A month after owners of property along Worden and Fritz avenues packed a Ladysmith Common Council meeting to speak out on charges for upcoming street work, no one appeared for a similar hearing on $83,000 in proposed assessments for a similar road reconstruction project now getting started.
The city will be reconstructing W. Summit Avenue between W. Fifth Street and W. Ninth Street at Wis. 27 and the 400 feet of W. Fifth Street south of Summit Avenue this summer. The work calls for levying $96,124 in special assessments which break down to $75,751 for private property and $20,373 for city property.
The total project is $662,553 funded through a combination of low interest loans, grants and special assessments. A project funding chart released by city officials shows funding of 75 percent through Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources loans to the city, 12 percent through DNR grants to the city and 13 percent through the city.
Special assessments and water and utility fees will help repay long-term debt the city is incurring to complete this project. Property owners will be given up to 30 years to repay the special assessments.
City Administrator Al Christianson attributed the sizable turnout for last month’s special street assessments to misinformation circulating in the community.
“There hasn’t been a lot of that kind of thing apparent with this particular project,” Christianson said.
Conditions of the Summit Avenue sanitary sewer were highlighted as a major reason for the project. The manhole just north of Summit Avenue receives the flow from the lift station for the northern part of the city.
“If this main collapsed, you would be pumping sewage and hauling it by the truckload to the treatment plant. It is a critical chunk of sewer,” said Zech Gotham fo the Ladysmith engineering firm, Morgan & Parmley.
Gorsegner told the council it would be a difficult repair deep underground if a collapse would happen during cold weather.
A telephone pole at the intersection of Summit Avenue and W. Fifth Street will be relocated 17 feet to the west, helping eliminate what is now a tight turning radius on a truck route.
“That whole intersection will be opened up to allow the truck traffic to turn through there without having to swing the nose of the truck out into the opposing lane of traffic,” Gotham said.
One driveway in the radius area will be eliminated, replaced with a newer entrance out of the radius on Summit Avenue.
Although no one appeared for the hearing, at least two property owners participated in a walkthrough of the project held last week. During this meeting of the city’s Public Works Committee several questions were fielded.
The city will fund about $581,751 through loans and parts of the project not covered by the grant.
“Seventy-five percent of the overall cost will be covered by a low interest rate DNR loan,” Gotham said. “The $81,000 is a grant that doesn’t have to be repaid, but the rest of it does.”
Ald. Marty Reynolds asked where the city’s portion of the funding will come from.
“A combination of assessments and user rates,” Christianson said.
“Everybody here now knows it is a project that needs to be done, I am just wondering where we are going to get the money,” Reynolds said.
The street portions involved are:
n Eight blocks of Worden Avenue from E. Fourth to W. Fourth streets.
n Three blocks of Fritz Avenue from W. Second Street to W. Fifth Street.
n Four blocks of Summit Avenue from W. Fifth Street to W. Ninth Street at Wis. 27.
The city’s payment is projected at $30,000 per year for the Summit part of the project based on $600,000 over 20 years.
“We are adding $30,000 to our budget,” Reynolds said.
“For the next 20 years,” Ald. Mark Platteter said.
“I am not sure where that money is coming from,” Reynolds said.
All three street projects are being lumped into one loan with annual payments due every January.
A council decision to finalize the special assessment is scheduled for its Tuesday, May 28 meeting.
In other matters, the council:
— Voted 6-0 to add lots 4, 5, 8 and 9 of Block 8 as an addition to Greenwood Park. These parcels were recently bought by the city, located along E. 11th Street N, north of Menasha Avenue. The addition was recommended by the city’s park board as possible new parking, snowshoeing or skiing.
— Voted 6-0 to recommend spending about $100 each to post a new sign at the city’s two official boat ramps citing quotes from the Aldo Leopold book, Sand County Almanac.
— Voted 6-0 to approve season al hires for the city’s public works department.
— Tabled action to spend up to $2,500 to sponsor an appearance by Miss Rodeo Wisconsin at the Rusk County Rodeo funded through the city’s 2019 Council Grants and Aids, City officials discussed getting more information on rodeo spending, perhaps inviting event organizers to a future meeting for that to happen.
— Took no action to delist the U.S. Army Reserve Center for sale following a closed session.
— Heard a proposal to evaluate utility needs along Flambeau Avenue in consideration of repaving the city’s portion. If repaved, it would be a joint project with the town of Flambeau, which roughly has the northern part of the roadway in its jurisdiction.
— Voted 6-0 to accept the resignation of Comptroller Kristi Ellwanger. She was hired last December.
— Heard a Public Works Committee update on the two bids received for 28 blocks of chipsealing and crackfilling of Fahrner Asphalt Sealers for $108,510 and Scott Construction for $76,117. The recommendation for the low bid will be on the next council agenda for a vote. City officials estimated $80,000.
— Heard a Public Works Committee update that four bids were received for tree removal along Phillips Avenue.