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BOYCEVILLE — With concerns about the COVID-19 virus the Village Board voted 4 to 1 to cancel this year’s annual Cucumber Festival in the village that was scheduled for August 21, 22 and 23. This decision follows the cancellation of many area community events including the annual Rodeo and Rustic Lore Days in Glenwood City.
The board had a long discussion about the event and Jamie Tilleson, who heads the committee that does the planning for he annual event. She related concerns with her group about moving forward with planning and noted that, “I don’t know how the board feels with the uptake (virus report) in our county.” She continued noting that there was the feeling of unrest with her group.
Laura Kincade was the first board member to speak up and she felt that the event should be cancelled. Board member Luke Montgomery moved to hold the event with restriction, but that motion died without a second, as did a motion by the Village President Gib Krueger to proceed with the event.
But, when Board Member Bud Gilbertson, who was appearing by the way of Zoom, informed the board that he had a conversation with Fire Chief Cory Green, who informed him that the fire department would not be participating in the festival, the board quickly voted to cancelled the annual event.
Also by the way of Zoom, the board heard about the village’s financial picture from Jonathan Sherwood with the 2019 Audit report. He told the board that the financial picture is clean and there are no issues that needed to be reported.
But he noted that the Village’s finances are not as rosy as it was five years ago. His report noted that in 2015 the village had cash and investment were almost three-quarters of a million, but that figure dropped to $340,964 at the end of 2019. He presented the board with how the current projects that the village has done have impacted their financial picture.
He spoke about the two tax incremental districts that have a $3,213,383 debt and noted that they are “not generating sufficient funds.”
He also spoke about the General Obligation Debt and that the village has borrowed 82 percent of their legal General Obligation Debt Limit, and that the village is “highly leverage.” The limit is five percent of the equalized valuation of the village. The debt subject to the debt limit stands at $2,007,392. He also explained the number of years it will take to pay off the debt with some ending in 2029 with others ending in 2032.
Board turns its back on village president over damage to his vehicle
Village President Gib Krueger rose to the podium to address the board about a personal item that involved the village. He noted to the board that he was driving on highway 170 to get an estimate on deer damage to his vehicle when he drove over a manhole. Part of the outside ring of the manhole came off and struck the underside of his vehicle, causing almost nineteen hundred dollars damage.
The village insurance carrier send a denial letter on the matter and Krueger expressed his reluctance to file a claim with his insurance in fear that he may be dropped by his carrier.
After much discussion, with Board Member Lukas Montgomery questioning, “are we actually liable?” Jonathan Farrell moved to allow the village to pay the claim. But there was no second to that motion and it died.
In other action the board:
• Approved two changes in their zoning rules.
• Approved a request for a conditional use permit for property at 1263 Nelson Drive to allow an addition to an “Adult Family Home” and a variance for property at 809 Main Street to commercial and/or residential.
• Approved the hiring of Doar, Drill and Skow of New Richmond as the new Village attorney.
• Renewed the tractor pull lease agreement with the Firefighters Association with some changes.
• Approved spending $2,000 to replace a portion of the sidewalk at the village hall.
• Approved allowing Police Chief Greg Lamkin to proceed with applying for a 35 percent grant for the purchase of a new police car. Lamkin noted that the 2011 Dodge Charger is down with problems and he would like to proceed with the purchase of a new unit.
Krueger noted that the village board allowed the department to have two vehicles in the past, which he called a luxury. He is now questioning if the village can afford that luxury. He referred to the auditor’s report on the spending of the village. Chief Lamkin quoted several prices that he had gotten for a new unit with prices ranging from $34,500 to $40,900 plus another $10,000 to $14,000 for equipment.
In his report, the chief noted that his department had 184 calls for service last month, which was an increase of 15 percent over last year and that they issued 19 citations and had made two arrests. His report stated, “We were awarded the grant for the radio improvements and are coordinating to get the equipment installed and working. I spend a fair amount of time on the ordinance updates and have the first eight ready for your review tonight.” But the board, after asking a couple of questions, tabled the review until next month.
Erik Evenson of MSA spoke to the board about the improvement projects and informed the board that the contractor still had a couple of items to complete on the Main Street Project. He suggested that a time be set for completion and if that is not done the village could enforce financial damages up to $1,500 a day. But he cautioned the board that they may have to show just what the financial damage is. He also noted that the feed mill project is about complete and that the utility improvements to the new dollar store are done except for the restoration of the grounds.
During his report, Krueger noted to the rest of the board that, “we need to pay a little more attention to spending items.” He also asked members to be thinking about whether the village wants to stay with the county on the recycling program or go it alone. The county is planning large increase in cost to continue to operate their facilities.
Village Clerk/Treasurer informed the board about the upcoming election in August and that she has already sent out ballots to those who have applied.