St. Joe Town Board discusses road, building improvementsBonestroo Engineering and Ehlers Financial both presented a brief outline of possible infrastructure improvements and their costs at the town of St. Joseph Board Meeting, Thursday, Oct. 8.
By: By Chris Hamble, Hudson Star-Observer
Bonestroo Engineering and Ehlers Financial both presented a brief outline of possible infrastructure improvements and their costs at the town of St. Joseph Board Meeting, Thursday, Oct. 8. Two possible project options were discussed for road improvements, and while both were similar, the price tag ranged from approximately $3 million to $3.5 million, depending upon how much debt service the Town wished to undertake and how many roads they wished to fix or repair.
This debt service would be repaid through 2019, and residents may see a slight increase in taxes as a result; however, since no firm dollar amount is currently settled upon, no specific tax data is available.
Under the current plan, the authorizing resolution will come before the board during their November meeting, notes will be offered and bids for projects will be received by the December meeting at which time projects would be awarded.
The discussion did not end with Ehlers presentation as there was some confusion as to where some of the funding was going to go.
“No one talked about capital structure in the last four months, they only talked about roads,” said Supervisor Dan Gavin, responding to an earmark that would allocate $500,000 to expand the town and fire hall.
Chairman Theresa Johnson apologized, saying “this has been on the table all along,” even though it was only seemingly earmarked last minute.
“I’m not against improving the building,” said Gavin. “But sneaking this in last minute just looks bad,” also noting that both the Bonestroo and Ehlers presentations focused the debt only on roads and not on building improvements.
Fire Chief Ron Burton weighed in on the situation without taking sides in the argument, simply telling the board what to expect if they should allocate this money to expand the hall.
“I’ve talked with Lakeview, and they said if we had the room, they would have an ambulance and two EMTs stationed here twenty-four seven.”
This could potentially cut reaction time from emergency calls to less than five minutes for a majority of the town; something the Town Board agreed would be a good thing. While no official decision has been made as to where the money will be spent, the town passed a motion to not exceed $4 million in new project costs.
Requests for proposals were sent out to 11 local garbage haulers as the town board continues to look into the option of town-wide trash service, in an effort to reduce costs to local residents.
“Other communities have done this, and residents have seen up to a 30 percent reduction in their garbage bills,” said Supervisor Kevin Moelter.
While nothing is currently set in stone, some citizens who are happy with their current trash haulers are worried that they may either end up paying for extra service they don’t need or are forced to use the hauler that the town signs a contract with.
Several of these concerns are addressed in the request for proposals, such as issues regarding back-in service, handicap service, and suspension of service for those that are out of town for extended periods of time. The RFP’s are due by mid-November, and the issue will be discussed at the regularly scheduled December town board meeting.