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Thomson Township to hold public hearing on sewer rates

Thomson Township will hold a public hearing for residents to ask questions about the proposed increase in sewer rates.

FILE:ThomsonTownHall
The Thomson Township Hall Izabel Johnson / 2021 File / Pine Journal
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ESKO — The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors decided at its meeting Thursday, May 19 to hold a public hearing on sewer rates before it votes to approve a proposed rate increase.

The board tentatively scheduled the public hearing for Aug. 4, to allow for township staff to review the sewer rate ordinance.

Joe Jurewicz, the township's engineer, told the board the township had not raised sewer rates in more than 20 years, and has one of the lowest rates in Minnesota.

"This would be an opportunity to catch up," he said.

The funds from the rates are used for replacements on sewer equipment in the township, and to keep up with rising costs.

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"(We) want to make sure there is money in the sewer replacement funds," Jurewicz said.

The proposed increase in rates, which currently sit at $35 a month, would be a $5 increase per month taking place over the next three years.

Should the township approve the proposal, the increase would see the monthly rate increase to $40 in 2023, $45 in 2024 and $50 in 2025.

Jurewicz said the staggered increase was chosen to help ease the burden on residents, so there wasn't one large jump in costs.

The increase to $50 in 2025 is still lower than if the district gradually increased rates from 2000, which Jurewicz calculated to be $57 a month.

A resident in attendance asked the board what will happen to the rate after 2025.

The board were in agreement to revisit the costs in 2025, to see if the rates needed to have smaller increases over time to keep up with inflation.

Jurewicz recommended the board continue to gradually increase rates in the future, in order to prevent the need for any large rate increases.

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The public hearing would be a good way to get the message out, according to Jurewicz, and allow for residents to have any of their questions answered.

The board also discussed the possibility of moving the Esko Fun Days from the fire hall to either the township hall or Northridge Park.

Supervisor Tony Compo said with the event this year being a 100-year class reunion, he anticipates there to be double the amount of people there usually is.

Esko-Thomson Fire Chief Kyle Gustafson said, with the growth of the event over the years, there will be a point where it can't be hosted at the fire hall.

While supervisors discussed the possibility of the park or holding it at the town hall, other issues presented themselves.

Supervisor Terry Hill brought up the problem that many people walk to the event, which would prove difficult if held at the park or town hall, as they are not centrally located.

Ultimately the board decided to hold it at the fire hall again this year, as the other options were not better suited.

"We'll get it worked out," Gustafson said.

Related Topics: THOMSON TOWNSHIPESKO
Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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