Trempealeau board approves lodging tax, sewer survey

The Trempealeau village board approved a lodging tax increase, as well as a surveying of the Lake District sewer system at their regular meeting last Thursday.

Lodging tax rates will double from 2.5 percent to five percent starting on April 1 after an ordinance amendment passed unanimously aside from board member Jackie Pyka’s absence. Funds gathered by the increase will be split, with 70 percent going to the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, while the remaining 30 percent will go to the Village for “special projects directed at enhancing tourism in the Village.” Prior to the amendment, 100 percent of those funds were directed to the Chamber. 

According to village estimates, the now-approved ordinance would generate around $11,200 annually for the chamber and $4,800 annually for the village. 

In separate action, the board voted to approve a surveying of the Lake District sewer system. The system, which was annexed by the village in 2004, features a unique closed array of 30 grinder pumps in 27 manhole-type stations that serve 80 Lake District properties owned by 75 property owners. Signs of aging from the system that was originally created in 1983 have spurred the need for assessment and likely some replacement according to a village statement. Davy Engineering was tapped by board action Thursday to begin a two-month survey, which will determine the severity of the cost of the project. 

Two grant applications have been sought by the village to offset replacement costs, with the survey likely to aid that process upon its completion prior to the May grant deadline. Pricing could vary between a $12,000 cost per grinder pump station for individual replacement, up to $750,000 for a system-wide replacement under the worst case scenario according to the village.

In other unrelated action, the board approved a resolution to no longer provide same-day reconnections of electric utility service for customers who are disconnected due to lack of payment. Reconnections of electric service will now be limited to Monday-through-Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with reconnections not taking place during weekends or holidays until the next available business day. Board President Kurt C. Wood said the resolution was in response to a select number of utility consumers who have been known to “game the system” at significant cost to the village.

“This has come about because a lot of people play games,” Wood said. “It costs a lot to send those guys out, especially outside of normal business hours.”

Considerations will also remain to warn consumers prior to the disconnection of their electric service. Clerk/deputy treasurer Kathy Peterson assured the board that the warnings of a 10 day notice by phone, door notice the day prior and in person notice the day of are enough to ensure consumers are aware ahead of time. Ultimately the measure passed unanimously.

Finally, in an unrelated action the board tabled their commitment to the development of the 20-acre park without a vote, citing a lack of funding sources despite interest from several board members in returning to the topic at a later date.


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