Future capital projects were the focus of Tuesday’s Physical Facilities Committee meeting in the Village of Ephraim on Tuesday. The panel put together a to-do list over the next ten years that included jobs both ambitious and more menial in nature. Chair Cindy Nelson ticked off shoreline protection, addressing the Hardy Gallery and Anderson Dock, work on the wetlands, beach improvements, streetscape work including at Moravia Park near the marina, and street light replacement on the northern end of town. Member Matt Meacham added in the repaving of city lots. Many of the projects have already been the subject of extensive discussion and costs can be estimated fairly precisely at this time. Meacham suggested that the village set up a capital improvements fund that raises money for the work over time rather than having to resort to taking on new debt once a bid is accepted.
Administrator Brent Bristol said that is impossible as it runs afoul of tax levy restrictions imposed on municipalities by the State of Wisconsin. Debt issuance is one of the few exceptions to the law. Bristol said that the only feasible option is to redirect funds earmarked for a separate purpose if their initial use falls through, such as staffing changes or other deviations from the initial budget.