Retired Elk Mound Clerk-Treasurer Pat Hahn: “I wanted to quit the first two weeks!”
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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Where does the time go?
After 41 years, Pat Hahn, the clerk-treasurer for the Village of Elk Mound, retired as of December 31, 2022.
Not bad for someone who was ready to quit after two weeks on the job because the position had been empty for seven months, and the mountains of paperwork and other tasks seemed so overwhelming.
Hahn began working as the clerk in Elk Mound in October of 1981.
Carol Heimstead served as the clerk from 1971 to April of 1981.
At the time, the positions of clerk and treasurer were separate.
Applying for the job of clerk seemed like a good idea, since Hahn was actively seeking employment.
“I was looking for a job as my children were now in school, and I saw a posting at the post office. I went down to the village hall and spoke to Mary Erpenbach, who gave me information regarding the job. I decided I would give it a try,” she said.
Mary Erpenbach served as the treasurer for the Village of Elk Mound.
Longtime area residents may recall that Erpenbach also served as Dunn County treasurer for many years after being the treasurer in Elk Mound.
Over the past four decades, you can probably imagine how many changes Hahn saw in the job.
When she started there were no computers, no cellular telephones, no fax machines, no Internet, no e-mail, no answering machines, no voicemail. Banking had to be done in person. No automatic direct deposits at the bank, no online bank account transfers, no automatic bill payments. Not to mention constant changes in state law that affect elections, the clerk-treasurer’s office, the village, the village board and the village’s employees.
“The job was before computers, so real estate taxes were manually calculated, and we used handwritten vouchers for bills and payroll. There were large binders for hand posting expenses to accounts. We did have a manual typewriter,” Hahn said.
For anyone who has gone to Open Book or Board of Review with your municipality’s assessor, you have seen the assessor’s book containing pages and pages and pages of parcels and parcel descriptions.
Now imagine calculating the real estate taxes for each of those parcels by hand.
During Hahn’s time as clerk-treasurer, many changes took place in the Village of Elk Mound, too.
“Elk Mound grew larger,” Hahn said.
“We now have three parks open to the public, a Community Center/Library, a Dollar General Store, a restaurant, a drive through coffee/food place, and a bar that serves food,” she said.
During Hahn’s time in the clerk-treasurer’s office, the village went from being “dry” to passing a referendum to allow liquor to be sold within the village limits. It took a number of years after the referendum before The Pourhouse came into existence.
When village residents were surveyed for the village’s Smart Growth Comprehensive Land Use Plan, two things they wanted to see in the village were a community center and a library.
During Hahn’s time as clerk-treasurer, the building that formerly housed a beauty shop and a Laundromat was remodeled for the library and community center.
The library is a satellite branch of the Menomonie Public Library.
Over the past few years, the Settlers Ridge residential development has started in Elk Mound and is expected to nearly triple the village’s population when all phases are complete.
No two days are alike in the clerk-treasurer’s office, and there are countless details and tasks that come along.
Paying invoices. Answering questions from residents. Zoning issues. Payroll. Property taxes. Annual budgets. Sewer and water utilities. Working with the village’s financial advisors. Consulting with the village’s attorneys. Updating ordinances. The annual audit of the village’s finances. Tax Increment Finance Districts. Housing developments. Advertising for bids for streets or other projects. Elections. Applying to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin concerning sewer and water rates. Writing grant applications. Updating the Village’s Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan. Village board meetings. Village board minutes. The village’s website. Committee meetings. (To name a few of the clerk-treasurer’s responsibilities.)
In more recent years, Hahn has had an administrative assistant to help with the work that comes through the clerk-treasurer’s office.
“The job is very challenging at times, and one must wear many hats,” Hahn said.
Before she had an administrative assistant, “the clerk-treasurer position was not combined. So there was a separate clerk and treasurer. Later the position was combined,” Hahn said.
Hahn said when she started as clerk, she really had no idea how long she would be there.
“The job was not filled for seven months, so the paperwork was piled up. I actually wanted to quit for about the first two weeks. However, I decided to hang in there,” she said.
Hahn says her favorite part of the job has been the citizens of Elk Mound, while the least favorite part of the job is “always trying to get work caught up.”
Hahn announced her intention to retire several years ago to give the Elk Mound Village Board time to find just the right person to take over and to give Hahn time to work with the new clerk-treasurer.
For the last year of her employment in 2022, Hahn has been working with the new clerk-treasurer, Karin Wolf, to help her ease into the job.
The village board’s approval of Hahn working with the new clerk-treasurer has been helpful in different ways
“It has helped me transition into retirement and me to be there for the new clerk-treasurer. I am grateful that the village board approved this,” Hahn said.
So now that Hahn has retired, what does she plan to do with the extra time available to her?
“I am going to spend more time with my children and six grandchildren and do some home organization,” she said.
Hahn also will be on the ballot in the April 4 election for a trustee position on the Elk Mound Village Board.
The positions held by Greg Kipp (village president), Bob Bachman (village trustee), Jesse Jenson (village trustee) and Terry Stamm (village trustee) are up for election in April.
Kipp filed a notification of non-candidacy for the village president position by the deadline in December.
Jenson also filed a notification of non-candidacy for a village trustee position by the deadline.
Stamm filed nomination papers for both the village president position and the village trustee position by the January deadline.
In addition to Hahn, incumbent Robert Bachman filed nomination papers for a village trustee position as well.