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Hobart looks long term in capital projects plan

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – At its July 17 meeting, the Hobart village board approved a five-year list of capital projects the village hopes to address from 2019 to 2023.

“This document outlines the basic, major capital projects we anticipate will be needed over the next half decade to meet the needs of our growing population and maintain our current standard of living,” said Aaron Kramer, village administrator.

Kramer said the plan has three goals – no additional borrowing, improve roads, and address long-term space needs.
The majority of funds for the five-year plan will come from the property tax levy.

The proposed budget revenues have four funding sources from a high of $967,000 in 2019 to an estimated $654,000 in 2023 from two sources, although that is likely to change in the future.

“Between now and then we will probably identify projects that will need to be done in 2023,” Kramer said. “Usually when you get to that fifth year you don’t have everything precisely calculated.”

At the same time, Kramer said the village will look at saving money away for new buildings to address the aging ones in place currently.

“The major initiative in the 2020s is going to be replacing our aging, and in some cases inadequately spacious buildings,” Kramer said. “They aren’t big enough in some cases.”

Kramer said the goal for those projects will be to keep costs down, without borrowing if able.

“We’re going to try to do as much as we can with available cash and as little as we can putting it on the village credit card, but some of these are going to be million-dollar projects,” he said.

Funds will be allocated toward a new fire station design process starting in 2022.

The largest category for funds that will go into in each of the five years will be road upgrades with $630,000 planned for 2019.

The amount of work that can get completed also depends on bids, Kramer said. Lower-than-expected bids can move projects up the list, or higher-than-expected bids can move projects down.

This year bids came in lower and more projects were able to be completed.

The Department of Public Works also has a large expenditure coming in 2019 with the purchase of a new plow for $160,000.

In 2021 the fire department is listed as receiving a new engine for $195,000.

The police department also has squad car replacements listed for each of the five years ranging from $64,000 to $70,000.

In other news, the board agreed to start the process of the implementation of a pay raise for volunteer firefighters.

“The fire department personnel have not received a pay rise since 2015,” Kramer said. “Basically the biggest change of anything is right now we ask a certain number of fire fighters to be on call on weekends, which means they are restricted as to what they can do with family events or social activities. What we’re asking to do is compensate them for being on call during six holiday weekends.”

For 2019 the proposed amount would be $100 per on-call holiday weekend, with that increasing to $200 in 2020.
“The other small thing we are proposing, if it’s a large fire event for more than three hours, they get some extra compensation at that point for a longer or lengthier fire,” Kramer said.

The cost for longer fires would be an extra $25 per firefighter in 2019 and 2020.

The final component of the pay increase would be the creation of a lead fire inspector job by the village.
The inspector would receive $20 per inspection in 2019 and 2020.

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