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Mount Pleasant residents along Highway V would be given a 20-year deferment to pay special assessments for a sewer and water project and then another 10 years to pay it off under a proposal distributed to board members late Friday afternoon.

Attorney Tim Pruitt put the draft proposal together based on discussions at the staff level, his email to Mount Pleasant Village Administrator Kurt Wahlen reads. The proposal does not include any actual charges; this draft pertains only to the terms of how the assessment will be paid and does note the deferment will be interest free.

Under the terms of the proposal, property owners on Highway V would be granted a 20-year deferment and then given 10 years to pay the assessment by having it added to their applicable property tax bill.

The Highway V project has become a contentious campaign issue for the April general election and the primary Tuesday. Four of five challengers for seats #2 (Rick McCluskey) and #6 (Anna Marie Clausen) live on Highway V and say final decisions on Highway V will negatively impact residents there for years.

McCluskey and Clausen say running sewer and water along the road from Highway 20 to Spring Street will help future development in Mount Pleasant and is a benefit for all residents because of improved infrastructure and potential new jobs.

Certain circumstances would trigger activating the assessment for either sewer or water or both:

  • Rezoning the land use designation
  • Selling the land or dividing it except when selling to an immediate family member like a parent or child
  • Developing the property for anything other than agricultural uses
  • Connection to either sewer or water or both

Wahlen forwarded the proposal to the Village Board Friday. In his note to trustees, Wahlen reminds them that the village would borrow the money for the project to pay for it upfront, thereby eliminating any interest accruing during the deferment period.

Residents who live on Highway V are vehemently opposed to having sewer and water extended along the road because preliminary figures put some assessments in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Sewer and water is being run along Highway V from Caledonia down to Highway 20 in Mount Pleasant as part of a development plan for Caledonia in the immediate future and for Mount Pleasant in a few years. What was supposed to be closed system would not have cost the residents on Highway V anything, but village officials say installing a gravity system instead helps prepare for future commercial development in the area.

Having a gravity system means homeowners on Highway V would typically be required to hook up for both sewer and water, but Mount Pleasant trustees voted last year to change village ordinance the eliminates that requirement.

Now that village staff and trustees have the assessment draft proposal, Pruitt is asking for any changes or revisions before a final draft is put together for a more formal presentation that will be mailed to affected residents.

A public hearing on the assessments would follow and must precede any vote to determine how Mount Pleasant will ultimately pay for the Highway V project.