Railroad OKs waiting on crossing upgrade as paving Silver Beach Road delayed
The Village of Belgium will not be making an offer to buy easements from property owners as a precursor to paving Silver Beach Road, the Public Works Committee determined this week.
A motion by committee chairman and trustee Clem Gottsacker to recommend to the Village Board to make an offer to buy the easements and check with the village attorney on annexing the road did not get a second from committee member Josh Borden, and thus died.
The third committee member, Dale Pfeifer, did not attend the meeting.
Buying the land now may save the village money as a reappraisal would not be necessary when the road paving is expected to be completed.
“Land (value) will go up in four or five years. It always does,” Gottsacker said.
The village could use tax incremental finance money to buy the land. It expected to have $45,000 — enough money to buy the land — if the lift station project stays on budget, said Village President Vickie Boehnlein.
“If we can get them now it will save a heck of a lot of headaches later,” she said.
“I’m not willing to spend extra money right now,” Borden said.
Trustee Pete Anzia said there may be an advantage to waiting in case the project were to get rerouted. Then the village still has the land.
“What happens if we don’t need it?” he said.
The village already spent $1,000 to $1,500 on appraisals.
“I believe we should do it. Get what we can,” Gottsacker said.
Paving Silver Beach Road, which goes into the village’s industrial park, has been noted as a key to attracting businesses. Gottsacker said he has talked to company owners who want the road paved.
“I believe this road is absolutely necessary,” he said.
The Village Board last November approved delaying the Silver Beach Road project, estimated to cost $3.2 million, because obtaining grant funding was in question, tax incremental finance district money would not pay for half the project as originally thought and the Main Street reconstruction project was scheduled to start in the next couple of years.
That Main Street project has since seen its price tag rise from $4.2 million to an estimated $6.9 million. While the state was expected to pay 80% of the project cost and the county and village 10% each, the new cost estimate could change those percentages.
Part of paving Silver Beach Road is improving the railroad crossing, and the village received notice that the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads is going along with the delay.
A Feb. 12 order from the OCR cited a new deadline of Oct. 15, 2019, for Union Pacific Railroad to install the crossing.
If the village decides to delay the project again, it should contact the railroad well before the new deadline, said Matt Greely, senior project engineer with McMahon Associates Inc.
The project also included a stormwater pond an adjacent property owner did not want on his land. Greely developed a plan for two stormwater ponds.
He said the combined size of the two ponds is bigger than the one pond.
The village had spent about $150,000 for engineering costs, but delaying the project won’t impact much of that planning. Greely said roadway grades and cross sections have good shelf life.
“It’s good to know we didn’t throw away $150,000,” Boehnlein said.
The committee did unanimously recommend to the Village Board to send letters to the property owners affected by Silver Beach Road to provide an update on the project.