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Village to bury Main St. power lines PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitch Maersch   
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 20:27

Decision not expected to raise taxes on two-phase road reconstruction project slated to start in June

The Village of Belgium will bury its power lines along Main Street when the road is reconstructed this year.

While Village President Vickie Boehnlein said the board did not hold a hearing or get public input on whether to bury the lines, she said she hasn’t heard a reason not to bury them aside from cost.

We Energies estimates burying the lines during the first phase of the work to cost $925,000. The second phase is estimated to cost $515,000.

The cost estimate from Frontier Communications Corp. is $500,000 to $600,000 to bury phone lines, and the village would pay a high percentage of that cost. The final number depends on whether or not We Energies will share its borings.

Cable company costs could run another $500,000, bringing the total cost to nearly $2.5 million.

“It still appears we can do all this without a tax increase, which was our goal all along,” Boehnlein said at a recent board meeting.

“I think this is the forward-thinking plan,” Trustee Rose Sauers said.

Trustee Josh Borden said Main Street should look good.

“To me, this is the main thoroughfare of the village. If we don’t do it now, it will never get done,” he said.

In a worst-scenario, the cost to taxpayers would increase from $2.30 to $2.33 per $1,000 of property value. On a $200,000 home, that would be a $60 increase.

“It appears to me most of these companies have worked hard to give us an estimate and have gone high,” Boehnlein said.

The board agreed the village should pay to bury power lines to the 37 homes that would be affected. Homeowners would pay for required hookups inside the house, such as new breaker panels.

The board voted 4-0 to bury the lines. Gail Kowalkowski abstained, and Clem Gottsacker and Dale Pfeifer were absent.

Phase one of the project, slated to start in June, would run from Highway LL west to Beech Street. Phase two, slated to be done next year, runs from Beech Street west to the village limits.

The Main Street reconstruction project is slated to cost about $6.9 million. The state is paying 80%, and the village and county are evenly splitting the remaining 20%, meaning each would pay $690,000.

The project was split into two phases after the cost rose from $4.2 million to $6.9 million as updated information on project details became available. The state Department of Transportation agreed to maintain its payment of 80% of the project by using money from two fiscal years.

The cost estimate includes standard lighting and asphalt pavement, with the village paying the difference for upgraded lights and concrete.

The Village Board last June chose decorative lighting for $601,221. The black light posts will be 24 feet tall with six-foot arms that overhang the street.

Boehnlein compared the decorative lights to the ones in Cedar Grove, which she said offer good lighting and look better than the less expensive options.

The village’s first payments on the reconstruction project are due in 2018. Since repayment of some other village debt ends in 2017, the village will carry a slightly lower debt service, about .2%, in 2018, including the Main Street project.

The project calls for limited parking on Main Street to accommodate a five-foot bike lane, required because the project is partly being paid for with federal funds.

From the west village limits to Elevator Lane, parking would be allowed on the north side of the street. From Elevator Lane to Oak Street, parking would be allowed on both sides of the street. Between Oak and Lar Ann streets, parking would be on the north side only. No parking would be allowed on a one-block stretch from Lar Ann to Highway LL.

Residents who live on Main Street may come to Village Hall at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, to get information on how burying the utilities would affect their properties.

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