Village also looking to bury utilities in preparation for Bus. 51 expansion
By Brandi Makuski
Whiting is updating several street surfaces throughout the village, thanks to a $70,000 from the state.
The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) approved a State Trust Fund Loan totaling $70,000 to the village last week to finance street improvements.
Portions of Linden, Dunbar, Jacobson and Crueger streets will be overlaid with asphalt, according to Nic Schmeiser, director of public works and utilities.
“And we’re also doing drainage swales on the side of the road,” Schmeiser said. “Right now, the contractor is constructing the swales but the whole project will definitely be done before fall.”
Schmeiser said the village will also use part of the money to retrofit exterior lighting on the village hall to LED’s, as well as regrade part of the village’s compose site.
Village President Paul Stroik said the loan was a necessary one. The village has seen almost no new construction in recent years, which limits the amount of state aid for which the village is eligible.
“But this is going to keep our tax levy amount in check because without one-and-a-half percent net new construction, that affects our budget,” Stroik said. “By borrowing what we did for these projects, it’ll keep that levy approximately the same amount.”
Stroik said municipal debt is really “just the opposite of your home life”, adding that Whiting, just like its neighbors Stevens Point and Plover, had to carry some level of debt otherwise the village could fall into disrepair.
Road maintenance is more important than ever in the village, Stroik said. The Dept. of Transportation’s remodel of Bus. 51 will begin moving through Whiting in 2017, and the village is looking to move roadside utilities underground, just as the Village of Plover did, at an estimated cost of $250,000.
“I’d love to lower taxes; everybody would,” Stroik said. “But if you had a three-dollar tax rate, you’ll also have roads you couldn’t drive on, and won’t get the services you deserve because we can’t afford it.”