By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — Even though temperatures have been in the 40s and 50s for the last few days, Boyceville’s water mains and laterals are not past the danger of freezing up.
Don Rose, director of public works, reported to the Boyceville Village Board at Monday night’s meeting that six residences in the village were running water continuously to keep the mains and laterals from freezing.
Rose said he had called neighboring communities to find out how their water was faring and found out that some were running water in certain areas and that one community had two freeze-ups recently.
February was the third coldest February on record, he said, noting that the frost has gone down five or six feet.
Jo Palmer, village trustee, wondered how it could be possible with the warmer weather that frozen water services could still be a problem.
“There’s quite a bit of frost … the frost down there doesn’t know it’s 60 degrees up here,” Rose said.
The areas in the village where water is being run continuously are areas where there have been problems with freezing before, he said.
At one particular place, the water was 37 degrees coming out of the tap, along with a few chunks of ice, Rose said.
The ice is a sure sign that the water should be run continually to keep the mains open, he said.
At his own residence, the water temperature was 42 degrees, Rose noted.
Typically the water coming out of the ground is in the 50-degree range, but when water is in the tower with an outside air temperature below zero, the tower water is colder than it is coming out of the ground, he said, adding that circulating pumps keep it from freezing in the tower.
Rose also noted that he was having trouble with the lift station pumps plugging up.
People should not flush any baby wipes, paper towels, feminine products or any other paper products, he said.
“We’re unplugging the pumps every ten to 14 days,” Rose said, adding “we have to educate the public.”
A notice with the water bills about not flushing paper products would be a good idea, he said.
Eric Turner, director of the Dunn County Economic Development Corporation, reported to the village board that the unemployment rate in Dunn County is 3.9 percent.
“That’s almost critical,” he said, noting an employment rate that low means the employment rate is pretty much at full capacity and that employers are having a difficult time finding workers.
Turner said he is working on a rural Tax Increment Finance District that could help bring businesses to Boyceville.
UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls are working on developing engineering programs, Turner said, noting that the Stout proposal has received approval.
If engineering students come from the area and are trained in the area, they are more likely to stay in the area, he said.
The St. Croix Crossing will open up transportation from the Twin Cities to the northern tier of Dunn County, Turner said.
(According to the St. Croix Crossing website, the bridge is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 and will connect Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, with St. Joseph, Wisconsin.)
Turner urged village board members to contact their local legislatures about finding different ways other than borrowing to fund the transportation budget.
Transportation is critical to business development, he said.
“Without it, we’re out of business,” Turner said.
“Entrepreneurs After Hours” started in Elk Mound last fall, and this year Entrepreneurs After Hours will rotate between Elk Mound and other municipalities in Dunn County, he said.
The next rotation will bring Entrepreneurs After Hours to Boyceville, Turner said.
In other business, the Boyceville Village Board:
• Approved a Class “B” license to sell fermented malt beverages requested by Fatboy’s Softball Association to hold the second annual softball tournament June 12 through June 14 at Pafko Park.
• Approved bartender operator’s license applications for Heidi Swenson, Nicole Luedtke and Crystal Helmueller.
• Approved purchasing an online cloud backup system for a one-time fee of $85.
• Approved a motion to find out how much Boyceville has accumulated in airport entitlement funds from past years that have not been spent and whether there is another airport to which Boyceville could transfer the funds. Boyceville has transferred previous airport entitlement funds to other airports with the understanding that the funds would be paid back to Boyceville. The village has not yet spent the $150,000 per year from the years 2009 through 2014.
• Approved contracting with Cedar Corporation to update the village’s zoning code and to update the building code. An hourly rate or an overall contract amount was not included in the motion.