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Fearing Huge Tax Hike, City Wants Sports Complex Scaled Back

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Copyright 2013 Journal Sentinel Inc.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)
September 26, 2013 Thursday
Early Edition
News; Pg. 3
657 words
City eyes scaled back funds for sports complex
MELISSA GRAHAM; mgraham@jrn.com, Lake Country Reporter (Hartland, WI)

City of Pewaukee - The city may see what kind of bang it can get for fewer bucks when it comes to the sports complex.

The council voted Sept. 16 to see what the Parks and Recreation Department could do with no more than $2 million in borrowed funds. If this number is workable, the Parks and Recreation Department will present "new" project plans to the council and then host another public hearing on the matter.

No funds are being committed at this time.

A few council members, such as Cheri Enters and Colleen Brown, are also taking cues from their constituents to anticipate ADA laws and require that some of the parking lot be paved and at least one restroom is added. This direction has also been given to staff.

"If the council doesn't like some of the things laid out and wants other things added in, then that is the council's decision," said Parks and Recreation Director Kelley Woldanski. Joint Park/Recreation Board Chairman Bob Rhode said that they would try to fit these requests into that $2 million scope but could not make any promises. Most recently drafted plans show Phase 1, considered the first phase of actual construction after parcel prep work, is expected to cost about $4.1 million, with a cushion for contingency.

"You're looking at a huge tax increase in those years'Looking short term and looking long term, I am just concerned about the price tag," Brown said.

This amount covers $1.4 million for earthwork and erosion control, about $1.24 million for utilities and infrastructure, and $423,713 for a basic parking lot and Phase 1 of landscaping. Equipment purchase and maintenance fees would occur thereafter and would be split between the city and village, roughly 60/30.

Citywide, the total projected borrowing was previously projected to go from $6.34 million to $8.56 million in 2014, due to Phase 1 of the sports complex. This number does not reflect the $2 million cap the council was discussing.

Ehler's and Associates had calculated the effect on the tax rate would be an increase of 2 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2014, 9 cents per $1,000 in 2015 and up to 13 cents per $1,000 in 2020. This could extend city debt for another four years. Updated costs reflecting paved parking and restroom options were not available at press time.

A recent public hearing highlighted new numbers of contribution, too. The presentation estimated that partnerships with clubs could bring in $600,000, as well as undetermined amounts through a partnership with the Tourism Committee and a potential partnership with the Pewaukee School District. The Tourism Committee has already agreed to an 18-percent commitment, but that number could change. Some money, too, is already set aside for this project: $95,720 in impact fee contributions (as of May 31) and $392,574 in the Sports Complex fund.

The need for a new Pewaukee park - potentially the last Pewaukee park - has been discussed at length.

Woldanski says the parks are popular. Athletic groups that currently use the parks include Pewaukee Sussex United Soccer, Pewaukee Youth Baseball, Pewaukee High School (freshman and JV teams), Pewaukee Athletic Association, Pewaukee Muskies (Land O'Lakes), Pewaukee Youth Football and SWCHA Saints (homeschool group). Pewaukee Parks & Recreation also hosts youth T-ball, girls softball and adult softball programs, in addition to seasonal programs and regular families.

"It's doing what parks are supposed to do. It's bringing together families. It's making the place more than a series of houses connected by the same streets. It's making a community," said Alderman Steve Bierce.

Dates have not been set for the next meeting, and some council members have suggested seeking a referendum or traffic study. Mayor Scott Klein also expressed interest in new, more palatable phases.

"One way or another, we have to make a decision. Because right now, we're in limbo," Klein said.

Copyright 2013 Journal Sentinel, All Rights Reserved.

September 27, 2013

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