Lake Charlotte Improvements


In the 1990’s there became and increasing concern about the on site septic systems
serving the homes around the lake. Some of the older systems were failing and others
not in compliance with newly revised state and local regulations. While it did not
appear that Lake Charlotte was being polluted it was apparent that a problem was
looming for the future. Several meetings were held and studies of alternative methods of
handling waste water were conducted. Frankfort Township was annexed by the City of
St. Michael in 1995. This included Beebe Lake and the North Half of Lake Charlotte.

The St. Michael City Officials responded to the sewer problems in the lake area. In 1998
the firm of McCombs Frank Roos Associates (MFRA) was employed by the City. They
were to prepare a feasibility study for sanitary sewer serving the lake area. The studies
preliminary estimates were $13,493.29 per lot for the Lake Charlotte residents. This was
based on a pressurized collection system. It included grinder pumps on each lot and a
trunk line to Hanover where it would connect to the St. Michaels sewer line.

The original study included estimates for serving the Rockford Township portion of
Lake Charlotte but did not specify the number of lots served. The preliminary schedule
indicated the project could be completed by year end 1999. Early in 1999 Bryon Oakley,
Project Engineer and Tom Christenson of MFRA visited about 85 property owners in the
St. Michael area. Oakley issued a memorandum dated May 27, 1999 to all Lake Area
Residents. The memo indicated the St. Michael City Council had agreed that 100% of
the costs could be assessed on the tax role. This would include hook up fees and grinder
pumps for residents hooking up immediately.

The memo also included estimated costs with or without the Rockford Township
residents in the project. At that time the Girl Scout camp had requested that capacity
in the trunk line be reserved for their needs. They would hook up at a future date. The
trunk line was designed with some over size in anticipation of Rockford Twp. and the
Girl Scout Camp being served.

Detailed Engineering Specifications for the area were completed and released for bids in
early 2000. The bids lower than the original estimates were received in June 2000.
The assessment hearing was held on July 18, 2000. The total proposed assessment was
$3,395,829.29. The per lot assessment was established. This would vary from lot to lot
depending on distances, etc. An example is lot 60 (owner Loel Bertrand) the assessment
was $14,992.03.

A memorandum dated April 25, 2001 to St. Michael Area Residents stated, “The Lake
Area Trunk Sewer is to discharge into CSAH 34 sewer in Hanover. Hanover was to
have constructed the 34 sewer in 2000. They were unable to begin the project in time
for completion during 2000 due to delays during environmental review process. Work is
resuming at this time. As of the date of this memo, the completion date is unknown. It is
expected to be in early June. Sewer service and grinder pump installation cannot begin
for the lake area until after the CSAH 34 sewer is in service.” (End of memo.)

The main collector line along Halsey Ave. NE was completed in the summer 2001 using
directional drilling. The line was drilled under the lake at the entrance to the North Bay
and across the Bruska property to reach the Girl Scout Camp. Service laterals 1 1/4 inch
to each lot grinder pump were completed at that time. Installation of the grinder pumps
began in September 2001. All St. Michael Halsey Ave. residents and the Girl Scout
Camp were connected to City Sewer Service by January 11, 2002.
November 13, 2002 a hearing on a proposed supplemental assessment was held at the
St. Michael City Hall. The value of $21,780 per acre for the easements across farm
property had been used for the initial assessment. Condemnation Commissioners
reviewed the easement area needed and awarded Mutterer’s farm on Beebe Lake $51,600
per acre and Dixon’s on Lake Charlotte $31,560. This along with legal fees amounted to
a special assessment for Lake Charlotte residents of $370.15 per lot.

The original charges were $30.23/quarter for sewer service only. This was a flat fee
since municipal water service was not in use. Normally this would be set by the amount
water used. Grinder pump costs were $45.00/quarter for ongoing maintenance, repair
and replacement of the pump. In July 2003 the sewer service charge was raised by $3.22
or $9.66/quarter. The grinder pump charges were raised $15.00 per quarter. The billing
is handled by the Joint Powers Water Board. This was changed to a monthly billing in
November 2003. The City of St. Michael will review the charges annually.


The Rockford Township Residents (South ½ Lake Charlotte & Lake Martha) presented
a petition signed by 60% of the lot owners. The petition requested the annexation of that
area by the City of St. Michael. On August 27, 1999 the request was rejected by the City
Council on a four to one vote. The Rockford Township Board voted four to one to
oppose the annexation. The residents then formed a committee to further the effort of
extending the sewer to their area.

The Rockford Township proposed a Subordinate Service District (SSD). This proposal
met with opposition from some of the residents due to the Township exempting
vacant buildable lots from the assessment. Also they rejected Township’s insistence
on hiring a second engineering firm and for other reasons. A petition opposing the
SSD was circulated in September 1999and was signed by 65% of the residents.
A vote by the Rockford Township citizens was held on November 30.1999. The majority
of those voting were not in favor of the proposed for a Subordinate Service District.

In April 2000 Mr. Jeffery Roos of the MFRA contacted the County Attorney and the
Rockford Township Engineer concerning the extension of sewer to the Rockford area.
The County Board in April 2000 authorized the St. Michael City Engineer to prepare
preliminary plans and a feasibility report for the Lake Charlotte/Martha sewer.
At a subsequent meeting the County Board voted to look into establishing a Subordinate
Service District. This caused concern among the Lake Charlotte people who felt that
another attempt to set up a SSD might fail again delaying sewer service.

The Lake Charlotte Improvement District (LID) submitted a request to the County
Commissioners to amend the powers of the LID to include construction of water, sewer
or sewer and water systems. A public hearing was held by the County on February 22nd.
The expansion of the LID powers was later approved by the County Board. In May 2001
The LID Board met with the City of St. Michael requesting sewer service to the Rockford
Twp. portion of Lake Charlotte. The City Council voted in favor of drafting the necessary
agreement with the Lake Charlotte Improvement District for a 429 project. (Chapter 429
of the State Statues). This stirred up a controversery between the Lake Martha folks and
the Charlotte LID. The Lake Martha folks saw it as a move that might bar them from
the St. Michael sewer connection. In fact, the LID Board did this as a way to keep the project moving
and had no intention of excluding Lake Martha The Lake Martha Association Attorney wrote a letter to the President
of the LID with copies to the St. Michael Council. In the letter he threatened
to seek and injunction to prevent the LID from entering into a separate contract with
the City. He indicated that a lawsuit would be filed if the action continued and was
completed. After discussion, the intent of the LID boards action was understood by the Lake Martha
group. No action was ever taken or needed.  

The St. Michael City Council held a joint workshop on June 12, 2001 the following were
present: Board members of the two Lake Associations, LID Board, Rockford Twp. Reps.
County Commissioners Jack Russek and Elmer Eichelberg. The purpose of the meeting
was to discuss the current situation and possible solutions. At the meeting several
obstacles were discussed. The St. Michael Attorney and the County Attorney
recommended a contract with only the Township or County and not the LID for various
reasons. The City Councilman and Mayor indicated that annexation was not likely.
County Commissioners Russek and Eichelberg explained they were working on a SSD
for the area. The project would be structured the same as a 429 project.
The two Lake Associations issued a summary update dated June 19, 2001. This included
the recent history of attempts to obtain sewer service up to and including the
results of the St. Michael Workshop. The Memo was signed by Kevin Potter and
Eunice Swalinkavich, Presidents of the Lake Martha and Charlotte Associations. It
appeared that an SSD with the County was the most favorable plan. Public hearings were
held. The establishment of a Subordinate Service District was approved by the County.

The Engineering Firm MFRA was employed to complete the detailed plans for sewer in
the Rockford section. Bids were let and proposals received. The work started in 2002
and was completed about November 2003. The service was extended to Halsey Ave. SE
and around Lake Martha.
The sewer for the for the west side was extended to the Girl Scout Camp line The cost
was $15,000 to $18,000 depending on the distance from the main line to the grinder
pumps on each lot. A lift station was required along Halsey Ave.

The monthly service charges and maintenance is handled through the St. Michael Joint
Powers Board the same as the North end of Lake Charlotte.


Memo by Loel F Bertrand June 2009---Storm Sewer Service
The City of St. Michael held a public hearing in late 2003 or early 2004. The purpose
of the hearing was to present a proposed tax assessment to repair the aging storm sewer
system in the original village of St. Michael. This tax would be added on the sewer
service bills of residents with that service. The Lake area had no connection to the City
Storm Sewer. I did speak at that meeting to point this out. Storm water and snow melt
drained naturally into Lake Charlotte. We had just paid for the installation of a pumping
and pipe to the Crow River to maintain the level of the lake. That was how storm water
was handled in our area. The only rebuttal I recall was a comment that the city did clean
out the road culverts?
The May 2004 sewer service bill included a charge of $6.00 for storm sewer. This
apparently was a quarterly charge of two dollars per month. The $2.00 each month has
continued to date. The following are examples of Lot 60’s monthly sewer service bill.

                           November 2003       May 2004       April 2009     July 2010     Feb. 2011

Lake Area C            $  3.22                  $ 3.22              $ 3.38               $ 3.38           $ 3.50.

STM GR Pump       $20.00                  $20.00             $20.00              $20.00          $20.00

STM GR Sewer       $10.38                 $10.72             $13.18               $13.18         $13.66

Storm Water                                         $  2.00             $  2.00               $  2.00         $  2.00

                                 $33.60                 $35.94             $38.56                $38.56        $39.16