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Preston City Council Report: Plans approved for new water main system

Fri, Mar 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

Joe Palen, an engineer with Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates, presented to the council plans and cost projections for Spring Avenue and Ridge Road Projects in conjunction with MnDOT's highway 52 design. The center of the plan is to replace an aging and undersized water main.

The proposed system commences at Center Street and would handle run-off from an area approximately 254 acres. The proposed pipe would be sixty-six inches in diameter and would have twice the capacity of the existing system. The smallest end of the pipe would be forty-eight inches in diameter where it would connect to a detention pond directly south of the Branding Iron Restaurant. Palen related that this is an expensive system and is designed to convey and carry a ten-year storm. The pipe has a “tremendous amount of capacity.”

The system will work in conjunction with the two proposed ponds and possibly a third in the future. Water would be routed differently than it is currently; catch basins will route it on the other side of the highway. Palen also proposed that as many as five smaller items could be done more economically if completed in conjunction with this major construction.

Construction of the new water main and the related catch basins are a prerequisite to the MnDOT project on highway 52. The cost splits between federal, state, county and city are complicated. The city's responsibility varies depending upon the classification of the street. The city will need to pay for most sanitary sewer, water main and utility services not associated with the storm sewer construction. The city pays for 38% of the storm sewer leads and catch basins on Kansas Street, Spring Avenue, Brownsville Street, and North Street. The costs on the construction of the aforementioned streets plus Ridge Road would be estimated at $146,297.05. Estimated utility construction including sanitary sewer, water main, utility service, and storm sewer, is $599,056.82. The total exposure for the City for the two projects is $745,353.87.

Three ways to pay for the improvements were outlined by Palen: a general tax, assessment (usually 20%), and bonding or a combination of all three. He stressed the importance of the principle that 'assessments must be fair and equitable'. He proposed that he work with Fred Nagle to see what the assessments should be. According to the current state law, if the city has an assessment for at least 20% of the costs, the remaining monies can be bonded without a referendum. It was noted that a city can bond without any assessments, but this would require a general election. It was further noted that according to Governor Pawlenty's budget proposal, there would be a requirement for a referendum on all bonds regardless of any assessments. The possibility of a need for a public hearing was discussed. Palen stressed that the 52 project is contingent on Preston's storm sewer improvements.

Palen also asked the council to give the go ahead for a feasibility report showing costs, solutions, and recommendations for several items related to the 52 project. Included is a detention pond north of the trailer court, Pleasant Street storm sewer, extension of Kansas Street to Franklin, extension of MnDOT storm sewer leads, infrastructure necessary as a result of 52 construction,, and existing water main and sewer crossings.

Councilman Gartner suggested that whatever we do or decide we better not be cutting corners. Palen asked the council to approve three things: the plan and specifications, the go ahead for Palen to work with Nagle, city administrator, to determine assessment costs and options, and a feasibility study for related items as noted above. Approval was granted.

Palen recommended a bonding agent be brought to the next meeting. If the project goes ahead as scheduled, construction will begin May of 2003.

Other business

•Steve Corson plans to develop the south half of the old football field to build condos. His concern is a storm sewer pipe that goes across the property. If the new water main is built, the need for the old sewer pipe will be eliminated.

•The council also approved the 2003 bids for road rock and bituminous.

Karen Reisner can be contacted at

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