Robert L. Timm, Minot
The citizens of Minot's southeast valley know where we stand in the list of city priorities. Our family's welfare is lower in priority than the penguins and warthogs in the eyes of Minot's city leaders.
For several years now homes from Sunnyside School to the Fairgrounds and from south of Food Service of America to the children's barn at the zoo have had to put up with occasional sewage backup. Sometimes it's just a puddle and sometimes, like in 2010, it was over 15 inches, ruining family belongings, furnaces, washers and dryers, water heaters and more.
Sometimes the city blames a rainfall (who hasn't splashed their way through Burdick in front of Corbett Field even on a mild rain), sometimes they blame it on a lift station, and they used to blame it on Cloverdale's now-closed plant. It's never their fault and they have never paid our bills for cleaning, the hotel needed until the home is safe, the lost articles or appliances. The backup in 2010 cost each of my neighbors and I $10,000.00 a piece and we didn't receive a dime, an apology, or even a visit or expression of concern by our aldermen.
Obviously when our home evaluations rose 40 percent or more with this springs city assessment we voiced our concerns and I addressed the City Council on April 10. Armed with pictures of my and several neighbors' belongings floating in raw sewage you would think it was a slam dunk that until the city fixed the problem our homes are worth little even in this real estate market if we were to disclose to a potential buyer that we often host the city's sewage in our basements.
Fellow Realtor and chair of the group I visited with, Blake Krabseth, told me I should sell my house for $100,000 and get out. Even though one of the aldermen from my neighborhood was on the same committee he did not come to my defense and as a committee they decided the 40 percent increase was justified.
On April 11, I was informed that the city "planned" on fixing the sewage system this spring but because some of the work needed is on zoo grounds that we will have to wait another summer and put up with an unknown number of sewage backups until the zoo closes.
Frankly, unless more of my neighbors become more vocal I doubt it will ever get done but at least we know where we stand behind the penguins and warthogs.