Howards Grove eliminates vacant rate from sanitary sewer billing system

by Steve Ottman Review Correspondent

HOWARDS GROVE—The Village Board approved eliminating the “vacant rate” from the sanitary sewer user billing system be effective Dec. 31 Thursday.

At their July 1 meeting, the board delayed action on the issue until the sewer rate study was complete. Trustee Lee Kunze felt that the board should wait until the study was completed to guide their decision.

Kunze stated that the village ordinance on the “vacant rate” didn’t allow the village any direction on how to enforce it.

Residents were allowed under the ordinance to use the “vacant rate” while on vacation and for foreclosure properties and unrented apartments. However, the village had no way of knowing how long the property was vacant.

The change was approved by a vote of 5-2. After discussion, new rates could be worked into the 2015 budget or changes could be made to incorporate it all in one move.

A certified survey map for Jon and Lisa Goedeke of the town of Herman was approved by the board. The Goedekes were requesting a lot split from the original plat, leaving the house and shed on one lot with five acres and create a lot 2 with 7.66 acres.

The work-in-progress report was reviewed by Village President James Scheiber. The TLEs for the sidewalk project are complete. The FEMA mapping project is 95 percent complete. The tax incremental finance district for Harvest Homes and pallet burning issue were discussed later in closed session.

The five-year plan from each department is due Aug. 15. The mini-museum is complete. The last paving of recommended subdivisions has been referred to the Public Works Committee. The repaving of the tennis courts is complete.

Board members discussed the annual tour of village property and facilities. Scheiber explained that the board would tour the properties to determine needed repairs and updates. Board members were in favor of the idea and Clerk/Treasurer Jo Ann Lesser will schedule a tour for an upcoming meeting.

Board members approved $16,732 for the North River Parkway Rehabilitation Project and Task Order for the catch basin. The bid came in under 30 percent of the projection.

A bid was awarded to Vinton Construction in the amount of $338,000 for the NMTPP sidewalk project.

There was discussion on changing the grass cutting ordinance from maximum of 12 inches to six inches for residential properties. The board agreed to lower the maximum length to six inches.

Public Works Director Ryan Welsing was directed to gather samples for the next meeting for the board to review.

Scheiber introduced village resident Christopher Burgin as a candidate for the vacant constable position. Burgin gave a brief review of his experience and explained why he is interested in the position. Burgin was appointed constable for the term through April 17, 2016.

Lesser informed the board that the financial accounts are nearly complete and gave the board some examples on how the accounts are progressing.

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