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Howard board approves special assessments

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOWARD – The village board voted 8-1 Sept. 13 to levy special assessments totaling nearly $2 million on Shawano Avenue and the plat of the Crescent Hills subdivision.

Trustee Craig McAllister cast the lone dissenting vote.

According to the special assessments summary page included in the meeting agenda packet, nearly $1.947 million will be assessed for sanitary sewer, water main, storm sewer, sidewalk and roadway charges to the subdivision, with four existing property owners being assessed sanitary sewer charges.

Director of Engineering Mike Kaster said the properties within the assessed area benefit from the installation of improvements by the municipal sanitary sewer service on Shawano Avenue and improvements for 45 single-family lots in the subdivision.

During the public hearing on the special assessments, residents Mary Kay and Paul Minnis, who face sanitary sewer charges of $2,579 for their lot, questioned why they are being charged when they were previously assessed in 2014 and already have municipal sewer and water service.

“What improvements would we be benefiting from, if we already have water and sewer?” Mary Kay Minnis said.

Prior to the current project taking place, Kaster said sanitary sewer extended about two-thirds of the way across the couple’s property frontage.

“Now the sanitary extends west, across the remainder (of the frontage),” he said. “On the other side, you do have the potential – I’m not saying that you would – but there is a potential for a future lot over there if you so chose to subdivide that. Now that sewer and water (is) there, you’ll be able to do so with the buildable space that’s available, based on that wetland delineation that was done on your property.”

Kaster said the original project was done in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation constructing the State Highway 29/County FF interchange.

“They only go as far as they need to for the road,” he said. “And when the village puts utilities underneath a roadway that’s being improved like that, we go as far as the DOT construction limits, because usually, that’s where you have the available properties to do so.”

Kaster said the additional sewer work has already been completed.

Trustee Chris Nielsen requested consideration to the payment period and the interest rate for the assessments, similar to what the board did earlier this year for residents affected by the improvement project on portions of Evergreen Avenue and Pinecrest Road.

The board agreed to allow existing residents to spread the payments over a 20-year period at 1.65% interest – a half percent above the village’s borrowing rate.

Tower lease

In other action, the board voted 8-1, with McAllister opposed, to approve a land lease between the village and Vertical Bridge, a cell tower company, to place a monopole tower in a wooded area of Spring Green Park.

Village Administrator Paul Evert said the lease, which is for five years with nine additional five-year terms for a maximum length of 50 years, was negotiated for $800 per month, or $9,600 annually, with a 1.5% annual escalator.

The board last month approved a conditional use permit to construct the 130-foot tower on a 75×75-foot parcel in the park to expand service for Cellcom.

Room tax agreement

The board approved a resolution to amend an agreement to use room tax money generated in the village to support the KI Center expansion.

Evert said the financial advisors serving the Room Tax Commission in the Green Bay area recommended taking advantage of lower interest rates, for which the amendment states room tax funds can be used to pay for money borrowed as part of advance refunding.

“The hope is that they could probably cut the interest rate…,” he said. “Right now, they’re at a 6% interest rate, so it’s pretty sure they’re going to get sub-4, so that will be helpful. It does not extend the term, though. It still is all paid off in 2043.”

Earlier ordering

Facing delays in the delivery of equipment and anticipated price increases, the board passed a motion to order playground equipment as soon as possible for Woodale and Mills Center parks, and a kayak launch for the boat landing at West Deerfield Avenue for installation in 2022.

“We’re so far out on ordering stuff right now,” Evert said. “It’s taking forever to get things done due to the supply interruptions, but in addition, we’re facing an increase in the price of playground equipment for next year…”

He said installing playground equipment at the two parks next year is expected to total $135,000, while the village received approval of a grant from the Fox River cleanup fund to pay for half of a handicapped-accessible kayak launch, for which the village’s share will be approximately $35,000.

“We won’t have to pay for them until we get them, and that could be quite some time,” Evert said. “But if we do get the equipment this winter, we’ll store it.”

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