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Highway V construction - Caledonia

Mount Pleasant trustees Monday will consider rescinding special assessments for residents on Highway V to pay for a sewer and water project designed for looming development in Caledonia and future development in Mount Pleasant.

“Development” is the operative word here and is why board members need to cancel the special assessment and bond for the work instead.

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.

Despite declarations to the contrary from some local leaders – both current and former electeds, village staffers and a real estate agent – the residents on Highway V are not the beneficiaries of the sewer and water lines going into the ground.

Here’s why: Not only do they not want or need it as evidenced by the countless comments delivered during village board meetings, but the coming development touted by so many apparently isn’t all that imminent.

During the July 27 meeting of the Finance/Legal/License committee where committee members addressed the Highway V assessments, someone suggested creating a tax incremental financing district (TID) to alleviate Highway V residents’ assessment burden. In short, a TID allows municipalities to attract development by borrowing funds for necessary infrastructure like sewer, water and roads and use the property taxes from new commercial and industrial tenants to pay those loans back. It can take upwards of 20 years for a TID to close.

For a local TID success story, please click here for stories about Sturtevant’s district, largely considered the most successful in the state.

If Mount Pleasant were to create a new TID that includes Highway V, the residents there would no longer be on the hook for the sewer and water work. But, village Community Development Director Logan Martin said during the July 27 FLL meeting that the development needed to pay off the TID won’t happen at the necessary rate in the next 20 years to pay off the loans used to establish and grow the district. (Click here to listen to a recording of that meeting.)

But, residents are supposed to foot the bill instead?

Future commercial and industrial growth will benefit every property owner in Mount Pleasant – look no further than Sturtevant for evidence where property taxes are going down by about 25 percent, and Mount Pleasant trustees are a smart and talented bunch with an intelligent and capable staff at Village Hall.

We don’t believe for one second they can’t find a more palatable solution.

A public hearing about the assessments begins at 6 p.m. Monday at Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive, followed by the regularly scheduled board meeting. Call (262) 664-7800.