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Gays Mills drops prices on village lots
GM Village Hall

GAYS MILLS - It’s official–the lots in the Gays Mills relocation subdivision will cost just $1 to anyone who suffered from damage in the latest flood. The lot price has also been reduced to just $1,000 for anyone else.

After discussing the matter at previous meetings, the Gays Mills Village Board unanimously approved lowering the lot prices at their meeting Monday, Jan.7.

The lot prices, including the $1 offer to flood victims, are available to anyone whether or not they are residents of the village.

During the discussion, village president Harry Heisz explained any money collected by the village for the lots is returned to the State of Wisconsin. The state financed the creation of the subdivision through Community Development Block Grants almost 10 years ago.

Heisz told the board that the village had the improved lots priced at $10,000 as a fair price and in deference to the state that had put up money to finance the project. However, language in the agreement allows the village to set the price.

The matter first came up following the flood of late August and September, when dozens of residences in the village suffered substantial damage. Following the floods of 2007 and 2008, the subdivision was created and about a dozen low and middle income village residents were relocated to newly constructed houses in the subdivision with the help of CDBG funding.

In all, there were 12 houses constructed with CDBG funds for relocating LMI residents and two houses moved onto lots for non-LMI residents. A designated number of lots were put aside for sale to non-LMI buyers. Currently, the requirement to have a certain percentage reserved for LMI-only qualified buyers has expired. The 22 lots are available for purchase by anyone at the price of $1 for flood victims and $1,000 for all others.

However, Heisz and village clerk Dawn McCann explained to the board that the purchase price did not include hook-up fees of about $4,086 for municipal sewer service, electrical power and more.

Nevertheless, the lots are much more affordable than they were and much less expensive than similar lots elsewhere.

Unlike the previous relocation effort, this time there seems to be more emphasis on the possibility of physically moving houses out of the floodplain to the relocation lots. 

In a brief discussion about moving houses, it was noted that the village’s building inspector had rendered an opinion that only houses built after 1980 would have to meet some of the more stringent Energy Star efficiency ratings mandated for news construction in the subdivision. Pre-1980 houses would only have to meet the usual housing code requirements.

All housing in the subdivision, either new construction or moved residences must be approved by the village’s Architectural Review Committee.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• learned that annual revenue in the shared-used kitchen, known as the Kickapoo Culinary Center, was down 15 percent in 2018, but overall profitability increased, according to KCC Director Brad Niemcek

• heard from Pastor Carrie Anderson that recent community meals had been well received and another was being planned

• agreed to advertise for a swimming pool manager for the coming season

• discussed the need for swimming pool maintenance and decided to have supporters of the Gays Mills Pool meet with members of the property committee at a meeting

• amended the village ordinance to allow ATV/UTV use of state highways 171 and 131 in the 25 mph zone, as now allowed by state law

• approved paying $2,750 in health incentive rebates to the village and library employees from the $24,000 saved in the village’s HRA account–individual rebates range from $500 for full-time work to $250 for part-time to $125 for minor part-time

• approved bonuses for six village employees in lieu of any raises this year in the same amount as the health incentive rebates also from the HRA savings for a total of $2,250

• approved a $445,703 TIF Loan at three percent interest with some refinancing of the existing TIF loan to be repaid with TIF payments by 2027–the loan pays for the Highway 131 trail/path and other proposed improvements 

• approved a Temporary Class B License for American Legion Post 308 for the Kathy Johnson Benefit to be held at the Community Commerce Center on Saturday, Jan. 19