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Muscoda Village Board considers sewer service fees
Muscoda

MUSCODA – At the July meeting of the Muscoda Village Board, Bart Nies of Delta 3 Engineering, Platteville, provided information regarding a project in progress and urged consideration of another issue.

He reported the drilling of village Well #4 has been completed and water quality and quantity are favorable. He said the well has been tested with a flow of 1,050 gallons per-minute. The well project is ahead of schedule and construction of the “well house” is still ahead.

The board approved payment applications from G-Pro Excavation, Badger Environmental & Earthworks and Municipal Well & Pump, contractors for the project that also includes water and sewer main work plus resulting street rebuilding.

Nies also reminded the board that sanitary sewer rate increases should be considered. He said it has been 21 years since the sewer rates were increased. He emphasized the system is currently “losing money every day.” He said it cost,  $168,597 a year to operate the system and the average residential user of the system pays $254 a year or about $21.50 a month. Residential sewage fees are based on water use. He noted that history shows that increasing sewer rates can result in declining water use, thus reducing income from that source.

The trustees were reminded that he presented similar information about this time a year ago. He said a public hearing is necessary prior to approve a rate change and any plan needs to be developed by November to have a new rate schedule in use by January.

He presented the trustees with three possible plans to increase rates. At issue appears to be how a rate increase would affect customers, ranging from senior citizen residences to large industrial users. Nies said he would be able to present many possible combinations. The board appeared to prefer some type of phased-in approach.

Nies predicted sewer operation costs will likely continue to increase. Trustee Jerry Bindl expressed concerns about the condition of the pumping station adjacent to Riverside Park.

In other matters, it was decided to replace rather than repair the 20-year-old mosquito sprayer.

No action was taken regarding an Eagle Scout project request. The trustees would like to hear a presentation by the scout.

Village Administrator Cinda Johnson said she has been contacted by several individuals who are interested in a permanent campsite during the 2021 season.

Chief of Police Bill Schramm reported that a recent “Stuff the Squad” yielded 100 bags of food for the Riverdale Food Pantry.

The Iowa County Administrator explained an effort to expand fiber communication lines in that county which would come to the east part of Muscoda and perhaps could be expanded to serve the entire community. No action was requested for the possible project of the future.

The nearly three-hour meeting began with three citizen requests.

Greg Griswold explained he likes to take his dogs to the DNR lower boat landing for water training. Currently village ordinance requires dogs to be on a leash when off the property of the owner. Griswold was hoping for an adjustment for the time his dog comes out of the water and onto the landing area. The board did not change the ordinance.

 

Lowell Ewing said he has a chicken house in his back yard where he keeps six bantam chickens. He was unaware of an ordinance that prohibits chickens in the village and said the birds are a hobby for him. A neighbor testified the birds, with no roosters, are no bother and the bird facilities are well kept and clean. The board indicated an ordinance can be made to permit the birds to remain.

Ron Stone, owner of the Muscoda Theater Building that has four small apartments, thinks he should qualify for the new residential garbage and recycle pickup rather than be designated commercial. He said the theatre itself is used only two or three times a year and he could take care of all garbage in those cases. The matter will be brought up again at the regular August board meeting.

Two special meetings were scheduled. Tuesday, July 21, the annual village audit will be discussed. A Tuesday, August 4 meeting will consider sanitary sewer rates and village indebtedness.