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After narrow miss, Rib Lake to try again for street grant

Following the disappointing news it didn’t receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for the Landall Avenue/McComb Avenue project, the Rib Lake Village Board weighed it’s options at its meeting on September 9 and voted to apply again for grant funding next year.

Pat Morrow of MSA Professional Services told the board MSA felt Rib Lake was very close to receiving funding for the project. He said historically, MSA has seen scores as low as 110 points and as high as 165 points being funded. Morrow said Rib Lake’s score of 135 was in the middle and would have been funded in a normal year. He said this was a very popular and busy year for whatever reason with 65 grant applications with 40 projects funded, and the Department of Administration ran out of available funds. Morrow said in a typical year there are 40 to 45 applications for funding with 28 to 30 projects receiving grants.

Looking over the scoring report, village president Bill Schreiner commented the village could have picked up 30 points for general obligation, but the village doesn’t have a debt. “So darn us for getting punished for running a good operation,” Schreiner said. Morrow agreed, saying Rib Lake needs to get some general obligation debt underneath its belt.

Morrow said in talking with his colleague Art Bahr, it was felt where Rib Lake really fell short was in project need. Morrow said it’s obvious that the project is needed, but what Rib Lake didn’t have in the grant application were good photographs of the proposed project. He said no one had a good photo of the sinkhole or caved-in area of the storm sewer line nor was the village able to get a camera into the line to see what was in there.

Rib Lake is still interested in completing the Landall Avenue portion of the project, which would cost $277,544, including engineering and contingency funds. Morrow said if the village felt it could wait, hold off on the Landall Avenue project and re-apply for the CDBG next year since Rib Lake’s score was so close to being funded. “Basically, you stand to spend $280,000 out of your own pocket to just fix Landall. Or do the full project — main street paved, new curb, new sidewalk and storm sewer — for a similar amount of out-of-pocket money because the rest would be covered by the CDBG.”

Schreiner asked if the village would have to pay MSA another $8,000 to submit a new grant application. Morrow said there would be some additional expense because a new public hearing would have to be held and some updates made to the application. He said it wouldn’t cost the same amount of money, adding it would be “somewhere south of $3,000.”

Morrow said in the meantime, if the sinkhole should re-appear or something happens where the repairs start to fail or the village is able to get a camera in the line to see how bad it is, photos would improve the village’s grant application next time.

“It’s another leap of faith,” Morrow said. “Only you can make the decision about re-applying, but the stakes are pretty high for what you could get for an outcome.” He added if the village felt it needed to proceed with the Landall Avenue project instead of waiting, then MSA could move forward with that part of the project.

Following a discussion on possible funding options for the Landall project should the village decide to proceed with it, trustee Vernell Van Hecker said he thought the village should hold off on Landall and re-apply for grant funding. “I don’t see why that shouldn’t hold for another year.” Trustees Russ Bullis and Cliff Mann agreed.

Morrow said the board didn’t have to make a decision that evening, but since possible loan/funding for the Landall Avenue storm sewer project was on the agenda, the board voted to wait and re-apply for grant funding next year.

Morrow also briefed the board on the painting and rehabilitation of the water tower to bring it in compliance with current regulations. He said MSA is working to prepare and submit the Intent to Apply (ITA) and Priority Evaluation and Ranking Form (PERF) for funding for the project from the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP). He said this would allow Rib Lake to know where it stands regarding low interest loans and/ or grants to finance the project. Based on current interest rates set by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Morrow said the village could fund the project with a 20-year loan at 1.056 percent interest and be eligible for a grant covering 60 percent of the cost up to $500,000. He said once Rib Lake knows where it stands regarding funding, work can proceed on the plan and specifications to be submitted to the DNR, along with the SDWLP application, by June 30 of next year.

Illegal dumping

During the trustee reports, Van Hecker told the board there has been a problem for the past few months with a waste hauler dumping raw sewage into the village’s sewer system. He said it’s probably someone popping a manhole cover open and dumping the load of sewage, which is causing spikes in the system. Van Hecker said Chelsea has been having the same problem and it’s happening on the same day. He said the last time it happened was around 7:30 a.m.

Van Hecker said the DNR has been notified twice about the incidents and the last time the DNR recommended talking to police chief Derek Beckstrand and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department to be on the lookout for waste haulers dumping a load of raw sewage in the village’s sewer system.

Van Hecker said the dumping kills the bacteria in the system and on one occasion it took nearly two weeks for the system to recover. He said the village is deducted points by the DNR when that happens. Van Hecker finished by saying if anyone happens to see a waste hauler dumping a load of sewage down a manhole, they should call the sheriff’s department.

Village clerk Dawn Swenson asked if this was something that could be happening at the pumping station at the park. Van Hecker replied probably not because it’s not a big enough sewer line, so it would have to be a manhole. “They can dump 4,000 gallons in about six or seven minutes if they put the pressure on the system. So they could be in and out of here in a very short time,” Van Hecker said.

Trick or treat hours

The board decided to hold trick or treating in the village this year and set the hours from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Bullis mentioned he saw on the news that Antigo cancelled trick or treating this year and will just have a family movie night.

“Trick or treating is also done in family groups where siblings are together going to each house. It’s not like you’re out in the pack of kids,” Swenson said.

“But we might be closed down again,” Bullis said. “That’s the way it sounds like, down in Medford.”

Swenson said she hadn’t thought about that.

“Well, I think we should have it and let the parents make the decision,” Schreiner said.

“We’ll leave it up to them,” agreed trustee Jack Buksa.

“And I guess if anyone doesn’t want them [trick or treaters] at their house, they should keep their lights off outside,” Swenson said.