The Hillsboro City Council March 21 voted unanimously to enter into a professional services agreement with MSA Professional Services of Baraboo to inspect the dam on Hillsboro Lake this year.
Before the vote, City Administrator Adam Sonntag told the full Council that the consulting firm, which provides services to municipalities in Wisconsin and three neighboring states, will take pictures, look the structure over and submit a report to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Madison.
Sonntag said that dams the DNR has declared a “high hazard,” such as Hillsboro’s, must be inspected every two years.
The agency is concerned that should the dam fail, downstream communities would suffer a high cost in loss of both buildings and lives.
It has also discussed the possibility, however slim, of a 1,000-year flood in the future.
Sonntag called this year’s inspection the first step in the process of building a new dam that will better withstand water pressure.
The formal plan, he explained, calls for applying for a grant in 2018–when the DNR itself must conduct the next inspection–and the new dam to be constructed by 2020. He called the plan “realistic for the city’s finances.”
Sonntag said an outside engineering firm may help with construction of the new dam. He has discussed that possibility with Rob Uphoff of MSA.
Mayor Greg Kubarski said the project is important to hold onto Hillsboro’s lake.
The Council set a special meeting for 4:30 p.m. April 1 to approve $544,149 in sewer and water system revenue bonds through the Clean Water Fund program.
The bond relates to the Mechanic / Harrison utility project.
Sonntag said that the April 1 date will allow the city to take advantage of a drop in interest rates from 2.4 percent to 2.1 percent, which he estimated will save the city approximately $15,000 over the term of the bone.
During the brief, 16-minute meeting, the Council approved an outdoor consumption permit for the Station 2 Pub in the Firemen’s Community Center on Mill St. March 25.
That night, the Hillsboro Fire Department will hold a raffle drawing at 8:30 p.m., following the conclusion of its buffet fundraiser, for prizes including a 2006 Pontiac Solstice.
The Council also approved an operator’s license.