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Strong financials lead to additional road projects in Hobart

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – The village of Hobart added additional road repairs to the list for 2018, all while not borrowing or using special assessments.

The news came during the Hobart village board meeting on Tuesday, April 17, in which Aaron Kramer, village administrator, called the undertaking ambitious.

“We’re not going to do the same amount next year,” Kramer said. “We’re tapping into some reserve accounts. We got very good bid numbers… We’re not going to be able to do this every year, but we’ve bitten off a huge chunk of the elephant in the room.”

With the road projects previously approved, the total amount of work being done will now cover 4.25 miles, up from 3.5 miles.

The new projects are located on Geneva Road, North Overland Road, Rose Hill Drive, Hidden Trail, Crooked Creek Road and Lane, and Noah Road (the Hobart portion), as well as a repaving of the village hall parking lot.

At the Feb. 20 village board meeting, the board previously approved repairs for North Overland Road (Trout Creek to Hickory Drive), Hunters Run (North Overland to North Overland), Meadow Lane (North Overland to terminus), Hickory Lane (North Overland to Hickory Way), Trout Creek (Hidden Trail to North Overland).

The following bridge projects were also approved earlier in the year: South Overland at Adam, North Overland at Sunlite, Forest Road, Geneva Road.

Two stormwater projects were also approved: Curb and gutter at North Overland south of Wisconsin Highway 54, Indian Trail curb and gutter.

Additionally, the parking lot at Fire Station No. 2 will be replaced and expanded to permit more parking for firefighters.

“We’re not assessing anybody, and we’re not borrowing any more money to do it,” Kramer said. “This is all cash on hand, or cash that we have floating around in the budget, which is kind of unique for any community to do all this work without, A: putting a special assessment on the property owners, or B: borrowing any money.”

The previous road projects had a bid of $770,545, while the newly approved projects were bid for a total of $205,778.
The board also learned of a surplus in the undesignated general fund reserve.

Kramer compared the fund to a rainy day fund, which, by village ordinance, must be roughly one third of the total general fund.

The fund had a surplus of $105,585. The board approved to move half of that into designated accounts used to pay for large capital items, such as fire and public works equipment.

The other half will go into a debt reserve fund to pay off a bond early.

“In the course of digging through everything I found we have a bond that we can pay off early, late in 2020,” Kramer said. “The thought is if we sock a little money away each year, we’ll have enough sitting there to pay it off in late 2020, about 3 years earlier than the normal pay-off period of that bond, so we save about $10,000 in interest.”

Kramer had one more piece of good news.

The general fund of roughly $3.5 million only ran a deficit of $110 in 2017, roughly .00003 percent.

“It’s a book loss, but it’s not really a true deficit,” he said. “I know that’s government accounting, but it is what it is.”

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