County sells Sheboygan parcel for development

¦ Madison developer plans $8 million, 50-unit housing complex
by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN – The county’s venture into real estate in the city of Sheboygan turned into a profitable venture – now and potentially into the future.

The County Board Tuesday approved a resolution selling county-owned land at the corner of North Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue for $432,131 to Cardinal Capital Management of Madison.

County Administrator Adam Payne said the Madison firm is planning an $8 million to $10 million 50 or more unit apartment complex on the property.

The county had purchased three homes on Pennsylvania Avenue adjacent to an under-utilized county parking lot last summer to create the larger lot being sold to Cardinal.

While Supervisor Fay Uraynar applauded the sale of the property, she added, “I hope we don’t make a practice of getting into economic development like this in the future.”

“If we have an opportunity to improve our community and be part of that, we’ll be more than glad to do so,” Payne responded.

Uraynar contended that the county only broke even on the purchase and sale, but Payne cited the fiscal note accompanying the resolution that said the county will clear $101,085 from the sale after all costs are included.

The county intends to use the proceeds to build a new storage facility for the Building Services Department on the courthouse campus to replace one that was on the Pennsylvania Avenue property.

Payne also pointed to the additional property tax revenue that will come to the county, city and Sheboygan Area School District with the proposed development. Cardinal has said it will not ask for tax incremental district financing or other incentives from local governments, meaning the building will be completely taxable once it is built.

That, Payne said, should mean about $45,000 in property tax revenue annually for the county, $76,000 for the city and $87,000 for the school district. “That’s a little over $200,000 a year in additional tax revenue,” he pointed out.

Payne pointed out that the parking lot, the major part of the combined parcel, was originally received from the city as part of the land transfer for the North 26th Street parcel the city bought from the county to build the new Police Department headquarters a number of years ago.

The vote on approving the sale of the Pennsylvania Avenue property was 21-1, with Supervisor Jim Glavan voting no and supervisors Greg Weggeman, Libby Ogea and Brian Hilbelink absent.

The board unanimously approved Chair Thomas Wegner’s appointment of Curt Brauer to the vacant 10th District seat.

Brauer, a business representative for IBEW Local 494 Kettle Moraine Unit and a resident of Sunflower Avenue, was one of eight applications to fill the vacancy left by the death of Jacob Van Dixhorn, Wagner said.

“All eight were well qualified,” said Wegner, who added any of them would have been a good appointment.

Brauer will fill out the remainder of Van Dixhorn’s term, which expires next April.

The board suspended its rules and approved Brauer’s appointment to the Health and Human Services Committee instead of waiting until their next meeting.

Brad Viegut of Robert W. Baird reported good news on the county’s sale of $10 million in bonds for capital projects earlier in the day.

Because of the county’s strong financial status and AA2 bond rating from Moody’s, Viegut said the interest rate of 2.06 percent the bonds sold for was lower than projected. It will mean a savings of $325,000 to $500,000 in interest and finance charges for the county, Viegut explained.

“The county was very diligent in creating a meaningful financial plan,” Viegut commented. “Overall, this is a positive report for the county.”

The resolution approving the bond sale passed by a vote of 21-1, with Supervisor Jim Baumgart opposed.

Uraynar issued a warning, though, that she would not support a similar bond sale next year. She noted that the county has exceeded its self-imposed limit on borrowing for capital projects in three straight years and said she could not support that continuing.

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