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Village challenged on siting of DPW

Moving the Silver Creek Department of Public Works may result in the loss of tax-exempt status for the municipality.

The department's crews and equipment have been operating out of the former George Bentges' warehouse building on Routes 5 and 20, outside the village limits. The location was chosen after the flood of August 2009 heavily damaged the DPW building. That building has since been torn down, and the village entered into an agreement with the Bentges' owners to purchase the warehouse and land.

Randy Jolles, former owner of Damon Motors of Silver Creek, lobbied the Village Board and its Planning Board to make his building and land the new DPW location.

Jolles brought up the taxation matter Monday at the regular meeting of the Village Board.

"I would hate to see you proceed forward and end up with a lawsuit," he said.

Jolles said he has been in contact with the state office that governs tax-exempt status for villages. He said a decision in writing about the property was provided to each board member.

Mayor Kurt Lindstrom did not comment on the situation.

According to Jolles, the village would be required to pay about $20,000 in property taxes annually if it locates the department outside village limits.

Before the purchase is finalized, the village needs formal approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would fund part of the purchase due to the loss of the old DPW structures in the flood.

In other matters, the board has reserved a decision on the matter of the former Seegert Dairy building on Buffalo Street. At a public hearing Monday, the new owner of the building failed to show up and state why the building has not been repaired or demolished.

The next step lies with the village leaders, who could decide to fine the owner or have demolition crews remove the old structure and bill the owner.

Village Attorney Andrew Kehrer said he expects the board to make a decision in January.

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