Administrator reports on continued growth in EL

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The Village Board got a message of growth from their administrator/ clerk/treasurer at their Feb. 20 meeting.

“The village experienced a lot of growth,” Jessica Reilly told the board in her annual report.

The village’s total assessed valuation increased by almost $3 million, from $286.4 million to $289.1 million, a nearly 1 percent jump.

“2017 is expected to see more growth,” Reilly wrote in her report.

She attributed much of the growth to the village’s three existing tax incremental finance districts, particularly in TIF District 4.

That district, for the Wolf Motorsports and Villas development on the village’s south edge, saw tremendous growth, according to Reilly.

“At the end of the year all of the buildings were enclosed and one of the finished units was nearly ready for occupancy,” Reilly stated. “2017 will be a busy year as all the villa buildouts are completed.”

In TIF District 2, the Compassionate Care Clinic opened in 2016 and the Sargento expansion – which the TIF was created to support – was nearly complete.

The Osthoff expansion and associated street projects in TIF District

3 are all complete, Reilly reported. The expansion was valued at more than $5 million.

Reilly also reported that room tax revenue continued to grow, up by 14 percent from 2014.

Village President Alan Rudnick told the board talks continue on the Northern Moraine Utility Commission on coming up with funds for a state-mandated reserve fund.

“There seemed to be no interest in financing the shortfall,” Rudnick said, with none of the other three member entities interested in that proposal from Elkhart Lake.

But, he added, there appeared to be interest in scaling back the proposed 91 cent rate increase retroactive to Jan. 1 to raise the $500,000. “I asked if they would look at getting (the rate increase) down to 50 cents, starting in July, and increase that 25 cents next year,” Rudnick said.

“The hit would be a little less on the village (residents),” Rudnick said of the proposed compromise.

“I think by March or April this will be finalized,” Rudnick said of the financing plan for the reserve fund.

Rudnick stressed that, despite the disagreement on how to raise the needed reserves, Elkhart Lake has no complaints about the operations at the wastewater treatment facility. “We think they run an excellent facility out there,” he emphasized.

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