Oxbow deal close
Fargo officials will decide tonight whether to invest in a $3.3 million sewer line that would serve residents of nearby Oxbow. Oxbow, which is comprised of about 120 homes, would pay $650,000 to hook into Fargo's sewer system. Fargo would likely ...
Fargo officials will decide tonight whether to invest in a $3.3 million sewer line that would serve residents of nearby Oxbow.
Oxbow, which is comprised of about 120 homes, would pay $650,000 to hook into Fargo's sewer system. Fargo would likely sell bonds to pay the balance of the project.
In addition, Oxbow residents would pay $30.20 per month for services, or double the $15.10 Fargo residents pay for the same services. It's also roughly double what Oxbow residents now pay on the sewer portion of their utility bills.
The additional revenue from Oxbow will help Fargo pay off its investment, said Fargo City Administrator Pat Zavoral.
"We think this is a good deal," Zavoral said.
The change won't affect Fargo utility rates, and it also won't put any undo stress on Fargo's system, he said.
Fargo's wastewater treatment system has a capacity of 15 million gallons. The city treats about 11 million to 12 million gallons per day. Folding Oxbow into the system will be insignificant, Zavoral said.
Oxbow has 120 homes that initially would use the new system, and the city could add up to 100 more as part of its agreement with Fargo.
Across the highway from Oxbow is a subdivision of about 55 homes, all part of Hickson Township. These properties have their own septic systems, but many are failing, Oxbow Mayor Paul Breen said.
According to Fargo and Oxbow's proposed agreement, Hickson Township homes would have the option to tap into the Fargo system.
The Oxbow Golf and Country Club also would use the new sewer line, and up to five additional commercial properties could be added. Industrial properties would not be allowed to participate.
Oxbow, just south of Fargo's city limits, has one of the few mechanical processing systems left in the state. It's outdated and has reached its capacity - especially during heavy rainfalls, Breen said.
"We have to do something," he said.
If Oxbow doesn't collaborate with Fargo, the city's other option would be to build a sewage lagoon, which could cost the city and its residents more than $1.3 million.
Under this scenario, people living in Oxbow also would be saddled with special assessments to pay for the project.
Even if Oxbow built its own sewage lagoon, Fargo would be affected. The lagoon would discharge into the Red River or Wild Rice River, leaving Fargo to treat the additional water.
Fargo and Oxbow have been in discussions over the sewer system for more than a year, Zavoral said. He and Breen say the collaboration has been positive.
"We appreciate that our dealings with city of Fargo personnel regarding this proposed contract have been done in an environment of good intentions and exceptional cooperation," Breen wrote in a May 3 letter to Fargo Mayor Bruce Furness.
Commissioners will decide tonight whether to sign the agreement with Oxbow. If approved, Fargo would have the new infrastructure in place by August 2006.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531