The city of Columbus is likely to use special assessment payments from residents to help pay for a 2018 street project.

Columbus’ Committee of the Whole discussed preparing a resolution about street assessment costs at its Jan. 4 meeting. The project includes work along South Water Street and East School Street. It is scheduled to begin in April and run through the end of July.

The committee referenced a resolution packet from the 2016 street project to determine possible assessment options. Mayor Michael Thom said it’s ideal to have the previous resolution packet available to serve as a guide for the upcoming project.

Several residents along the construction route are concerned with paying high assessments for the work. If the city decides to approve a preliminary report for assessments, residents should know in a few weeks how much they will pay for the street work.

Highway 89 grant funding

While the project is still a few years away, the city is considering state funding options to enhance the Highway 89 renovation project scheduled for 2022.

Columbus is eligible to receive grants from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to add specific items to the road work. City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden said the DOT has already requested feedback from the city as to what grant-funded features it would like in the project.

“These are important decisions for us and I don’t think this is something that can be completely rushed with a project that is still a few years away,” Vander Sanden said.

The project enhancements would be along Farnham and Waterloo streets. Vander Sanden provided a few concept drawings to the committee for review during the Jan. 4 meeting. The city received a $47,000 grant from the DOT for street work, but has used $20,000 for black lighting poles in a previous project.

Vander Sanden said the city could use the remainder of the grant for native plants, such as trees. Benches and signage options are also being considered.

“I like the concept,” Thom said. “There is some flexibility on how you shift things around (for funding). I like the possibility of having some lighting in there too, some type of electrical.”

Vander Sanden has also looked at other communities to see what they’ve done to enhance DOT street projects.

City honors retirees

During the city council meeting prior to Committee of the Whole, Columbus recognized Pat Schmidt and Joanne Sampson for their work as election clerks.

Schmidt served the city for 16 years, while Sampson put in 14 years of service. City Clerk Megan Moen read proclamations honoring both and wished them best of luck in retirement.

Yaskal running for county judge

Brenda Yaskal, from Portage, informed the council she is running for Columbia County judge in the spring election April 3.

Yaskal said she is one of four candidates running for the judgeship. A primary Feb. 20 will determine the top two candidates that will be placed on the April 3 ballot.

“It will be interesting to see how many people come out to vote,” Yaskal said. “That’s always a challenge to get people out to the poles in the spring election.”

Yaskal said she has the broadest range of experience of the four candidates. She’s worked as a lawyer and a case manager for at-risk youth in Dane County. After completing her law degree, Yaskal worked in the Columbia County district attorney’s office for 10 years as a prosecutor. Since mid-2016, Yaskal has served as an assistant corporation counsel for Sauk County.

“Most of my work there has really been focused on protecting children,” Yaskal said. “I work on CHIPS cases and even adult protective cases for adults who are at risk for abuse. In my experience, I’ve developed a way to deal with people in a very respectful way in the courtroom.”

Washington Park merry-go round sold

In his report to the council, Thom said Fuzzy Sheppard bid slightly more than $1,000 to purchase a merry-go round and swing set at Washington Park.

Sheppard bid $520.20 for each item and came in as the highest bidder. Sheppard’s purchase will go toward funding for additional park improvements.

Contact Kevin Damask at 608-963-7323 or on Twitter @kdamask