Apparently twelve or so years of following the Jordan City Council's doings (including four years as an elected council member) doesn't qualify me as informed. I get essentially the same information pack as a council member. I attend the meetings to get the tenor of councilors' interactions (which you can't get from the live feed). I get my information from the city and various other public sources.

All sewered industrial lots are west of U.S. Highway 169. Anything done to add sewered industrial lots west of Hwy. 169 has very little relevance to the sewer system situation east of Hwy. 169. Those flooded basements downtown? The council didn't have any qualms about permitting a downtown business to put 1,400 gallons of wastewater a day into the current sewer system.

I've been informing myself about the Southwest Sewer Interceptor System since about 2010. It came up repeatedly during the time I was on the council. The city thinks Jordan’s population will reach 12,200 by 2040, "a relatively short 20 years from now in the context of sanitary sewer pipe ages." At our historical rate it'll take over 53 years to achieve a population of 12,200. The U.S. Census Bureau indicates there are 2.92 persons per household in Scott County, and 2.54 PPH nationwide (2018 data). I couldn't find information specific to Jordan, so I'll use the Scott County numbers here. That means over 2,072 more households. Would you believe over 100 new homes per year for 20 years? Me neither.

Going back to the regime of the previous city administrator, the Metropolitan Council notified the city council (of which I was a member) that the city's estimate of 15,000 people by 2040 was unreasonable. The Met Council, with no axe to grind, estimated Jordan’s 2040 population would be 9,000 or so. The then city administrator badgered the Met Council for a higher number. They said okay, let's call it 12,000 or so.

Once something is in the approved 2040 plan, it's harder to get out than dandelions in my lawn. And so, the 12,200 number remains — even though the Met Council didn't think the numbers were supportable.

The more I study this issue, the more I see a dichotomy between optimism and reality. For example, a city web page on the 2008 Comprehensive Plan posits a population of 13,500 by 2030 (not 2040) — effectively doubling the city's population ten years from now. Since that comp plan, it appears the Met Council's expectations for Jordan growth have been trending down. It would seem the city council is operating on the assumption of 12,200 people by 2040. There's a lot of information out there to choose from. I'll stick with historical trends.

I stand by what I wrote two weeks ago: "Do we need sewers? Sure. But why not build out to a reasonable population projection — 15,000 or so?" Trees? When a big trunk collapses, the whole tree dies. In a forest of multiple trees, when one trunk collapses, the others carry on. So, is one big sewer interceptor really a good idea? Why not design a smaller system now, leaving flexibility to build a Northwest Sewer Interceptor when the time comes? Those who study the Jordan 2040 Plan realize that some of the city's growth is projected for above the bluffs, east of St. John the Baptist Church.

Ah, but everything will cost more in the future, right? Yes, but by the city's

own projections there'll be twice as many people to share the burden. And consider, the more a project costs, the more the engineering consultant makes in commissions.

Obviously, I don't think I'm uninformed, or I wouldn't stick my neck out in the paper. In my opinion, city staff feeds the council carefully selected information. Witness the fact that historical population trends are not part of the SWSI information. People who want to call me uninformed should at least show me facts I haven't seen. I try to support my views with facts, not hopes.

The Quote: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" -Ronald Reagan

Events

Recommended for you