ST. AUGUSTA -- The city of St. Augusta is taking the next step in getting its own water treatment plant.

The city has signed a contract with a lobbyist firm to help sway state lawmakers to support its project. O'Rourke Strategic Consulting will be tasked with helping the city get state bonding money and possibly federal help as well.

St. Augusta currently contracts with the city of St. Cloud for its water but wants to become independent as the city grows and water rates go up.

Mayor Mike Zenzen says they have already secured the land where the wells are located and land for a water tower.

Zenzen says the council felt now is the time because the state of Minnesota has a record $7.7-billion budget surplus.  It's also a bonding bill year at the legislature and the mayor says they'd like their project to be included.

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The project is predicated on getting state and federal funding and will take multiple years to complete.

The estimated $9.5-million project will only serve residents and businesses who currently have city services.


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