For the second time in less than a year, the cities of Watertown and Delano have come together in a sharing agreement designed to reduce financial burdens on each city.
This time, the neighboring cities put together a Utility Sharing Agreement, in which Watertown and Delano will share equipment related to cleaning the sanitary and storm sewer systems in each city. The agreement was approved by the Watertown City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 9, but didn’t become official until the mayors of each city met on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Delano, to sign the agreement.
The city administrator in each city worked to put together the agreement to address needs in each city. While Watertown owns a Jet Vac truck, used for cleaning the sewers, it does not have a sewer camera televising system used to provide images of the underground system. Instead, Watertown in the past has spent money on contracted services when it comes to sewer cameras.
In contrast, the city of Delano has a camera and televising system, but does not own a Jet Vac truck. That’s why the two cities came together to devise a mutually beneficial agreement. The agreement will essentially lead to the sharing of equipment, time and manpower to complete sewer cleaning in each city each year.
Under the arrangement, Watertown will provide its Jet Vac truck for use in both communities, and Delano will provide its camera for use in both communities. Each city will contribute one full time employee to work on the project. The two-person team will work collaboratively to clean 1/5 of the sewer system in each community each year, the same amount that is already schedule to be cleaned each year in Watertown. Maintenance costs will be shared based on the amount of miles of sewer system in each city, meaning Delano will pay a higher share of maintenance fees.
Watertown city administrator Luke Fischer said the savings will likely have only a marginal impact on the city’s overall budget, but the true benefit to Watertown comes in regards to its future Capital Improvement Plan. As part of the agreement, when one of the two pieces of equipment needs to be replaced, the city that does not currently own that piece of equipment will be responsible for its replacement.
In the short term, that puts significantly more burden on Delano than on Watertown. Delano will be responsible for replacing the Jet Vac truck when needed, at an approximate value of $200,000. Watertown will have to replace the camera system when needed, at a value of roughly $50,000. That will enable Watertown to remove a Jet Vac truck from its immediate capital improvement plan and allow the city to focus on other areas.
This sharing agreement between Watertown and Delano is the second such agreement reached between the two cities in the last year. On Jan. 1 of this year, the cities began sharing the services of a building inspector, a Delano employee who now maintains office hours in both cities.