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Hobart board approves lease agreement for village vehicles

By Janelle Fisher

HOBART – A proposal to lease the village’s police and public works vehicles through Enterprise was up for discussion again Tuesday, July 19.

Much of the discussion mirrored points made at the July 5 meeting, except with Hobart’s municipal attorney Frank Kowalkowski present to provide an overall review of the agreement and to clarify the options the village has if they agree to lease the vehicles and later want to exit the agreement.

Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said even if the numbers in the estimate don’t turn out to be exact, the lease agreement would still provide relief that would already be seen in the next few budgets.

“I’m not selling you $254,000 over 10 years,” he said. “I’m not going to come back here 10 years from now and say, ‘Oh, missed it by a thousand bucks.’ I only look out to the next few budgets… There will be some fiscal relief already.”

Trustee Vanya Koepke said he supported the agreement due to the immediate fiscal relief it could provide, as well as the ability to easily get out of the agreement if things don’t work out down the road.
“Personally, that’s why I’m leaning toward supporting this,” he said. “Because of the immediate relief in the next two, four years. And from there, we have clause one, clause two (as options to get out).”
Board President Richard Heidel shared a similar sentiment, noting there is a potential for savings that is worth trying for.

“If we don’t do this, there will not even be potential savings,” he said. “So I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t see any harm in trying, especially given the fact that we currently do have an exit door.”

After some discussion and a review of the agreement, the board unanimously voted to approve the proposal, contingent on the approval by the Town of Lawrence (since the police vehicles are a shared expense), as well as the satisfactory clarification of some language in the agreement regarding price protection and the village’s ability to reject a vehicle after it’s been delivered.

If the agreement is rejected by the Lawrence board or those conditions cannot be satisfactorily met, the village will have until Aug. 11 to order new police vehicles.

This chart shows the percentage used on each aspect of vehicle costs. Submitted Illustration

ATV/UTVs on village roads
An ordinance regarding the use of all-terrain vehicles(ATVs)/utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) on village roads was also up for discussion July 19.

If put into effect, the ordinance would regulate which roads residents are allowed to operate ATVs/UTVs on within the village.

Kramer said the ordinance is a mirror copy of the Town of Lawrence’s ordinance, “Because (staff) wants to have the same rules and everything in both communities, since it’s one police department,” he said.

Police Chief Randy Bani said there have been very few issues with the ordinance in Lawrence so far.

No action was taken July 19, but a first reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the next regular meeting.

If approved, the ordinance would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2023, in order to allow adequate time for signage reflecting the new regulations to be ordered and installed.

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