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Water restrictions coming to Hobart in the future

Rich Heidel, Hobart village president talks during the Tuesday, June 19 board meeting. Ben Rodgers Photo

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – Some residents in Hobart might be looking at water restrictions in the near future.

The Hobart village board learned, Tuesday, June 19, the water pumps in Centennial Centre are almost near capacity, despite still being outside of the dry season.

The two inline boosters for that neighborhood have a maximum capacity of 160 gallons per minute, and at multiple points this year have already reached 154 gallons per minute, nearing capacity, said Jerry Lancelle, public works and utilities coordinator.

“We hit close to our peak six days this month already and we haven’t even hit our dry season, which is July through September when the sprinkler-heavy usage comes in,” he said.

His projections during the heavy-usage season predict usage could top out at 170 gallons per minute.

When the new water tower is completed by 2020, this won’t be an issue, Lancelle said. But until then the board has a few options to restrict use.

The first option is to restrict water use, either during specific times, or having odd/even days for when homes can water lawns. The village could also outright ban sprinkler use.

Another option is to upgrade the pumps for roughly $16,000, but the permit process with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Public Service Commission would prohibit this from taking place until August.

Currently the village has no enforcement authority in place to restrict water use, so if someone was to water on an off day, there isn’t a mechanism for enforcement.

“There’s nothing in the code book that allows you to write a water ticket,” said Aaron Kramer, village administrator. “I think in this case we might try the honey vs. vinegar approach.”

Rich Heidel, board president, said it isn’t fair to customers to limit the restrictions to Centennial Centre.

“I think some of those people might have a problem if those same water customers at Thornberry Creek or Indian Trails aren’t doing the same,” Heidel said.

Kramer said a voluntary approach would work best at the current time.

“In light of the fact that we do not have an enforcement mechanism, I think our best opportunity right now, or our best option, is to ask for voluntary compliance, to ask people to step up,” he said.

Kramer said village staff will work on getting the word out to people, as well as start to draft an ordinance that would create enforcement for people who do not comply.

In other news, the circus is coming to Hobart.

The village board agreed to enter into a contract with Culpepper and Merriweather Circus to put on two shows at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 14 at Four Seasons Park.

Kramer said he was told by the company that shows like this typically raise about $1,500 to $2,000 for the community it’s held in.

Any money raised from this would go to the K9 fund, for officer Bax of the Hobart-Lawrence Police Department.

No tax money will be used to finance this event.

“Since it is on village property, we want for the board to be comfortable with this and approve this and be cosponsors, if you will, for the K9 program,” Kramer said.

The vote to enter the contract passed unanimously.

The board also directed village staff to continue a search for answers on jurisdictional questions in a disagreement with the Pulaski Community School District.

The PCSD recently chose to staff Hillcrest Elementary School with a school resource officer from the Pulaski Police Department, not the Hobart-Lawrence Police Department, which has jurisdiction.

“All of us are interested in nothing more and nothing less than students’ safety there, and it makes all the sense in the world to have the host agency, the Hobart-Lawrence Police Department, be primarily responsible and staff the position, so in any event you have the host agency on site,” Heidel said.

The board also scheduled two public hearings for the July 17 meeting.

The hearings involve the revocation of a conditional use permit for operation of a shingle recycling business, and sign ordinance amendments to accommodate larger and taller signs along corridors with higher speed limits for improved visibility.

After a closed session, the board accepted the resignation of Allyn Dannhoff, director of neighborhood services, effective July 13. He is taking a new position with the village of Kimberly.

The board directed Kramer to develop a short- and long-term plan to address the staffing in the building inspection, zoning and code enforcement department.

Dannhoff has been with Hobart since January 2010.

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