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Gays Mills Village Board honors John Johnsons long years of service
GM Village Hall

GAYS MILLS - Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz took time at the end of the regular meeting to thank John Johnson for his many years of service on the village board.

Johnson probably attended his last meeting as a village trustee last month. At the meeting Monday night, Lee Ruegg took her newly elected seat and John Johnson did not attend.

So after Heisz made his statement, it was probably appropriate that Ruegg made a motion officially thanking Johnson on behalf of the village for his many years of service. The motion was seconded by trustee Erin Martin and unanimously passed by the board.

The majority of the meeting was spent on update on proposed projects to be completed in or near TID (Tax Incremental District) #1. Funding for the proposed projects is money the village collected from the TID to finance infrastructure improvements that was excess of the expenses incurred.

How much money? Well that depends on whether the TID gets a three-year extension for which the village has applied. Essentially what a TID does is make necessary improvements on undeveloped land so that businesses or residences can be built there. The water, sewer, roads, sidewalks, electricity and more is paid for by the municipality-in this case, that’s the Village of Gays Mills. Once developed, the land is reappraised at its new much higher value and is subject to a higher tax rate. However, instead of those increased taxes being distributed by the usual ration to the school district, county and tech school district, all of the increase in taxes goes only to village for improvements made or to be made in the TID. The length of TID #1 created in 1990 is 20 years.

What happened in the Gays Mills TID was that only one business, BAPI, and one residence were built. BAPI expanded recently. So the increased taxes generated wound up exceeding the expected expenses by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If the TID is not granted a three-year extension, the estimated surplus will be $341,777. However, if the extension is granted the surplus is estimated to be $535,000.

 To get the three-year extension, the TID’s Joint Review Board must approve of it. The Joint Review Board is made of Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz, a member-at-large (this has been BAPI owner Ritchie Stevenson) and one representative of each of the governmental units receiving property tax revenue (in this case that would be the North Crawford School District, the South West Technical College and Crawford County).

The surplus in TID funds must be allocated to projects to be completed within the TID or a half-mile from it by September 28, according to Kurt Muchow, a consultant from Vierbicher Engineering. If that deadline is missed the surplus monies will be distributed to all the units eligible to receive tax revenue form the property.

Vierbicher is helping the village going forward with TID #1 and creating three additional TIDs.

Muchow presented four proposed projects and one alternative proposed project to the board Monday night.

The most expensive proposed project would be the construction of an eight-foot paved trail along Highway 131 from the Marketplace to BAPI. It would also seem like the most important of the projects to many involved.

In answer to question from the board later in the meeting, Muchow said this paved trail would probably be all that could be built if the extension was not granted.

Other proposed projects included:

• construction of a concrete sidewalk from Highway 131 to the Marketplace at an estimated cost of $13,748

• construction of a concrete sidewalk from Highway 131 to the BAPI parking lot at an estimated cost of $87,664

• installation of three-phase power to all undeveloped sites in TID #1 at an estimated cost of $30,000

• an alternate proposal to build a paved trail from BAPI to the long-abandoned railroad grade to its west at an estimated cost of $86,165

The proposed projects and the alternative were estimated to cost $522,808, according to Muchow.

Muchow said the estimates done by his firm are not based on what the expected lowest bid might be, but rather on what the second or third lowest bid might be.

Vierbicher estimated additional costs for engineering and other services to administer the project to be $46,9000, Muchow told the board.

Several trustees seemed to wrestle with what could be approved at this point without knowing if the extension was granted.

Village trustee Albert Zegiel suggested a qualified motion that would cover both outcomes (an approved extension or no extension).

After some discussion and input from Muchow, the board decided to table action on proposed TID projects until the June meeting, when the outcome of the extension should’ve already been decided by the Joint Review Board.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• learned there is no current money available for the requested buyouts of buildings located at 317 & 325 Main Street, according to Community Development Alternatives’ Dale Klemme

• approved a request by Kevin and Risha Murray to purchase a village-owned lot at 102 School Street

• agreed to have new village trustee Lee Ruegg assume John Johnson’s committee assignments to roads and streets, and utilties

• approved paying $600 to support Crawford County Tourism (CDA) as requested and previously budgeted

• granted a Class ‘B’ Liquor License to the Kickapoo Cultural Exchange at 209 Main Street for Saturday, May 12

• granted a Class ‘B’ Liquor License to the Lions Club for September 28-30 at Lion’s Park

• set the next meeting date for Monday, June 4