Residents within the Garrison Kathio West Mille Lacs Lake sanitary district (GKWMLL) will be seeing a sharp increase in their sewer bill next year. The GKWMLL sanitary district board plans to raise the levy from $240,000 to $500,000 for the next 10 years.
“We’re not going to raise the monthly rate,” said Robin Cowell, accounts manager. “We’re adding it to the levy.”
According to Cowell, the increase in the levy gives residents the ability to write the cost off their taxes. An increase in the $56 a month rate would not be tax deductible.
The increase is the result of a combination of factors, primarily back pay for treatment costs at the wastewater facility in Vineland.
The sanitary district board is in negotiations with the Mille Lacs Band, who own the wastewater treatment facility. The Band and the district have been in a holding pattern for the last five years, during which time the district has not paid for the treatment of its wastewater.
The increase in the levy pays off the treatment costs the district owes the Band and pays ongoing costs as well.
The district is currently obligated to pay 52 percent of wastewater capacity, but only contributes about 25 percent of the actual wastewater. According to Mayor Bruce Pierson, the district board wants to renegotiate those numbers down to 26 percent. “We’ll be in a better position to negotiate after we make those back payments,” Pierson said.