Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake city council discusses options for Knollwood Drive water main and historical society addition


February 21, 2019

Three options are possible for Knollwood Drive, Engineer Matthew Bolf of SEH reported to the Moose Lake City Council at its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13. No city water has ever been installed to the seven homes on that street. People have their own wells, which are shallow and subject to contamination. The sewer line is made of old clay pipe, which is prone to leaking.

“The first option is to do nothing but that would not accomplish your objectives,” Bolf told the council. “The second option would be to drill in a water main down the street and to each home. The third option would be to do a full reconstruction of the street and provide new water and sewer service and fix drainage issues. That is a 400-foot long stretch. Each homeowner would have to abandon his own well. Option three is recommended option for this project.”

The estimated cost of Option Three was high at $338,000. A report about the project listed that, if 100 percent of the project were assessed for each lot, it would amount to $48,247 each.

“Because this is a preliminary report, no appraiser was hired,” said Bolf. “But it is felt that that amount is not even close to the increase in the value of each property. My recommendation is to get funding for the project from other sources.”

Bolf explained that, in other cities, the property owners pay 30 percent of the assessment and the rest of the project would be paid from other sources.

He also recommended that the city have an assessment policy.

City Administrator Tim Peterson replied that, if 30 percent of the project cost was assessed by the property owners on the street, it would cover approximately $100,000 of the cost.

“That leaves us to figure out how to finance $200,000,” he said. “Several of the homeowners are senior citizens. They can push off the assessment for a number of years. Is the city willing to take this on?”

Bolf suggested that the city could just assess for cost of the water installation alone, a cost of $82,000 for all of the property owners, plus 30 percent of the remainder of the project.

“That makes financial sense,” he added. “That cost would be better than replacing a well.”

It was said that there are grants available to cover the cost of capping the wells.

The issue was tabled until more information is obtained.

Representatives of the Moose Lake Area Historical Society presented a plan to add to the building next to the former Soo Line depot for a research and education center. They asked for support from the city and that it be the fiscal agent as they apply for $600,000 in bonding from the legislature.

“We are at a crossroads now,” said member Dan Reed. “This is an active group of 200 members. Many members literally contribute thousands of dollars. We are in the process now of setting up a computer and making it available to the public for looking up information about families or a particular subject, such as the Majestic Theater. We have a volunteer willing to do that. The problem is space. We need money for the shell of the addition to the building. We feel that it is a jewel for Moose Lake and the surrounding area.”

Peterson said that he had spoken with Representative Mike Sundin the previous evening and learned that the historical society is not a political subdivision and cannot request state bonding.

“We own the building, we are the body that all of this would fall on,” he added. “If we were to receive state bonding, that would put us on the hook. I do not want to us (the city) to be the lead on this project.”

Peterson recommended that the request not be acted upon this year and to work on a plan for the future. He also recommended that the representatives of the historical society speak to members of the Carlton County Board of Commissioners about the proposed project.

The historical society representatives agreed to set up a meeting with the county board.

The council did approve a gambling permit application from the historical society for bingo on March 30.

In other business, the council approved a quote from Titan Rentals in the amount of $2,631 to rent an excavator for a project at the city shop, accepted the quote from CW Technologies to replace half of the city’s computers, agreed to hire Rory Butkiewicz as the cable TV coordinator, agreed to hire Shelby Lonne-Rogentine as the part-time library director, and agreed to hire Kevin Coil as the liquor store manager.

The next meeting of the Moose Lake City Council was set for Wednesday, March 13, at 4 p.m. in the council chambers.


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