Policy Updates – 10/15/21

In Summary:

  • The project is proceeding as outlined in the public hearing presentation conducted on November 5, 2020 while also addressing allegations of claimed legal shortcomings.
  • The Village’s contractor will complete the installation of water mains by December 31, 2021.
  • Even though property owners are allowed 6 months to connect to the system by ordinance, grant money to pay private property expenses is only available until December 31, 2021.
  • Property owners should provide access to Mid City to complete the private property work or their grant eligibility will be cancelled and property owners will be responsible for funds already spent on the property.

Specific Policy Issues:

  • There is no lawsuit that has been filed against the Village for this project.
  • The Village’s Impact Fee and Special Assessment studies and policy decisions have been peer-reviewed in a study completed by Trilogy Consulting. The study concluded that Lannon’s policies and methodologies are similarly patterned with other Wisconsin municipalities. The study acknowledged that the issue of charging an impact fee to an existing structure not yet connected to the water system, though common to multiple municipalities, has not been tested before a Wisconsin court. Hence, the study recommended that Lannon convert the impact fee to a reserve capacity assessment (RCA) for existing structures.
  • The Village has already placed a moratorium on the collection of impact fees from existing structures that connect to the existing water main. The Village will be commencing the conversion to an RCA in the coming months. At this point it appears that a likely outcome would be that fees previously announced for properties situated on existing water main will remain in the same range, but they will be eligible for additional payment time, such as 5-10 years at the Village Board’s discretion.
  • The Village’s special assessment methodology conforms with Wisconsin State Statute 0703(1)(b), which states: “If an assessment represents an exercise of the police power, the assessment shall be upon a reasonable basis as determined by the governing body of the city, town or village.”
  • The Village has placed a temporary moratorium on the enforcement of the well abandonment provision of the Village Ordinances. The Village Board is considering an ordinance revision that may allow residents to keep their wells for outside use only, not for drinking water, if the well conforms to modern standards. The Quarry Fund has now committed to cover 100% of the cost of a well abandonment if it occurs before the mandatory timeframe for connection for a property expires.
  • Mandatory connections are a requirement of the USDA-RD funding imposed by USDA-RD in their Letter of Conditions (see page 3, item 4). This is common to USDA-RD funded projects and not unique to Lannon.
  • The current timeframe for connection is 6 months from the date water main is available to the property. The USDA-RD Letter of Conditions (see page 3, item 4) requires that there must be 358 water utility customers.
  • Waukesha Co. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) has indicated in official correspondence that private property grant-funded conversions to municipal water must be completed by December 31, 2021 unless otherwise approved by the CDBG Board. Grant funds expended for a property where the final conversion to municipal water is not timely completed will be clawed back to the CDBG source.
    • The USDA-RD legal department has reviewed Lannon’s application materials thoroughly. USDA-RD has indicated their legal counsel has reviewed Lannon’s application materials and has found no fraud.
    • A group of organized citizens has expressed their concerns and allegations of fraud to the Wisconsin DNR, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, the Village Police Chief, Waukesha County, the USDA Rural Development Department, and to State Representatives. An individual even contacted the FBI alleging that the Village committed fraud. These allegations have been received by these entities/individuals. The Village Board has not been informed by any of these mentioned entities/individuals that any form of fraud has been found.
  • The Village Attorney is working with a family with a unique health concern related to municipal water to identify a reasonable accommodation.

Policy Updates – 10/7/21

  • There is no lawsuit that has been filed against the Village for this project.
  • Usage of an Impact Fee has been objected to by the Lannon Action Group. The Village is currently researching the option to convert the impact fee to a Reserve Capacity Assessment, which is a form of special assessment. The likely outcome would be that fees previously communicated to property owners would be the same, but properties on existing water main may have additional time to pay the fees. In the meantime, the Village has placed a moratorium on the collection of impact fees from existing structures that connect to the existing water main.
  • The Village’s special assessment methodology conforms with Wisconsin State Statute 0703(1)(b), which states: “If an assessment represents an exercise of the police power, the assessment shall be upon a reasonable basis as determined by the governing body of the city, town or village.”
  • The Village has placed a temporary moratorium on the enforcement of the well abandonment provision of the Village Ordinances. The Village Board is considering an ordinance revision that may allow residents to keep their wells for outside use only, not for drinking water. The Quarry Fund has also decided to cover 100% of the cost of a well abandonment if it occurs before the mandatory timeframe for connection for a property expires.
  • Mandatory connections are a requirement of the USDA-RD funding imposed by USDA-RD in their Letter of Conditions (see page 3, item 4). This is common to USDA-RD funded projects and not unique to Lannon.
  • The current timeframe for connection is 6 months from the date water main is available to the property. The USDA-RD Letter of Conditions (see page 3, item 4) requires that there must be 358 water utility customers.
  • Waukesha Co. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) has indicated in official correspondence that private property grant-funded conversions to municipal water must be completed by December 31, 2021 unless otherwise approved by the CDBG Board. Otherwise, the grant funds expended for a property where the final conversion to municipal water has not been completed must be repaid to CDBG.
  • The USDA-RD legal department has reviewed Lannon’s application materials thoroughly. USDA-RD has indicated their legal counsel has reviewed Lannon’s application materials and has found no fraud.
  • A group of organized citizens has expressed their concerns and allegations of fraud to the Wisconsin DNR, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, the Village Police Chief, Waukesha County, the USDA Rural Development Department, and to State Representatives. An individual even contacted the FBI alleging that the Village committed fraud. These allegations have been received by these entities/individuals. The Village Board has not been informed by any of these mentioned entities/individuals that any form of fraud has been found.
  • The Village Attorney is working with a family with a unique health concern related to municipal water to identify a reasonable accommodation.
  • The project is otherwise proceeding as outlined in the public hearing presentation.

Policy Updates – 6/7/21

  • A group of organized citizens has expressed their concerns and allegations of fraud to the Wisconsin DNR, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, the Village Police Chief, the Village Board, Waukesha County, the USDA Rural Development Department, and to State Representatives. An individual even contacted the FBI alleging that the Village committed fraud. These allegations have been heard by these entities. The USDA-RD legal department has reviewed Lannon’s application materials thoroughly. The following responses affirm that Lannon’s project will proceed:
    • Mandatory connections are a requirement of the USDA-RD funding imposed by USDA-RD in their Letter of Conditions. This is common to USDA-RD funded projects and not unique to Lannon.
    • USDA-RD has indicated their legal counsel has reviewed Lannon’s application materials and has found no fraud.
    • USDA-RD has indicated that the impact fees that Lannon is imposing are common to nearly every community that undertakes a similar project.
    • USDA-RD has indicated that private well water quality was not a criterion for loan and grant eligibility or award.
    • The Village Attorney indicated that Lannon’s Impact Fee determination follows its past imposition, and together with the Special Assessment being used, constitute methodologies consistent with Wisconsin State Statutes and should be defended as validly formulated. This was discussed at length with Trustee Kelly Jenson, President Don Sommers, and resident Chris Barber at a meeting with the Village Attorney and Village Engineer that took place on May 7, 2021.
  • The Village Attorney is working with a family with a unique health concern related to municipal water to identify a reasonable accommodation.
  • The project is otherwise proceeding as outlined in the public hearing presentation.
  • The Village Board voted 5-2 to affirm its support for proceeding with the Water System Expansion Project on April 21, 2021 following the Spring, 2021 election.
  • The Village Board voted 6-0 to appoint Trustee Patrick Yates as the authorized representative of the Village Board for all matters relating to the Water System Expansion to all consultants, contractors, governmental agencies, and financing entities. Trustee Yates continues to make himself available to discuss the project with anyone who is interested.
  • The Village Board voted 7-0 in May 2021 to place a temporary moratorium on the enforcement of the well abandonment aspect of the Village Ordinances. The Village Board will be considering an ordinance revision that may allow residents to keep their wells for outside use only, not for drinking water.