Some of you may have noticed the fire hydrants along County 42, the road running along the Villas. You might also have noticed and wondered why they have “covers” over them. The answer to this question is simple, but it has other implications.
When County Road 42 was being upgraded, the City of Alexandria decided that it would be a good idea to install water lines while the construction was being done, rather than wait and do it later which would again tear up the road as well as cost a lot more money. This sounds to us like a good idea; someone is planning ahead.
While we do believe it is a good idea, it raises other questions. Following are the questions that we have with answers from the people that are involved with the Alexandria Public Utilities and the Carlos Township where the Villas is located. You may have additional questions. Please forward your questions and comments to either of us listed at the end of the article.
1. When can we connect?
The new line runs up to the beach which is right before the bridge. The City of Alexandria through it Public Utilities Agency has not determined a date for putting water in the lines. In order for the City to supply water, the adjoining properties would have to petition and be annexed and become part of the City of Alexandria or a negotiated contract would have to be established between the City of Alexandria and Carlos Township. The normal process is annexation. Sometimes this becomes very political when any of the property owners do not want to be annexed.
2. What would it cost?
The cost of the line has been paid for by Alexandria Utility Department as a long-term capital outlay expenditure. When it is filled with water, an assessment would be assigned to each property. It is unknown what this assessment will be, but current assessments for homes that have recently gone through the annexation process is around $6500. This does not include the hook-up costs which would probably be another $2000-$3000.
3. Will it affect our taxes?
Currently, Lake Carlos Villas is in Carlos Township. The total property taxes levied on the Villas for 2012 come to $35,261. I called the Douglas County Assessor’s office and asked what would the total taxes have been if the Villas would have been in the City of Alexandria instead of Carlos Township. She said it is a rather lengthy and complicated process to do the calculation, so she took one of the six parcels and did the calculations. She said the total tax on that property for 2012 was $8,798. If the same property would have been in the City of Alexandria, the total tax would have been $11,194. This would be an increase of over 27%. If you take our total tax bill of $35,161 and increase it by 27%, the total comes to over $44,860 for an increase of over $9,699.
4. Will it affect our insurance?
We have contacted our insurance agent to find out if City annexation and the existence of fire hydrants would affect our insurance premiums. We did not go into detail, but he explained that our premium covers a number of perils in addition to fire. He suggested that probably one-half of our $13,000 annual premium is for fire protection.
That premium is determined by such factors as the availability of water at the sight (fire hydrants), the type of fire department (volunteers or professionals) and the distance from the fire station. Without going into a complete analysis, he said that our premium might be reduced by as much as $1000 a year if we had operational fire hydrants and were served by the Alexandria Fire Department.
5. What happens to our existing well?
Our existing well is about 10 years old and appears to be in good condition. It is over 100 feet deep and the source of water is below the previous well where we had problems with sulfur in the water, which created the “rotten egg” smell. If we determined to connect to the City water, we would probably keep the existing well as a back up. If we did not, it would have to be capped according to code.
6. Would the city water need softening?
Our Public Works contact told us that the City does test the water for purity, but it does not soften the water. He also told us that most of the homes do have their own softeners.
If you have questions or comments, feel free to call Mona Billmark at 320-846-1784 or Dale Schneiderhan at 763-607-6933 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com