As President of the Village of Caledonia, I feel it necessary to comment on the many articles and letters to the Editor inaccurately describing Caledonia along with the Village of Mt. Pleasant of shady midnight deals concerning the sewer and water extension to Caledonia. I realize this is an “election opportunity” for some; however the truth surrounding this very important issue has to be told.
For years, there has been talk about running sewer and water out to I-94 in Caledonia. The approved regional plans have consistently called for any new sewer/water lines to tie into the existing infrastructure that runs along STH 20 in Mount Pleasant. For this reason the Village of Mt. Pleasant and the Racine Water/Wastewater Utility had the foresight to oversize their infrastructure in anticipation of surrounding communities coming on board. The sewer and water project initiated by the Village of Caledonia is part of this plan to open up development in our community. The Journal Times, as well as other news agencies have done a great job of covering the large amount of development taking place in Mt. Pleasant, along with the negotiation between both Villages concerning future growth. Mt. Pleasant has captured much of the new growth in Racine County, which I would call “vision and good leadership” although sometimes unpopular. Caledonia is now pursuing development opportunities in order to provide jobs, build our tax base and sustain our ability to provide funding for needed services in the future.
In 2008, Caledonia and Mount Pleasant signed an agreement that allowed Caledonia to run its sewer line across Mount Pleasant and to hook up to the sewer line in STH 20 in return for a payments exceeding $5 million starting at the time of hook up. Recently, as Caledonia prepared to move forward with this sewer connection by constructing a sewer line along CTH V, discussions was conducted with Mt. Pleasant in regard to the type of pipe that would be installed. If Caledonia installed a force main, which moves sewage under pressure, property owners along the route would not be able to hook up. If a gravity line, instead of a force main were installed, property owners along the route would be able to hook up and a large segment of Mt. Pleasant would open up for future development. Mt. Pleasant wisely preferred the construction of a gravity sewer line. In my opinion, this decision showed “vision and good leadership” although sometimes unpopular.
An amendment to the 2008 agreement was authorized at public meetings by the Village Boards of both communities. Pursuant to this amendment, Caledonia agreed to contribute $2.1 million to the construction of this gravity line in Mt. Pleasant along CTH V from CTH C to STH 20. In addition, Caledonia agreed to make its first payment of $1.4 million to Mt. Pleasant for the sewer connection to STH 20 prior to hook up and before it was required under the original 2008 Agreement. Ultimately, these payments to Mt. Pleasant will exceed $5 million. The $1.4 million payment was made this month. It was apparent to me that the representatives of Mt. Pleasant had the best interests of their Village in mind in making their decisions and in negotiating with Caledonia. Neither Village got exactly what it wanted but the final agreement was good for the future of both Villages. Elected representatives often have to make difficult decisions. I believe that the elected representatives in both Caledonia and Mount Pleasant have made difficult decisions in this matter. Both communities will reap the benefits and future generations will commend the people who had the courage to show “vision and good leadership” although sometimes unpopular.