An informational meeting to explore the possibility of starting a project to hook Yellow Pine Drive, Lakeside Estates and Lilac Drive into Perham city utilities was held both in person and via Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 11. Currently, these properties near Little Pine Lake are part of Perham Township.

The meeting was held due to the inquires made by residents to the city of Perham over the years about the possibility of being hooked into city utilities for water and sewer.

The meeting was held after a survey was sent to homeowners in the three areas. The initial survey had a 45% response rate with 60% of those who responded showing interest.

City Manager Jonathan Smith said the project will have another survey for homeowners to gauge interest after the informational meeting. He said the project will only move forward if residents are interested in being hooked into the city utilities. The project can also be phased so if one or two areas want to move forward while the others do not, the interest areas could still proceed.

Homeowners were shown loose estimations based on similar past projects. The rough estimate’s total cost for the project is $1,923,000, with $325,00 for a sanitary pumping station and force main, $175,000 for the water main through the Lakeside Golf Course to the areas, $668,000 to hook in Yellow Pine Drive, $405,000 for Lakeside Estates, and $305,000 for Lilac Drive.

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Smith said the city would bond the project and the bonds would likely be for 15 years, however, they could be bonded for longer to allow for smaller assessment payments.

Homeowners would be responsible for what could be $35,000 in assessments per property, hook up fees, and the capping off of existing wells and demolition of septic systems.

Smith said homeowners could wait for five to 10 years before they have to hook up if the project moves forward in their area.

If one of these areas decides to move forward with the project, they can choose to petition to be annexed to the city of Perham. If this option is chosen the area would receive all the city services that those who live in the city receive such as Perham police services, fire hydrants, and city property regulations, among other things.

If homeowners choose to move forward with the project, existing roads will be rebuilt with roads of the same type after the utility mains are installed.

Perham Township Board Supervisor Shawn Sweere said in the chat of the Zoom option for the meeting, that there are four options for offering sewer to the landowners that do not include the city annexing the property.

  1. The township could contract with the city, which includes having the city’s sewer system extend out to the town, and the township collects sewer costs and pays the city based on the amount billed to the residents.
  2. The township could create a joint powers agreement with the city that looks very similar to the contract, but it removes the middle man of the township collecting the fees for the city. Meaning, the joint powers agreement would allow directly paying the city for the sewer costs.
  3. The township can do it themselves through two methods. The township builds the sewer system and bills the residents through several methods, most likely through a “subordinate service district” that is outlined in Minn. Stat. Ch. 365A.
  4. The township may be able to utilize subdivision regulations found in Minn. Stat. 462.358.

Out of all of these, the most likely would be the third option, Sweere said.

Smith said the city would be open to working with Perham Township about Sweere’s proposed option number three if the project moves forward.

Surveys are being provided to all homeowners in these areas. The results of these surveys will determine if the project will move forward to the process of designing, planning, having formal estimates made, taking bids and several more formal meetings on the project.