SHULLSBURG — Final discussion and approval was given for the reconstruction of Iowa Street (from Water to Estey Street), Oates Street (from Estey to Judgement Street) and Estey Street (from west side of Veteran’s Memorial Park to Judgement Street) at the City of Shullsburg meeting Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017.
All three streets will receive new sanitary sewer, water main, storm sewer and street reconstruction. The total estimated price tag for the work will be $1.325 million. The project has received a Community Development Block Grant for Public Facilities (CDBG-PF) in the amount of $500,000 and a 1.88% twenty year loan of $825,385 from DNR Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (annual payment of $49,550).
Bart Nies and Mark Doyle of Delta3 Engineering were present, they answered questions and explained the high points of the project. Some of the items that where discussed include: The streets will not be widened, due to right-of-way restrictions; There will be an electrical upgrade; No tree removal is planned.
With the project being approved, unanimously, the bids will be let out and will be awarded Feb. 1, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. The contractors could possibly start in March or April (if weather cooperates); first layer of pavement should be done by June 30 on Estey and Iowa Streets; the rest of the project is projected to be completed by Sept. 1, 2017.
“McCoy/Richards Farm” Development
The next item on the agenda – “Discussion and possible action regarding McCoy residential Development Covenants” caused a bit of tension. It started with Mayor Gloria Swenson going through the covenants and highlighting the items that she disagreed with or had questions about. Swenson then invited Police Chief Josh Jerry to voice his concerns.
Jerry pointed out that police do not enforce covenants, they do enforce ordinances, but after reaching out to the police department attorney, Jerry was advised not to convert the covenants into ordinances – nothing good would come of it. Covenants are a civil matter. The covenants as they are written now are too vague.
Concerns: No above ground pools – does that include kiddy pools; Can’t park a vehicle in your driveway for greater than 48 hours; Mechanical work can only be done in the garage – can you change a tire in the driveway, etc.; No commercial activity – does that include a day care or online business; would the city need to maintain the out-lots? Clerk – Treasurer Marsha Einswieler compiled a list to give to Russell.
Then it was Alder Emmett Rielly’s turn. Rielly asked, “Do we have a lawyer representing us on the McCoy Development matter? We were given this document at the last meeting and told to look at it.” Russell, the cities attorney is representing McCoy, he presented a draft proposal at the last meeting. Einswieler pointed out that Russell said the city needs to have an attorney review the document.
Rielly continued, “Who’s going to be our attorney? Are we going to be able to meet the attorney? Some of these meetings (regarding the covenants) are going on without being posted, they’re going on in other places, they’re not going on in front of me.”
Rielly said, “I think we need a lawyer to look at this, there’s a lot in here that I just don’t agree with. Specifically – a twenty-five year deal where the property is deeded to the city, but McCoy’s can take the property back, I don’t get that. That’s just ridicules. Who signs something like that?” Alder Jim Paquette asked, “What are the conditions where they can take it back?” Rielly answered, “If we don’t follow the covenants.” Paquette replied, “Well, we’re going to follow the covenants.”
Swenson said she had talked to Russell and he told her that he doesn’t have anything ready yet, and wouldn’t until the city made a decision regarding the lot sizes. Paquette said, “I think we need to have Russell get the covenants ready (and consider our changes) by the next meeting and we need to hire an attorney go over them.” Lot sizes were not discussed at this meeting.
Rielly said, “The other thing we need to straighten out - is this the McCoy Development or the Richards Farm Development? On the agenda it says the McCoy Residential Development, on the covenant document it’s titled Richards Farm Development – which is it?” Einswieller stated, “The working name has been the McCoy Development, if you want me to change that, let me know!” Paquette said, “At some point we will give it official name. What is the big deal?” Reilly, “What’s the big deal? Either do it right or you don’t do it. Where are these meetings going on that you’re changing these things, they’re not going on in front of me.” Paquette, “Meetings for what?” Reilly, “Meetings that will be costing us $90,000 per year.”
Alder Darrell Morrissey said, “Let’s move on.” Rielly countered, “No – we’re not moving on!”
Rielly said, “Another thing that bothers me is there is no vehicle that allows for changing the proposal for twenty-five years. If something is not working and houses are not being built, we may need to make changes so we can attract home builders.”
Alder Cory Ritterbusch said, “That would be up to the home owners association.” Rielly, “No, no, no. The document says the homeowners association doesn’t come in until twenty-five years.” Ritterbusch, “Or until 50% of the lots are sold.” Rielly, “So, with these covenants, you think 50% of the lots will be sold in five years?” Ritterbusch, “Five to ten – yes.” Reilly, “That’s optimistic. I would say, like I’ve said from the beginning, that this will be a big loser for Shullsburg. The most we can make is about $2,000 a house on this and we will be paying $90,000 a year for twenty years.” Ritterbusch said, “Aren’t we supposed to be talking about the covenants?” Rielly, “I think we should be talking about things that are important to the people who pay for it.” Swenson said, “That’s not the agenda.” Reilly, “Neither is the agreement.”
Nies who remained at the meeting was asked for his opinion, he responded. “Covenants are not ordinances. Right now, you do not have a subdivision, so you do not have covenants. Typically the covenants are the last things that are discussed in a development. You haven’t even approved a preliminary plat, so you’re a long way from having a subdivision.”
Jason Wieskircher was recognized and he said, “I have a question for this board, so you’re at the point where if you can make these covenants fit your needs, this is a done deal? The way it reads if you accept the covenants, you accept the 14.23 acres and this is going to happen. Why is there an accelerated pace on this. You’re going to spend $54,000 per housing lot to get these sold. I think somebody better be putting the breaks on, Emmett’s trying. The problem is you’re not looking at the big picture. What happens if this flops? I hope it’s successful, but...”
Neis stated he stayed for McCoy portion of the meeting because, “I just don’t want to be told July 1st that we need to construct sewer and water lines yet this year.” Paquette said, “Yes, that could happen, so be prepared.”
At the end of meeting Rielly wanted to add a future agenda item – to discuss having an access fee of $10,000 - $20,000 for anyone who buys a lot for $1 in the McCoy development. It would be a fee to hook up to the city’s utilities. Paquette stated that he wouldn’t be interested in discussing that!
In other business:
The council approved a waste water discharge permit for White Hill Cheese, LLC. They have the right to discharge, in the public sanitary sewer system, a monthly average of 110,000 gallons per day, with a peak flow not to exceed 130,00 gallons per day.
And similarly, the council approved a waste water discharge permit for Shullsburg Creamery II, LLC. They have the right to discharge, in the public sanitary sewer system, a monthly average of 10,000 gallons per day, with a peak flow not to exceed 15,00 gallons per day.
The council approved an agreement with Seniors United for Nutrition Program (SUN).
Action regarding hiring of an Electrical Lineman apprentice was tabled, due to the apprentice program official not being available to outline the program.
The council approved vouchers for general, water, sewer, electric, pool, museum, library and TIF funds in the amount of $159,467.