To waive or not to waive: At least 2 Dayton Council members oppose waiving water connection fee for Rogers developer

y, June 11 to discuss the joint powers agreement regarding water and infrastructure in the Brockton Lane area between County Road 81 and South Diamond Lake Road. Dayton City Council has considered the agreement at multiple meetings and last sent it back to be reviewed by Dayton City Attorney George Hoff.

The agreement presented to council at the Tuesday meeting stipulated that Rogers would pay for the infrastructure to connect to Dayton’s municipal water system. Maple Grove would provide the water for a fee, as they do for Dayton in that area. Dayton has been asked by Rogers to waive the connection charges in exchange for Rogers footing the $21,000 bill for the infrastructure. Once the City of Rogers has their own water supply in the area, the newly constructed infrastructure would serve as an emergency back-up for both cities. Currently, Rogers requires the water connection with Dayton to service Clam Corporation, a new warehouse building situated on the Rogers side of Brockton Lane. Kinghorn, the developer of the project, said the building will not require very much water as it will only have four bathrooms and 25 employees.

At the Tuesday meeting, the council discussed some of the finer details of the agreement with Kinghorn and Weiss. One significant concern was over the time frame in which Rogers would be utilizing Dayton’s system. Dayton City councilors were under the impression the connection would be for five years; however, the contract between Rogers and Maple Grove for water supply indicated an automatic renewal every five years for up to 25 years.

“I have been assured we are going to have water there before five years,” said Kinghorn. Weiss told the council five years is the goal.

“We have plans to bring water. It is a memo of understanding, the five-year agreement, and if needed, a second five-year agreement with payment. That has been the plan,” said Weiss.

Dayton Councilor Rick Shermer was not in favor of waiving the connection charge.

“Dayton should get the $14,000 fee. When we need the emergency connection we will reimburse Rogers — when we need it,” Shermer suggested. “I believe the trunk fee should be paid. Maple Grove gets $20,000 upfront whether you use it for one or two years. We should get our water trunk fee.”

Mayor Tim McNeil explained that the $14,000 connection fee is based on the city providing water service for life. He suggested if they did charge a connection fee it should be  pro-rated for the one to five years it is expected to be used.

McNeil suggested a range of $1,400 to $1,700.

“Part of the problem is this was done without any of us knowing anything about it,” Councilor Scott Salonek said. “Some of it was done with the previous council but I think a lot was done between Bret Weiss and Mark [Hanson, Dayton’s city engineer]. I think it’s kind of a rotten deal bringing this up this late in the game.”

According to Kinghorn, they had spoken to the council in December and received their consensus to move forward on the project with the understanding a joint agreement could be worked out. Since that time, there has been a three-person changeover on the Dayton Council due to elections.

“We did ask the city council before we started and we operated in good faith based on that,” Weiss said echoing Kinghorn.

Salonek suggested charging $3,500 upfront for the connection and another $3,500 if another five years was required.

Weiss reminded the council that Rogers supplies water to 50 units in Dayton in another section of town.

“Rogers and Dayton have had past joint agreements. Rogers stepped up and took care of that situation. We handle all of that,” Weiss said.

Kinghorn tried to remind the council of the bigger picture stating that as more industry is built in the area, naturally it will spill over to the Dayton side of the street. Councilor Anne Ziebell weighed in on that stating at first she was frustrated because Clam Corporation chose to build in Rogers versus on Dayton’s side of the street. However, she acknowledged there were some issues such as zoning that prevented the Dayton side from being amenable to such a building at this time. She went on to say that maybe those are things the city council can work out and now that she understands that and is up to speed on the situation she is in favor of the joint agreement.

Councilor Eric Lucero said he was in favor of the agreement also.

“I’m receptive to the council’s concerns but they don’t rise to the level of concern we’re giving them. I want to help Rogers out,” Lucero said. “I hope this works out. I don’t want $3,500 to be a concern although I understand where my colleagues are coming from.”

The council decided to table the issue as they had not yet read through City Attorney George Hoff’s review of the agreement. They chose to forgo reading through them at the council meeting Tuesday night as the meeting had already benn underway for more than three hours. According to McNeil, in the days following the council meeting, Rogers’ and Dayton’s attorneys and engineers negotiated the details based on Hoff’s review.

As of Monday, June 17 council members and the mayor were considering their options in preparation for a special meeting held Wednesday, June 19 to consider finalizing the joint agreement since the issue has become time sensitive.

On Monday, Councilor Salonek said he was in favor of authorizing the joint agreement if the language was added to charge Rogers a $3,500 connection fee for the first five years and another $3,500 for every subsequent five years that Rogers uses the system. According to McNeil, after the council meeting Hoff asked council members for their input to clarify what they wanted to see in the agreement. Shermer and Salonek wanted the $3,500 connection fee language to be added to the agreement. Salonek said the last version of the agreement he saw on Friday, June 14 included this language in it. On the other hand, McNeil said he didn’t prefer supporting an agreement that requires charging a connection fee.

Also on Monday, Councilor Lucero said he was most concerned about moving the project forward as expeditiously as possible. He was said he was willing to vote in favor of the joint agreement with the stipulation of charging $3,500 if that’s what it would take to move the project along.

“I am disappointed it has taken this long,” Lucero said. “The delay that has already happened has created a lot of negative feelings with the developer and the City of Rogers as a consequence of $3,500.”


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Contact Mindy Mateuszczyk at [email protected]