Crane Lake, Minnesota Water & Sanitary District  
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May 21, 2003 – 7:30 PM



Study Session:  7:00 – 7:30PM


Jim Pucel reviewed the Project Status Report which consisted mainly of paper work for the project.  Two issues that the Board will need to address are providing a name for the road to the plant and an address for the plant for UPS delivery; and phone service to the lift station and to the Wastewater Treatment Site.  Mike White asked that the Engineers look into phone service related to remote operation of the plant.


M. White asked Jim Pucel about the grinder pump comparisons.  Jim said they had been corresponding with the pump supplier, but they are not satisfied with the report yet.  Jim will report to the Board when they have information.


M. White asked what the next step would be for the CDBG funding.  Jim said the next step would be the formal applications. There are two applications with one for C.S.A.H. 24 and one for the Eastern Service Area.


Regular Meeting


The meeting was called to order by Vice-Chairman Darrell Scott at 7:30PM.


Members present:  Managers Darrell Scott, Mike White, Jim Sanborn, and Deena Congdon.

Members absent:   None


Also present:  Jim Pucel of RLK-Kuusisto Ltd., Scott Harder of Environmental Financial Group, Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman, a reporter from the Cook News-Herald, two reporters from the Voyageur Sentinel and 16 members of the community.




Motion by D. Congdon, supported by M. White to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 7, 2003.  Motion carried.



  • The correspondence was presented to the Board.
  • A motion was made by M. White, supported by J. Sanborn to place the correspondence on file and act upon as required, if required, with the request that the Clerk advise the Board of any needed responses to correspondence.  Motion carried.


Easements/Right-of-Way Issues

  • D. Congdon reported that the plat will be ready to file in about three weeks.
  • D. Congdon stated that the Board would need to look into a fee for easement requests after the plat is filed.
  • The Consent Form permitting the CLWSD to construct, install, operate, alter and maintain underground water and sewer lines over, under and across the roads and streets dedicated to the public in Harding Manor, Baylis Crane Lake Addition, and Chase First Addition has been signed.


Request for Temporary Injunction

  • More data has been filed with the Court.  The latest data and responses should be delivered to the Court tomorrow.
  • The Court’s decision should follow.



Presentation – Scott Harder, Environmental Financial Group

  • M. White introduced Scott Harder, President of the Environmental Financial Group.
  • Rob Scott asked if there would be Public Comment on the  issues before Mr. Harder’s presentation.  M. White suggested that Rob ask Mr. Harder.  Mr. Harder responded that he would welcome questions & comments anytime during his presentation.
  • Mr. Harder said this workshop would be a work in progress with the goal being to gather information and present ways for the District to arrive at a fair and equitable rate schedule and ordinance.  A second workshop will be scheduled for presenting his findings from suggestions and dialogue from this workshop.  Mr. Harder’s presentation reviewed the grant and loan commitments and suggested different approaches to be considered to distribute cost of loan repayment and maintenance.  He further explained that project costs should be separate from the administrative expenses, adequate cash reserves are necessary and a comprehensive ordinance is needed to face all situations as they arise.
  • Rob Scott asked if Mr.Harder was looking into other funding options.  Mr. Harder said he would be.
  • Rob Scott asked if property tax levies collected by the County would come back to the District.  Scott Harder will look into it.
  • Mr. Harder felt the Board had three main issues:  Volume Charges, Seasonal Customers, and Use of Special Assessments.
  • After his presentation, Mr. Harder asked for more questions and comments.
  • Mike Siegley asked if this was a unique project as he was brought on board after the start of construction.  Mr. Harder did not feel he was at a disadvantage by starting at this stage of the project.
  • Mr. Siegley asked if EDU’s were being thrown aside.  Mr. Harder responded that he had not looked at EDU’s yet and that EDU’s would be his next task so he would reserve judgment.
  • Mike Siegley than made the point that as a year round property owner with a holding tank the quantity pumped implied a usage of less than 50 gallons per day.  One EDU would be 50 to 250 gallons per day.  Scott Harder’s response was that EDU’s are a great tool to count properties and size systems properly for maximum use.  Using EDU’s to set rates sometimes works and other times something else works better.  He will look at EDU’s and other ways as well.
  • Brian Sullivan asked if metering would be something he would be looking into.  Mr. Harder will be looking at metering.
  • Rob Scott asked if there would be fixed charges for replacement and user fees.  Would there be some type of weighted fee for use.  Mr. Harder said different classes could be used and metering may be used also.
  • Brian Sullivan asked how the use of the excess capacity of the Treatment Facility would be determined. Mr. Harder said the plant is planned for a reasonable amount of growth and hook-up fees could build a reserve for the District to stay ahead of any expenses needed to expand the plant.
  • Brian Sullivan asked if fees would be adjusted if property owners added to their properties, i.e. another bathroom or another building.  Mr. Harder suggested one idea would be a classification for multi-parcel customers.
  • Rob Scott suggested that the ordinance should have protection for increased usage of the system.  Jim Pucel said it will take a couple of years to determine the actual flow of the system.  Right now it is designed for an additional 60%
  • Rob Scott said we need a road map from 1996 to where we are now and asked that Mr. Harder include definitions in his outline at the next workshop.


OTHER BUISINESS – There was none






Brian Sullivan read the following questions related to possible significant cost reductions in project cost on Brad Blazevic’s behalf, as he was unable to attend the meeting.


Statement: I requested former alternative site review data from Jim Pucel at RLK.  His response was that I needed to get them from the board. Consider this for the record a formal request for all sites previously considered, and any reasons they were not acceptable.


1) RLK has advised me that the plant design is sized to handle up to 52,000 gallons per day.  I have also been informed by RLK that the current design will be handling approximately 30% of that total.  I ask the RLK representative confirm this for the record.    Answer:  The anticipated initial use is currently estimated at 33,750 gallons per day.  This is 65% of 52,000 gallons per day.


2) If the former question is accurate.  What data did RLK receive and from whom that we would need the increased capacity to 52,000 gallons per day.  It has been stated that the initial design is to handle the western service area only.  What expansions has RLK been advised of requiring a 70% increase in capacity requirements for the western service area.  Answer:  The plant size and type of treatment was determined by Ayres Associates.  A 35% increase appears realistic when considered with a 20-year life of the original plant.  This is also covered in your request for alternative plant sites where the response includes a 20-year forecast.


3) It has been stated in board records that sites closer to the main service area were excluded as once a site exceeds 51,000 gallons per day an environmental impact study would be required.  Is this true?  Answer:  All potential sites were considered and eliminated for other reasons.  However, RLK-Kuusisto consulted with Rural Development and the M.P.C.A. with agreement that changing the plant size or type of treatment could cause significant environmental study delays.


4) If this is true why hasn’t the board considered a lower capacity per day to allow more economical sites to be considered.  In light of the fact that we already have a 70% cushion why not bring the capacity down to a number that does not require an environmental impact study?  Answer:  M. White said that Roger Clapp of Rural Development suggested that changing the plant site would re-open the Environmental Assessment Worksheet.  We do not have a 70% cushion; we have a 35% allowance for expansion.


5) Our investigations have shown that Potlatch, may consider a land swap to move the plant closer to the service area.  Further the MN Historical society may be interested in assisting in cleaning up the area.  Has anyone from the board spoke to either of these entities (other than the easement for the effluent pipe)?  If so why not?  If they have what were the results?  Please provide documentation to support the boards decision.  Answer:  M. White said there was communication with the MN Historical Society.  Representatives from the Society came to tour the entire lake.  They then decided to give an easement for the discharge pipe.  Potlatch probably would cooperate if the District wanted to move the plant site to their land near the mouth of the Vermilion River; however, the Engineer’s advised the Board that the land was not very feasible for the treatment facility and would be quite expensive.  There could also be an access problem.


6) Considering our frequent power outages, and the experience with many residents who had frozen systems this winter, what consideration has been given to the the removal of septic tanks.  Does the Board realize that with the current system, toilets won’t flush when the power is out, and there will be no way to pump a frozen system.  Jim Pucel responded that with the power off there would not be water being generated.


Mike Seigley – Regarding decision on meeting times.  The decision stated that it would be a burden to move to Fridays rather than Wednesdays because engineers, consultants, etc would have difficulty attending. Now that there are two meetings per month, will that increase expenses?  M. White answered that with the construction starting the Board needs to be available to the public and two meetings per month would result in easier scheduling of Engineers, Consultants, etc.





Mike Seigley stated that some people work outside of the Crane Lake area and the Wednesday meeting day creates a burden for us.


Mike Seigley asked if the $80,000 amendment to the Engineering Agreement was an added cost to the project.  M. White stated that it wan included in the 3.2 million dollar figure.


Larry Olson asked that the contractors contact property owners before leaving material on property owner’s property.  M. White stated he had hoped there would be schedules by now to determine when and where contractors would need to store materials.


Rob Scott suggested that there be a contact person for property owners to communicate with regarding project material on their property.  M. White said there will be a representative from RLK-Kuusisto on site and that the Board would look into the situation.


There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 9:00PM




J. Pohlman


Crane Lake Water & Sanitary District
P.O. Box 306 · Crane Lake, Minnesota 55725
© 2001 CLWSD