Rumors and misstatements are rampant in New Lisbon about the proposed new highway garage. We don’t need a new garage! We can fix the old garage! Taxes will go up by 20%, 30% (pick a number)! There are conflicts of interest! Professional fees are exorbitant! The proposed garage is too large and too lavish! Plans are being rushed! No one is considering alternatives! And more.
Nonsense. The facts are that a new garage is needed, it would cause a slight increase in taxes (about $2.50/mo for a parcel assessed at $200,000), there are no conflicts of interest, lawyers, engineers, and contractors will be compensated at appropriate rates, the proposed garage will be right-sized and functional but far from lavish, and an enormous amount of time has gone into studying the need for a new garage and design needs.
The existing garage is old, dilapidated, and inadequate. Repairing it would be pouring money down a rat hole and would cost the town far more in the long run. The new garage would be sized to meet the town’s needs now and for fifty or more years and would give our highway workers a safe, clean, and efficient building to house and maintain our trucks and equipment so they can provide the services that residents expect.
The USDA approved plans for the garage and agreed to give the town a $700,000 grant and to loan the town $2 million on very favorable terms. The loan is affordable and will result in modest tax increases of one to maybe two percent per year for three years and no more increases after that.
During the past year or more, the town board, the town supervisor, the highway superintendent, a committee of knowledgeable town residents, and others have studied this matter (in consultation with experienced engineers and highway experts). Based on these efforts, the town board unanimously approved a resolution to proceed with the USDA grant and loan and to build the new garage.
A proposition to approve the town board resolution will be on the ballot this fall. Voters should get the facts and not be misled by rumors and fear-mongering. If voters get the facts, the proposition will pass easily and the town will have the highway garage it needs.
There is a slide presenta-tion at townofnewlisbon.com. Additional information is available from Supervisor Ed Lentz, Highway Superintendent Don Smith and Town Board members Flo Loomis, Brian Ryther, Nancy Martin-Mathewson, and former Highway Superintendent Bill Whitaker. Interested persons are also invited to attend a fourth public meeting Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., in the community room in the town hall at 908 County Route 16 in Garrattsville.
Edward T. Lentz
Edward Lentz is the New Lisbon Town Supervisor.