East Bethel postpones utility connection deadline

The East Bethel City Council voted 4-1 July 3 to extend the date by which businesses in the city’s new sewer and water district must connect to the system.

Originally the city required that businesses connect by Dec. 31, 2013; that has now been changed to Aug. 31, 2014.

Councilmember Tom Ronning voted against the extension.

City Administrator Jack Davis told the council that the extension was proposed because business owners are concerned about their ability to complete the physical connections by the deadline, and they have also said it would lessen their financial hardship if they could extend their cost for the physical connections into 2014.

However, the city will still require businesses who choose to extend their connection date beyond the end of 2013 to pay their sewer and water access charge fees by Dec. 31 of this year.

Extending the timeline for physical connection will not affect the revenues that the city generates for bond payments, and the temporary reduction in user fees will not affect the long-range revenues of the system, said Davis in a memo to the council.

However, postponing sewer and water access charge fees would have “major implications and repercussions in regards to bond payments,” Davis said.

“In addition to providing financing for the connection fees and negotiating the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services sewer access charge fees from $3,400 to $2,600 for 2013, the extension of time for physical connection to the system would be another step the city has taken … to minimize the impact on the affected property owners,” Davis said.