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Star Prairie board to levy for curb, sidewalk costs

During a brief public hearing before the Star Prairie Village Board meeting Wednesday, April 9, a number of residents again questioned Stevens Engineers’ Angela Popenhagen about the necessity of building two six-foot-wide sidewalks on either side of County Road M, from the bridge to the intersection of Highway 65 as part of the County M improvement project slated to begin this summer.

Citing the absence of any study of pedestrian traffic volume, several residents questioned whether there was enough pedestrian traffic to justify two sidewalks while others raised questions about the width of the sidewalks and why the impending assessment isn’t being spread among all village residents, given the public nature of the traffic.

Attorney Tim Scott explained the ordinance saying costs for such projects are automatically assessed to the adjacent properties has been in place for many years and has been used to fund previous projects. Challenging that ordinance is a separate legal matter.

Board President Greg Gibson defended the proposed sidewalks.

“It is a safety issue. We’re looking 10 years down the road. When that bridge gets done, it is going to hold heavier trucks so there is going to be a lot more usage and we’re going to get a lot more traffic. When the state comes through, the intersection is going to be handicap accessible and the pedestrian crossings are going to be marked.” Gibson said.

Popenhagen explained the rule governing the width of the sidewalks.

“Because the sidewalks are designed to be right up against the curb, per the WisDOT design manual, they have to be six feet wide,” Popenhagen said. “The houses are only one to three feet away from the village right of way. To make the sidewalks narrower we would actually have to veer out even further into residents’ yards.”

The board agreed to look into providing signage to mark the four pedestrian crossings temporarily until the state provides permanent crosswalks and signage as part of its Highway 65 Improvement Project scheduled to begin as early as 2015.

Following the public hearing, the board unanimously approved Preliminary Resolution #2014-01 declaring its intent to levy a special assessment to pay for curb, gutter and sidewalk costs associated with the County Road M Improvement Project. They then approved Final Resolution #2014-02 authorizing the installation of curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements as a result of the special assessment previously approved.

The resolution provides residents with two options for paying for the assessment; they can pay in full by Oct. 30 to avoid any interest charges or elect to pay in 10 yearly installments to coincide with their property tax bill starting in January 2015, which will include a 2 percent interest charge.

Other business

 • New Lions Club President Jerry Briggs informed the board that the Lions will cease its sponsorship of the royalty program after this summer. He said the club just doesn’t have enough members to justify the time and trouble it takes to operate the program.

• The board declined to pay invoices totaling $1,380.51 from Countryside Plumbing and Heating for treatment this past winter of frozen water laterals in the 100 block of Saratoga Avenue, saying that sufficient notice to leave water running had been given. The board also denied a second invoice for $472.49 for one of the residences citing the same reason.

• The board approved payment of Countryside Plumbing and Heating Invoice No. 75954 for $362.50 for thawing the water lateral leading to the Post Office building and Invoice No. 75758 for $382.44 to thaw a frozen lateral leading to a property in the 700 block of Jewell Street saying the property owner did not receive prior notification to leave his water running due to his being out of town at the time.

• The board approved a proposal from Amador Locksmith & Door Service to install one new exit device at the main door of the Community Center for $729.

• The board approved paying Popenhagen to complete the DT2236 Utility Worksheet for WisDOT Project No 1540-07-02(72) regarding the adjusting of water valves and sanitary manhole covers during the construction phase of the Highway 65 Improvement Project.