EM approves comprehensive plan update

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound Village Board has approved an update to the village’s comprehensive Smart Growth plan.

Village Trustee Deborah Creaser-Kipp reported at the village board’s May 1 meeting that the plan commission had met at 6 p.m. and were recommending approval of the comprehensive land use plan update.

Andy Peterson, village president, noted that the village had saved between $5,000 and $6,000 by directing Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer, to do the update.

The plan is now in electronic format so changes can easily be made when needed, he said.

State law requires comprehensive Smart Growth plans to be updated every ten years, but Elk Mound should review the plan annually to see what has changed and what needs to be updated, Peterson said.

The Elk Mound Village Board voted unanimously to approve the Smart Growth plan update.

In addition to Peterson and Creaser-Kipp, Tom Gilbert, Tony Schrantz, Paula Turner, Patrick McDougall and Travis Wenzel serve as village trustees.

The state’s Smart Growth law required all municipalities to have a comprehensive land use plan in place by January of 2010 if the municipalities wanted to continue making land use decisions.

The Elk Mound Village Board agreed to contract with Bob Rudd of Rudd & Associates at a cost not to exceed $8,000 in January of 2012 to update the comprehensive plan, but the village board reversed that decision the next month and directed Hahn to work on updating the plan.

Hahn had told the village board she could update the plan herself, and that if any overtime payment was necessary, the amount would still be more cost-effective than hiring someone else to update the comprehensive plan.

In February of 2012, the Elk Mound Village Board unanimously approved a motion to update the comprehensive plan in-house at a cost not to exceed $2,500.

At a December of 2012 Elk Mound Plan Commission meeting, results from a new survey sent out by the plan commission revealed that village residents wanted a community center, a library, an assisted living facility, and a Laundromat in the village.

Village residents also indicated on the survey that they wanted a way to connect foot and bike traffic between the village’s two parks on the north and south side of town, and that a Railroad Quiet Zone should be established in the village.

Public works

Terry Stamm, director of public works, reported that Mark Levra’s 60 days of employment probation were up May 1.

Levra was hired as a public works employee for on-the-job training and formal water and sewer certification so that he can step in as director of public works when Stamm retires in a few years.

“It is going well. He takes it seriously,” Stamm said.

Levra is expecting to take a water certification test between August and November, and it is one of 15 areas in which he will require certification, he said.

“We’re packing a lot into one year,” Stamm noted.

“We’re not going to force you out,” Peterson said, adding that it is important for Levra to get as much training as he needs to do the job before Stamm retires.

Stamm said he is recommending a two-year program for Levra to train into the job.

“Stay out of trouble and stay under budget are the two goals for us,” Stamm said.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:

• Rescinded a previous motion to spend up to $15,000 on two pumps for lift station No. 2 and approved a new motion directing Stamm to procure a new quote for the pumps not to exceed $17,000 for installation, a five-year warranty, freight and pipes. Board members agreed that a five-year warranty instead of a one-year warranty would be worth the extra money.

• Approved a motion to make a conditional offer of employment to Travis Hakes for the part-time police chief’s position. The Elk Mound Village Board plans to grant final approval at the next meeting May 15. Hakes also serves as a police officer in Lake Hallie. He is expected to start in Elk Mound on June 1.