A conceptual agreement is in the works for the city of Baxter to be included in Brainerd's wastewater treatment facility expansion.
The conceptual agreement, worked out by the city administrators and mayors of both cities as well as officials from Brainerd Public Utilities, is expected to be presented to the city councils and utility commissions of both cities during a joint meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Northland Arboretum.
Officials Tuesday declined to discuss the details of the agreement because it hasn't been reviewed by the city councils.
"Hopefully we're 24 hours away from having something concrete, but we won't know until we know," Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson said Tuesday.
Brainerd Mayor James Wallin said though the details need to be worked out between the councils, the general outline reached would be a "win-win" for both communities.
"It shows the communities want to work together and are working together," Wallin said.
Construction on the $21,682,690 upgrade and expansion of Brainerd's wastewater treatment facility is expected to begin in 2007 and be completed and operational by 2009. But before that can happen the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency needs a resolution from both cities indicating whether they will proceed as partners or separately.
During past joint meetings between the two cities Baxter officials stated that because they are being asked to pay for about a third of the cost for the new facility they want legal, contractual and formal participation in the control of any joint wastewater facility.
The Brainerd City Council in June voted unanimously not to offer joint ownership to the city of Baxter, choosing instead to continue having Baxter under contract as a wastewater customer.
In June the Baxter City Council authorized a $14,000 feasibility study that was expected to be completed by Aug. 1 to find out how much it would cost the city to develop its own wastewater treatment plant.
Olson said the results of the study revealed Baxter could develop its own treatment plant but doing so would cost too much and would take too much time.
A public hearing for the wastewater treatment facilities plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at Brainerd City Hall.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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