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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Based on recommendations from the employee relations committee, the Elk Mound Village Board has approved pay raises for village employees.
The employee relations committee, which includes Village Trustees Cynthia Abraham, Pat Lien and Jesse Jenson (chair of the committee), met and are recommending pay raises in addition to the already-agreed upon 3 percent increases, Jenson said at the Elk Mound Village Board’s October 3 meeting.
The committee is recommending that Julie Conlin, administrative assistant, receive a $5 per hour raise in addition to the already-agreed upon 3 percent increase and that her position changes from part-time to full-time, he said.
The reason for increasing the administrative assistant position from part-time to full-time is that clerk’s office will be busier because of the new apartments that are being built in Elk Mound as well as additional hours for helping the police department, Jenson said.
In addition to the already-agreed upon 3 percent increase, the committee is recommending employees in the public works department receive a $1 an hour raise, he said.
“It’s tough to keep good help,” Jenson said, adding that Elk Mound should try to keep up with what other municipalities are offering their employees.
The employee relations committee is recommending that Karin Wolf, clerk-treasurer, receive a $3 per hour raise in addition to the already-agreed upon 3 percent increase as well as an additional one week of vacation, Jenson said.
With Wolf’s background and qualifications, the pay raise “makes sense,” he said.
The employee relations committee is recommending that Jon Chisholm, who has been working part-time for the public works department in the summer for $11.85 per hour, be paid $15 per hour, Jenson said.
Chisholm also completes tasks at the wastewater treatment plant, and the increase in wages would come from the parks savings account, he said.
“He is a big help to the public works department,” Jenson said.
The committee is recommending that Kyle DeVries, who is currently working as a Limited Term Employment (LTE) police officer in Elk Mound, be changed to a part-time police officer, Jenson said.
As an LTE, DeVries is making $15 per hour, as a part-time police officer, the committee is recommending he be paid $20 per hour, he said.
In addition to working part-timein Elk Mound, DeVries serves as a trooper with the Wisconsin State Patrol.
The committee also is recommending that DeVries receive back pay on the 3 percent increases for the hours worked in 2021 and 2022, Jenson said.
Based on the recommendations of the committee, DeVries’ change from LTE to part-time and the accompanying pay raise should begin immediately while the other recommended pay raises should go into effect January 1, he said.
Will the village board have to approve the recommended pay raises separately, or would the pay raises be included in the 2023 budget, and the village board would approve the pay raises by approving the 2023 budget? asked Terry Stamm, village trustee.
Mark Levra, director of public works, said that during the time he has worked in Elk Mound, the village board has approved the pay raises, and then the raises have been included in the budget that comes before the board later on for consideration.
The Elk Mound Village Board unanimously approved the pay raises and other provisions recommended by the employee relations committee, with the raise for DeVries going into effect immediately.
In addition to Abraham, Jenson, Lien and Stamm, voting in favor of the motion were Greg Kipp, village president, and Village Trustees Tim Benjamin and Bob Bachman.
In additional business, the Elk Mound Village Board approved opening University Street and Division Street as snowmobile routes.
Snowmobile routes used to be on various streets in different parts of the village, but then were problems in 2016-2017, said Elk Mound Police Chief Chad Weinberger.
Many of the snowmobile trails are on private property, such as the trail to Elk Mound High School, except for North Holly Avenue and Railroad Avenue to reach The Junction and The Pourhouse, he said.
State law allows snowmobiles to travel from the owner’s residence to the nearest trail, Police Chief Weinberger noted.
The police chief recommended that the village board review the snowmobile routes in the village on an annual basis.
There have been minimal complaints in the last two years, he said.
The Elk Mound Village Board also approved opening all village streets to All Terrain Vehicles.
The exceptions would be U.S. Highway 12 from the Travel Stop east because the speed limit increases to over 35 miles per hour, U.S. Highway 12 west from the catholic church because of the speed limit and Holly Avenue north after the speed limit increases to 55 mph, Police Chief Weinberger said.
The village board can approve ATV/UTV traffic on all streets that are 35 mph and under, he said.
The proposal would be to open all village streets that can legally be opened, the police chief said.
ATVs/UTVs are required to trailer from home to the route, unlike snowmobiles that can be driven from a residence to the trails. The townships have already approved ATV/UTV traffic, he said.
The ATVs/UTVs will either slow down traffic in the village, or traffic will pass them, Kipp commented.
In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:
• Approved the annual ice rink agreement with Margaret and Steve Dieter, 307 University, at a cost of $400.
• Learned that CBS Squared has sent a letter of interest on behalf of the Village of Elk Mound, indicating that the village intends to apply for a Safe Drinking Water Act loan.
• Approved increasing the water utility rate by 4.5 percent.
• Approved appointing Cynthia Abraham as the village board’s representative to the Elk Mound Plan Commission.
• Approved appointing Joyce Rice as the chair of the Elk Mound Zoning Board of Appeals.
• Approved tabling the appointment of another member to the Zoning Board of Appeals until it can be determined whether there is a conflict of interest.
• Accepted a donation from the Elk Mound Lions Club of a Christmas tree for the community center/library. The tree will be a fund raiser for the Lions Club, which will sell red, green or white lights in honor or in memory of friends and family members.
• Approved updating the bond schedule to increase parking tickets for trucks from $15 to $25. The village’s ordinances define trucks as being over 26 feet long or more than 15,000 pounds.