Brainerd Public Utilities will start negotiations with East Gull Lake on a sewer route along County Road 48.
The Brainerd City Council, in a study session Monday, voted unanimously to have the BPU meet with East Gull Lake's Utility Commission to work out the details. Council Member Gene Goedker was absent.
Brainerd would build and own the sewer pipe and East Gull Lake would pay 80 percent -- $1,328,000 -- of the total cost in lease fees to Brainerd. The total cost of the sewer pipe along County Road 48 would be $1,660,000. The cost of the northern route would have been about $2.2 million.
The vote possibly ends a series of flip-flops by the Brainerd City Council over the past several months.
The Brainerd council passed a resolution in February that would have sent the proposed East Gull Lake sewer line on a southerly route through Baxter along County Road 48.
But at the council's May 1 meeting council members rescinded that resolution to look at the option of sending the sewer pipeline north of the city on Beaver Dam Road, then west along County Road 49 and across Highway 371 to County Road 77.
Although opposite of the recommendation of Brainerd Public utilities, some members of the city council felt May 1 that planning for a sewer route north to County Road 77 would help Brainerd's case in its fight with Baxter over annexation.
But Brainerd and Baxter have since come to an agreement on the contested annexation cases and worked out a future boundary line between the cities, stopping Brainerd's need for a northern sewer pipe.
Though Public Utilities is clear to begin negotiations, Walt Sjolund, superintendent of utilities, said the sewer line is far from being a done deal. Brainerd and East Gull Lake have no agreement for a pipe line, yet.
"Initially it should be noted that we haven't finalized anything with East Gull Lake," Sjolund said. "We have received a letter of intent from East Gull Lake... to the effect that they would like us to treat their wastewater."
If the pipe is built to East Gull Lake, other cities and areas could lease from Brainerd to hook into the system. Sjolund said Sylvan Lake and Lake Shore have approached the city, on an informal basis, about connecting to a sewer line if in the future those cities have to find an alternative to their current system.
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