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REAL ESTATE | Crowd provides feedback on reconstructing Main Street in Village of Newburg, WI

April 27, 2022 – Newburg, WI – About 100 people crowded into the lower level of St. John’s Lutheran Church to listen in on an informational meeting about reconstruction of Main Street in the Village of Newburg.

Newburg

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Village President Dave DeLuka said the Village Board has approved a conceptual engineering report for Main Street reconstruction.

Village administrator Deanna Alexander introduced DPW Director Nate Wendelborn and Christian Moring, PE Civil Engineer with Stantec.

Newburg

Why the project on Main Street – Village has gone through planning. Looking at history from bridge on the west to Hwy Y on the east and the bridge dates to the 1970s.

Also a problem of collapsing sewers below Main Street.

  • I want to plan any kind of road/sidewalk/curbs/gutters and utility repairs to do this all at one time.
  • Safety issues – drive from one end of Main Street to the other there is no consistency with lane width or sidewalks, etc.
  • This won’t just be repaving the road but building for economic development
  • When will this happen – maybe mid-2023 to somewhere in 2026. Village looking at grants and what is best opportunity for taxpayers.
  • How will I access home and business – this won’t be a full on road closure. We envision a project that runs the length of Main Street and taking one or two blocks at a time with nighttime access throughout construction. Businesses would ensure there is viable signage around the community. No business would need to close for a length of time.

Newburg

 

  • What is the cost? $4 million to $5 million estimate depending on utility location and economy.
  • Who will pay for it? Village of Newburg does not have money in the bank so looking at grants and grants from Washington County. State is willing to contribute $400,000 – still waiting to see if Village will accept because if it does then the door is closed on further grants.
  • Pay with grants and then taxpayers would pay for a property tax increase. Loans would be taken out and then repaid or if a property is along the construction then a special tax could be assessed because of improvements to those properties.
  • How does public feel about tax increase? Deanna Alexander said she’s willing to meet and open books to the public.
  • There is an option NOT to do the project but then what will the plan be for the underground utilities. How long will we continue to patch and repair before taxpayers bite the bullet.
  • Newburg Main Street

Christian from Stantec talks about concept plans:

  • Addressed utility poles in the road and why varied lane widths.
  • Wants a safe place for parked cars and looking at consistent sidewalk.
  • Goal is to provide ADA accessibility, intersections with proper vision triangle, safety for pedestrians

Craig resident – Insurance business owner and a homeowner in Newburg. How do you operate on half a street. What is the plan and we trust this won’t be going on during Newburg picnic. We have lots of senior citizens as clients.

Christian – we would provide an ADA accessible route; this would be part of the contract.

Resident – wonders if money is being thrown away by making current repairs

Deanna – We are not throwing money down the sewer. Nothing is critical/emergency at this point but tough decisions need to be made.  The storm sewer is not of concern but exploring a joint sanitary sewer project as well.

Newburg Main Street

Resident – does estimate include utility lines being buried

Deanna – quotes from We Energies were $1.7 million to bury lines. It would be additional cost on the estimate to bury lines

Resident – with inflation and costs now – we should postpone the project.  Things are ridiculous and for us to pick up the tab is ridiculous.  This is needed but not now.

Deanna – I am not for tax increases but cost increases are here.  While we’re saying $4 to $5 million now if we wait it could get to be $9 million.

Another resident – costs are not going to go down. High prices are here to stay. Whenever we do this project will it last another 40 – 50 years??

Christian – design life of an asphalt road – it will be 20 – 25 years of preventative maintenance.

Newburg

Resident – How will the construction affect the sewer laterals on each property

Christian – Probably no need to replace laterals.

Resident – how are lights and utilities paid for with other blocks. If added to tax bill then

Dave – we put LED lights in the Heights and We Energies would replace and Village would pay a premium for seven years. We had no costs to the Village or taxpayer.

Resident –  lift stations not included in project

Nate – lift station on Main Street updated in 1999.

Murphy & Prachthauser

Resident – what type of financing if approved

Deanna – Village has not completed a full financial workshop. Still exploring grants but possibly a 25 – 30-year bond. If we put utilities underground costs would be on the high end.

Resident – 15 years ago cost quote was $1.5 million and estimate for sidewalk was about $1700 for special assessment on 75 feet of sidewalk.

Deanna – does not have cost estimates – depends on grant funding. Neighbors need to let trustees know how you feel. Village may now look at a special assessment on sidewalks for residents and business on Main Street.

Nate – prior road rehab the Village received funds from Washington County government.

Deanna – prior officials in Newburg did not hold anything in reserve. Money was used for road work. We don’t have the info needed to help answer some questions about maintenance and funding history.

Resident – how much will each property be assessed/taxed

Deanna – when Village takes loan the principal and interest are calculated. What that is on an annual basis is how much the tax levy will have to be raised. Wisconsin does have levy limits in place.

Assessments & appeals – anybody who owns property there will be a property tax assessment. There is one opportunity to appeal that assessment. Between now and May 3, 2022 at 4 p.m. and there would be Open Book from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. to review property assessment.

Dave – 2010 was last walkaround assessment.

Deanna – if you don’t live on Main Street, why would you have to pay? Not all road work is assessed to property owner adjacent to it. Everyone benefits from utilities under Main Street. A beautiful, revitalized downtown will benefit the entire Village.

Resident – What role do building permits play in the value of a property.

Deanna – building permits do help make an informed decision on property values.

Resident – will businesses have access during the day?

Deanna – this is a project in flux and no business will have access blocked the entire time. We will do our best to help every business stay viable.

Christian – all businesses will be accessible by foot at all times and often accessible by vehicle. The only time is when sidewalk or curb is being installed is when access to a storefront may be limited.

Deanna – question at Thursday meeting will be whether to accept the $400,000 or apply for an 80-20 grant.

Christian with Stantec – This is an STP grant – there is a federal grant to the Wisconsin DOT and added funds would be available to existing roadway program. This would be for 2023 to 2026 cycle and it would cover some construction costs.

Deanna – when we apply for some grants there is some specification on what can and can not be included in the application. Some grants don’t allow underground utilities, others only want underground utilities. The requirements and reimbursements are different. This is complex to navigate. Bottom line, we want to make sure the costs for taxpayers are as low as possible.  We do not think taxpayers would be happy with the $400,000 grant.

Resident – will Village correct the way the storm sewer flows by Franklin Street.

Christian – part of this project, we have not done a topographical review/plan yet. We will look at that further into design.

Village of Newburg

Resident – what efforts to contact federal and state reps to have them work for us

Deanna – this meeting is one of the steps in that process. On behalf of the Village, Stantec has already met with US Senator Tammy Baldwin and conversations have been had at the State Capitol. We need to put the ask and the cost on the front page otherwise nobody is going to read it. We want to be able to ask the right way.

Trustee Sackett – who wants to bury the power lines. Asking the meeting.

Room response – two thirds of the room raised hands to bury the lines. Online says ‘No’..

Amanda and Village Planner – There is a Village of Newburg comprehensive plan and within that plan there is a focus on improvements to businesses downtown and improvements to health and safety.

Deanna – there will be a section added to Village website about Main Street reconstruction.

Christian – May to October will be construction timeline and how bus routes and mail are affected will be part of one construction season.

Deanna – how many accidents on Newburg Main Street? We’ve been blessed to only have a few accidents. When we look at grant funding, safety is a major component.  We look at widely accepted standards and by review our Main Street has been deemed unsafe. If we don’t make repairs, supplemental funding will not be available.

Trustee Bill Sackett – lived here 75 years and within that time I know of two accidents on Main Street. Unfortunately, one had a pedestrian killed and another pulled out in front of car on Salisbury.

17 accidents reported on Main Street since 2001 – according to the state.

Trustee Brooke Stangel – with children getting onto the bus on Main Street – from my perspective, I’m looking at my family and those on the sidewalk on Main Street need to be safe.

Resident – semi truck delivery and fire truck access and streets and current debt

Christian – 12-foot lane is standard highway, and it is wide enough for EMS and ladder trucks. Turning radius, the improvements would alleviate any concerns. Current width of Main Street is 17-foot lanes.

How old is Main Street sewer? – between 1972 – 1977.

Deanna – Village has a debt limit of $4.2 million. After Village is reassessed, that limit could fluctuate. Village has paid for years on very old debt. Currently $1 million in debt. This is a hard pill to swallow – we can’t run the Village like pay cash and have no debt.  Village has made efforts to replace any aging vehicles or infrastructure so that’s taken care of before Main Street project.

If we had no debt and simply went to bonding agency – that won’t work – there must be grant funding but using debt limit we have available, we will have to put in something like a matching grant.

Resident – with better vision will that take away parking spots downtown

Christian – tried to maintain the number of spots

Resident – Is there any grant the business on Main Street could apply for?

Amanda – businesses can work with Washington County Economic Development

Trustee Stockhausen – a resident is concerned she will not be able to get out of house for lifesaving medical needs.

Christian – we have a resident engineer on site, and we will make sure all access for residents will be a top priority.

Deanna – next step will be to do a 3D model down Main Street and completing survey. We want to hear from you.

Resident – when there was a road project in Jackson, We Energies paid to bury lines. Can’t that happen here?

Christian – Because the Village is taking the lead on this project – then it is unlikely We Energies will step up to cover costs.

At the end of the meeting there was great concern the property owners in Newburg, WI had not received assessments which were mailed over 3 weeks ago. Open Book is May 3, 2022. Deanna expressed a sense or urgency to residents receiving their reassessment.  414-939-9339 to D. Alexander if you have problems or concerns.

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