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City of Glencoe to look at WAC, SAC rates after hearing GRHS concerns

Viewing its water availability charge (WAC) and sewer availability charge (SAC) after Glencoe Regional Health Services (GRHS) said it had “sticker shock” after seeing the proposed charges for its nursing home project.
The city of Glencoe’s finance committee, which is comprised of the full city council, met with GRHS officials Wednesday, March 22. As a committee, it can take no action, but can make recommendations to the city council.
Gary Schreifels, public works director for water and sanitary sewer, said that the city uses formulas provided by the Met Council to determine costs. The formula provides parameters to determine how costs will be charged, based on the type of facility, number of drainage and supply fixtures (drains and taps).
Among the facility categories is long-term care, or nursing homes, which assigns one WAC or SAC unit to each two beds. The facility will have 108 beds, and the total cost would be $165,780. Schreifels also provided scenarios based on other formulas, such as those used for assisted living. Schreifels said that an additional $40,720 in trunk line fees will likely be waived because the facility will be on city-owned property.
Jon Braband, chief executive officer and president of GRHS, said that while the project will add square footage to its long-term care facility, there will actually be about the same number of beds as GRHS seeks to replace its double occupancy rooms with single-occupancy rooms.
Braband said that although the number of fixtures will increase as each private room will also have a bathroom, the usage will remain the same — or be less since the fixtures will be more efficient — since there are the same number of residents. However, Schreifels said, the Met Council model does not allow basing fees on gallons or square footage.
Schreifels said that one option is to give GRHS credit for the existing 65 rooms and only assess the WAC and SAC charges to the new fixtures.
Mayor Randy Wilson said that he is concerned that waiving or compromising on the fees would have repercussions. Wilson said the city charged Grand Meadows, the new school building and Miller Manufacturing WAC and SAC fees, and that the “city has not made a concession” on fees in the past.

For more, see the March 29 print edition of The Chronicle.