Streets issue settled until spring
Carl Hemenway, 1210 Thayer St., told Hammond Village Board members at their regular board meeting Monday night that Muldoon and Bushnell Streets have been maintained and plowed by the village for more than 100 years, and it shouldn’t change now.
Hemenway, his wife Mary, Jules Pettis, Scott Rock and Mike John all gave board members a piece of their minds concerning the village’s talk of vacating Muldoon, Belshazzar, Bushnell and part of Third streets.
Belshazzar, Bushnell and Muldoon are short, dead-end streets south of the railroad tracks near the water treatment plant. Four properties border these streets and at least three use them to access their homes. The short portion of Third Street in question is near the cemetery and dead-ends in Louis Frank’s garage.Carl presented a map used for state allocation of road funds from the St. Croix County Highway Department, and those streets are platted there.“We ask for no more than what everyone else in town has got,” Carl said.Mary Hemenway said the highway commissioner also told them it would be illegal for the village to vacate the streets and landlock Juel Pettis, 1270 Thayer St., whose only access to his property is off Muldoon, although he has a Thayer address.Mary also said the Highway Department told them that since those roads have been maintained by Hammond and used by the public for more than 20 years, they now belong to the village. It doesn’t matter if the names don’t match what is platted, Mary said.Village Attorney Tim Scott disagreed and said the county’s map is not determinative. He said there are many twists and turns to the law.“How does this get so carried away?” Carl asked heatedly. “How this ever got brought up and you want to take a street away from us?”Village Trustee Mary Rivard said other people have had to pay out of pocket to get streets extended to their property and she feels this is no different. She said it’s a private driveway issue. The Hemenways argued those were new construction, while these homes have been here for more than a century.Scott Rock, 1240 Thayer St., said it’s a joke to say the streets have been “maintained” over the years. He said they have ruts close to two feet deep. Pettis said he spends time each spring leveling the road and hauling gravel out of his yard.Attorney Scott said the board can’t undo the fact that those streets may not technically belong to Hammond.“It came to light and now we have to deal with it from a policy standpoint,” Scott said.Village Trustee Laurie Gruber said it looks “pretty crappy” of the Board to wreck a road with the plow and then vacate it, leaving it for the homeowners to deal with.Greg Adams presented an option for the board at the last meeting that would bring Muldoon and Bushnell as close to village road standards as possible, though it would only be 22 feet wide. The price tag for that project is $28,000.Adams also said just putting a layer of asphalt over it at $7,200 would be a waste of money because it would be broken up in a year.Rivard said the village has no money for this project.“You’re asking every resident in town to pay for it,” Rivard said.Resident Erin McComb agreed with Rivard. She said if Mary Hemenway asked her for a donation to help with that street, she’d say no.Village Trustee Mack Kamm said at first he agreed with Rivard that it’s a private driveway issue, but after some research, found maps showing that Muldoon Street was meant to me a main throughway in town when Hammond was platted.Finally, the Board agreed to continue to plow the streets in question until Spring, when it will look at surveying costs and transferring property rights of some of the Hemenways’ property to allow for widening and improving Muldoon and Bushnell.As for the small portion of Third Street, Mike John requested the Board plow it again. The street, which ends in Louis Frank’s garage, was not plowed for many years due to an agreement with Frank. Frank didn’t like how the village plowed it, and he preferred to do it himself, John said.The Board agreed to begin plowing it again, after some trees are trimmed to allow plow access.Baldwin Area Medical CenterBrian Lovdahl, CFO of BAMC, said BAMC plans to build a new all-inclusive campus on 95 acres near Interstate 94 behind A&W in Baldwin by 2016. The campus will include a hospital, clinic, fitness center and retail space for other wellness venues, such as massage and chiropractic.Funds for the new hospital will be raised in three ways: fundraising through the Foundation’s capital campaign; low interest loans from the USDA; and bank-qualified tax-exempt debt, Lovdahl said.BAMC is asking five municipalities (Baldwin, Hammond, Roberts, Woodville and the Town of Rush River) to help with funding by being conduit issuers, Lovdahl said.Conduit issuers are “organizations, usually government agencies, that issue municipal securities to raise capital for revenue-generating projects where the funds generated are used by a third party (known as the "conduit borrower") to make payments to investors. The conduit financing is typically backed by either the conduit borrower's credit or funds pledged toward the project by outside investors. If a project fails and the security goes into default, it falls to the conduit borrower's financial obligation, not the conduit issuer,” according to a definition on investopedia.com.BAMC, which is a nonprofit hospital, will cut the cost of the project ($32.5 million) into chunks under $10 million, said Tom Mayfield, a consultant from National Healthcare Capital, LLC. The municipalities will be asked to fund those chunks until the loans from the USDA come through. The USDA pays when construction is complete, Mayfield said. They expect to get around $25 million in loans from the USDA.BAMC will come back to the village in the spring to discuss the matter further.Other Business--The Board passed the 2014 proposed budget. The general fund budget came in at $1,721,231. The proposed water budget is $383,780. The sewer utility’s proposed budget is $675,200. According to Administrator-Clerk Sandi Hazer, there is no significant increase in the new budget.--The board approved raising municipal court fees to $38 per action.--The board elected to keep HealthPartners health insurance for Village employees for one more year.--An operator’s license was approved for Amanda Anderson.--Angie Blodgett, Norma Omann, Donald Halberg, Mary Cody, Gretchen Iverson, Teri Larson and Joan Forsythe were appointed as election officials.--Police Chief Rick Coltrain said cars violating winter parking rules will be ticketed three times, then towed.