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Could break in fees spur home building inside Baxter?

BAXTER — Six homes with water and sewer hookups were constructed in Baxter this year.

Wednesday night the Baxter City Council met in a budget workshop, looking through pages of numbers from revenue bonds to water usage.

Council member Mark Cross floated the idea of offering a break in water and sewer fees as an incentive to home building on lots already served with city utilities.

Cross said it would be a way to in-fill those vacant lots. Offering that incentive could spur building on the empty lots and make the system operate more efficiently, Cross said.

The council looked through water, sewer and storm water operation funds. Future projects on the list include extending utilities to Isle Drive.

Council member Jim Klein wondered about the potential to use storm water funds to buy land between the Northland Arboretum and Arbor Glenn for a storm-water pond to help slow down and treat water coming from the commercial districts to the arboretum.

“I think it would solve a lot of problems if we could do it,” Klein said. He asked about the water levels in the wetlands by the Paul Bunyan State Trail Bridge on either side of Excelsior Road, saying the stagnant water breeds mosquitoes and he didn’t think it remained all year. Trevor Walter, public works director, said the water typically is there and draining a wetland would create a few more issues with some other governmental bodies.

After the review of fund balances for the three areas, Jeremy Vacinek, finance director, said, “The good news is it doesn’t look as thought we need to raise any rates for 2013.”

The council plans to meet at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 for a work session to review the preliminary budget. The council plans to meet at 6 p.m. Dec. to review the 2013 budget and property tax levy and then to adopt the final budget at 7 p.m. Dec. 4.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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