Progress & Industry: Sewer, water hikes to fund city progress

By: 
Jamie Hult, Staff writer
City engineer Tami Jansma joined the staff at City Hall in 2018. Jill Meier/Journal file photo

Brandon residents will see a 15 percent increase per year in their sewer rates for the next four years.
The Brandon City Council approved the rate increase Nov. 5 after months of work sessions spent prioritizing city-needed water, sewer, storm sewer and street projects over the next five years. 
“Nobody likes an increase in their utility rates – I understand that – but it’s something we’ve analyzed and looked at for a long time, and we’re hosed with this increase,” said mayor Paul Lundberg.  
The 15 percent sewer rate increase took effect in January and helps to fund several wastewater projects over the next five years, including: 
• The westside trunk line from Holly Boulevard to Main Avenue at an estimated $5 million, which was bid Jan. 23;
• Rushmore Boulevard and Sylvan Circle area reconstruction to continue this summer, at an estimated $1.4 million for water and sewer work (not including streets), to be bid Feb. 12; 
• Core reconstruction of central Brandon, to be done in three phases, with water and sewer estimated at $3.6 million to $4.3 million (excluding streets);
• Building a second force main extension to Sioux Falls to help with capacity and redundancy, at an estimated $4 million; and
• Annual lift station rehabilitation, at $100,000 per year.
“Nobody on the council likes it, I don’t think, but it’s a necessary evil. I think the residents of Brandon want progression. They want these projects to be completed,” Lundberg said.
Water rates won’t change this winter. The council opted to revisit a potential water rate increase this spring after engineering firm AE2S completes its Water Vision 2070 study on Brandon’s water quality, quantity and alternative sources.
The council also prioritized several water projects for the next five years, including: replacing the green sand media filter with IMAR at the city’s water treatment plant, at an estimated $121,000; and well 8.
With the water development committee’s blessing, the city council approved bid-letting on the development of well 8 at its Nov. 26 meeting.

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