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By Cara L. Dempski
ELK MOUND— On Monday, February 1, the Elk Mound Village Board of Trustees again attempted to reach an agreement on terms for development for Settlers Ridge on the eastern edge of the village. Trustees met in closed session for approximately 45 minutes to discuss the options for a term sheet for Settlers Ridge. When Village Pres. Steven Abraham reopened the session he announced, “we are not taking action at this time.”
Abraham then indicated there could possibly be a special meeting regarding the matter, or it could be taken up at the next regular board meeting.
The Board moved on with its agenda, with the next item being a Citizens Forum for which no one was present. There were no public appearances. Abraham informed the Board he had a conversation with the real estate people in charge of the Marshfield Clinic building on Independence Drive, and there was some discussion that the building and property might be going up for sale as soon as March. Abraham indicated the building would be a good place for something like a community center or a playground for children.
The next item on the agenda was unfinished business, but there was none to cover. From there, the Board moved on to discussing new business, like potential repairs for one of the village public works vehicles. Public works director Mark Levra told the Board that village truck number one may require repairs or replacement, depending on which option is more cost-effective.
Levra moved on to a discussion of rental and use of the village park for the year 2021, during which he recommended not allowing rental of the pavilion, while still allowing youth baseball and high school teams to use the village park while following youth athletics and WIAA safety guidelines. This recommendation received unanimous approval.
The next item discussed was the purchase of a liner for the skating rink near the high school. Levra explained the liner would be helpful for getting the rink set for use as early in the season as possible. He said freezing air temperatures do not always mean the ground has frozen solidly enough for water to freeze on top of it, as would be necessary for a skating rink to be usable. The Board approved purchase of a rink liner for the cost not to exceed $911.55.
The public works director presented the next business item which was the creation of a disc golf course at the Village Park, something he had discussed during the early stages of the pandemic quarantine, he presented a map and drawing of the proposed course superimposed over an aerial image of the park. He said his research for the project included looking at other parks in the area. The course Levra designed has nine holes. His cost estimate for the project was $3,454.92. Trustee Debra Creaser-Kipp made a motion to approve the project, specifying it not exceed $3,500 in cost, and that it be paid out of the park savings account.
The next agenda item was regarding the installation of communications radios in several pieces of equipment used by public works. Levra explained the radios could be useful for public safety purposes as well, since Police Chief Weinberger monitors radio transmissions on the channels used by public works.
The next item board members discussed was installing electrical power at the Village Park field number two. Levra said he was approached by assistant high school baseball coach Randy Simpson regarding electrical service to be able to use a pitching machine on the field. The electrical service change would not be done at the expense of the village, it was approved by the board, after it was specified the expense incurred would be handled by the baseball program.
The board unanimously approved an operator license for Ethan Luthanen of the Elk Mound travel stop. The board also approved operator licenses for Stacy Nygaard and Taylor Maneval at the Pourhouse.
Police Chief Chad Weinberger addressed the next agenda item, concerning discussion and action on a junk vehicle ordinance remediation for a residence on Railroad Street.
Weinberger indicated four citations have been issued regarding junk vehicles at the residence.Weinberger asked the board’s approval to discuss options to remedy the matter with Village Attorney Jason Brasch. He received unanimous board approval. He also handled the next agenda item regarding discussion and action on ordinance section 5–4–11, permits for private alarm systems. According to his explanation, any buildings using private alarm systems need permits from the village. He did some research and was not able to find any permits that had been issued, and asked for the ordinance to be rescinded. The move received unanimous approval from the Board.
The police chief also discussed the possibility of adding a full-time police officer to his department. Weinberger said, “I think we’ve seen where we are (as a department) in the past three years.” Indicating he has had plenty of opportunity since he took his position in April 2018 to make changes to the department, and get a good handle on the workload in the community. He said according to FBI statistics, Elk Mound’s police department is understaffed for a community its size. He further said, “I would hate if something were to happen to me, and there were nobody to take over the reins.” Trustee Greg Kipp told the board that when Weinberger was hired, it was part of the Chief’s plan to have a liaison officer at the high school, which would require another full-time officer. Kip made a motion to refer the matter to the Employee Relations Committee; the motion received unanimous approval.
At that point, several local Cub Scouts and their scoutmaster joined the meeting to learn more about how the Village Board functions. One scout asked why members had chosen to be on the board, several trustees responded that they opted to run for the position of Village Trustee because they wanted to provide service to the community. Scoutmaster Chad Miller asked the Board if it used a specific set of meeting rules like Robert’s Rules of Order, or if there was a set process in the village ordinance. Clerk Patricia Hahn told Miller the Board process is part of Village ordinance.
The meeting adjourned after the Cub Scouts were finished asking questions. The Elk Mound Village Board will meet again at 6 p.m. on February 15.