Caledonia homeowners billed thousands for water, sewer connections supporting area business park

NOW: Caledonia homeowners billed thousands for water, sewer connections supporting area business park

CALEDONIA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Homeowners in Caledonia along 4 Mile Road are up in arms after being handed a special assessment totaling over $100-thousand in some cases. 

It's for water and sewer connections installed to support a new business park just off I-94.

Residents left too upset to talk after trustees voted 4-2 in favor of implementing the special assessment. Homeowners don't know how they'll come up with the money.

Resident Thomas Michels has been fighting this fight for nearly three years.

"It's terrible. I used to watch deer over there playing and running around, back and forth, and all I see now is a big old wall," Michels said. 

But trustees say 4 Mile Road residents benefited when the 126-acre industrial park moved in.

Michels says no way. His pretty view is gone and truck traffic wakes him up.

"So you wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning and it's like, it should be silent, and it's like, it's not silent, it's always that rumble going on constantly."

Michels says what's more irritating is that trustees never asked for public input. Caledonia installed the water and sewer project in 2020 and afterward, sent bills to over a dozen homes, ranging from $31-thousand to $156-thousand.

"I shouldn't have to pay for sewer and water that I don't need. My house works perfectly fine the way it is," said Michels.

But trustees say property values go up when you have city water and sewer. Also, they offset the original bills by using $250-thousand from a TID fund.

"The board did go above and beyond for this group of homeowners in this area," said Jim Dobbs, Caledonia village board president.

Homeowners asked why more money in the TID isn't being used. 

President Jim Dobbs' response?

"I wouldn't say there is more money in the TID to do this., no," he said.

Homeowners can opt into a 20-year payment plan and don't have to connect at all, but payment in full would be required under circumstances like a move.

"The village board was voted in and are here to protect the citizens, not the commercial industrial business parks of the world. They're not looking out for us," said resident Susan Gracyalny. 

Gracyalny and her husband are being assessed $80-thousand.

"I think it's terrible. I mean, nobody can afford this. Nobody asked for this. If the project is for the town, then I'm thinking it should be spread out evenly to everybody," said Mark Gracyalny.

Every homeowner affected has joined together. They're now considering legal action.

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