Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester Public Utilities Board has formally rejected a request for additional funding for the Lake Zumbro restoration project.

The partnership behind the effort to dredge the silt-filled lake was seeking about $364,000 to help cover a shortfall that was created when the bids for the dredging came in over $2 million higher than the budget for the work. If the RPU Board had authorized the funding request, the money would have been directed at restoring the portion of the dredging work that was cut from the plan to reduce the cost of the project by $1.1 million after the bids came in over budget.

In rejecting the request, RPU staff noted the utility had previously agreed to contribute $1.167 million to the project, but they were unable to identify any incremental economic or operational benefits pertaining to the utility’s hydroelectric dam to justify an increase in funding.

The Olmsted County Board previously agreed to contribute an additional $125,000, while Wabasha County has authorized another $30,000 and Lake Zumbro Forever added $100,000 to its original commitment. Property owners around the lake are also being asked to pay an additional $678,000 through a special assessment which officials say would allow the project to proceed at a reduced scope.

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