Sewer laterals part of Main Street project
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville Utility Board has recommended that the city council that it approve a special assessment to property owners on Main Street to replace their sewer laterals.
The city council will act on the recommendation at its Sept. 12 meeting.
Property owners were informed at the utility board’s public hearing that the original estimate for the replacement of sewer laterals for the project was $1,747 per lateral. This amount covered the replacement of the sewer lateral from main line to each individual property line.
Clintonville Water & Wastewater Manager Dave Tichinel said the actual amount property owners will be charged per lateral replacement for the project will actually be $1,696.
Included in that amount is $65 for a temporary pedestrian surface used during the reconstruction. The $65 cost represented only half the cost of a temporary pedestrian surface, as the city paid the other half of that cost because waterline replacement was also part of the project.
“These charges are only assessed on the sewer. The water line was paid 100 percent (by the city),” Tichinel said.
Seven properties are not being charged the $65, as those properties didn’t have sidewalks prior to the project, thus a temporary pedestrian surface was not needed. Those properties will have sidewalks once the project is completed.
“But we can’t charge you for it because when we went through, there was no sidewalks there to begin with,” Tichinel said.
Tichinel added that property owners that had sidewalks prior to the reconstruction don’t have to pay an assessment for sidewalk replacement as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is paying that cost because it is the DOT’s road.
One property will have an additional charge of $400 for a “clean-out.”
Regarding the assessment for sewer lateral replacement, Tichinel said the lateral assessment for the Main Street reconstruction project is roughly the same amount as it was for residents on Maize Street last summer when that street was reconstructed.
When asked why the city replaced the water and sewer lines under Main Street during the reconstruction project, Tichinel said the infrastructure under Main Street was from 1911.
“I don’t want you to have to dig up that road (if you have a problem),” Tichinel said. “That charge for the concrete and everything if you had to dig a sewer breakup from the main in, that’s your charge. And it would be very, very expensive because you have to put the concrete back, the sidewalk back. Here, this is brand new line to the property line.”
He added that the city is trying to protect property owners by putting brand new laterals in from the main line to the property line when a street is reconstructed.
He said sewer laterals from the property line to the house are not replaced because the city can’t go on private property.
That said, he added that each lateral was inspected when it was exposed and the property owner was informed if their lateral was in need of replacement. At that point it was the responsibility of the property owner to replace the lateral from the property line to the house.
Tichinel said other municipalities use the same process.
Property owners were also informed that the connections are just beyond the sidewalk on the property owner’s side, and not under the sidewalk. This eliminates the need to tear up the sidewalk or road if a problem occurs with any of the connections.
The cost of the project and whether it was bid out was questioned. Tichinel said since the Main Street reconstruction project is a Wisconsin DOT project, the DOT put the project out on bids. The city of Clintonville was not involved in that process.
“We didn’t have a say on who our contractor was going to be,” Tichinel said.
Mary Nordin, city engineer for the city of Clintonville, told those in attendance that the project also required state mandated wage rates, which substantially increased the cost of the project.
“If the city were to bid it there is no longer a requirement to pay mandated wage rates,” Nordin said. “In this case there is. In state highway jobs they have to (pay mandated wage rates).”
Tichinel also reminded property owners that it is the responsibility of the contractors to repair the yards of each property.
“Don’t go out and do anything because that’s their responsibility to put it back to the way it was,” Tichinel said.
How to pay
Those in attendance were informed they have three options to pay the lateral assessment.
Those affected can pay the entire amount within 30 days of receiving the assessment bill from the city. No interest will be charged under this option.
The second option includes having the assessment cost added to the property owner’s taxes. The assessment is then paid when the property taxes are paid.
Paying the assessment cost over five years is the third option. Under this option, a property owner would pay around $340 per year. Interest would be charged under this option, which is the prime rate plus one percent.
Property owners were informed that they will receive a letter from the city regarding paying the assessment amount.
Residents are required to return a form to the city informing the city what option they want to use to pay their assessment.
If the city doesn’t receive the form back from a property owner, the assessment fee is automatically placed on the property owner’s property tax bill.