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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has now approved hunting at the Colfax Solid Waste & Recycling collection site on a permanent basis after approving it temporarily for the gun deer season in November.
Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, said she had talked to the village’s insurance agent, Brian Christ of Spectrum Insurance, about allowing hunting at the collection site.
The village is never at fault unless the site was posted “no hunting” and a village board member or a village employee allowed someone to hunt there anyway, she said.
According to the village’s insurance company, if the land is not posted, and it is assumed hunting is allowed, there is no liability to the village unless the village has done something negligent.
If the land is posted “no hunting” and someone goes onto the village’s property to hunt, then that person is breaking the law, and there is no liability to the village.
If the land is posted “no hunting” on certain days, there is no liability to the village.
If the land is posted “no hunting,” and a village board member or an employees is aware someone is hunting and allows it, the village would be considered liable if something were to happen because the board member or the employee is aware someone is breaking the rules, and the board member or employee allowed it.
Wed. & Sat.
Anne Jenson, village trustee, said she was concerned about Wednesdays and Saturdays when employees and members of the public are at the solid waste and collection site.
Village Trustee Margaret Burcham has also expressed that concern.
People will assume that it is public land and that it is open for hunting, said Jeff Prince, village trustee.
The Colfax Village Board approved a motion to allow hunting at the Colfax Solid Waste & Recycling collection site on a vote of five “yes” to one “no.”
Voting in favor of the motion were Village President Jody Albricht and Village Trustees Jenson, Prince, Jen Rud and Gary Stene.
Burcham voted against the motion.
Village Trustee Carey Davis was absent from the meeting.
Post office parking
The Colfax post master is wondering if the village board would consider implementing 15 minute parking in front of the post office, Niggemann said.
People who work on Main Street are using Main Street as a place to park, and it is creating congestion in front of the post office for people stopping to get their mail, she said.
Instead of 15 minute parking, Niggemann suggested contacting the businesses on Main Street to ask that employees use a side street for parking.
Sending a letter to the businesses first is a good idea, Jenson said.
There is no reason why the businesses cannot use the side street, she said.
The post office does have the ally available, but there are delivery trucks back and forth for the post office. River Street is available, Niggemann said.
Several village board members asked whether tenants renting apartments in Main Street buildings are parking on Main Street.
The tenants are not using Main Street. That issue has already been addressed, and the tenants are using side streets, Niggemann said, adding that the congestion is coming from business owners and/or employees.
Niggemann said she would draft a letter to send to all Main Street businesses and that she would also talk to the postmaster.
Sometimes people double park on Main Street by the post office, too, and “that’s a serious hazard,” she said.
If the problem persists, then the village board will have to consider other solutions, Burcham said.
Lisa Bragg-Hurlburt, director of the Colfax Public Library, provided an update to the village board on the Colfax Elevator Commission’s progress on fund raising.
So far, $100,197 has been raised for the elevator project in the Colfax Municipal Building, she said.
This year has been a good fund-raising year, even with the pandemic and no events being held in the auditorium, Bragg-Hurlburt said.
In 2021, more than $25,000 has been raised from the $22 for 22 Steps campaign, through a letter-writing campaign by Troy Knutson to alumni from Colfax High School, and from memorials for loved ones, she said.
“I think there is support in the community,” Bragg-Hurlburt said.
To complete the elevator project, a Community Development Block Grant will be necessary since the estimate several years ago for the entire project was $750,000, she said.
The elevator commission has been working with Cedar Corporation on applying for a CDBG planning grant through the state. The planning grant would put Colfax in a good position for CDBG grant funds, Bragg-Hurlburt said, adding that the elevator commission expects to find out more in January about the status of the planning grant.
Bragg-Hurlburt said the elevator commission is keeping careful track of the donations so that in the worst case scenario of not being able to secure CDBG funds, the money could be refunded to those who donated it.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved the following list of election inspectors: Diane Hodgson (unaffiliated), chief inspector; Abbie Hartung (unaffiliated), election official/chief inspector training 2022; Katherine Rieder (unaffiliated), election official; Ruth Hill (unaffiliated), election official; Kathy Dunbar (unaffiliated), election official; Carey Davis (unaffiliated), election official; Richard Olson (unaffiliated), election official; Gary Stene (unaffiliated), election official; Barbara Black (Republican), election official; Nancy Mouledoux (Republican), election official.
• Learned that invitations to bid on the Dunn Street project will be sent out to contractors in early January. Bid due dates will be in mid-February. On March 14, the village board will view and award bids. The start date for the project will be early spring, and the expected completion date will be July 15.
• Approved a memorial bench at the Colfax Red Cedar Preserve and Recreation Area in memory of Mark Halpin, who served on the Colfax Village Board for 25 years and passed away November 1, 2021. The estimated cost of the bench is $200. Halpin enjoyed fishing the ponds at what is also known locally as “the gravel pit” or the “Ferry Pit.”
• Learned that the cost to repair the four-wheel-drive on the Colfax ambulance was $1,800 rather than the initial estimate of $10,000. The problem turned out to be not as serious as it first seemed, and the ambulance has been repaired and was back in the service the week before the village board meeting, Niggemann said.