Valley sewer district takes case to customers
December 2, 2016
Before the Great Recession, there was a lifestyle center proposed for the intersection of highways 88 and 395 in Minden.
One of the stars of the 13-acre Minden Gateway Center was a sports bar that would serve as one of the development's anchors.
Footings were poured, but the site was abandoned, allegedly because the sewer hook-up fees were too expensive.
Some eight years later, operators of Carson Valley's largest sewer utility presented the district's side to its customers in a letter.
Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District officials said they were concerned about misconceptions about the district's rates.
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For instance, the legendary sports bar's connection fee would have been based on how much sewage it would be expected to produce.
According to the letter, the sports bar in question would produce the equivalent of 28.9 homes worth of sewage.
That connection fee would come to $118,490 in Minden at $4,100 per equivalent dwelling unit. According to MGSD, a connection to the county's North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant would start at $6,020 and could go to $7,150 per dwelling unit, adding up to between $173,978 and $206,635.
The letter was prompted in part by the recent efforts to reform Douglas County Sewer District No. 1 at Lake Tahoe, which has also brought forth an effort to review Douglas County's many improvement districts.
Utilities typically support ongoing operations with user fees and expand their plants using connection fees.
Unlike most governmental entities, Minden Gardnerville Sanitation District banks connections fees in order to pay for improvements without bonding.
"MGSD has been able to fund all its capital improvements for capacity increases without borrowing for over 25 years, while continuously maintaining available capacity for all service applications."
District officials have expressed concern about being confused with Douglas County Sewer District No. 1, which processes all the sewage at Lake Tahoe.
That district was the topic of a legislative subcommittee hearing in November, calling for its overhaul. A proposal to form sunset committees to examine districts across the state, though, also concerned district officials.
The district was created by a vote of the residents of Minden and Gardnerville in 1964. The first five-member board was also elected, and included Lawrence Jacobsen, Knox Johnson, Fred Settelmeyer, Roy Crowell and Dan Hellwinkel.
The $250,000 plant was completed in April 1966.