Village Board looks at assessment ordinance, again

By Tracy Ouellette


At the Monday night monthly board meeting, the East Troy Village Board discussed removing the cost of replacing water and sewer mains from special assessments on property owners during a road construction or improvement project by the village.

The Department of Public Works Director Mike Miller recommended to the board in a memo that the “assessment ordinance be modified to only assess for curb, sidewalk, driveway, and sewer lateral replacements. The water mains and services should be funded out of utility rates. The sewer main and manholes should be funded out of sewer rates.”

Miller said this recommendation came after consulting with the Public Service Commission, the regulatory agency responsible for regulating public utilities in the energy, telecommunications, gas and water companies, which also recommends this type of work be funded from the utilities and not the through taxpayer dollars.

Under Miller’s recommendation, property owners would still be responsible for 50 percent of the curb and sidewalk replacement, 100 percent of the lateral replacement and 100 percent of the water service from the property line to the structure.

In his memo, he estimated the cost for the Mill Street assessments under his new recommendation would be about $5,000 for a 132-foot lot with no sidewalk included, which would work out to about $500 a year plus an interest rate to be determined spread out over 10 years for the homeowner. A 66-foot lot (no sidewalks) would be around $3,000 total, plus the interest rate, at $300 a year over 10 years.

Board member Fortune “Forty” Renucci voiced his concern that funding the water and sewer mains out of the utility could cause the rates for those utilities to rise to unacceptable levels.

“You got to be careful at what these water and sewer rates come out as,” Renucci said.

Board member Dusty Stanford said Miller’s recommendation made sense to him and that he’d rather see a small increase in the utility rate than the large special assessments on specific property owners that would be needed.

“I’d rather pay 6, 8 or 10 dollars more a month than have a $20,000 bill hanging over my head,” he said.

Renucci said he wanted to see real numbers as to the actual rate increases before he voted on the ordinance change. “We’ve got to know where we’re headed with this.”

Board member Ann Zess pointed out that until the rate study was done, which wouldn’t be for 6-8 months, that real numbers might not be possible. She was in favor of the ordinance change.”

“It’s almost the responsible thing to do,” she told the board. “We have to do this.”

The board debated for a while before deciding to have the village attorney draft a new ordinance with the recommended changes to be voted on at the next meeting.

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