in the second tier and not on the lake will also being hooking up to the system.
DeWolf said 95 percent of the common loop has been installed and 75 percent of the service laterals have been installed. The contractors intend to work as long into the winter as possible, he said, but the system won't be operational until next spring.