EL board approves 4-way stop

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Another four-way stop sign will be coming to the village.

The Village Board Monday approved changing the intersection of Pine and North Lake streets to a four-way stop on a recommendation from the Public Works Committee.

“I think it’s a fabulous idea,” Trustee Lynn Shovan commented, pointing to increased traffic at the intersection with the recent expansion of Sargento Foods’ facility there.

The board agreed to join in a tax dispute with Sargento, which is appealing its personal property tax assessment on the Elkhart Lake plant.

“They want to reduce it by more than $4 million,” Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly said of Sargento’s action.

The assessment of manufacturing property is made by the state Department of Revenue and is added to a business or industries property tax bill. The state legislature last year passed a bill allowing some exemptions to the personal property tax, Reilly told the board.

“If this goes through we could lose about a million dollars,” Trustee John Schott said of the requested exemption.

“It’s a big change to the TIF (tax incremental finance district). It’s $75,000 a year (revenue) for the life of the TIF. We can still do projects, they would just take longer to do,” Reilly explained.

Reilly said the state Department of Revenue is contesting Sargento’s appeal for the exemption. “The department said this needs to be litigated,” she noted, as there is still confusion over what can and can’t be exempted under the recently enacted law.

“We’re doing a letter of support for the DOR,” Reilly said of the proposed village action.

Village President Alan Rudnick informed the board that the Planning Commission would continue negotiating with Premiere Development on a developer’s agreement at their Wednesday, Aug. 22 meeting.

“I encourage you all to come to the meeting,” Rudnick told the trustees.

The board also discussed the Leibham/Burg Ashton Flats development on Rhine Street.

The issue continues to be whether the developers are complying with a provision in the developer’s agreement that the commercial portion of the building is intended to be for year-round, not short-term use.

“Their website makes it look like it’s a short term rental,” Reilly admitted. She said she could contact the developers to have them market it as a year-round rental.

Shovan reported that the Tourism Commission is planning “a major overhaul of their website to make it better.”

Reilly had a piece of good news in her administrator’s report. The latest population estimate for Elkhart Lake from the state put the village’s population at 1,002.

“We’re up over a thousand again,” Reilly said of the increase in the estimate.


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