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Mayor upset about reports that he vetoed committee member

GLENWOOD CITY — Mayor John Larson expressed his disapproval of two published reports that said he vetoed a nomination of a city resident as a member of the committee that was formed to create the new sand mining ordinance.

 The two reports, one was a letter to the editor published in the May 22nd issue of the Tribune Press Reporter and the other was an online sheet called Wisconsin Voices, indicated that Larson had denied a local person a seat on the committee. Larson said both items were false.

In the Wisconsin Voice article it is stated, “residents attending the meeting report that Mayor John Larson vetoed the nomination of resident Chris Schone from the ordinance committee.”  The letter to the editor written and submitted by Charlotte Heimer stated, “one who was nominated to be on he committee but denied by the mayor.”

The mayor had the city Clerk/Treasurer, Sharon Rosenow, read the minutes of the May 6, 2013 city council meeting in which the committee was created. The minutes in part read: “Mayor Larson suggested utilizing the existing Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals and Variances members and Ken Peterson and the council as the committee to work on updating the ordinance.” No place in the council minutes does the mayor veto any person from the committee.

The minutes reflect that council member David Graese made a motion and with Nancy Hover’s second they moved to accept Mayor Larson’s suggested makeup of the committee. Those two along with members Terry Klinger and Scott Schone voted in favor of the members of the committee, with council members Crystal Booth and Ben DeGross voting against the motion.

At their meeting Monday night, June 3rd, after Larson was done proving that he did not veto anyone from the committee, Booth indicated that at the May 6th meeting she suggested Chris Schone be on the committee, but added, “I did not nominate him.”

The committee to update the mining ordinance has met twice and has a third meeting scheduled for June 18 at the Community Center.

During the public comment period of the Council meeting Charlotte Heimer addressed the council with a pack of paperwork which she said contained letters from area communities, the school and a petition signed by at least 500 area residents that would like the council to change the make up of he committee on the mine ordinance.

After the meeting Heimer was asked: Why do you want to enlarge the committee? Her answer in part said, “It’s not that I believe there should be a large committee. I believe, and know that others in the community feel the same, that the committee should be a ‘balanced’ committee. This is an issue that is dividing our town and even once close families are no longer talking.”

Council Approves $352,249 Street Improvements Project

The council gave the green light and accepted the low bid for street improvement works for this summer.

The work involves Third Street and Elm Street near the old school and Limberg Court and Glenview Drive. The project includes rebuilding the streets and the installation of new water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer lines on Third and Elm Streets and street and storm sewer work on Limberg Court and Glenview Drive.

Cedar Corporation opened bids on May 30th and presented them to the council. Kevin Oium of Cedar explained the three pages of tabulations from the two firms that bid on the work.

Hass and Sons, Inc. of Thorp, Wisconsin were the apparent low bidders at $352,338.05. The other bidder was A-1 Excavating with a bid of $382,789.00. Oium told the council that they included an alternate completion schedule in the bidding to find out if the city could save money if they moved the completion date back from August 30th to October 4th. The bid was reduced by some $7,500 for the later date, which brought the total amount to $344,838.05 and the council approved this. Mayor John Larson questioned with the statement, “they will start a month later and the street will not be open any longer either way.”

To Clean Up Walking Path

During his report to the council, Public Works Director Doug Doornink reported that he has been in contact with a firm that will come and cut the trees and brush along the city’s walking path from the fairground to 320th street. It will not cost the city any money but the firm will sell the wood for sawdust, Doornick said.

He explained to the council that trees would be clear-cut on the south side of the path and select cut on the north side. He indicated that on the south side of the path is the location of the city’s main sanitary sewer line, and the tree roots can become a problem with that line. He said the city spent over $4,000 last year to have a root ball removed from that sewer line. The council approved the action along with having the trees cut all the way past the waste water treatment plant to the east of 320th Street.

Doornink also talked about the work at the swimming pool and noted that the old diving board was in bad shape and had to be removed when they pumped out the pool and did the needed spring clean-up work. He suggested to the council that a floating platform be installed in place of the diving board. He had a cost of $2,262 for the new platform and the council approved this.

The council, however, took no action on Doornink’s discussion about the needed work on the playground equipment at Hinman Park. He told the council that a piece of playground equipment for the park could run as much at $30,000. He said they will replace the doors at the bathroom building and installed a new drinking fountain at the building.

But the most discussed item in his report was about the chip sealing of city streets. The city will have the county come in to seal Oak Street from first to almost Sixth Street and he was planning on having 320th Street also chip sealed. 320th Street is just to the west of the school and with construction of the new track and football field, it may cause problems with that work on the street. The chip sealing is scheduled for June 11th.

Doornink said that the contractor would be hauling fill for the new facility with two weeks of truck traffic on 320th. That will destroy the new chip seal, he said. But councilperson David Graese suggested that they would be destroying the road.

The plan is for sand to be removed from a pit on the Scott Teigen property off County Road G and brought onto 320th Street and to the school property on a new driveway at the south end of the school property.

After about fifteen minutes of discussion on the matter it was decided that chip sealing would be done on only that part of 320th street north of the new driveway and allow the construction company to use the road.

Library Clean Up

During the report about the library, council member Nancy Hover presented the clean up bill from ServiceMaster for work done at the library. Hover explained that during the snow of this past winter, ice built up on the roof and a rain gutter came off the building and water entered into the basement.

ServiceMaster was called to help clean up the water and their bill was $1,542 and Hover suggested that it was the city’s responsiblity because they own the building. It was also learned that a pump in the basement that could have taken care of the water broke down and had to be replaced.

Hover also spoke to clarify on something – she talked about at last month’s council meeting. The library board would like to have the head librarian position be a full-time position. She said that not all members of the library board felt that way.

Ambulance Personnel Wages

After a report by David Graese about trying to keep people interested in serving on the local ambulance, he proposed to expand the standby pay that each member receives to be on call to handle ambulance runs.

At present, members of the crew are paid for being on call for weekends only. They receive a payment of $35.00 for a 12-hour weekend shift, plus if they are called out on a run they will receive hourly pay.

Graese suggested that during the week they be paid $15.00 for being on call for the 12-hour shift. Several members wondered if that was enough for a shift and Graese indicated that he would like it to start on June 1st and see how it works over a period of months. The council approved this action after the mayor said that it would cost some $90.00 a day. Graese said that he would ask the director to check to see if the rates the local ambulance charges were in line with neighboring services. He thought that the local rates were lower and if the rates were increased that could help with covering some of the estimated $22,000 annual cost increase.

The council also approved a three-year contract with Owen Assessing LLC for doing the assessment work on the local property. The council voted 3-1 for the $18,900 contract with Booth voting no. The council had only four members present at their meeting with Scott Schone and Terry Klinger both gone.

Can’t Sell Land

Marvin Booth appeared before the council with a problem about land he has for sale. He told the council that he owns 14 acres just off Walnut Ridge Drive and he has it for sale.

“We had a party interested in it, but my agent got a letter from the city attorney which said that the land was not saleable land.” According to Booth it was because there is no access to that property, but Booth believes that he has a driveway off Walnut Ridge and access off County Road X to that property. He said that the city has the maps, but the city clerk indicated that she could not find any copy of them.

Booth said that he is paying some $600 a year in property taxes on that property, and the council talked about that land being zoned conservancy, which would mean that no building could take place. But Booth said that the county has it as Ag Residential and that apparently the city never filed the proper paperwork.

In the end Booth said that he would bring his maps of the property to city hall for copying, but he would keep track of his copy.