The Lake Mills City Council approved the developer’s agreement for Topel’s Holdings LLC., for the redevelopment at 1110 S. Main Street for a new auto repair shop and retail space.

The developer’s agreement is still being finalized, specifically the estimates for developer costs and eligibility for reimbursement from TID #5 are not yet complete.

“The general development plan and timeline have been established, the reimbursement methodology consisting of installment payments at certain progress points has been established, and the amount of available TID reimbursement has been established and included in the 2021 budget,” wrote Dan Drescher, city attorney, in a memo to the city council.

The development is set to cost no less than $1.8 million to build and will be assessable for property taxes at no less than $1.6 million.

To finalize the developer’s agreement, the city is waiting on the final site plan and architectural review approval. The agreement with Topel’s is similar to what the city has done in the past with the Lake Mills Market and Walgreens, said City Manager Steve Wilke, and the redevelopment of the area is contingent on Topel’s being cleaned up and completed, he said.

“Any shortfall on the increment is guaranteed by the developer,” Wilke commented.

“The increment has to be made up by the developer, so there is no loss for the city, but it is a different way of giving the money up than we’ve done in the past few months,” commented Council President Mike Foster.

“It’s slightly different because this one has three payments, one starting at the beginning of the project, one near the middle and one at the end of the project.” Wilke said. “Which will require some financing arrangements by us.”

City staff will come back to the council to get approval to borrow the funds to make the payments.

“We would look at it next year when we do the final payment of $300,000 and incorporate it into a bond and incorporate it into a $600,000 note.”

The project is paid for by taking the change in the increment prior to the TID and the increment after the development, those tax dollars go back to the TID. The developer is required to follow all city standards for public improvements.

“If the developer doesn’t follow through, they don’t receive the payments,” Drescher said of the agreement.

“We knew when we started this project, and both the other three developments that are occurring down there, were based on making sure this project happened,” Wilke said. “We kept them at 50% of the increment, so that if there was some issue, we could shift some money over in the interim.”

Wilke said there is $1 million in the Tyranena Point subdivision and it will generate $13 million in increment, $450,000 in the project at 1324 S. Main and it will generate at least $1.1 million in increment. The properties at 1204 and 1117 S. Main should allow for another $500,000 in increment.

“I think the combination of that much increment other than what is being developed on the Topel’s site is satisfactory,” he said.

“Since the days of the Dairy Queen, this area has gone downhill,” said Diann Fritsch, council vice president. “I think the general public wants to see this cleaned up and this is how we have to do it.”

“These people have been around for a long time and maybe a little consideration (should be made),” commented Doug Fritsch, council member.

Foster said, “I think this is going to do great things for the south end of town and the apartments and condos down there. It’s going to be a place people want to visit and live.”

The council heard from members of the public, during the public comment period, circulating a petition asking the council to stop all development at Sandy Beach and implement a master plan.

“Hope Oostdik and I circulated a petition among the community regarding these concerns. To date we have 351 signatures,” said Jane Shimeck.

The petition calls for established blue prints or plans drawn to scale for Sandy Beach Park, Sandy Beach Road and the boat launch, a disclosure of future plans by the municipality for Sandy Beach, proposed boat launch fees and parking fees and accounting of the items, a study on the impacts of the boat launch on Rock Lake, the facts and findings from the archeological study, proposed needs and uses for the building that will replace the demolished restaurant, plans for the relocation, development and changes to the mobile home park and other proposed or possible changes to the Sandy Beach Park and Sandy Beach Road areas.

“We would appreciate knowing what you plan to do next, how you plan to do it and how we can get public input into this very significant project,” Shimeck told the council.

Hope Oostdik said, there needs to be public input on the issues at Sandy Beach.

“I attended many of the meetings held at the beginning of this process and I didn’t feel any of the public comment made at these meetings was taken seriously or put into consideration as far as the development of the plans by the consultants,” she said.

“We need to look at an extensive master planning process,” she said referring to the master plan of Korth Park. “That’s the kind of document we need for Sandy Beach.”

The parking on Sandy Beach Road on July 4th was also brought up.

“There were 65 boats and trailers parked on Sandy Beach Road,” she said. “That’s unacceptable.”

Foster commented, during recommendations for future agendas later in the meeting, about Sandy Beach saying, “The only thing planned is moving the boat launch right now to another side of the park, depending on how the archeological dig comes out. If you are interested keep your ears open and watch the council agendas.”

Kathy Rosecke said, during public comment, she and her husband Brad, are concerned about the development going in next to Topel’s.

“We see no area for water run off,” she said of the plans, also mentioning her neighbors on Pinnacle Drive are not happy about having apartment buildings nearby.

Wilke said stormwater issues will be discussed by the Plan Commission and Public Works Board as the projects move forward.

The council moved the general government budget and tax levy to its third reading to be approved at the first meeting in November. The total revenues and expenditures in the general fund budget for 2021 are $5,492,700, a 3.7 % increase over last year. Total debt service expenses and revenues are $2,028,500, a 13.49 % increase over 2020. The general property tax levy is expected to be $4,536,100, a 5.71% increase.

The council moved the city’s capital budget to its third reading. The total revenues and expenditures for the 2020 capital budget are expected to be $2,315,700. The tax levy will be $8,000 for capital purposes on all taxable property in the city.

In other business the council:

-Approved extending the city jurisdiction on State Road 89, south of Lake Mills.

-Will be looking to fill an open city council seat due to Steve Fields moving out of his district.

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