GRAFTON — The
village of Grafton is moving forward in planning a business park for
114 acres off on Ulao Road and Highway C.
Village Board voted Monday to have staff proceed in pursuing the
establishment of a new business park and approved a contract with
Ruekert-Mielke to provide engineering and survey services for the
business park, in the amount of $246,138.70.
The nine bids
the village received ranged in cost from $97,210 to $550,285; a
report from Village Administrator Jesse Thyes, Public Works Director
Amber Thomas and Planner Jessica Wolff stated Ruekert-Mielke was
selected over less expensive bids due to experience, staffing and a
working relationship with the Department of Natural Resources to aid
in needed permitting for the project.
Monday was the
first open-meeting discussion of the business park project since a
feasibility study for
it was commissioned two years ago. Joe Bukovich of
MLG, the company that performed the study and is now slated to work
with the village developing the business park, was optimistic about
the project during Monday’s meeting.
excited to tell you we have two properties under contract that we
will buy to help (the development),” he said.
summarized the feasibility study’s finding for the board, saying MLG
concluded Grafton’s inventory of property for a potential business
park was very low, and after discussion with economic development
professionals, businesspeople and end-users, that there was a
definite need for a new business park with a good location.
“We found one
site that was head-and-shoulders above the rest,” Bukovich said.
The site at the
northwest corner of Ulao Road and Highway C, not including a
rectangle of property immediately at the corner, is currently in the
town of Grafton. Part of the project moving forward would be to
annex that land into the village.
Lester Bartel said that he understands the village has to do what it
deems best for the village and its taxpayers; towns do not have
power to prevent annexation by villages or cities.
obviously prefer industrial uses not be placed that far into the
high-value residential development of the town, but we have no say
in this,” Bartel said.
“I do hope they
will work with us to provide buffers, between the industrial and
annexation, if everything proceeds, the village would form a tax
incremental finance district for the business plan. In a TIF
district, taxes from increased value created by a development go
back into the TIF district, rather than going to the various taxing
bodies. It would allow the village to fund infrastructure for the
development, then pay off those expenditures with taxes from the
district as its value grows.
approved with Ruekert-Mielke will cover engineering and design for
the business park, including a variety of survey work, designing
infrastructure and pricing out the cost of such work. Several board
trustees asked questions about the contract and possible TIF
“Are we able to
get numbers on the investment needed?” asked Trustee Thomas Krueger.
“Is this (TIF) close to being feasible, or is it highly feasible?”
that MLG’s projections indicate the TIF would pay itself off in 17
years, within the 20-year life of a TIF. He said MLG is projecting
an $8.9 million cost, though design work will allow for more final
with Ruekert-Mielke was approved on a 6-1 vote, with Trustee Lisa
Harbeck dissenting. Harbeck asked several questions related to the
price, other firms that submitted bids and why a local firm with a
lower price was not chosen.
Ruekert-Mielke provided a significant amount of extra information in
its bid, detailing its staff, resources and plans to meet the
village’s expedited schedule; under the proposed schedule, survey
work is to begin immediately with a preliminary design completed in
bids were less expensive, they were from smaller firms without as
many additional resources or staff to back up the project team.
“A larger firm
has more resources to put forward … if something were to happen in
that team, would (a small firm) be able to compensate for that?”
Harbeck asked if
all the firms were required to share the extensive information and
planning that Ruekert-Mielke did; Thyes said it was not required,
but the additional information was still considered.
information you can get … the better off you are in the long-run,”
Krueger said. “I'm comfortable with that.”
formerly the village’s utility director, and managed that
Board hires Ehlers to provide
business consulting on the park
GRAFTON — The
Village Board Monday also approved a financial services contract for
the business park. Ehlers Inc., the village’s current financial
adviser on its four existing TIF districts, has been contracted for
$14,500 to do the financial work preparing for creation of a
business park TIF district.
Village Administrator Jesse Thyes, current expenses for the business
park contracts will come from the village of Grafton’s general fund
sundry account. If a TIF district is indeed formed, current costs
would then be rolled into all the TIF district costs moving forward.
“At that point,
costs would be transferred to and charged to the tax incremental
finance district,” Thyes said.
Charged to the
TIF district, all of those costs would then be paid by future taxes
produced by the district’s new value.
also brought forward a public relations contract for $15,000, but
the Village Board did not take a vote. Staff have been directed to
bid out that contract so other firms had a chance to make a
proposal; the firm recommended was the only one staff worked with.
The board did not reject the firm, or a PR contract in the future,
but asked that the chance be had for other proposals to be
“We believe it’s
vastly important we proactively engage the public,” Thyes told the
That contract is
expected to come before the board again in the future.
<<EARLIER: Parcel eyed for business park