Although slightly behind its original schedule, Holmen is now on target to have a remodeled wastewater treatment plant on line in 2020.

To keep the project moving forward, the Holmen Village Board took action to acquire financing for the project.

At its March 14 meeting, the village board approved a resolution indicating its support for obtaining a loan through the Department of Natural Resources Clean Water Fund to finance the upgrades of the sewage plant.

It also voted to authorize issuing up to $13,081,981 in sewerage system revenue bonds.

The village’s plant is reaching the end of its lifespan and its renovation is also needed because of Holmen’s significant growth. To handle current and future treatment needs, the new plant will be upgraded to serve a population of 15,000.

The village began looking at options for handling its septage about seven years ago.

In addition to looking into renovating its current plant built in 1982, the village investigated sending its effluent to the La Crosse treatment facility. However, when the village learned in 2015 the city would charge a hook-up fee of more than $2 million, the village board decided to upgrade its own plant instead.

It is estimated the construction of a new treatment plant for the village would cost ratepayers $3 a month less than if the village continued with the plan sending its effluent to La Crosse. In 2015, the estimated cost to build a new wastewater treatment facility was $15 million.

When the village began planning for the upgrade to the treatment plant, it increased sewer rates to raise funds needed for the upgrade.

This foresight has made it possible to build the new facility without an immediate need for a rate increase. However it is possible modest increases will be necessary in the years after the plant is completed.

Sexting prohibited ordinance

The village board voted to add an ordinance to its code to address incidents of sexting by minors. The new ordinance was presented to the Holmen Law Enforcement Committee at its Feb. 5 meeting.

Patrick Barlow, a village resident, was the only person to give input on the ordinance at the public hearing. He spoke in favor of the ordinance’s adoption, saying the ordinance, “gives the police department a way to educate (offenders) and give an extra layer of addressing the issue.”

If the ordinance isn’t adopted, any minor sending photographs or other images “showing nudity, human genitalia, the pubic area, buttocks or female breasts below the nipple without opaque covering would be considered pornography would be considered a felony.

In addition, minors receiving such images and sending them to others could be cited for transmitting pornographic material.

Holmen Police Chief Shane Collins informed the Holmen Law Enforcement Committee at its February meeting his department investigated an incident of 12 juveniles sharing a sexting photo.

With the ordinances adoption, any minor found guilty of using an electronic device to transmit a photograph or video of any person that would be classified as pornography to other minors could be subject to a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500. The fines could also include the costs of prosecution.

Down payment for new K-9

The village approved a $2,000 down payment for a new K-9 officer. The future police dog is still a puppy and will begin it’s training when its 10 weeks old. The down payment isn’t in this year’s police department budget, so the funds will come out of a reserve fund.

The Holmen Police Department is looking ahead to the retirement of the current police dog, Ori, in a couple years.

The cost of acquiring the new K-9 will be $14,000, which includes the cost of training an officer to work with the dog.

Along with funds budgeted by the village, the police department will be seeking donations from local organizations and private individuals to cover the dog’s purchase.

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