The Lodi Common Council approved the sale of three parcels of land from Grothman Holdings LLC to Ben and Debbie Larrabee, as recommended by the Finance and Human Resources Committee. The decision came at the Council’s April 20 meeting.

Grothman entered an agreement with the city on Aug. 27, 2018 to make loan payments on the property until a new developer was found.

The Larrabee’s will pay off the remainder of the initial $446,577.47 loan, which will last until 2033. They will pay $38,774.12 — which includes 3.5% interest — from 2022-2032. The final payment in 2033 will be for $37,462.92. It was proven that the Larrabee’s have the financials to make the next payment, as well as the subsequent payments.

The land in question is near the three of the schools in the district on Sauk Street — around the intersection of Ridgestone and Sunset Drives.

“I think the Larrabee’s will be good stewards for the community,” Alder Eric Hansen said.

The Larrabee’s own three local company’s — S&L Underground, Inc., Meade Concrete Co. LLC (formerly Meade Construction Co.) and Larrabee Trucking LLC.

“We could not have picked better people,” James Grothman said.

At that time of the meeting, it was not specified what the Larrabee’s intend to do with the land.

The Council also approved a resolution that supports a strong state and local partnership in regards to shared revenue.

Mayor Ann Groves Lloyd said the Wisconsin league municipalities have shared information and have encouraged state representatives to increase the shared revenue, which Groves Lloyd said has been on the decline for the past 20 years. It has shifted things and changed the property taxes, which has been a “huge burden.”

Property taxes account for more than twice as much municipal revenue as state aid, compared to 1975-1997 when state aid provided a larger share of municipal revenues across the state than property taxes.

Groves Lloyd assured the Council that Representatives John Plumer and Joan Ballweg will see that Lodi is in favor of this action.

In other news, Director of Public Works Terry Weter was given approval by the Council to apply for a DNR grant which would go toward improving the pedestrian bridge adjacent to City Hall.

The DNR would not notify the city of its decision until early fall, or possibly early 2022. Groves Lloyd said the DNR would decide which specific grant is the most appropriate for the project.

Alder Peter Tonn asked Weter if he took into account trying to replace the pedestrian bridge and subsequent walkway. Weter said a project that involves both at the same time would cost roughly $546,000. He said it was best to separate the two projects, giving the city two chances at being awarded grants — one for the bridge and the other for the walkway.

Alder Nick Strasser was hesitant to give Weter approval, as he wasn’t sure if there was a better way for the city to spend money. Groves Lloyd said that this project wasn’t an “either/or” thing and that the Council will have to make some tough decisions in the future. She added that the city could always refuse the grant, if awarded, if the Council was not wanting the project to move forward at that time.

Alder Stevenson had a concern with the wording of the resolution, stating that it sounds like the city currently had the money for the project, which is not the case. Groves Lloyd said that it’s an item for next year and the plan is to have money set aside for the project within the 2022 budget.

Other news

Newly elected Alders Tim Ripp and Mike Goethel were sworn in before the meeting, as was Eric Hansen, who won his re-election bid. One of the first items of the meeting was to elect a Council President. The Council unanimously agreed for Alder Rich Stevenson to remain in that role.

The Council approved its intent to levy special assessments for the Gay Street project, which is currently underway. The project will add curbs and gutters to both sides of the road. Final estimates will be given to property owners at a later date.

Within the consent agenda, the Council approved the block party on Saturday, May 8, which will also be a fundraiser hosted by the Prairie Valley Resale Store.

It was noted before approval that Lodi Police Chief Wayne Smith had zero issues with the current plan of the scheduled event.

The event will be free to the public and runs from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. The event will feature a brat stand, a walking taco stand, a grilled ham and cheese stand (operated by the local FFA Alumni chapter), live music and a bags tournament.

This will be a COVID-19 friendly event with masks to be worn, social distancing to be maintained and hand sanitizing stations by the food stands, garbage cans and port-a-potties.

The rain date will be Saturday, June 5.

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