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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

444.075 WATERWORKS SYSTEMS; STORM, SANITARY SEWER SYSTEMS.
    Subdivision 1. Definitions. The definitions in this subdivision apply in this section.
(a) "Municipality" means a home rule charter or statutory city or a town that is not in an
orderly annexation process on October 3, 1989.
(b) "Governing body" means the town board with respect to towns.
(c) "Waterworks" means waterworks systems, including mains, valves, hydrants, service
connections, wells, pumps, reservoirs, tanks, treatment plants, and other appurtenances of a
waterworks system.
(d) "Sanitary sewer" means sanitary sewer systems, including sewage treatment works,
disposal systems, and other facilities for disposing of sewage, industrial waste, or other wastes.
(e) "Storm sewer" means storm sewer systems, including mains, holding areas and ponds,
and other appurtenances and related facilities for the collection and disposal of storm water.
(f) "Facilities" means and includes waterworks, sanitary sewer and storm sewer systems,
or any portion or portions thereof.
    Subd. 1a. Authorization. Any municipality may build, construct, reconstruct, repair,
enlarge, improve, or in any other manner obtain facilities, and maintain and operate the facilities
inside or outside its corporate limits, and acquire by gift, purchase, lease, condemnation, or
otherwise any and all land and easements required for that purpose. The authority hereby granted
is in addition to all other powers with reference to the facilities otherwise granted by the laws
of this state or by the charter of any municipality. The authority regarding storm sewers granted
to municipalities which have territory within a watershed which has adopted a watershed plan
pursuant to section 103B.231 shall be exercised, with respect to facilities acquired following the
adoption of the watershed plan, only for facilities which are not inconsistent with the watershed
plan. The authority regarding storm sewers granted to municipalities which have adopted local
water management plans pursuant to section 103B.235 shall be exercised, with respect to facilities
acquired following the adoption of a local plan, only for facilities which are not inconsistent
with the local plan. Counties, except counties in the seven-county metropolitan area, shall have
the same authority granted to municipalities by this subdivision except for areas of the county
organized into cities and areas of the county incorporated within a sanitary district established by
special act of the legislature.
    Subd. 2. Financing. For the purpose of paying the cost of building, constructing,
reconstructing, repairing, enlarging, improving, or in other manner obtaining the facilities or any
portion of them, and of obtaining and complying with permits required by law, a municipality or
county may issue and sell its general obligations, which may be made payable primarily from
taxes or from special assessments to be levied to pay the cost of the facilities or from net revenues
derived from facilities service charges or from other nontax revenues pledged for their payment
under charter or other statutory authority, or from two or more of the sources; or it may issue
special obligations, payable solely from taxes or special assessments or from revenues, or from
two or more of the sources. Real estate tax revenues should be used only, and then on a temporary
basis, to pay general or special obligations when the other revenues are insufficient to meet the
obligations. All obligations shall be issued and sold in accordance with chapter 475. When special
assessments are pledged for the payment of the obligations, they shall be authorized and issued
in accordance with the provisions of chapter 429, or of the city's charter if it authorizes these
obligations and the governing body determines to proceed under the charter. When net revenues
are pledged to the payment of the obligations, together with or apart from taxes and special
assessments, the pledge shall be made in accordance with the provisions of subdivision 3.
    Subd. 2a. Collection of charges by watershed districts. (a) With respect to watershed
districts, charges established under section 103D.729 for the purpose of projects under section
103D.730 may be billed and collected in a manner the district shall determine, including
certification to the counties with territory within the district for collection by the counties.
A county may bill and collect the charges in a manner the county board shall determine or as
described in paragraph (b).
(b) On or before October 15 in each year, the district or county board may certify to the
county auditor all unpaid outstanding charges, and a description of the lands against which the
charges arose. The county auditor shall extend the charges with interest not to exceed the interest
rate provided for in section 279.03, subdivision 1, upon the tax rolls of the county for the taxes of
the year in which the charge is filed. For each year ending October 15 the charge with interest
shall be carried into the tax becoming due and payable in January of the following year, and shall
be enforced and collected in the manner provided for the enforcement and collection of real
property taxes. The charges, if not paid, shall become delinquent and subject to the same penalties
and the same rate of interest as real property taxes.
(c) Any individual may appeal the charges under section 103D.535.
    Subd. 3. Charges; net revenues. (a) To pay for the construction, reconstruction, repair,
enlargement, improvement, or other obtainment, the maintenance, operation and use of the
facilities, and of obtaining and complying with permits required by law, the governing body of a
municipality or county may impose just and equitable charges for the use and for the availability
of the facilities and for connections with them and make contracts for the charges as provided in
this section. The charges may be imposed with respect to facilities made available by agreement
with other municipalities, counties or private corporations or individuals, as well as those owned
and operated by the municipality or county itself.
(b) Charges made for service rendered shall be as nearly as possible proportionate to the cost
of furnishing the service.
    Subd. 3a. Sanitary sewer charges. Sanitary sewer charges may be fixed:
(1) on the basis of water consumed; or
(2) by reference to a reasonable classification of the types of premises to which service
is furnished; or
(3) by reference to the quantity, pollution qualities and difficulty of disposal of sewage
produced; or
(4) on any other equitable basis including any combination of equitable bases referred
to in clauses (1) to (3), but specifically excluding use of the basis referred to in subdivision
3b, clause (1); and otherwise without limit.
    Subd. 3b. Storm sewer charges. Storm sewer charges may be fixed:
(1) by reference to the square footage of the property charged, adjusted for a reasonable
calculation of the storm water runoff; or
(2) by reference to a reasonable classification of the types of premises to which service
is furnished; or
(3) by reference to the quantity, pollution qualities, and difficulty of disposal of storm water
runoff produced; or
(4) on any other equitable basis, including any combination of equitable bases referred
to in clauses (1) to (3), but specifically excluding use of the basis referred to in subdivision
3a, clause (1); and otherwise without limit.
    Subd. 3c. Minimum charges. (a) Minimum charges for the availability of water or sewer
service may be imposed for all premises abutting on streets or other places where municipal or
county water mains or sewers are located, whether or not connected to them.
(b) Minimum charges or user charges collected for waterworks, sanitary sewers, or storm
sewers must be used only to pay for items for which charges are authorized in subdivision 3.
    Subd. 3d. Facilities' connection charges. Charges for connections to the facilities may in
the discretion of the governing body be fixed by reference to the portion of the cost of connection
which has been paid by assessment of the premises to be connected, in comparison with other
premises, as well as the cost of making or supervising the connection.
    Subd. 3e. Who may be charged; unpaid charges. The governing body may make the
charges a charge against the owner, lessee, occupant or all of them and may provide and covenant
for certifying unpaid charges to the county auditor with taxes against the property served for
collection as other taxes are collected.
    Subd. 3f. Tax levies for public charges. The governing body may fix and levy taxes for the
payment of reasonable charges to the municipality or county itself for the use and availability of
the facilities for fire protection, for maintaining sanitary conditions, and for proper storm water
drainage in and for public buildings, parks, streets, and other public places.
    Subd. 3g. Reasonableness of charges. In determining the reasonableness of the charges to be
imposed, the governing body may give consideration to all costs of the establishment, operation,
maintenance, depreciation and necessary replacements of the system, and of improvements,
enlargements and extensions necessary to serve adequately the territory of the municipality or
county including the principal and interest to become due on obligations issued or to be issued
and the costs of obtaining and complying with permits required by law.
    Subd. 3h. When charges are not unreasonable. When net revenues have been appropriated
to the payment of the cost of the establishment, or of any specified replacement, improvement,
enlargement or extension, or to pay the principal and interest due on obligations to be issued for
such purpose, no charges imposed to produce net revenues adequate for the purpose shall be
deemed unreasonable by virtue of the fact that the project to be financed has not been commenced
or completed, if proceedings for it are taken with reasonable dispatch and the project, when
completed, may be expected to make service available to the premises charged which will have a
value reasonably commensurate with the charges.
    Subd. 3i. Collections first for current costs. All charges, when collected, and all moneys
received from the sale of any facilities or equipment or any by-products, shall be placed in a
separate fund, and used first to pay the normal, reasonable and current costs of operating and
maintaining the facilities.
    Subd. 3j. Excess net revenues may be used for debt. The net revenues received in excess
of the costs may be pledged by resolutions of the governing body, or may be used though not so
pledged, for the payment of principal and interest on obligations issued as provided in subdivision
2, or to pay the portion of the principal and interest as may be directed in the resolutions, and
net revenues derived from any facilities of the types listed in subdivision 1a, whether or not
financed by the issuance of the obligations, may be pledged or used to pay obligations issued for
other facilities of the same types.
    Subd. 3k. Covenants to secure debt payments. In resolutions authorizing the issuance of
either general or special obligations and pledging net revenues to them, the governing body may
make covenants for the protection of holders of the obligations and taxpayers of the municipality
or county as it deems necessary, including, but without limitation, a covenant that the municipality
or county will impose and collect charges of the nature authorized by this section at the times and
in the amounts required to produce, together with any taxes or special assessments designated as
a primary source of payment of the obligations, net revenues adequate to pay all principal and
interest when due on the obligations and to create and maintain reserves securing the payments as
may be provided in the resolutions.
    Subd. 3l. Enforceability of covenant. When a covenant is made it shall be enforceable by
appropriate action on the part of any holder of the obligations or any taxpayer of the municipality
or county in a court of competent jurisdiction, and the obligations shall be deemed to be payable
wholly from the income of the system whose revenues are so pledged, within the meaning of
sections 475.51 and 475.58.
    Subd. 4. Levy assessments. The governing body of a municipality or county may also levy
assessments against property within the municipal or county limits benefited by the facilities under
the procedure authorized by law or charter with reference to other assessments for benefits of local
improvements, may transfer and use for the purposes hereof surplus funds of the municipality
or county not specifically dedicated to another purpose, and may levy taxes on property within
the municipal or county limits for the purposes. A municipality or county may contract with any
person, company or corporation for the purposes and under the restrictions set forth in subdivision
5. The contract shall be binding upon the parties to it for the full term agreed upon but in no event
more than 30 years, and shall not be changed by either party without the consent of the other party.
    Subd. 5. Connection with facilities; charges. A municipality or county may permit a
person, company or corporation located and doing business inside or outside the municipal
or county limits to connect with the facilities and make use of them upon terms and upon the
payment of fees and charges as may be prescribed or contracted for by the municipality or county,
and to contract with a person, company or corporation for the payment by the person, company
or corporation of a part of the cost of construction, maintenance or use of the facilities and to
receive from the person, company or corporation doing business inside or outside the municipal
or county limits payment in cash or installments of the portion of the cost of the construction,
maintenance or use as may be agreed upon or contracted for with the municipality or county
and devote the money received to the purpose of the construction, maintenance or use. The
proportionate cost of construction, maintenance or use of the facilities to be paid by the person,
company, or corporation may be made payable in installments due at not greater than annual
intervals for a period not to exceed 30 years. A person, company or corporation which may pay
part of the cost of construction, maintenance or use of the facilities in the manner described, shall
have the right to use the facilities for the disposal or treatment of sewage, industrial waste, or
other wastes, by the municipality or county upon the payment of reasonable charges for the
use of the facilities or the charges contracted for in case there is a contract as provided in this
subdivision. A municipality or county may contract with another municipality or county for the
joint or cooperative obtainment or use of such facilities without limitation of time.
    Subd. 6.[Repealed, 1963 c 696 s 4]
History: 1949 c 394 s 1-4; 1951 c 366 s 1; 1953 c 195 s 1; 1955 c 296 s 1; 1957 c 608 s 1;
1959 c 294 s 1; 1963 c 696 s 1-3; 1973 c 123 art 5 s 7; 1973 c 702 s 23; 1983 c 183 s 1,2; 1985
c 169 s 15; 1Sp1985 c 16 art 2 s 12,13; 1Sp1989 c 1 art 5 s 31; art 17 s 8; 1990 c 391 art 8 s
45; 1996 c 471 art 8 s 18; 2004 c 141 s 1-4