In early July, people living within city limits received a survey with their water bill. The City conducted the survey in hopes that the results would help fund a significant portion of repairs for Cell 3 of the Hettinger Lagoon.
City Council Member James Lindquist explained, “Our Lagoon that cleans up waste water is leaking. We applied for two grants to help with repair costs, but first we needed to prove that the city had Low/Moderate Income, hence the survey.”
After surveying 397 Hettinger households, the survey is finished, and the results are looking positive.
Before, Hettinger was considered only 45.96 percent Low/Moderate Income, but now, the survey shows that 51.8 percent of the city’s population is considered Low/Moderate income. Now that Hettinger is considered above the 51 percent threshold, the City will likely be eligible to accept grant money for the lagoon project.
Still, there is one last hurdle for the City. The last step in the process, before the city is eligible to receive grant funding, is that the state government has to accept the results of the survey.
“We meet the Low/Moderate income standard now, but we need the survey to be recognized by the state,” said Lindquist. “When that gets approved, then we would be eligible to finish out our grant applications.”
The survey cost the city roughly $1,000 to complete, but Lindquist said the results will likely be worth much more than the initial cost.
If the state government accepts the results of the survey, the city of Hettinger would qualify for a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant and a USDA loan/grand, severely reducing the cost of the city’s half-million dollar lagoon repair project.
Even with the grant funding secured, the project will still be greatly expensive for the City and the expectation is that the City will still have to raise water rates.
“It’s likely we will still have to raise water rates, but not as high,” said Lindquist.
Right now, city council members are unsure of when the state government will finish processing the survey results.
Assuming the state accepts the survey results, the city will be able to start accepting bids, schedule starting dates, and begin work on the project.