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October 11, 2003 – 1:00PM



At 1:05PM Chairman Mike White began the proceedings by explaining the purpose and procedure of the Assessment Hearing.  He further explained that appeals presented would be taken under advisement with the District engineer, attorney, and financial consultant.  If possible, the appeals will be acted upon at the October 15, 2003 Regular Board Meeting.


The following letters were read:


10/2 – Oliver Eggen               10/3 – Rev. Bernhard Lutz     10/6 – Dave Adams

10/6 – Robert Scott                10/7 – David Vorhies              10/7 – G. W. Resorts

10/7 – Mike Harshbarger            10/8 – Kristi Wheeler             10/9 – Ejay Dawson

10/9 – Allan McKie                 10/11 – Paul Hamblin               10/8 – Michael Seigley

10/11 – Jim Janssen


Chairman White listed other questions for the benefit of those present:

  • Rod Crain and Jerry Crain were assessed as ½ units because they share a grinder.  The Board intends to look at the sharing of grinders.
  • The Engineer will look at all assignments of grinder units to see if they are all within the methodology set by Scott Harder.
  • The Crane Lake Chapel and Fire Department do not pay property taxes.  They will be billed directly rather than using the assessment procedure.
  • Some property owners do not have easements to enter their property.  Ordinance No. 1 mandates hook-up to the sewer system and justifies the assessment.  The Board will proceed on this issue.
  • The grinder units will be reviewed by RLK-Kuusisto, Scott Harder of EFG & Mary Frances Skala of Fryberger et al.


Chairman White asked the public for questions and comments.


Do people have the option of paying upfront?  It was explained that full or partial payment of the assessment could be paid by November 15, 2003.  After that the assessment would be included with the property tax to be paid over 30 years with 5 ¼% interest, which would be about $425.00 per year.  Property owners would have the option of paying off the balance in November of any year including interest accrued through December of that year.


How was the interest rate determined?  The District is paying 4 ½% interest on its loan and Scott Harder recommended 5 ½% interest to cover District handling expenses.


How are undeveloped properties being addressed?  That is undetermined at this time.


When undeveloped properties are addressed will it affect the current assessment amount?   Are hook-up or impact fees being considered?  Yes, they could be around $13,000 to $20,000.


Will the assessment funds be used toward indebtedness or for administration expense?  The funds will be used for the debt.  As the plant use grows, some may go to replacement cost and plant expansion, depending upon the status of the loan and the application of the hook-up fees.

Hook-up fees are a common practice elsewhere.  The Board should consider assessment for all properties adjacent to the sewer line.


The Board may want to consider classifying all property owners in the WSA by seasonal/residential/commercial and come up with a common number for the assessment as all receive the same benefit.


Fayal Township had a $7,000 assessment on all properties with no classifications.  Ely assessments were between $17,000 and $20,000.  Crane Lake is actually less than a lot of other cities.


Is the Board confident that they have exhausted all avenues for funding?  An application is in for supplemental funding.  This funding, if received would impact monthly fees rather than this assessment.


When the lawsuit was going on the Board’s efforts were directed to the court case rather than working on the project or seeking additional funding.


Is any of the $638,000 assessment amount designated for operational costs?  No.


When you look through the assessment list it does not look like commercial properties are paying a fair share of the debt amount according to the EDU system.


The assessment fee may be too low making the monthly fees too high.


There is concern that the residential property owners are paying more than the commercial properties.


A safety issue was brought up regarding a hole near the Seigley residence.


A request was made for an estimate of the monthly usage fees.


Chairman White said the Board would attempt to consider any mail received in the next few days that was meant to be reviewed at the hearing, if the Attorney agrees.



The hearing was concluded at 2:10PM

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