Delaying a difficult decision seldom makes it any easier.
There's no question plans for possible city water and sewer installation on Riverside Drive have stirred emotions in Brainerd. The city council's decision will have a huge economic impact on the families living there.
The estimated $11,300 per-lot assessment cost for the project is a lot of money. The council's right to carefully consider the effect its decision will have on Riverside Drive residents.
The sewer and water plan, however, is a project that has to be done. Delaying it, particularly in light of Crow Wing County's planned road improvement project, would be folly. The sewer and water have to go in before the road work is done.
The Riverside Drive area is an area that borders both the Mississippi River and Gilbert Lake. It's a particularly sensitive geographic region that cries out for the sort of environmental protection that a city water and sewer system can afford.
Assessments for sewer and water are a fact of life in developing urban areas. Ask the residents of Baxter. In fact, the estimated $11,300 per-lot assessment for Riverside Drive doesn't seem out of line compared to the assessments recently announced for Baxter's Clearwater Road. Those assessments are $15,906 per undeveloped lot and $16,306 for lots with existing homes.
While the Riverside Drive assessment price tag of $11,300 per-lot is a considerable amount it can be financed over 10 years during a period when interest rates are exceptionally low. City officials said payments could be possibly be financed over 15 or 20-year periods in certain cases.
There are two certainties about this project. Growth is coming to the Riverside Drive area and the improvements are not going to be any cheaper as time passes.
It's time for the Brainerd City Council to make a decision. Council members should approve the plans for city sewer and water along Riverside Drive.
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