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Britt City Council OK increasing size of new water tower

Britt City Council OK increasing size of new water tower

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Britt's water tower is growing.

In an unanimous vote at its meeting on Oct. 6, the council approved changing the size of the new water tower the city will build from 100,000 gallons to 150,000.

The city's water tower, wastewater treatment plant and water treatment plant are all at least 80 years old and in need of renovating.

Mayor Ryan Arndorfer had said that while the wastewater treatment facility had been upgraded multiple multiple times – the last in 1995 – the last upgrade to the water treatment facility was in 1978. 

Britt Water Tower

The blue Britt water tower on 1st Street Northeast, built in 1978, may be the tower Britt residents will rely on for their water supply while the 1938 tower on Center Street West is being rebuilt.  

In February, the council decided to undertake a $7.5 million replacement of the water tower and water treatment facility, that will ultimately take about three years. Construction permits are slated to be issued in May 2021.

But as the city began to work on its older water mains a discovery was made: new, larger water mains necessary for future growth in the community would demand a bigger water tower than the planned 100,000 gallons.

However, the state Department of Natural Resources has only approved funding for the $500,000-$600,000 cost of the smaller tower. 

The additional $50,000-$100,000 that would be needed for the 150,000-gallon tower project engineers recommend would have to come out of city coffers.

Wes Brown, of project consultant Bolton & Menk, said that building another 50,000-gallon water storage tank wasn't really feasible. 

City Administrator Debra Sawyer said the city's Local Option Sales Tax Fund – money from a local sales tax that's added on to the statewide sales tax – has more than $350,000 in it and could cover the cost of the increase. The fund is specifically designated for use in economic development and infrastructure.

"It seems to make more sense to do it now than to not and realize later that we need it," said councilor Paul Verbrugge, before making the motion to change the size.

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