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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — An ordinance regulating all-terrain vehicles in Colfax has taken another step closer to receiving approval from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
At the last meeting, the village board approved changing the ordinance to have all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles cross the bridge on state Highway 170 and cross Stewart Park to reach Tom Prince Memorial Park and to have ATVs/UTVs turn either right or left on Fifth Avenue from Main Street/Highway 40 because of the increase in the speed limit to 45 miles per hour, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer at the Colfax Village Board’s October 12 meeting.
Niggemann said she had submitted the modified ordinance to the state with the changes approved by the village board and was waiting to find out if the changes are acceptable.
The village’s request for a sign permit is still waiting approval, and once the permit is received, the signs can be put up and the ATV/UTV routes will be open in the village, she said.
The Colfax ordinance allows all-terrain vehicles to operate on village streets 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, except where the speed limit on a state highway is greater than 35 mph.
State law allows the village to authorize the operation of all-terrain vehicles on state highways where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.
Gary Stene, village trustee, said he had received questions about how to get ATVs/UTVs from the village to county Highway W.
Another way to reach Highway W would be Highway M north to 22 Mile Ford to W, he noted.
Highway 170 is a problem because of the speed limit, but the ordinance could be modified when other trails or routes are established, Niggemann said.
The speed limit on Highway 170 is 40 mph.
Reaching Highway W on 170 would be a Town of Colfax problem, Stene said.
Stene, who also serves as a supervisor on the Dunn County Board and is vice-chair of the county board, said Sheriff Kevin Bygd had talked to the executive committee about the importance of having uniform ordinances throughout the county so deputies would not have to carry a binder full of ordinances for the townships.
Uniform ordinances will make enforcement easier for the deputies, he said.
As per state law, the Colfax all-terrain vehicle ordinance will not go into effect until after it has been published in the Colfax Messenger.
The Colfax Village Board also approved a Village of Colfax Responsible Unit recycling ordinance at the October 12 meeting.
The state Department of Natural Resources asked for some minor modifications and word changes, and the version in the village board packet is what the DNR has approved, Niggemann said.
Approving the recycling ordinance is part of the village’s process in becoming the Responsible Unit to operate the Colfax solid waste and recycling collection site as of January 1.
The Colfax RU will include the Villages of Colfax and Elk Mound and the Towns of Colfax, Elk Mound, Grant, Otter Creek, Spring Brook, Tainter and Wilson.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved a bartender operator’s license for Renee Tuschl (Express Mart).
• Approved a variance request recommended by the Colfax Zoning Board of Appeals for a new garage at 1004 University Avenue that will exceed the maximum allowable height by two feet.
• Approved the following list of election officials: Joyce Bates (chief inspector); Diane Hodgson (chief inspector); and election officials Katherine Rieder, Ruth Hill, Kathy Dunbar, Carey Davis, Abby Hartung, Richard Olson and Gary Stene. A total of seven workers will be needed for the November 3 election including two at the entrance, one in charge of disinfecting and stickers, one for voter registration, two at the poll books and one at the voting machines.
• Approved the 2021-2022 contract with the Dunn County Humane Society at $1.99 per person for a total of $2,179.05 for 2021 and $2,181.04 for 2022. Scott Gunnufson, village president, noted that village residents are using the humane society service and that one resident had told him she has noticed a difference in the stray cat population. She commended the village board for contracting with the Dunn County Humane Society, he said.
• Approved a tax collection agreement with Dunn County. The cost is $2.35 per parcel, and “it’s a good price” because the county covers the cost of postage, printing and mailing out the tax bills and collecting the property tax, Niggemann said.
• Approved collateral coverage with Bremer Bank rather than a Letter of Credit. The village switched to a Letter of Credit a few years ago but Bremer Bank now wants to switch back to collateral coverage, Niggemann said, adding that neither one makes a difference to the village’s auditors. With collateral coverage, Bremer Bank must provide proof on a monthly basis that if something happens with the bank, the village’s money will be covered, she said. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage is $500,000, and collateral coverage is over and above what the FDIC covers, Niggemann said.
• Learned that Niggemann is still in the process of gathering information about health insurance for village employees. The smallest increase so far would be 3 or 4 percent, which is better than the initial 30 percent increase, she said.
• Learned that Niggemann has been working from home for the past week and would continue working from home the week of the village board meeting after being advised by the Dunn County Health Department to quarantine for two weeks after coming in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.