Task Force Recommendations and Final Outcome
In December of 1997, Mr. Rohlf presented to the City Council the recommendations of the LOIA Task Force. The City Council voted that the project should continue. Public hearings were conducted, permits submitted, bids were let, the project was ordered and completed by mid-October 1998, slightly ahead of schedule.
Our lake is unique in that it is created by a dam, and therefore the water may be let out of it (DNR permitting required), with only the river running through the basin. The plan was to lower the lake in August, divert the river in certain areas, let the lake bed dry as much as possible, excavate the sediment, place it on land close to the lake, and refill the lake before the weather got cold enough to endanger wildlife and freeze the lakebed.
Timing was critical in this issue. Some paths to open land close to the lake were planned to be developed in the latter half of 1998, effectively cutting off the use of offroad trucks. To truck the material elsewhere would at least double our costs.
Amount of Material and Areas Excavated
Targeted amount of sediment to be removed was 109,000 cubic yards; actual amount was 120,152 cubic yards. More was taken out at the mouth of the lake because additional land was found to deposit it on.
Areas excavated were: Off Orono Cemetery, behind the islands on the north section, off Boy Scout Island, and the large basin in the northwesternmost section. See map.
The excavation was done by Veit & Co., Inc. of Rogers, MN.
A feasibility study was conducted and total cost of this project was estimated to be $750,000. In order for the project to avoid a bond referendum (which the Task Force felt would not pass) and to "buy" an extra vote on the City Council (we would need only 3 votes, not the normal 4, to have the Council order such a project), the lake residents would have to fund at least 25% of the project. This would be done through an assessment.
The LOIA Task Force held a meeting at City Hall and invited all lake residents. The meeting was taped for those who could not attend, and played on the City's cable channel. Task Force member Patrick Plant moderated the discussion, presented the plan and the approximate costs, and fielded questions along with the other Task Force members present. LOIA had residents sign a petition indicating that they were supportive of the project, but in no way would they be be waiving their right to appeal any assessment. LOIA district representatives also went around to those who were unable to attend the meeting, answered questions, and requested that they sign the petition.
Final assessment costs were based on a formula whose components included sewered/unsewered lots, property area and lake frontage to determine a "unit". The City Council set the assessment cost per unit at $2,200, paid over 5 years.
The general public was also taxed at a minimal rate, and lake residents, as taxpayers, would have to pay this also. However, this cost was extremely minimal - between $10 and $20 per year, depending on property/home value.
The final cost of the project was $705,118, which was under the estimated cost.
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