Lincoln City City Manager David Hawker is going to tell his city council Monday night that he and his staff have assembled a way forward to reduce, and then all but eliminate, septic tank seepage into Devils Lake which is blamed for the emergence of periodic high levels of e.coli bacteria in the water – attributable to human and animal waste.
Septic tanks generally prevail around the lake, most of which, says Hawker, are on their last legs. Some even past that point, it is believed.
Hawker is proposing the creation of a sewer district around the lake, complete with its own tax rate and district board of directors. The city would own and maintain the collection system while each property owner would cover the cost of their own connecting pipe to the system as well as the pump to get the waste into it.
Hawker says he believes the sewer district approach is the most economical because it’s the only arrangement that would be eligible for government grants which could be expected to chop in half the overall cost of the project to property owners. So instead of a special property tax override of 78-cents per thousand of assessed valuation retiring a $4.7 million dollar bond, it would be closer to 31-cents per thousand. But before a district could come into being, the voters of the affected area, which is just about the whole lake, would have to approve it.
Again, Hawker says the district option makes the most sense to city staff and for the residents around Devils Lake because any other option, which would not include up to half the cost being covered by a grant, would make the financial burden all the more heavy on Devils Lake residents.
The Lincoln City City Council begins their regular twice a month meeting Monday, September 16 at 6pm.