Plans for sewer, water main expansion could cost homeowners thousands

Some homeowners in La Crescent are concerned that a new housing development could cost them nearly $30,000. The city plans on extending the sewer and water system to the development and some current homeowners could be forced to annex.

The water main and sewer loop would extend over half a mile down County Road 6 from Valley Lane to the entrance of the subdivision near Weiser Memorial Park.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to reduce the cost of the pipes going out there by increasing the amount of people connecting,” said Mike Poellinger, mayor of La Crescent.

Preliminary numbers show some property owners could pay up to $27,960 if they were to annex and connect to the utilities. City officials argue by paying up, it can save you money in the long run.

“We’ve heard people have spent between $20- and $30,000 on putting in a mound system or sewer system like that,” Poellinger said. Other estimates online show the cost of a mound septic system runs between $10,000 to $20,000.

Poellinger said those who chose not to join in could face forcible annexation within 20 years. By then, those owners could face an even bigger price tag because of interest rates on bonds or the need for more construction.

“Anytime we do a project, it seems like we have increased cost not only of labor and material but the standards change,” Poellinger said.

But some aren’t buying it. Rosemary Smith has been living in the neighborhood for decades and is opposed to the annexation, especially since she bought a new well a few years ago.

“The sewer part I don’t need that either. I’m not having any problems with my sewer,” Smith said.

And even if she did, the current estimates of connecting to the utilities is far too much.

“She lives on social security. This house is all she has,” said Smith’s daughter, Kathy Guenther. “And there’s no way we could come up with money.”

For now, the city hopes residents will do some research, get their systems assessed to see if it makes sense for them to join the city services when the time comes.

La Crescent’s Mayor says the plans for the extended utilities system is being drafted. There will be a few public information meetings once there is a bid on the project so more precise cost estimates will be available for affected residents.