Residents who live along Highway V could get some financial help for proposed water and sewer connections related to development in Caledonia.
Mount Pleasant Village President Mark Gleason outlined plans Monday to mitigate some or most of the costs homeowners are facing for having to connect to both water and sewer lines planned for Highway V between Highways 20 and C. He also had copies for residents of questions and answers about the project, the school district referendum in Caledonia and Sturtevant, and emergency response times in the Lake Park neighborhood.
Specifically, Gleason said the village could assume some of the costs for water connections but exactly how much isn’t known until the true costs of the project are determined.
“I promise that no one will lose their home,” he said, adding that a public information meeting will be scheduled to discuss the options once costs are known.
Residents along Highway V have loudly protested having to connect to water and sewer lines they say they don’t want or need. Heather Cramer reiterated her position during public comment, telling Gleason his promise that she won’t lose her home only answers one question.
“We might be young, but we have sacrificed and saved so I can be a stay-at-home mom, but these assessments will push that back for us,” she said.
Trustees are also considering rolling back a village ordinance that requires property owners to connect to sewer within one year of the pipes going in the ground and implementing a plan that would eliminate interest accrued on the sewer assessments and defer payments until homeowners connect or sell their property.
Gleason admitted the utility work is development driven, but he also said there’s nothing Mount Pleasant could do to stop Caledonia and the Racine Water Utility from completing the work.
“Yes, this is development-driven, there is no disputing that,” he added. “But there’s nothing to be done to stop it.”
Gleason pointed out that the discussion about the project has not focused on what he sees as a positive for property owners; the increase in value.
“Farm land is going for around $6,000 an acre, but land with sewer and water can sell for $60,000,” he stated.
Residents seem skeptical.
“It’s still so vague,” homeowner Greg Mross told The Journal Times after the meeting. “They say they’re going to pay a portion — a portion could be 5 percent, it could be 95 percent.”
A construction timeline has not yet been established since there is still some design work, engineering and negotiations with homeowners for access to land for the work.