From The Ladysmith News.

By Nov 28, 2018

    Ladysmith has received more grant funding for next year’s planned reconstruction of parts of Worden and Fritz avenues in the city

    The city was awarded $446,082 in principal forgiveness through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Clean Water Fund Program for the work, bringing the total amount to $946,082 or about 50 percent of the total project now funded with grants. Principal forgiveness is similar to grant dollars, funding the amount borrowed but not the interest.

    In August, Ladysmith was awarded $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant Public Facility and Planning Funds. The CDBG public facility grants  will be used in Ladysmith to rebuild Fritz Avenue from W. Second Street to at least W. Fifth Street and Worden Avenue from W. Fourth Street to E. Fourth Street in 2019.

    “It is excellent news,” Public Works Director Kurt Gorsegner said.

    The city council approved the grant application last December. The cost of the projects at that time were estimated at $1.9 million with $1 million for Worden Avenue alone without a contingency. Fritz Avenue reconstruction was estimated at $687,000.

    Total cost of the entire work is expected to be about $2 million.

    City officials were hopeful the grant applications would be successful, helping offset the total cost. Without grants, the city would pay about $142,000 annually for 20 years to fund this street work.

    The additional grant funding announced this week will help city officials determine if sewer or water rate hikes will be needed.

    The remaining amount will be borrowed at 1.122 percent over 20 years.

    “If a [Public Service Commission] rate increase is needed for the water rates that will need to be done as soon as possible,” said Larry Gotham of Morgan & Parmley in an email to the city.

    The project will likely be bid in February with council approval of the contract by the second week of March in order to meet DNR deadlines.

    In a related matter, the council also announced the city has been awarded an $80,998 grant for Summit Avenue and W. Fifth Street N. This work includes reconstruction of Summit Avenue between Wis. 27 and W. Fifth Street, also tying in several side streets.

    The city is also seeking subsidized Environmental Improvement Fund loans through the Clean Water Fund and Safe Drinking Water Loan Program. The EIF loans are managed and administered jointly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Administration.

    The CWFP and SDWLP are revolving loan programs that combine federal grants and state funding to provide financial assistance to municipalities in the form of subsidized loans. Some municipalities may also be eligible for funding in the form of principal forgiveness.