DeForest village council approved several proposals at its Tuesday meeting involving significant sums of money, but not unexpected costs.
The proposals included a contract with financial consulting firm Baker Tilly to help plan the use of federal COVID relief funds, the selection of a new waste management company, and the construction of pickleball fields in the park and the street renovation.
As the meeting moved into business discussions, Administrator Colleen Little quickly decided to suspend the rules and rearrange the agenda items so that multiple visitors wouldn’t have to wait for questions. hours for their issues to be addressed.
First, Baker Tilly partner Carla Gogin was called before the board members to discuss financial services for the village and to answer questions about the disbursement of federal funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA program.
The services, as Gogin pointed out in a presentation, would include a village needs analysis, project planning, project funding assistance and program management. DeForest plans to receive nearly $ 1 million in federal funding through the ARPA program with potentially affected sectors including schools, housing, small business support, transportation, energy and utilities, infrastructure , hotels and restaurants, and public health.
The total cost of the counseling services is estimated to be over $ 30,000, although Gogin explained that it would be difficult to establish a precise figure in advance. As an example, she told the board that some analysts ‘hourly rates are $ 150 per hour, while senior analysts’ rates can go up to $ 450 per hour.
However, the funding for the services would likely be paid using the same federal funding. The funds are expected to be released in May 2022, but Gogin told the board that the deadline for use is for the funds to be spent or just contracted for use by 2024.
Administrator Rebecca Witherspoon asked Gogin if federal funding would be tied to “unfunded mandates” or to requirements for the village to fund specific things using its own budget.
While there are no âcost sharingâ or matching requirements under ARPA, Gogin explained that, as would be expected with the receipt of federal funding, there are stipulations on how this money could be used. While there is a range of potential uses, she told the board, one key is documenting how the money is being used and relating the use to one of the approved requests. .
Little offered his support for the contract, saying it would be normal for using large amounts of federal funding to be complicated and comparing the alternative to winning the lottery and not hiring a financial advisor.
The Board of Directors unanimously adopted the resolution to work with Baker Tilly.
Following last year’s issues with municipal contractor Waste Management, including a flood of complaints from residents on customer service matters, garbage strewn on the streets of the village and inconsistent collections, ending by Waste Management offering the village an exit from their contract, the administrators were again tasked with finding a new waste and recycling contractor.
Among three potential companies, the director of utilities, Judd Blau, recommended that the board of directors enter into a contract with LRS, which does business in the region as Badgerland, rather than Pelliterri and GFL. Badgerland offered the lowest unit cost over five years of $ 9.41, compared to $ 10.65 and $ 12.29. The village currently has 3,843 dwellings.
One service that appealed to the board members was the monthly bulk pickup option to dispose of large items at an additional cost of 0.75 per unit.
âI just bought a new mattress and it costs $ 40 to remove the old one,â said Susan Malmanger, municipal sales representative for LRS. “But if you can sit on it for a week, a mass day might happen.”
When asked if customers can expect the same four-day service schedule in the future, Malmanger said a four-day schedule would be possible, but with a caveat. She proposed that, given the size and expected growth of the village, perhaps this should be a five-day service schedule.
While this is an adjustment for customers, Malmanger argued it might be worth it for better service and safety, with drivers not necessarily being pressured into getting everyone in. such a short window and working shifts from morning to night.
Witherspoon moved to pass the resolution, which was quickly seconded and passed unanimously.
Council also reviewed a plan for the next phase of Fireman’s Park development, installing pickleball courts and renovating DeForest Street. The contract, as proposed by Parkitecture + Planning of Madison, would cover the design, preparation and construction of four pickleball courts and concrete bleachers adjacent to the basketball courts, as well as connecting sidewalks.
The estimated cost in Parkitecture’s proposal was $ 42,130. The funding would be covered by the improvement plan for the village capital.
Little moved to approve the resolution, which was passed without opposition.