The Waunakee Village Hall could be on the move sooner than later.
At the July 19 village board meeting, trustees learned that funds to remodel the former South Street library and relocate Village Hall there could be available prior to the sale of the existing Village Hall.
The board had planned to sell the 500 W. Main St. building, a prime, visible location for a commercial property. But while interest in commercial use and office use has “changed amidst the pandemic and now post pandemic,” Village Administrator Todd Schmidt said the board could use $500,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act to partially finance the estimated $1 million to $1.2 million remodel and relocation.
A leaseholder of a senior-citizen apartment building has recently expressed interest in purchasing a village-owned property, Country View Apartments on Reeve Drive. Pending that sale, another $500,000 could be available for the Village Hall project, with the remainder of the funds coming from the unassigned fund balance. The board met in closed session to discuss the sale of the Reeve Drive property, as well, on Monday.
The ARPA expenditure proposal was just one of several put to the board Monday, and among those Schmidt sought conceptual approval for, with just the board’s direction to further pursue.
Schmidt brought others for immediate approval, resulting in $548,486 to be spent.
Among the expenditures are $60,000 for the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection and $19,700 for the Waunakee Food Pantry to help those nonprofits serve residents most impacted by the pandemic. Board members said as they OK’d the spending, they would also encourage other municipalities whose residents are served by those organizations to provide a portion of their ARPA funds.
The largest of the ARPA expenditures will be for equipment, including an audio/visual system to facilitate meetings for residents to participate remotely or in-person. Village Administrator Todd Schmidt said the lead time on the $150,000 system is four to six months, so the system can be installed at the former South Street library building where the Village Hall is expected to move.
Other large expenditures will be for the public works equipment, including a $110,000 dump truck chassis and $69,000 for a track machine to help control weeds at retention ponds. Public Works Director Bill Frederick said the chassis was anticipated to be put into the 2022 budget. Because of backorders, it would not have arrived until 2023. Approving the purchase now will expedite the delivery, Frederick said, adding the truck is in “pretty rough shape” for plowing.
Other expenditures will be for air purifiers at the Waunakee Village Center, a balcony awning at the Senior Center to allow for outdoor dining, and community room upgrades at the library.
Board members asked for further information on a large tent and chairs requested for outdoor programming at the library.
The board also sought more specifics on a $50,000 regional advertising campaign to support local businesses. Schmidt said funds could be used for billboards and print media to have outlets such as Madison Magazine and the Wisconsin State Journal “tell our story.”
“I’m recommending that we enter a campaign to do an intense advertising blitz, partly too, because we have a good story to tell in Waunakee, and I think as the public gets back out to venturing, there’s a lot of good to see in Waunakee, like never before,” Schmidt said.
Trustee Nila Frye asked if there was a way to track what was spent in the village as a result of the campaign.
Trustee Erin Moran asked if the village would contract with a firm to track the return on investment.
“For $50,000, I would like to have specific details on how it would be done, what would be done, for how large of an area,” Frye said.
Funding was approved to replenish the $7,360 room tax payment to the Waunakee Area Chamber of Commerce and to provide $47,026 for the Village Center’s lost revenue when programming was canceled during the pandemic.
After much discussion, the board also authorized village administrator approval of $25,000 in one-time expenses of up to $5,000 per expense for departments. Staff will be required to submit a report to the board with details of those expenses.
Other projects receiving conceptual approval include:
-A $20,000 space needs study for the Waunakee Police Department and $30,000 for the squad room remodel.
-$50,000 for cybersecurity enhancement and $10,000 in mental health training for staff.
The village will have a remaining balance of $254,817 in ARPA funds.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board:
-learned more about a Ho-Chunk Nation Land Acknowledgment and the result of work with the UniverCity project on projects to pursue.
-approved a guidelines for flying commemorative flags.