The Platteville Common Council was faced with what aldermen termed a difficult, and potentially precedent-setting, decision on a proposed new business on Enterprise Drive near the U.S. 151/Wisconsin 80/81 interchange:
Either allow the business to install a well and septic system, contrary to city policy, or figure out a way to extend — and, more importantly, pay for — extending city and water service from south of Southwest Health about 0.2 miles to the business.
The council tabled a decision May 24 until more accurate estimates could be determined on the cost of extending water and sewer service, along with options to pay for it — including possibly assessing property owners in the area.
The decision came after a work session that laid out the potential options, all of which would be expensive either for the city or for the proposed buyer of the property.
According to a Common Council memo, the potential buyer wants to buy about 1.32 acres of land on Enterprise Drive just north of the 80/81/U.S. 151 interchange for a $300,000 building for “a commercial business with potential draw from the region.”
The real estate agent, Renee Beyer of Lori Droessler Real Estate, requested city permission in March to install a well and septic system on the property, similar to nearby properties that had wells and septic systems installed before they were annexed into the city. The city Water and Sewer Commission recommended that the city consider extending water and sewer service to the property, paid for by Tax Incremental Financing District 6.
The potential buyer rejected two options due to cost — hooking up to city water and sewer service at the buyer’s cost, or having the city lend money to the buyer for water and sewer with a proposed downpayment of $30,000 and 10- to 15-year payback period. The latter proposal would include a provision to reduce payments if other property is developed between the hospital and Enterprise Drive and hook up to city water and sewer.
That leaves other options, beginning with allowing the buyer to install a well and septic system with a requirement that the buyer sign a development agreement to hook into city water and sewer service when available or after a certain time period to allow the well and septic system to be paid off.
The other option is to install water and sewer service, paid by the city directly through the city’s general fund or by its Water and Sewer Utility, through the city’s Tax Incremental Financing District 6, or by assessing property owners in the area.
City Finance Director Valerie Martin said the taxable increment of TIF 6 decreased from $629,000 in 2015 to $491,000 this year because of a downward revaluation of the Emmi Roth USA cheese plant, from $16.5 million to $13.7 million, and other changes in the district. Martin said the district’s fund balance will be negative at the end of this year.
For more on this story, read The Journal next week.