Snow Removal Problems Plague Wausaukee Village Issue Date: January 25, 2017
Much of the discussion at the monthly meeting of Wausaukee Village Board on Wednesday, Jan. 18 was about possibilities for grants, growth and future improvements, but board members and village personnel also expressed frustration over complaints stemming from struggles as business owners and village workers struggle to deal with ice and snow during their first winter with new sidewalks and the reconstructed Hwy. 141 through the village.
Village President Hilbert Radtke said plowing of streets has been done in a timely fashion. He said Public Works Director Dennis Whitton, Jr. and his crew of three have done a good job with snow removal.
In preparation for the coming thaw he had asked them to get the slush off the streets to allow water to drain off rather than stay on the streets, and in return they had calls from those who complained about them plowing when there was no snow.
Whitton and his staff have been plowing off downtown sidewalks, which is the responsibility of adjoining property owners, and in return there were complaints from some that snow was not removed from around benches and trash receptacles.
"We will continue to clear the sidewalks after a storm, but not on overtime," Radtke declared, repeating that keeping sidewalks open and safe is the property owners' responsibility, the village is only helping. He said streets will be plowed, but he will not have village workers shovel out park benches in January and February.
Whitton said there are many places his machine does not fit, and those areas need to be cleared by hand.
Clerk Sara Pullen said she actually had callers swear at her because the areas around benches, trash cans and telephone poles were not shoveled out.
Trustee Mack McKim commented it is the duty of property owners to clear around the benches if they want them cleared. He said they are doing the community a service by plowing the walks and Whitton shouldn't have to get off his machine.
Trustee Joleen Christ noted some of the cross walks were not cleared. Whitton said he does not want to run the snow blower on the highway. It is the responsibility of adjoining owners to clear cross walks as well as sidewalks if they want them cleared.
After some discussion the board agreed that snow piles that have accumulated as a result of adjoining property owner Kenny Gocht plowing the alley between Chippewa Bar and the Dollar Store will be removed by the Village, since the snow came from an alley that belongs to the village.
""Somebody's got to remove those snow piles, declared Kyle Stumbris before the board decision. "Kenny plows that alley, but it's our snow,
Approval was unanimous that the village should remove snow piles at the intersection of the alley and Tyler Street and the alley and Harrison Street. Whitton said he had pushed snow piles back at some other corners where they were obstructing vision.
Family Dollar plows the entire parking lot, including the portion owned by the village, so some of that snow will also be removed by the village.
Radtke reminded property owners that by state law, no one can shovel or plow snow onto the highway. They must put it on their own property, he repeated.
At least three of the new trees planted as part of the Downtown Beautification project, one by Ranger City and one by the Baptist Church, were run over by cars and became winter casualties. The trees cost from $350 to $700 each.
On a more positive note, UWEX Ag Agent Scott Reuss spoke at length on a community garden program he hopes to help establish in the village, there was brief discussion but no action on the possibility of switching to single stream recycling in cooperation with the Town of Wausaukee rather than curbside pickup, and fire department spokesmen offered to contribute the local share that might be required if a grant were obtained to acquire a larger emergency generator and install improved electric service in the fire station that adjoins the village offices.
The village reviewed and approved the fire Department's Annual Report.
Pullen announced receipt of an invitation from Wausaukee Rescue Squad, Inc. to attend their annual meeting, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12 in the squad's meeting room. Board seats are to be filled at that meeting. The letter from Office Administrator Jaime VanDenBerg said the seats open are vice president and secretary, with a nomination for Kevin Twasny; treasurer with a nomination for Matt Dertz, and a board seat with a nomination for Jim Brien.
Christ noted that the village was supposed to meet with Wausaukee Recreation Association in October, and wondered if anyone has heard from them. Stumbris said he will get their report and possibly set up a meeting.
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