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Who is on the hook for delinquent bills?

Cadott Village Board

By Ginna Young

When it comes to delinquent utility bills and other such matters, who is responsible for collecting that debt? That’s a question that was addressed at a regular Cadott Village Board meeting Oct. 21.

Members looked at approving Resolution 2019-16, authorizing the placement of special assessments, special charges and delinquent utility on the tax roll, something that needs to be done every year.

“There’s the ability for the village to intercept a tax refund, if I’m not mistaken,” said trustee Russ Falkenberg. “Is there an option for us to try to intercept that, before we put it on the tax roll of the property owner? Then, if we can’t get that, in a reasonable amount of time, then assess it to the property owner?”

Trustee Bart Chapek said the reason the two brought up the question, is, as landlords, they try to get good renters, but when delinquent renters skip town, the landlords can’t get their money back. Chapek cited one of his renters, who owed more than $1,000 and left without paying.

“I’m never going to see that money,” said Chapek.

“In a case like that, though,” said clerk Sandy Buetow, “if we do it the way we do it right now, is, we’re doing it to the trailer park, where you can’t collect the money.”

Buetow asked if that could be considered a “final,” to which Chapek said his case has been deemed as final.

“You are responsible for that bill if they up and leave,” said Buetow.

“Do we have an ordinance or anything that allows us to do that at this point?” asked trustee Les Liptak.

Buetow says the special assessment goes to a property owner, which Falkenberg said is why they asked if the village could take the interim step.

Although it has been talked about in the past, Buetow offered to look into it again for cases through trailer parks.

“That’s why we put it back to where it’s a final bill…the other people we can collect through the tax roll system,” she said.

Buetow said it could cause a problem if the assessments are never put on the tax roll.

“We can do it, I just want to find out what’s the best way to do it,” said Buetow.

“Say we’re on the list to intercept their tax return,” said trustee Randy Kuehni, “I wonder if there are 10 other people ahead of us that are on the list and we’re sitting here.”

Trustee Terry Licht said there is that possibility, but that the assessment would still come back to the landowner in the long run.

Regardless, members did approve the resolution for this year, because there are other delinquents who need to be placed on the tax roll. Members did request that Buetowlook into the matter for future discussion/action.

Also on the agenda, was pursuing a Multimodal Local Supplement Program (MLS).

“Basically, what it is, there is a program out there, it is a one-time program…it’s a 90/10 cost share,” said Len Schreiber, Cedar Corp.

The MLS program is a 90 percent grant, with 10 percent of local funds for certain projects. Through the MLS, $75 million is available for counties, cities, villages and townships, who plan a project cost of $250,000 up to $3.5 million.

“There are different categories and project types you need to go through,” said Schreiber.

Needs are assessed through a committee and awared accordingly, focusing on economic impact, connectivity impact and cost effectiveness.

“You can put together three different projects and from that, send that to committee and see if you are lucky enough to get selected, based on hitting all the criteria points,” said Schreiber.

Applications run between $1,000 and $1,500 for each project. Cadott projects would be to connect Yellow Street with wells in that area, a project on 80th and Boundary Road, and the new development.

The 90/10 does not include infrastructure development.

“What are the odds you think it will be approved?” asked Chapek.

“Well, 90/10 is big number,” said Schreiber. “Obviously, everybody is going to go for this – 90/10 is kind of unheard of.”

Schreiber said he feels as though Cadott would have as good a chance as anyone else who applies.

“I feel like we almost have to do it,” said Chapek.

The other members agreed and approved pursuing the MLS.

In other business, the board appointed newer employee Matt Gindt as the village forester.