Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Village Board Approves Liquor License

On a preliminary basis, the Baldwin Village Board gave approval for a second liquor store license for the village.

The liquor store license, officially known as Class A beer and Class A liquor, was on the agenda for review and was requested by Stephanie Zacharias. She told the board that if she could secure a license, she would like to open a store in the eight unit strip mall at the southwest corner of the I-94/USH 63 interchange, known as Baldwin Retail.

There is no population requirement imposed as part of liquor licenses, but other requests in the past have been turned down by the board.

Trustee Claire Stein said he supported issuing the license because it would be good for competition and would be good for the village's tax base.

On a voice vote the board approved issuing the license, contingent on a site for the store being secured. There were no no votes, but Village President Don McGee announced he abstained from the vote because of a conflict with his son's employment.

In other action at the meeting, the board heard a presentation by Dave Carlson about financing for the proposed upgrade of Baldwin's wastewater treatment plant. (It should be noted somewhere, and here is as good as anywhere, that an upgrade would not be paid for by taxes, but rather by user fees-sanitary sewer charges are billed by the village on a quarterly basis.)

Carlson said the village has a choice in how to pay for the plant expansion, that will cost in the neighborhood of $5,000,000. He said the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers money from their "Clean Water Fund," at an interest rate of probably 2.75%.

The federally funded Rural Development Corporation offers an interest rate of 4.375%, but would also offer a $500,000 grant. The Rural Development money also comes with more paperwork attached, which may prove to be expensive.

Carlson said that the best interest rate from the DNR fund would result in about $317,000 in interest payments, and even with the best rate from Rural Development it would require a grant of about $900,000 to lessen its payments to those from the DNR fund. In addition, the Rural Development loan may have a "blended" interest rate because different aged areas of the village would be served, thus further increasing the interest differential.

"My personal feeling is let's go with the Clean Water Fund," said President McGee. "It's a lot simpler" and it's the route the village has chosen in the past.

Village Engineer Mike Stoffel added that the village isn't "skipping free money" by turning down the grant from Rural Development because its costs money to receive it and the interest rate would be higher.

The village board passed a motion to utilize the DNR's Clean Water Fund.