HG sewer rate increase draws fire

Proposed 33 percent hike draws questions from citizens at public hearing before board
by Steve Ottman Review Correspondent

HOWARDS GROVE.Some of the residents in attendance at the public hearing/informational meeting for the proposed sewer rate increase for the village Tuesday were unhappy with the proposed increase.

The proposed increase is to add $30 per quarter to make needed updates to the village’s wastewater treatment plant to operate within Department of Natural Resources guidelines.

Added to the current charge of $90, this would make it a total of $120 per quarter.

One of the residents felt that the village misinformed residents about the open house and felt that there needs be more information published.

One landlord stated that the eight units he owns are currently leased and the raise per quarter would take close to $1,000 out his pocket, which would eventually increase costs to $4,000 total.

He said he would rather pay for adding a meter to show that this rate increase is too high for landlords.

Another duplex owner questioned would he have to pay for one side that has been empty for the past year. He asked about an incentive for converting the duplex back to a single family home.

Former trustee Dan Binversie applauded the village for their work for the Howards Grove community. “The board has done excellent job in keeping costs down and Dave Wright has worked hard to keep maintenance costs at the wastewater plant at a minimum throughout the years, “said Binversie.

One resident was worried that rates would increase again in two years.

Village President James Scheiber said that it was a hard decision to raise the rates. However the work at the wastewater plant is needed, he added.

Larry Krause from Donohue, who was on hand to discuss the project, stated that under current projections the next rate increase wouldn’t happen until the year 2022.

Krause presented a background of the wastewater plant and how it was evaluated. Also he discussed improvements for the short and long term and current population growth of the village.

The last increase in the village was in 2001.

Any other comments can be submitted to Gerry Novotny of the DNR at jerry.novotny@wisconsin. gov.

There will be an official public hearing meeting Jan. 5, 2016, at the Village Hall at 6 p.m.

After no more public comments were heard, the board went into their regular meeting.

Public Works chairman Lee Kunze made recommendations for proposed 2016, 2017 and 2018 road project task orders with Kapur and Associates for design services:

• 2016 project no. 1 for Appletree Road from Bittersweet Lane to Garton Road and Kennedy Avenue from Madison Avenue to North Wisconsin Drive with a projected cost of $24,684.

• 2017 project no. 2 for Stonebridge Drive from Garton Road to Sandstone Drive and Hedgestone Lane from Cobblestone Road to Stonebridge Drive with a projected cost of $27,444.

• 2018 project no. 3 for College Avenue from west of the village limits to State 42 with a projected cost of $58,770.

Public Works Director Ryan Welsing commented that the village may have to put bids out or maybe have the county do the work.

He did feel that it makes sense for the village to approve all of these three task orders now to save money for televising of the sanitary and storm sewer inspections.

Kunze discussed these options with Don Kapur of Kapur and Associates. He advised the trustees if they had any issues to address them now.

The three task orders for future road projects were approved by a 6-0 vote.

The board members also approved a contract with Great Lakes TV and Seal for sanitary and storm sewer inspections for a cost of $15,344.

Work in progress on various projects was reviewed for the board.

The sidewalks project is fully completed. The FEMA mapping project is 85 percent complete. The last pavement of the subdivision for Pekarske is complete. Eastern Pines will have no building permits issued until the road work is completed. Sheboygan Oil parking lot work is in progress and is 80 percent complete.

Safety Committee Chairman Ed Pahl requested that the village reimburse a portion of the costs associated with the floor replacement at the fire department. The total cost was $3,486.14.

Scheiber asked if the fire department budget money for 2015 was still available. Jeff Plass stated that the money was there and should be used before the end of the year.

Scheiber proposed that the village pay half of the cost from the budget money available. The motion was approved 6-0.

Scheiber said that he appreciates the hard work the fire department does for the village.

The 2016 contract for special law enforcement with the Sheboygan County Sherriff’s Department was approved.

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