Waldo weighs industrial park

by Rodney Schroeter of The Review staff

WALDO - After a 3-hour session, which included a public hearing as well as its regular monthly meeting, the Waldo village board has some serious thinking to do in the next few weeks. At issue is the possible creation of an industrial park, which could be a tax increment financing (TIF) district.

TIF is a method of financing public infrastructure. It uses the promise of revenues from future economic expansion to subsidize improvements in the present.

Village president Dan Schneider recused himself several times from the proceedings, as he is the driving force behind the proposed establishment of the industrial park.

Part of Schneider’s plan was addressed by the public hearing — a request to rezone a parcel of land of a little over 50 acres, from agricultural to industrial. The plan commission had previously reviewed this request and recommended approval to the board.

Another part of Schneider’s plan was his offer to purchase a parcel of vacant land, a little under three acres south of High Street, from the village of Waldo.

Trustee Michele Preder asked Schneider why his offer for the village-owned land was substantially higher than what the village paid for it.

Schneider replied, “I want absolutely zero concerns about anybody in the village ever coming back and saying that I got a deal on the land. I know how this village works. I know how people talk, and I don’t care for it. I have hesitations about putting my building here, but I believe it’s the right thing to do. What I don’t want, is for people talking around the village, that I got a better deal than the guy down the street would have gotten.”

“I appreciate that,” said Preder. “But I don’t think it’s necessary.”

“I’ve lived here long enough that it’s necessary,” Schneider said.

Trustee Mike Hintze said establishing an industrial park would be very important for the future of Waldo. “Mr. Schneider is willing to spend his own hard-earned money to bring infrastructure into this lot.” He said the board should not move ahead too fast. “But without infrastructure, nothing else will happen,” he said.

Schneider several times told the rest of the board that they need not make a decision that night. The four board members, minus Schneider, decided to defer a decision. They will consult an attorney regarding Schneider’s request and how it might relate to forming a TIF, and hold a special meeting in about two weeks. In the meantime, Schneider will conduct fact-gathering regarding his plans for the land, should the board decide to accept Schneider’s requests.

Other village business: Mike Hintz and Galen Gatzke were sworn in for 2-year terms as board trustees. Michelle Brecht was sworn in as clerk/treasurer, replacing John Port. Port was applauded for his several years of service. Brecht’s office hours for the village will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Two representatives of Burkhart Insurance reviewed the village’s current coverage for the board.

The board approved Resolution 1-2014. This repeals a 2006 ordinance requiring impact fees. Hintze explained that doing away with this fee would encourage building in Waldo. The board also voted to disburse funds collected from past impact fees. Schneider abstained from both votes; otherwise, both items passed unanimously.

Roof repairs are being considered for the village hall. Schneider suggested a pitched metal roof. Other board members thought it was an idea worth further investigating.

Open Book will be June 4.

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