VILLAGE OF LA FARGE
Special Board Meeting Thursday, September 1, 2022
1). Village President Cheryl Purvis called the special meeting of the La Farge Village Board to order at 6:31 p.m. at the Emergency Services building.
Roll Call - Present at the meeting:
Board Members: Cheryl Purvis, Frank Quinn, Barbara Melvin, Karen Leis, and Aaron Appleman (call-in). Absent was Terry Jensen and Aaron Nemec.
Also present: News reporters’ Lonnie Muller and Bonnie Sherman, and Clerk Kimberly Walker.
2). Verification of meeting posting at the Bank, Post Office, and Village Office on August 31, 2022, was given.
3). Melvin moved, Leis seconded to convene into closed session, in accordance with Wisconsin State Statutes section 19.85 (1)(c), for considering employment, promotion, compensation, or performance evaluation data of any public employee over which the governmental body has jurisdiction or exercises responsibility and for employment for the Police Chief position. (Carried).
*Quinn moved, Leis seconded to return to open session and continue with the meeting. (Carried).
4). Quinn moved, Appleman seconded to accept the police committee’s recommendation on hiring Steven Palmer for our Police Chief, with compensation as discussed in closed session. (Carried).
5). Quinn moved, Leis seconded to approve the CDL training agreement for Joshua Johnson. (Carried).
6). Dale Klemme, from CDA, was present, regarding the CDBG-DR apartment housing grant. First Cheryl gave a background of the project. The CDBG-DR committee announced they had grant money for Vernon County. The village went out for bids for affordable housing units. We had interested developers, but the problem was finding land. CDA had an empty parcel next to their other apartment complex. They submitted a proposal and the village agreed to hire them. The village applied for the grant thru Vierbicher Associates,
and we were awarded the grant on December 17, 2021, for $628,556. Then, due to high construction costs, and CDA’s original investor pulling out, they had to put the project on hold for a little while. Two weeks ago, the village received a call from DOA, requiring us to submit a bank letter stating the bank will provide CDA a loan, along with an investor letter, and a firm timeline or we need to go out for bids or loose the grant. This week, we talked with Casey at the DOA, who is trying to help us. Kim sent an email to Dale summarizing what we needed. He sent back a bank letter and an investor letter. They still need a hard timeline and hard construction cost numbers by our next meeting, which is 9-12-2022. If not, the village can go out for bids again, or give up the grant.
*Dale commented they submitted their proposal in March 2020, and had a contractors bid in early February 2021. The construction costs were much higher than the original bid of their current building. It came in at $1.59 million dollars. In September 2021, the contractor said the costs were 10-20% higher. A lot has happened since this all started. In April 2022, Dale had submitted a letter to Dave Pawlisch, at DOA, asking to have some time to spend the money, as we have until 2026 to spend the funds, but didn’t hear back. They’d like to let things settle down, which they are starting to. He thinks the apartments can still be built for the original amount. He has a bank letter for $475,000 and an investor for $425,000. But still a shortfall. Would like the state to increase the subsidy to $700,000 to help them out. They also have apartments to do in Ontario, the same as La Farge, and they received the $700,000 for them.
*Dale said rent is set for LMI households. They can’t raise the price whenever they want. If it does raise yearly, it’s only $10-$15.00. They don’t make anything on the units. The current apartment rent covers the cost of the mortgage payment ($1,400 monthly) and property taxes ($6,000/year). They’ve already spent $20,000 of their own money on the architect and detailed prints. Need to spend another $12,000 for more prints, but don’t want to do that if the State isn’t going to help with some more grant funds. They’re not a big company but like to see projects happen. They hope the State wants to help small communities, as CDA wants to work with them. But if the village decides to re-bid the project, CDA will do this with another company.
*CDA really doesn’t want to cut costs, like eliminating the garages. The people that rent need storage and garage space. There is no basement area. They like to offer something of quality. They are looking at a completion date of December 31, 2023. If they don’t have the construction costs by September 12th, they will re-bid. They will try working on getting some of the detailed line-item increases, and we can go back to the State and talk with them. See if they’ll go to the $700,000. The village can call Casey at DOA and recap our discussion, see what it will take for justification to increase it to $700,000 if CDA is not able to get hard costs by September 12th. The goal is to not loose the money.
7). Melvin moved, Leis seconded to adjourn. (Carried). Adjourned at 7:44 p.m.
Kimberly Walker, Village Clerk/Treasurer