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Hillsboro City Council deals with dam issues
DNR demands major renovations or removal by 2018
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Hillsboro’s landmark lake and dam is under attack again by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Monday night’s City Council meeting turned into a search for ways to counter another effort to remove the Hillsboro dam, thus turning the lake into a protected wetland.

If this issue has a familiar ring to it, don’t be surprised. The city has been here before.

After the dam was recently classified as a “high hazard” by the DNR, the City of Hillsboro had an analysis prepared and an emergency plan.

However, upon presentation of the study to the DNR, the dam rating was labeled a “real high hazard.”

The solution would be very difficult for the city to accomplish and, as expected, would possibly cost between $800,000-$1.2 million.

There is a possibility that the DNR would pay 40 per cent of the cost to bring the situation up to acceptable standards, perhaps through the construction of a spillway that would handle excessive water, such as expected in a 100-year flood.

Apparently, they would also contribute $400,000 for a total removal of the dam.

The DNR is insisting that the city bring the dam and/or spillway up to code by 2018.

Ironically, the entire discussion on the lake and dam was ignited by a DNR Stewardship Grant to extend and improve the bike trail that would run on the old rail bed  around the lake.

However, those plans need to be put “on hold” at best because, as City Administrator Adam Sonntag pointed out, a new bike path might have to be torn out in order to make room for the spillway.

After a lengthy discussion with plenty of thoughts on both sides, the Council unanimously voted to deny the DNR Stewardship Grant for the Bike Trail Extension Project.

Other business

In other business, the Council unanimously:

• Approved a request by Don Bayer dealing with the snowmobile trails.

• Approved up to a $3,000 expenditure for DNR environmental inspections of asbestos and lead paint in two buildings scheduled to be razed. The owners of the condemned buildings will be held liable for the costs.

• Accepted the low bid of $9,700 from Anderson Construction of Wonewoc  for reroofing the city salt shed.

• Accepted a $7,000 State Energy Office grant for new downtown LED street lighting.

• Approved a Community Development Authority lease agreement.

City Clerk Sheila Schraufnagel presented a report to the Council on training of election poll workers in the new photo ID law for voters.