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Board adds $100,000 to 2014 streets project budget

Angi Goodwin of Ayres Associates presented a preliminary proposal outlining improvements to Maple Street including the addition of a five-foot sidewalk on the railroad side of the street and new curbs and gutters for a total of $100,000 at the Roberts Village Board meeting Monday, Feb. 10.

Added to the street project’s budget approved by the board at its December meeting, the new grand total will be $405,000. Goodwin said the preliminary study of Maple Street suggested keeping a two-way traffic pattern made sense, but the addition of the sidewalk will require that the perpendicular parking in front of the village hall be moved eight feet closer to the building possibly eliminating any green space.

The Public Works Committee recommended that the Maple Street work be tied into the already approved Park Street construction. An additional five-foot easement in front of the marina on Park Street will be required, to which the operator has indicated he would be agreeable. The board approved the addition of $100,000 for the Maple Street construction project of which $15,000 is to be applied to Ayres’ engineering costs.  

Brian Reilly of Ehlers presented financing options for the $405,000 budget including the new Maple Street addition. Based on Reilly’s information, the board authorized Ehlers to seek the best available interest rate on a 10-year financing term.

“Feathering in the new debt of roughly $38,000 annually over a 10-year term should have a minimal impact on the tax levy,“ Reilly said.

In order to coordinate the lending schedule with construction expected to begin after Good Neighbor Days, Reilly will present a financing option at the April board meeting in expectation of making the first contractor payment in July. Goodwin plans to have the bidding specifications ready for the April board meeting as well.

President Willard Moeri passed around two bottled water samples comparing tap water to a sample produced by the pilot microfiltration system now operating at the water treatment plant. According to Public Works Director John Bond, the treated water is meeting about 90 percent of the daily required test results. It will take about a month to evaluate what it would cost for the village to take advantage of a microfiltration system. However, a new bill in Congress may provide temporary relief from phosphorous requirements.

“There is a bill going into Congress which will postpone enforcement of the levels issued by the DNR for a three-year period. The DNR says the bill will allow the technology to catch up to the requirements. It is currently not cost effective for communities like ours to meet the requirements,” Moeri said.

The  new legislation would provide funds to each county based on their number of treatment plants.

“That money is supposed to be used to encourage farmers to reduce the phosphorus levels generated by agriculture,” Moeri said.

The board accepted an offer to purchase the old library building at 107 W. Main St. for $74,500 from Carol and Brian Smith. The Smiths plan to move their family-owned business, Stitchin’ Post Embroidery, into the building that has been on the market for four years. The proceeds from the sale will be applied toward the $125,000 the library owed the village for the construction of its new facility.

Other business:

-- The board approved spending $26,000 to purchase a new Ford Explorer squad for the police department.

-- The board approved a new senior dining site contract.

-- The board approved Good Neighbor Days for May 29 - June 1.

-- The library’s broadband service will be the beneficiary of a $4.2 million nationwide effort to improve public school and library Internet services as part of the Federal Communication Commission's E-Rate Program. Library Director Brenda Hackman expects the library’s broadband speed to increase by up to three times its current rate. The installation is scheduled to begin in April.

-- Former Drug Enforcement Administration agent and author Don Nelson will be at the library Feb. 20 to talk about his book Epidemic of Choice, a fictional account of heroin trafficking based on real-life experiences.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Roberts Village Board will take at place at 7 p.m., Monday, March 10.