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A. Frost Depth - “Normal” maximum frost depths in our region are 4 to 6 feet. In paved areas or other areas where snow is removed frost can drive down deeper. As the frost level goes down it approaches and, in extremely cold winters, can reach near the depth of water service laterals. In older parts of the Utility’s service area water mains and service laterals may only be between 6 and 7 feet deep. In areas of newer construction water mains and service laterals should be 7 feet deep or more. Think of frost as simply a block of ice in the ground which grows larger and larger from the ground surface downward. If the block of ice touches or surrounds a water service lateral, the lateral will freeze without water running through it. Frost depth is the most important factor in causing water service laterals to freeze underground.
B. Water Usage – This applies to both the water mains and the water service lateral itself. Lower usage is going to mean the water stays in the pipes longer. If water usage in the mains is lower the water gets colder. If water usage on a lateral is very low or even stops (such as when a resident goes on vacation) the water in the lateral will become even colder and, if the frost is deep enough, the lateral freezes. Customers with low usage (single occupant homes for example), businesses with long periods of no water usage on weekends, homes unoccupied during vacation periods, etc., are going to be much more likely to freeze during these cold weather periods.
C. Exposure to Weather – There are 2 ways municipal water supply temperature can be affected by the air temperature. Your service lateral may be exposed to drafts or cold air near where it enters your building. The other “exposure” is from water being stored in elevated water towers where it cools (or warms) during the time it stays in the tank. Most water towers in our region will develop ice along the tank walls during a winter season, but the majority of water remains liquid due to the daily filling and usage cycle.
There are a number of water service laterals which are known to routinely freeze each year. Some of those freeze on the customer’s portion of the water service lateral and some on the Utility’s portion of the lateral. The Utility is required to annually notify those customers whose service laterals freeze on their portion to either take measures to prevent freezing or, at their option, pay for thawing the service lateral if it freezes. If the freezing is something known to occur on the Utility portion of the water service lateral, the Utility either takes measures to prevent freezing or takes care of any costs to prevent freezing. You may also wish to review the PSC’s FAQ on this topic.
B. At the time of initial installation of your water service lateral your plumbing contractor should have observed standard practices for minimum bury depth of the water service lateral. If the minimum bury depth could not be met, the water service lateral should have been insulated.
C. In a typical winter season there is really nothing you need to do to prevent the underground part of a water service lateral from freezing, as long as it has been installed properly. In an unusually cold winter when frost depths are greater than normal, utilities sometimes make the judgment call of advising customers to run water as a precautionary measure rather than respond to high numbers of customer freeze-ups. If the underground portion of your water service lateral has a history of freezing, if the Utility feels it may be in danger of freezing, or if it has frozen, the Utility will advise you of measures to take. The most common advice the Utility gives is to continuously run a ¼ inch stream of water (the size of a pencil) until frost has disappeared from the ground. As long as water continues to run at a high enough rate it should not freeze. The Utility offers some additional advice once you have been notified to run water in FAQ #3.
A. A noticeable reduction in the amount of water you see flowing out of your tap(s).B. A reduction in water pressureC. Discoloration of the waterD. Cold water temperature of 34 degrees or less
Items A, B, and C, are likely a result of an ice cube or plug forming in the service lateral. The discoloration would be from the ice plug loosening deposits on the inside of the pipe.
A. If this is the first time your water service lateral has frozen and it cannot be determined if the freezing is on the customer’s or the Utility’s side, the Utility is responsible for the cost of thawing, unless item c, below, applies.
B. If it is known the water service lateral has frozen on either the customer’s side or the Utility’s side, the cost of thawing is the responsibility of the party whose service lateral has the “problem.”
C. If the customer’s portion of the water service lateral is made of non-metallic material, the Utility is not responsible for thawing the lateral.
There are a number of water service laterals which are known to routinely freeze each year. Some of those freeze on the customer’s portion of the water service lateral and some on the Utility’s portion of the lateral. The Utility is required to annually notify those customers whose service laterals freeze on their portion to either take measures to prevent freezing or, at their option, pay for thawing the service lateral if it freezes. If the freezing is something known to occur on the Utility portion of the water service lateral, the Utility either takes measures to prevent freezing or takes care of any costs to prevent freezing. You may also wish to review the PSC’s FAQ on this topic. See map of non-metallic service locations
The condition and efficiencies of our Municipal Buildings impact our effectiveness in providing service to the taxpayers of the Village of Weston.
The first Municipal Building(s) at 5500 Schofield Avenue date back to 1956. As the Town and Village have grown over 60+ years, the main building, garage, and the site have been renovated and remodeled about every 10 years. More recently the Village has struggled to meet changing needs for technology, energy efficiency, and building security. The Village retained Kueny Architects of Pleasant Prairie, WI, in 2015 to conduct a condition assessment of the Municipal Buildings at all sites including Public Safety and Parks. Kueny’s recommendation is to REPLACE the existing offices and public works garages. Major points include:
Kueny indicated renovation of the new site could be considered but, renovation would not resolve spatial issues and ADA accessibility issues throughout the building. Spatial issues include locations, layout, and security of offices for the present and for future needs. ADA accessibility issues apply to restrooms and to other areas of the building. Renovation of the existing buildings was evaluated in 1999 for an estimated cost of $5.0 M ($8M-$9M today). It was also proposed, at that time, to locate public works at Ryan Street, a site with no public water and sewer service.
The initial recommendation was to acquire additional properties to the west. As Kueny proceeded with the preliminary design of building on the current site, it became apparent that by not having existing space there would be no room for future expansion. Rather than attempt to acquire additional property adjacent to the current site that was not on the market, the Village observed the former G&B Produce site at 4707 Camp Phillips Road was on the market and purchased that property. The site now purchased gives the Village 13 acres for a building project vs. only about 8 acres at the current site.
The Village considered the possibility of locating on property on Weston Avenue in the Business Park, Ryan Street (yard waste drop-off site), the current site, and the former G&B Produce site. Weston Avenue and Ryan Street were not favored due to not being centrally located. Ryan Street lacks public water and sewer service. The Weston Avenue site would have taken up property within the Business Park. The G&B Produce site was the best option for the land area available and for central location. The modest assessed value of the G&B building improvements should be offset by re-development of the site at 5500 Schofield Avenue following completion of the new building.
The current estimated project cost is between $13.7 and $15.6 M. This includes the $1.0M for the land purchase which was not in the original project estimates.
This information is being updated. The outline is as follows:
It is estimated this project will increase the tax rate by an average of $0.86 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation over the 20-year repayment term. The estimated debt for this project will increase the annual property tax for a home assessed at $150,000 by an average of $129.71 during this 20-year term ($10.81 per month). For a $300,000 home the increased average annual property tax over the 20-year term is estimated to be $259.41 annually ($21.62 per month).
The actual tax rate for this debt will vary year by year based on the repayment schedule for the bonds, fluctuations in interest rates based on market conditions, and Village growth rate.
This project is one of many the Village needs to consider as it plans for continuing to provide services to the taxpayers. The condition of our facilities impacts our delivery of services and ultimately the value of your property.
If the building project it not done there certainly would be less money borrowed in total for capital projects – those that replace deteriorated assets like buildings, streets, bridges, water mains, etc. However, it is not realistic to think these assets will not require replacement over time (just as a homeowner must replace things like their roof, driveway, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or other parts of their property that have a finite useful life). Deferring a project does not eliminate the need, it only kicks the can down the road and makes it more costly in the future.
So, the answer to the question is, sure, the Village portion of property taxes for debt would remain lower for some time but, the need for a new facility does not go away and future Village residents will pay more.
The existing site and buildings will eventually be sold. That could be in their “as-is” condition or with the buildings demolished and the site prepped for a new development.
There is existing asbestos wrap on piping in the shop. If demolished or repurposed, this material would need to be removed.
There is an abandoned underground fuel storage tank which is required to have a concrete cap maintained above it.
Neither of these items would prevent demolition of the existing buildings or new construction on the site.
The proposed construction will replace an outdated and unsuitable main building including the public works garage. It also replaces a collection of cold storage outbuildings. Existing buildings have poor insulation, HVAC equipment and controls, and poor security features, allowing for unwanted and unnecessary access by the public. The proposed project will also combine park operations offices and equipment with other Village administration and equipment at one site.
Energy saving and conservation capabilities have improved greatly over the past 60 years. Attempting to upgrade main heating, ventilating, and air conditioning units alone in an existing building is not effective without also improving ductwork, controls, and insulation. A new building will include the most cost-effective technologies for HVAC along with modern controls and insulation, for the Village’s situation. Modern lighting systems will contribute to a much more energy efficient building. There are estimated to be immediate operational savings of _________ (figure being calculated) in electricity, heating, and cooling annually based on current utility rates.
With unknown developments for the future of alternative energies, the building design will include provisions to add solar collectors either at the time of construction or in the future. A major hurdle to overcome with solar power is finding a cost-effective method of storing the generated electricity.
The Village must follow public bidding law for this project. This requires advertising for bids and award to the lowest responsible bidder. Qualified local companies will be given the same ability to bid as others from outside the area. A project like this will be awarded to a general contractor who then hires other companies (sub-contractors) for specialty trade work such as plumbing, HVAC, electrical, site work, etc. The general contractor or any of the sub-contractors may well be locally based. Restricting the ability to bid on the work to local contractors could increase project costs by limiting competition and is also not legal.
This project will be paid for money obtained from issuance of general obligation bonds and notes. The Village will repay the funds over a 20-year term. The Village is not required to ask for approval of this project through a referendum.