Germantown — They don't have a choice. That is what has prompted the Germantown Village Board to amend its budget to foot the bill for a new traffic signal near the Germantown Business Park.
"I don't think anyone would agree that it's overkill," said Village President Dean Wolter, "but it's a federal standard we are forced to uphold."
The standard of which he speaks is one that was part of a memorandum of understanding with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) signed by the village in 2009. Five years later, the cost and scope of the project now exceed the original estimate by about $114,000.
Three weeks after a 3-3 split vote at its June 16 meeting, the board on Monday, July 7, approved the budget amendment within tax-incremental financing district No. 4 for a total estimated cost of about $270,000 for the signal, located at Mequon and Eisenhower roads.
"I don't think they are strong-arming us; it took us all by surprise though as far as these new standards," said Public Works Director Dan Ludwig, who added that the signal will be maintained by WisDOT.
While the original estimate of about $156,000 was for a conventional intersection, Public Works Director Dan Ludwig explained that the standards, which were overhauled earlier this year, now require the signal to be designed to withstand hurricane-strength winds. Though he agreed the signal is needed based on growth at the business park, Trustee David Baum repeatedly called the project overkill.
"I'm not in favor of spending all this extra money, which seems wasteful," said Baum, who was the one dissenting vote.
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