Committee backs borrowing around $2 million for Rhinelander street projects
Loan would be paid for with PRAT money
BY KEVIN BONESKE
More than $2 million worth of street projects being planned for this year in Rhinelander could be financed with a combination of borrowing and funds raised from the city’s half-percent Premier Resort Area Tax that went into effect last year to pay for infrastructure improvements in the city.
The city’s Public Works Committee voted Monday in favor of a borrowing a 10-year note worth $2,075,000 and paying off the note’s principal and interest with PRAT revenue.
Committee members heard from city street foreman Dan Mulhern, interim city administrator Keith Kost and Mark Barden from Town and Country Engineering regarding the proposed street projects for this year that could include 15.86 miles of roadway.
“There’s a lot of roads that have been neglected – it’s a good word for it – in the past,” Mulhern said. “I don’t want to look in the past. I want to look in the future. I want to make positive improvements to the city streets,” Mulhern said.
The street project list provided to the committee includes 10.49 miles of maintenance projects with crack sealing, single sealcoat work and sealcoat and patching, as well as 5.36 miles of capital projects with resurfacing, mill and overlay and reconstruction for a total estimated cost of $2,062,722.
By borrowing the $2,075,000 and adding the PRAT revenue available through August of this year, Kost said the city would have about $2.7 million available for those street projects with that amount not including PRAT revenue the city would receive in November.
Kost said the annual principal and interest payments for the borrowing would come out to about $240,000 per year, while the city is estimating $425,000 yearly in PRAT revenue.
“If the estimate (for PRAT revenue) is off by $100,000 or $150,000, it’s not going to hurt you at all,” he said.
Barden said the earlier the city would be moving forward with the road projects, the better, so that they could be bid out in March when other projects are being bid out.
“We would want to be ahead of the game with this, too,” Barden said. “There’s a lot of work going on and we want to bid it out as quickly as possible, and March is realistic.”
Kost said the project list could be “tweaked” before being finalized by the City Council.
Off all the proposed street projects listed for 2018, Kost said one not on the list in need of work, Stevens Street between Frederick Street and Highway 17, was left off because that section of roadway is also in need of future sewer and water work, which could take place in 2019 or 2020 upon the city receiving a Rural Development grant/loan.
“Now there will have to be some money spent on Stevens to make it passable, but there would be no reason to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a road that you hope you’re going to tear up in 2019 and 2020 to fix underground,” Kost said.
The city Water/Wastewater Committee voted Monday in favor of two motions related to Stevens Street, where Town and Country Engineering would provide engineering services for the utility improvements and prepare a Rural Development grant/loan application, preliminary engineering report and environmental report (if needed) at a cost not exceeding $20,000, as well as preliminary design work not to exceed $50,000.
Eugene Laschinger of Town and Country Engineering noted that out of the estimated $16 million to fix that section of Stevens Street, around $14 million would be for sewer and water work with approximately $2 million for street work.