By Janelle Fisher
The Hobart Village Board was presented with a donation at its Oct. 18 meeting to benefit both the Hobart/Lawrence Police Department and the Hobart Fire Department.
The donation came from Daydream Acres, a small miniature horse farm located in the village, which recently held a fundraising event.
Linda Hieronimczak, along with her husband, Ron, owns Daydream Acres and both were at the meeting to present checks to the chiefs of each department.
“We are semi-retiring Daydream Acres’ petting farm and we decided to run an open house, just to give the community a chance to visit us at least one more time,” Linda said. “In mulling around seeing the need from the community, we decided to run it as a benefit for the police department and the fire department and try to raise some funds for both.”
The event featured a bake sale and opportunities to interact with the farm’s various animals.
In total, Daydreams Acres raised $1575 at their event, with $950 of that going to the fire department and the other $625 going to the police department.
In addition to raising money, Hieronimczak said the event also drew in quite a few people from the community which Village President Richard Heidel said is just as valuable.
“That community spirit and camaraderie like that, it’s worth far more than the money — although the money itself is appreciated.”
Tree planting program
The board also unanimously approved the creation of a village tree planting program at its Tuesday meeting.
With funding from a federal grant currently being pursued by NEW Water, the Village of Hobart would receive financial assistance to plant trees in parks and natural areas and along streets within the village during 2023 and 2024.
If NEW Water is awarded the grant, a form would be posted on Hobart’s website where residents would be able to request that a tree be planted in their right-of-way.
If NEW Water does not get the grant, Hobart would still make the request form available but ask that residents make a donation with their request in order to cover the cost of the tree.
In both scenarios, the planting of trees would be performed by public works staff on a first-come first-served basis.
Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said the approval of this tree planting program has several benefits for the village.
“It helps with our Tree City USA designation,” he said. “And after the storm we had last June, we lost a number of trees in the community. This is a potential opportunity to replenish a portion of them as well.”
Kramer said this is also an opportunity for people who opted not to have trees planted in their right-of-way when their homes were built to now have a tree planted without having to go through the permitting process.
Water rate study
A water rate study with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) was also approved by the board Tuesday.
Kramer said the village’s last water rate study occurred more than a decade ago and, although there have been no problems yet, a new study should be conducted to make sure the rates charged by the village’s water utility are sufficient.
“We need to do these to ensure the water utility remains fiscally sound,” he said. “We’re not doing this because it is in danger at this point, but we have to maintain a certain level of fiscal responsibility.”
Kramer said the study will make sure the rates charged by the village’s water utility are sufficient, but that may mean those rates will increase.
“The public service commission will get the numbers, the auditors will do the work and they’re going to tell us where we need to have our water rates,” he said. “I’m not saying the water rate will decrease. I know sometimes in other communities, it’s a shock when they get those numbers.”