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How to pay
The remaining issue for the commission cities is how to pay for the $4 million system. Burt said Golden Valley, which has more business water usage than its two neighbors, will pay about $1.6 million, a 40 percent share. Officials will use city fund reserves that will be repaid over time from a surcharge on customer water bills, Burt said. Households in the three cities use an average of 81,000 gallons of water a year, he noted.
Crystal and New Hope will each pay about $1.2 million, likely using internal reserves and water bill surcharges, officials said. New Hope will likely repay an internal loan by adding 20 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used on water bills. That would cost the average household about $12 a year, McDonald estimated.
The cities decided last week to drill two wells near Crystal’s 19-million-gallon reservoir, and the third by Golden Valley’s 9-million gallon reservoir, said Crystal City Engineer Tom Mathisen. He said New Hope’s old well, closed in 1963, will be re-equipped. Mathisen said he expects bids to go out before April for the backup system.
The wells will need state permits from the Department of Health and the Department of Natural Resources. The state likes to see contingency water plans, and permit conditions would ensure that new wells tap a suitable aquifer and aren’t too close to existing wells, said Jack Gleason, a DNR hydrologist.
“This is a proactive step,” said New Hope’s Hemken. “I don’t know anybody out there who thinks we don’t need water. It’s better to be prepared than to find yourself short.”
Jim Adams • 612-673-7658