The Lincoln City City Council Monday night decided to take the first step in creating a special taxing district to bring city sewer service to the west shore of Devil’s Lake thereby reversing some of the less than healthy conditions of its water at certain times of the year. Aging septic systems around the lake are blamed for its poor water quality. The council voted to instruct city staff to draw up a resolution that describes property owners in the NE Voyage, NE Lake and NE 15th Street neighborhoods paying a property tax override to install sewer pipes and pumps for 57 homes in the area. Total tax bill over the life of the financing runs around $22,000 per household when it’s all said and done.
The council said it was time to stop talking about reversing the decline in the lake’s water quality and start doing something about it. Councilors were reminded that most septic tanks around Devil’s Lake are failing, or are close to failing, due to age. They were told that the cost of a new septic system is about the same as the city sewer install; homeowners pay either way.
However, some of the affected neighbors disputed the claims adding they don’t believe the city’s contention that 70% of the property owners within the boundaries of the “Local Improvement District” (LID) favor the sewer project. They also claimed financial hardship and did not want to be forced to hook in. The city contends it does have signed petition signatures of property owners amounting to 70% of the LID properties. They also hinted there may be a way to be flexible with financial hardship households in the LID.
As part of the project, the gravel roads in the area would be paved and maintained by the city. City officials said the city might be able to pick up 30% of the cost of that part of the project thereby reducing the total cost to the neighborhood.
That resolution outlining the special taxing district will likely be back before the council within the next month.