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Industrial park expansion: Colfax has $1.7 million

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Village of Colfax currently has $870,000 remaining in borrowing capacity and $840,000 as an undesignated general fund balance.

But whether the Colfax Village Board decides to use some of the money available to expend the industrial park will depend on other projects that may require funding within the next several years.

The Colfax Village Board continued the discussion on expanding the industrial park at the April 8 meeting.

“I would urge the board to look at the industrial park and square it up with Woods Run,” said Gary Stene, village president.

The April 8 meeting was Stene’s last meeting as village president.

Stene did not file nomination papers to run as a candidate in the April 2 election.

“We only have one lot left (in the industrial park). When the economy turns around, villages in position already (with available land) will be in better shape,” he said.

“You should leverage the money to work for the village … we are no better off now than we were five years ago, and if you don’t do something, we will be no different in ten years,” Stene said.

Adding businesses and new residential developments will expand the Colfax tax base; a larger tax base will not necessarily lower taxes, but additional development might slow down tax increases, he said.

According to an e-mail from Brian Reilly, the village’s financial consultant with Ehlers and Associates, Colfax has about $870,000 remaining in general obligation borrowing capacity, which means Colfax has 40 percent of the borrowing capacity left allowed by state law.

Reilly said Ehlers generally recommends that municipalities maintain 15 to 20 percent of their borrowing capacity.

“In your case, 20 percent is probably more appropriate and that would mean about  $425,000 left in the tank,” Reilly wrote.

Reilly also noted that the village board should consider what other projects might need funding within the next three to five years and that research is needed on the village’s Tax Increment Financing Districts (TID) to assess them from a financial perspective.

Stene pointed out that the village’s streets are desperately in need of repair as well and said the streets are in the worst shape that they have been for the past 60 years.

“If we knew the roads would be this bad (this spring), we should have borrowed more for streets,” he said.

Stene said that he had driven around town to find Rand Bates, director of public works, to complain about the street where he lives.

After driving around to find Bates, “I decided my street was not too bad,” he said.

Reilly is expected to attend the village board’s next meeting to talk about finances.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved a training request from Jackie Ponto, administrator-clerk-treasurer, to attend the University of Wisconsin Green Bay Treasurer’s Institute July 14 through July 19.

• Approved a Class “B” beer license for the Colfax Softball Association at Tom Prince Memorial Park from June 7 through June 9.

• Approved a Class “B” beer license for the Colfax Softball Association for Tom Prince Memorial Park from August 23 through August 25.

• Accepted a donation of two tablet computers for the Colfax Rescue Squad’s ambulances from the Colfax EMS Association.

• Approved four new volunteer EMTs: Miranda Onerheim; Shaylee Miracle; Scott DeVault; John Schaffer. All are good candidates with good experience who will be assets to the rescue squad, said Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad.

• Scheduled the village board’s organizational meeting for April 16 at 7 p.m.

• Scheduled a meeting to interview candidates for the part-time casual general laborer position on April 16 at 7:30 p.m.

• Approved proceeding with developing an ordinance to establish a plan commission as suggested by the village’s attorney. The plan commission will consist of seven members, including up to three village board members, and the remaining members will be village residents. The village president will appoint plan commission members for three-year terms, subject to the approval by the village board at the organizational meeting.

• Referred an annexation request from Don and Marcia Henderson to the newly appointed plan commission that will meet on April 22. The annexation request is for a proposed expansion by Timber Technologies.

• Approved an open house on April 27 that will be held at the Colfax Municipal Building by the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group for National Preservation Week.

• Approved hiring Adam Burgraff of Perfection Painting to clean the municipal building auditorium at a cost of $1,000. Ponto said she had contacted three companies and two had responded. The other quote was for $1,500, she said.

• Learned that Rand Bates, director of public works, was working on obtaining estimates for solutions to the ice build up and the snow sliding off the roof of the Department of Public Works building.

• Approved advertising the one-year trustee vacancy in the Colfax Messenger for one week. Those who are interested in the position should submit a letter of interest by Friday, April 19, at 3:30 p.m. The village president has the duty to appoint a trustee with approval from the village board.