Village of Fredonia takes a pass on proposed sidewalk referendum

Ozaukee Press Staff

There won’t be a referendum on how to pay for sidewalks on the Fredonia spring ballot, the Village Board decided last week.

Last month the Plan Commission suggested that a referendum be put on the April ballot to let residents decide how the village should pay for installing sidewalks.

The referendum would seek a one-time increase in the tax levy for 2020 to install sidewalks in existing neighborhoods where no sidewalks exist and possibly in areas where there is no development to link existing sidewalks.

It also would ask residents whether they support a plan to split the cost in those existing neighborhoods between the village and homeowners or whether the village should pay the entire cost for their installation.

Officials estimate the cost to install sidewalks in those areas to be at least $150,000.

But last week the board voted to tell the Plan Commission that, in the words of Village President Don Dohrwardt, “the Village Board is rather cool” to the idea of a referendum.

The village has struggled with how to pay for sidewalks for some time.

Earlier this year, trustees voted to require developers of new subdivisions to foot the entire bill for installing sidewalks while homeowners in existing neighborhoods would split the cost with the village.

This fall, however, homeowners and trustees balked at that policy, after some homeowners protested and questioned whether sidewalks are even needed. That caused trustees to research the matter further.

But last week, trustees agreed a referendum had no chance of passing.   

“Considering that we’re asking the public for more cash to build sidewalks, I don’t see that as being successful,” Dohrwardt said.

Trustee Richard Abegglen concurred. “We know the answer we’re going to get so it would be a lot of effort for little gain,” he said.



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