Village of Bruce

Bruce, Wisconsin

Village of Bruce
Community Development Block Grant-Public Facilities (CDBG-PF)
Citizen Participation Hearing
Monday, May 6, 2019

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a Public Hearing was held at the Bruce Village Hall on Monday, May 6, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.  The purpose of this meeting was to discuss and allow public comment in regard to the proposed application for Community Development Block Grant-Public Facilities Program(CDBG-PF) funds.  The public was invited to attend to learn about the CDBG Program, to help identify additional community development needs and to comment on the activities proposed to be included in the CDBG application for the North Main Street Project.

Village President Shane Trott called the Public Hearing to order at 6:30 p.m.  Board members Skogen, Brainerd, Cabak, Zimmer & Newman attended the hearing. Larry Gotham from Morgan & Parmley, Ltd. was present along with Clerk Terry Hegeholz and Director of Public Works Darlene Wundrow.   Attendees were asked to sign in. 

Amy Kelsey from Cooper Engineering attended the hearing and gave the following information;

1.  Overview of CDBG Program                                                     

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a competitive grant program funded by a federal allocation under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program was created when Congress passed the Housing and Community Development Act, Title 1 in 1974. The Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) – Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources (DEHCR) administers the State Community Development Block Grant Program.  Approximately $10 Million is available in 2019. 

The primary purpose of the CDBG program is the development of viable communities through the provision of decent affordable housing, a suitable living environment, and the expansion of economic opportunities, principally for the benefit of persons of low and moderate income. CDBG-PF is a financing tool for local units of government in need of funds to undertake needed infrastructure and public building projects (excluding buildings for the conduct of government).  This program supports public investment that will contribute to the overall community and economic development, thus enhancing the vitality of a community.  Typically, these projects will involve streets, sidewalks, water and sewer systems, storm water drainage and retention, senior and community centers, fire stations, libraries, blight elimination, accessibility modifications, and other similar types of activities.  All CDBG-assisted projects must comply with federal requirements that accompany these funds.

The maximum grant for any single application is $1,000,000 with a $2 CDBG: $1match.  Communities can receive grants every other year.  Applications are scored on a point system that considers project need, community distress, financial need, planning, and ability to meet the match requirements.  The project must meet at least one of the following National Objectives:  51 percent LMI Benefit, Slum and Blight Removal, or Urgent Local Need.  The 2011-2015 American Community Survey data is used to determine an applicant’s eligibility for funding.  The LMI percentage must be 51 percent or higher. The Village of Bruce has an overall LMI rating of 69.81%.

Planning grants of up to $50,000 are also available to communities, but on a continuous cycle.  Communities must be able to accept the award and proceed with negotiating the Grant Agreement within 45 days of award notification.  

Department of Administration GOALS AND PROGRAM OBJECTIVES:

Several funding programs are available to assist municipalities improve public facilities.  The CDBG program allows dovetailing programs to obtain maximum funding for a project and still meet program goals.  A community, however, must contribute a minimum of 10% of the project total which may be financed through loans that the community will pay back. 

The Department of Natural Resources administers the Environmental Improvement Fund to assist with Drinking Water and sanitary sewer projects that affect the environment.  The EIF program administers both the Clean Water Fund and the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program, but which will be pursued for the North Main Street and Lift Station Improvement Project.  Other funding programs available to communities for water and sewer infrastructure projects include USDA Rural Development programs and a loan from the State Trust Fund.

The Village of Bruce is investigating the use of CDBG program, DNR funds, general revenue, sewer revenue, and short term financing to complete the proposed project. 

Housing, Economic development, public facilities, planning grant, and emergency assistance

Housing grants have been regionalized.  The Village of Bruce currently participates with Rusk County to receive housing improvement funds for home improvements for low to moderate income residents.

RLF for Economic Development Program|
Approximately 140 local governments participate in the Small Cities Revolving Loan Fund for Economic Development (CDBG-RLF-ED) Program.  Funds are loaned by the community to a local business that will invest private funds for CDBG eligible activities and create jobs for LMI individuals.  When the RLF-ED loans are repaid to the community, the funds go back into the RLF to be loaned to other businesses.  These are resources for communities faced with either layoffs or the closing of one of their local businesses.  

Communities may receive new CDBG funds by participating in the CDBG-ED Program.  When funds received from the ED program are repaid to the community, the funds are deposited into the RLF. 

Community Economic Resources

The CDBG-PFED program awards funds to local governments for public infrastructure projects that support business expansion or retention. Examples of eligible applications include new or improved water & sewer service and streets that result in business expansion and job opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals. 

Public Facilities

Eligible projects must fit into one of the following categories of Public Facilities. 

      Public Infrastructure Grants

Eligible projects include the installation, repair, or replacement of public water systems (including wells, water towers, and distribution systems) and sanitary sewer systems (including collection systems and treatment plants); storm drainage systems; streets; sidewalks, curb and gutter; parking; street lights; and streetscape.  Maintenance is not eligible.

      Community Facility Grants

Community facility projects include capital expenditures for physical facilities necessary to add or prevent the loss of basic services or (critical) public amenities that principally benefit low- and moderate-income persons and are perceived to enhance a community’s quality of life.  These can include acquisition, new construction, expansion, rehabilitation, renovation, and conversion costs.  Examples include libraries, community and senior centers, fire stations, health clinics, sheltered workshops, and day care facilities.  Projects involving buildings used solely for the general conduct of government are not eligible for assistance.  Costs to remove architectural barriers in structures, including structures used for general government function which limit access or mobility for elderly or handicapped persons are eligible.

Emergency Assistance

CDBG-EAP funds are used to assist local units of government to address emergency housing, public facility, infrastructure, and business assistance needs that occur as a result of natural or manmade disasters.  Such assistance may include, but is not limited to housing rehabilitation, acquisition/demolition, housing replacement, road repairs, storm water drainage and public facilities.

      Housing needs and goals identified in the 2010 Rusk County Comprehensive Plan include:

ACS 2013-17 data, the Village of Bruce has 410 total housing units, of which 361 (88%) are occupied and 49 are vacant housing units for sale or rent.  Vast majority built prior to 1990 (30+ years old) with dominance of structures built in 1970s. 

Utilities & Community Facilities:  “Efficient provision of community facilities and high quality utilities control taxes, boosts property values, and contributes to many aspects of the quality of life within Rusk County. Local features such as utilities, schools, parks, and protective services help define a community. These services require substantial investment supported by the local tax base or user fees. Thus, the level of services is generally determined by the community’s ability to pay for it and the interest in having it.” 

No official Comp Plan or CIP plan in the Village.  During the 2009 PH held for the Blackburn, Alvey, and Second Street improvement project, it was noted that extension of sewer and water is needed to the industrial park and an upgrade at the WWTP was needed.   This North Main Street and Washington Avenue project was also noted because of the need for sidewalk in front of the school. However, a lack of Village funds kept the project from being added to that proposal. 

Darlene Wundrow, DPW, was consulted for an updated list of Village needs.  Here is a list of some issues and needs she identified:


The Village of Bruce has aged infrastructure dating back to the original installation of the system (circa 1938).  Water loss estimates by PSC are 22% of water supplied for the Village.  The service lines delivering water to houses are connected with lead goosenecks, frequently clog, and give rise to leaks.  Additionally, both of the water towers in the Village are located south of the railroad tracks; approximately half of the Village is located north of the railroad tracks and serviced by only one water line.  This results in many dead ends in the water lines, not enough water to households and businesses, and impaired fire protection.  Sanitary sewer in the project location is the original clay pipe which has a tendency to become brittle and break, allow joint separation by tree roots, and possibly triggering environmental pollution.  Two key areas in the Village are in a state of disrepair with regard to the street and sidewalk and need utility upgrades for the safety, convenience and service, and morale of the residents of Bruce.

Two lift stations in the Village are also in need of repairs.  The main lift station’s (located at N. 4th Street) impellers are wearing out, the bricks are deteriorated. All sewer in the Village passes through this lift station, and it must be kept in good repair. 

The lift station at Coleman Street is undersized for the area it serves.  The lift station will be upgraded to serve the southwest neighborhood of Bruce and also updated to modern equipment to replace the 40-year-old equipment. 


Water supply in the north half of the Village of Bruce is strained due to the distribution system.  Several houses do not have adequate water, and water quality is compromised because of the dead end lines in the system which allow sediments and foreign objects in the system to remain.  The streets are in hideous condition with potholes, patches, and unlevel surfaces.  Near the school (Washington Avenue), there is a lack of sidewalk facilities which clearly distinguishing safe locations for students and travel areas for vehicles.  In the business section (Railroad Avenue), road surfaces are also in poor condition, pond water, and have old water and sewer infrastructure.  Residents have complained during village board meetings about the condition of the streets, and the Public Works Department must replace non-functioning water lines individually as complaints come in (several per year).  The road and utility condition affects all residents and visitors in Bruce. 


Continuation of poor streets will eventually cause damage to vehicles.  Water and sewer will develop leaks, costing the Village more to treat and deliver water and potentially polluting the environment with sanitary sewer leaks.  Emergency repairs are also costly to pinpoint the location and address the problem.  Flooding in the streets causes the roads to be impassible especially near the school.  Lack of sidewalks does not contribute to a cohesive community atmosphere or provide ADA-facilities. 


The proposed project would eliminate lead exposure to residents in the project area, improve hydraulic flow, efficiency, and reliability in the system north of the railroad tracks, increase fire protection, reduce water and sanitary sewer leaks, reduce street flooding, and provide a fresh driving surface in two keys areas of the Village.  ADA-compliant pedestrian facilities will also be added which will connect to the school and business district. 


The Bruce High School is situated on Washington Avenue on the north side of Bruce just two blocks north of the business district.  The road surface from N. Alvey Street to N. 2nd Street (3 blocks in front of the High school) has potholes, becomes flooded during storms from lack of storm drains, and does not have curb and gutter or adequate sidewalks for students and pedestrians.  Water and sewer mains will be replaced on Washington Avenue.  Sidewalk will be added in front of the school property on the north side of the street.  Curb and gutter and storm sewer will be added on the entire Washington Avenue segment to complete the urban cross section initiated in the 2010 CDBG project. 

First Street (Washington Avenue to East River Road) – Two blocks of First Street will be improved, but by different means.  The north block of 1st Street is in a residential neighborhood.  The 2-inch water line is undersized, and there is no hydrant.  The street is in poor condition, and there is no sidewalk.  Water will be upgraded to an 8-inch main and will be connected to East River Avenue to create a loop from the water tower and eliminate the existing dead end.  This will provide better water quality and water supply for residents and businesses in the section of the Village north of the railroad tracks.  A fire hydrant will be installed for fire protect, and the water services lines to properties will be replaced and remove the goosenecks.  Original clay pipe sanitary sewer will be replaced and a manhole installed.  The street will be reconstructed and sidewalk installed. 

The south block of First Street has been closed to accommodate the CN railroad.  Small areas of the old road are used for parking.  After water and sewer have been replaced, the existing street will be obliterated with the base material left intact.  The street bed will be restored with topsoil and grass following construction. 

North Main Street from Washington to East River Avenue (2 blocks) currently uses the original water and sewer lines from 1938 and provides the only water service to the school and the section of the Village north of the railroad tracks.  The concrete sidewalks have heaved and cracked and otherwise failed.  The Village paved over the concrete sidewalk with asphalt 2-3 times, but the sidewalks are still non-traversable (the Village was sued over a fall on this sidewalk.) 

The 8” water main and sanitary sewer will be replaced (including under the railroad tracks), and additional fire hydrants and manholes will be added.  Sidewalk will be replaced on both sides of North Main Street and the road reconstructed with storm sewer.

Railroad Avenue from N. Blackburn Street to N. 3rd Street (5 blocks) has potholes and is in poor condition.  Water and sewer mains and water service lines are original and will be replaced.  Sidewalk will be added from Macarthur Hotel to North Main Street and the road reconstructed. 

East River Avenue from N 1st Street to N. Main Street (1 block) will be improved.  Water and sewer will be replaced and a new road surface constructed with mountable curb and gutter.  No sidewalk will be constructed on East River Avenue. 

The main lift station will be rehabilitated.  The station itself and electrical components are in decent shape.  The proposed project will rehabilitate the man hole and connections and replace the control system and equipment within the lift station.  At Coleman Avenue, the lift station will be completely rebuilt with a new manhole, control system, electrical system, transfer switch, and connections. 

Construction Cost Estimate $1,996,742.25

Total Project Cost $2,465,616.48

Residential and/or business displacement as a result of the proposed project is not expected.  Easements may be required for the placement of sidewalk and also for the convenience of the landowner.  The proposed activities will largely take place within the existing footprint of Village streets and infrastructure. 

6. Citizen Input

No one from the public commented on the project.

The Public Hearing adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

Terry Hegeholz