(Shaun Friedrichsen, Publisher)
Vicious dogs and financial issues are two problems the Village Board of Steele City are working to address.
At their meeting on Monday, the board discussed some of the financial issues with they are working with the bank to resolve concerning the water project that will link the water systems of Steele City and Endicott. Clerk Connie Fox explained that they are working to get a loan from American National Bank.
“The borrower, of course, is the Village of Steele City, and the loan amount is $185,000,” said Fox. “The loan terms are up to two years of interest only payments due monthly. The rate is, option one, fixed interest rate of 4.99 percent for the term of the loan or, option two, a variable interest rate of 4.5 percent. The rate would be variable on a daily basis at one percent above the Wall Street pricing.”
Fox continued by explaining that the fees alone are over $900. She stated that there could be other fees associated with the loan as well. She stated that Luann Brown, with USDA Rural Development, has not had a chance to review the terms of the loan.
“I know she told me in one email that anything over four percent would be ridiculous,” Fox said. “So, they’re sitting at 4.99. So, I don’t, personally, think the USDA is going to go for this loan.”
Board Member Ralph Broadston explained that the Village of Endicott received their loan from First National Bank, and he believes they received a better rate.
“Endicott got theirs at 3.5 percent,” said Broadston. “They financed over $300,000, and we’re financing $185,000. They got it at three and a half percent interest, and that loan will be repaid annually for the next 40 years, not two years like it stated on there (the loan agreement).”
Broadston believes that it will be difficult for Steele City to pay off the loan, even if taxes are raised. He emphasized that the interest rate is far too high.
“They [Endicott] say with that, they won’t have to raise taxes,” Broadston said. “I don’t know how we’re going to get through it without doing something; raising something somewhere. Five percent is ridiculous.”
Mayor Tammy Katz suggested that the issue should be tabled until the board is able to confer with the USDA about the loan. Citizen Joyce Kauffmann suggested that the board should seek out other lenders in order to find a better interest rate. Katz agreed that it is a possibility, but would like to speak with the USDA before doing that.
Also during the meeting, Katz explained that there has been an issue with a vicious dog in the Village that has attacked another animal.
“We had another episode, I don’t know what you want to call it, it was a witnessed killing where a dog killed another dog,” said Katz. “This dog has killed before. I talked with the lawyer, and he said that we can do a dangerous dog ordinance.”
However, she explained that this type of ordinance is difficult to enforce because of the lack of people to enforce it. She stated that many people have contacted her about this dog, which she noted is a pit bull, and expressed their concerns.
“I’m not happy about it either, because once a dog kills, it’s usually hard to stop them from doing it,” Katz said.
The Village of Steele City has an ordinance that dogs need to remain on leashes when in public. Katz stated that the owners of the dog were advised about the leash law, and explained that if there are any troubles with vicious dogs again, the village board will look into passing the dangerous dog ordinance. She also noted that the village can ban pit bulls.
“I just wanted to bring it up so that people know there are options,” said Katz. “At this point we’re just going to wait and see. Hopefully this person will keep their dog tied up.”
Katz read the current ordinance concerning dogs and stated that the village will send copies of the ordinance to the citizens of Steele City.
Also during the meeting, Megan Sothan, Interim Director of Day-to-Day Operations at the Jefferson County Historical Society, asked permission from the board to use some of the village’s land during the Steele City Flea Market. The board approved of this use. Jefferson County Commissioner Mark Schoenrock also spoke at the meeting, reviewing some of the issues that are being addressed by the county at this time.