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W’bago citizens turn to express their concerns

By Staff | Mar 29, 2015

Winnebago resident Tim Hynes explains his concerns with the proposed Winnebago water and wastewater project.

More than 50 people from the Winnebago community showed up to the meeting to hear what presenters had to say about the proposed $6.6 million project and to voice their concerns to City Council members.

After hearing from three separate presentations on the proposed project, citizens were given an opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns.

Tim Hynes, was the first to express his comments to the council.

“I have a pretty large stake in this; I own three properties in the northwest area of town. My biggest concern is if we take on this big financial burden for 20 years, how will we be able to take on other projects and afford those as well?” he asked.

Hynes, along with others, voiced their worries on whether the costs for curbs, gutters, and pavement versus having gravel roads are truly beneficial.

“I understand the [paved] roads that we do have need maintenance, but I’m not sure if the people who live on gravel roads care if their roads get paved or not. It could save us some money,” said Hynes.

Other citizens voiced concerns about homeowner’s incomes and the increase in taxes. It was pointed out to the council the number of senior citizens in the Winnebago community who are on fixed incomes.

Jerry Johannsen was quick to point out how many families living in the community live on low incomes.

“It’s something that’s been the talk of the town and it’s a scary situation for a lot of people,” said Johannsen. “Winnebago is a below average income town. To dump this on everybody, whether we have to do it or not you should, in good will, look at the cost as much as you can for the people of this town. Look around this crowd. How many of these citizens will be around in 20 years to pay for all of this? You’re looking at a $7 million project to a town who’s been losing its population since the 70s.”

After city engineer Travis Winter and city administrator Chris Ziegler did their best to respond to the questions that came up, Mayor Jeremiah Schutt had his turn to address his constituents:

“I think I know most everybody here, but if not, I’m Mayor Jeremiah Schutt,” he said. “Call me, email me, talk to me on the street. I’m here to listen. If you want to give me feedback – be it negative or positive: that’s what I’m here for, and that is what the council is here for as well.”

“This is all preliminary information only,” the mayor added. “There will be several more public hearings before any decisions are made. The public will know about those when they happen.?I guarantee you.”