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EM approves softball agreement, but snow delays start of season

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND — Even though we could still be a couple of weeks away from the start of spring sports, the Elk Mound Village Board has approved a lease agreement with the Elk Mound school district for the Lions’ park ball field.

The Elk Mound Village Board approved the one-year lease at a cost of $500 at the April 3 meeting.

This is the third year that the school district has used the village’s ball field for junior varsity softball, noted Terry Stamm, director of public works.

Unfortunately, the weather has delayed the start of the season by at least a week already, he said.

Stamm reported that he had checked the ball field on the afternoon of the village board meeting and that eight to 12 inches of snow remained on the field.

“The snow in the ditch is melting, but the field is not melting like it normally does,” he said.

Once all of the snow has melted from the ball field, the ground will have to dry out before anyone can bring in equipment to prepare the field for playing a game, Stamm said.

Temperatures throughout March and early April were anywhere from ten to 30 degrees below normal.

Snowstorms during this past winter, combined with several episodes of rain and a couple of ice storms, left a thick layer of ice and snow that has been slow to melt.

The Elk Mound Village Board unanimously approved the lease agreement with the Elk Mound school district for 2013.

More snow woes

Not only has the snow and ice been hard on spring sports, but it also has been hard on village equipment.

Stamm reported that the snowplow on Truck No. 2, a 2008 Ford, was either in need of repair or of being replaced.

Truck No. 2 plows about a third more snow than the village’s other truck, Stamm said.

The plow was new when the truck was purchased, and all things considered, it has held up quite well until now, he said.

Repairing the snowplow blade will cost around $2,700, but purchasing a new snowplow blade with a two-year warranty will cost about $5,400, Stamm said.

Indianhead Truck has offered a trade-in on the old snowplow blade of between $900 and $1,000, he said.

The public works department has $3,000 in savings, and another $1,500 could be used from the village’s contingency fund, which currently has a balance of $13,000 to $14,000, Stamm said.

“Our goal is to get back to blacktop. It was a rough year,” he said.

The estimated cost of $2,700 for repair does not include any work on the wiring harness or controls, Stamm said.

“A plow takes a lot of abuse … it’s the nature of the beast,” he said.

Tom Gilbert, village trustee, wondered if any “summer deals” would be coming along for snowplows.

Steel prices are always going up, and “the best deal we will get is right now,” Stamm said, adding that dealers are interested in clearing out their inventory.

Truck No. 2 and the blade also are used for grading and shouldering, he said.

If the blade is fixed now, the wiring harness and controls could require repair in the future, Stamm pointed out

The Elk Mound Village Board unanimously approved trading in the existing snowplow blade and purchasing a new one at a cost not to exceed $4,600.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:

• Learned the state Department of Safety and Professional Services had conducted an inspection in Elk Mound on April 2 and that the village president will be receiving a letter outlining a list of eight or nine items on which the village will have to comply within 60 days, such as blood-borne pathogen training for the village clerk’s office. The checklist for inspection contains hundreds of items, and the inspector said he has been doing inspections for 27 years and “never had a perfect one yet,” Stamm reported.

• Approved the employee handbook for 2013 with the understanding that it will be reviewed annually.

• Approved accepting one more application for the part-time police chief position. Candidates will be interviewed April 18. Colfax Police Chief Pete Gehring has been asked to be part of the interviewing committee.