11/29/2012 1:28:00 PM City, Hansons reach deal on sewer, water hook-up
by Ken Haggerty
The Cannon Falls City Council unanimously approved at its November 20 council meeting an agreement with Leon and Paulette Hanson to pay one third of the estimated $33,000 cost of getting sewer and water to their new home being built on a bluff on the east side of Hwy. 20 on the north end of Cannon Falls.
According to Cannon Falls city administrator Aaron Reeves, Goodhue County maps used in the planning process for the home incorrectly had the sewer and water line running along the east side of Highway 20.
Since the existing water and sewer lines are actually on the other side of Highway 20, getting sewer and water under the road to the property became a much more expensive proposition than a standard city sewer and water connection, which usually costs about $8,400. (The City has been offering discounts of up to $3,500 on the total sum of hook-up charges and other building permit fees to encourage building.)
After meeting with Leon Hanson during a recent Public Works Commission meeting, an agreement was proposed to have the Hansons cover one third of the cost of the utility extensions and have the remaining two thirds assessed to the other two ten acre parcels to the south of his parcel, to be paid when they are developed.
The city code was amended at the meeting to make this the policy for future main extensions. Future benefiting properties will be assessed a share of the extension costs and payment collected when they are developed. An inflation index will be used to make sure that costs paid at actual time of development reflect the fair costs at that time.
Reeves said the City has been considering how to handle extensions with its eyes on the new Hospital planned for the south end of Cannon Falls, which will require a sewer and water extension.
Council member Phil Hammes noted he had heard some discussion about the Hanson case around town but said he thought the final agreement was fair to the city and the homeowner.
"He will be paying taxes; he is paying a great deal of hook-up charges," said Hammes.
Council member Bill Duncan noted that the City also received a release from Hanson from any future legal actions against the city as part of the agreement.
City resident Glen Pofahl asked why the City had to fear repercussions from Hanson and pointed out that if the neighboring properties go undeveloped, the City will carry those costs.
The Hansons will be assessed for the improvements over ten years at five percent interest, an agreement that falls in line with other assessment agreements, said Reeves.
The city's consulting engineer will not be charging any fees related to this project, said Reeves.