Because of the stagnant economy and slow construction starts, the Metropolitan Council’s wastewater reserve capacity fund, normally funded by sewer availability charges (SAC) assessed on new commercial or residential development, is running low.
A new law, signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty April 1, authorizes the council, if necessary, to temporarily change its source for revenue to cover debt service payments from the wastewater reserve capacity transfer to regular sewer fees charged to local governments in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area served by the council. Local governments could then assess consumers to cover the increase. That cost per household is estimated at no more than $1.20 per month.
The law takes effect April 2, 2010, and expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Rep. Paul Gardner (DFL-Shoreview), who sponsors the law with Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), called the measure “a common sense approach during economically difficult times” that would help maintain high bond ratings.
The shift would be made up in subsequent years when a two-year balance in the wastewater reserve fund is reached. Then, the SAC transfer to the operating fund must be increased to make up for prior reductions. At that point, charges to local governments would be reduced proportionately.
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