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Village receives good news about a sewer system grant
In Soldiers Grove
Soldiers Grove

SOLDIERS GROVE - At their December 2 meeting, the Soldiers Grove Village Board received more good news about their sewer treatment system upgrade project. Village president Paul Nicholson announced the village has received the maximum grant funding from the DNR Clean Water Grant program.

“The DNR notified us that we will receive $303,257 as a grant, which is the maximum amount possible,” Nicholson told the board. “We won’t know the absolute final cost of the project until it is completed in spring of 2022, but at current estimated costs, this would mean the portion the village will have to pay for the would be $153,743, which the DNR will finance over 20 years at a 0.89 percent interest rate.”

In September of 2020, the village learned they had received a $914,000 grant from the Community Development Public Facility Grant program. The terms of the grant require the village to pay one dollar for every two dollars of grant money spent on the project. The grant has allowed the village to make needed repairs to their sewer system, and is paving the way for the bigger system upgrades needed to bring their system into compliance with WDNR requirements.

The village took out a short-term loan to cover their portion of the cost of the project, while waiting to hear back about the application for a Clean Water Grant, and what portion of that might come as a grant, and what portion as a long-term, low-interest loan.

Project status

Most of the work of this phase of the village sewer treatment system is completed, or will be very soon. After the Fall 2021 construction season concludes, the only remaining portions of the project are some black topping and landscaping. These aspects will be completed in Spring of 2022.

“The construction firm is letting what has been done settle for the winter season,” Village Clerk Kaitlynn Ott explained. “The road to the new lift station has a thin layer of black top to keep the gravel in place, and to let the new road settle. The road bed was too new to put black top completely over it at the time they were black topping the rest of the roads.”

According to Ott, the new lift station near the Flat is completed and running properly. The old lift station near Myrtle Lake is no longer in use, and the pipes have been cut off, so it does not run anymore. 

“When they cut the pipes, the station still filled with water, telling us it had a hole in the bottom of it causing the lift station to pump more water to the sewer plant than should have been,” Ott said. “The improvements as of cutting off the old lift station by the slough and starting up the new one has caused our flow rates at the sewer plant to decrease by a lot. They were running at around 49,000 gallons per day. Since cutting off the old lift station, the flow rates are now down to 15,000 per day at the most. This means that the sewer plant is now running at the rate it should be for daily flow, and has the village back in compliance with the DNR.”

The lift station by the American Legion (Lift Station Four) is set to be completed and running with the new pump by December 7. Lift Station Three, the one by Steve George's, is set to be completed and running with the new pump by December 16. Lift Station Two, by the bridge on Pine Street, is set to be completed and running with the new pump by December 22.

Holiday plans

Besides the news that everything is going well, the biggest news in Fire Chief Roger Olson’s report related to plans for the upcoming holidays in the village. Olson reminded board members that the fire department holiday party would take place at the American Legion on Friday, Dec. 3.

Olson reported that the Red Coats are moving forward with their food and toy drive. The effort will provide presents for children, and holiday meal foods, for families in need in the department’s service area. He said that a ‘letters to Santa’ mailbox has been placed in front of the fire station so children can let Santa know what present they would like to see under the tree on Christmas morning.

In addition, Olson reminded board members that Santa will appear in the Soldiers Grove Village Park on Saturday, Dec. 11, starting at 1 p.m. Prior to his appearance in the park, Santa will ride around the village on a fire truck.

The village board voted unanimously to make a $500 donation to the Red Coat’s toy and food drive. That amount will be matched by the fire department.

Budget approved

The meeting began with a public input session on the proposed 2022 budget. Present for the discussion was former librarian Cele Wolf, and library board president Maura Otis. There was an extensive discussion about the amount budgeted for the library, and the lower amount the library could expect from the county in 2022 because of reduced circulation numbers in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 After much discussion, the board decided to maintain the amount put forth in the proposed 2022 budget.

The board voted unanimously to approve the 2022 village budget. The balanced budget is for a total of $545,359, and will result in a mil rate of1.53. This means, a property taxpayer would pay $153 per year for a home valued at $100,000.

In other business

In other business, the board:

• approved the fire department payroll of $6,620

• approved paying for a Driftless Wisconsin ad for the village with CDC funds

• approved hiring Andrew Troxel’s company Cadre Learning for an upgrade of the village website in the amount of $1,275

• approved a one-time $2,500 expenditure, plus $500 annual maintenance fee, to use the Work Horse software application available for municipalities to map and track their cemetery

• approved employee Christmas bonuses of $125

• approved the transfer of the Country Gardens liquor license to Gabe Williams from Guy Nelson.