Wausaukee Needs Plan Commission Members
At the Wausaukee Village Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15, Vicki Gocht asked the board to rezone two parcels from A-1 Agricultural to R-1 Residential. She explained that the current property owners would like to sell, but the new potential owner would like to build a home which is not a permitted use in an agricultural district unless you're farming the land. The Board expressed their desire to see all the parcels currently zoned as agricultural in the area east of Faxton Street, west of Poplar, north of North Avenue and south of Hillside to be rezoned as R-1 Residential. A Public Hearing on the proposed rezoning will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19.
Later in the meeting Village President Hilbert Radtke announced that members are needed to reestablish the Wausaukee Planning Commission (WPC), and asked any interested residents to contact the Village office.
The village appears poised to become part of the Near North Joint Municipal Court. After some discussion the board unanimously approved a motion made by Trustee Ray Gordon and seconded by Trustee Pat Tracy to pursue joining the Near North Municipal Court. Other participants in the joint court are the towns of Lake, Middle Inlet and Stephenson. If the village becomes part of the municipal court system any citations issued for village ordinance violations could be handled there.
The Board reviewed the Utility Report as prepared by Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Lonnie Bamberg. He stated that the RAS pump would be installed on Thursday, Feb. 16, and said he is working to possibly use the decant ditches as a secondary final clarifier instead of a digester, which would save a significant amount of energy and money.
Prior to approving payment of bills, Trustee Joleen Christ questioned President Radtke on a bill from MJB totaling $12,285 for "jetting" of sewer lines. She asked who authorized the expenditure, stating only $5,000 was budgeted for jetting last year, and over spending by $7,000 has essentially the funds for 2017.
Bamberg stated that he spoke with the operator before jetting began and let him know that there was a budget of $5,000. Board members said they would like a call to be made to the office from this point forward so that the village budget is clear with those who do the billing. In addition, more money will be budgeted for jetting in future years.
The Board reviewed the Treasurer's Report as presented by Clerk/Treasurer Sara Pullen. Pullen stated that due to a number of large Water and Sewer utility bills, cash flow has become an issue for the utility. At a special meeting that was held at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 the Board formally agreed to transfer funds from the Water/Sewer Repairs and Maintenance CD to the general fund to resolve the problem.
At their January meeting and again in February, board members discussed difficulties in collecting past due water and sewer bills. In February they voted unanimously to follow a new procedure recommended by the Finance committee that will entail:
1. Send bill " due in 30 days; 2. Send statement with a 1% finance charge (31 " 60 days); 3. Send another statement accompanied by a letter which states all balances over 90 days old will be turned over to the state for collection in the Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP) or SC program; 4. Send the warning letter as required by the TRIP/SDC (at 91 days), and 5. Enter delinquent bill in TRIP/SDC following the 30 days notice after 90 days delinquent.
Following a recommendation from the Finance Committee, the board agreed to write off a number of delinquent accounts found to be uncollectible. The amount to be written off totals $3,472.26.
The board approved a sign permit for August Magestro, The Message Community Church, at 703 Main Street, contingent on approval by the Building Inspector.
They also okayed replacement of the lighting fixtures at both well houses provided the cost does not exceed $800.
Along with his regular monthly report, Public Works Supervisor Dennis Whitton, Jr., stated that the indicator light on the water tower will be fixed in spring.
During his monthly report, Radtke reminded everyone that water and sewer payments can be made at the Village Hall, by mail or online, as well as at either of the two banks.
He thanked all residents and business owners that are keeping their sidewalks clean this winter.
Radtke also reported that the Marinette County Sheriff's Department has been contacted regarding accidents that damaged two of the new trees planted last summer as part of the Hwy. 141 beautification program.
In January Fire Chief Eric Edlebeck had informed the board that within the next year or two he would like to upgrade electrical facilities in the Fire Station that the department eases in the village Municipal Building. He said the Fire Department is willing to purchase a new generator, but they are looking for some assistance from the Village for the electrical upgrades. Estimated cost was around $40,000 for the upgrades with generator included. Radtke told them he would talk to Eric Burmeister, head of the Marinette County Emergency Management Department to see if there are any funds available to help with that. At the February meeting he said he had put Edlebeck in direct contact with Burmeister.
In another follow up to the January meeting, Radtke said there are eight Master Gardener volunteers interested in a possible Community Garden Program in Wausaukee. In January, Marinette County UWEX Agriculture Agent Scott Reuss had explained proposals for a Community Garden in Wausaukee. Ruess stated in January that the Village has one of the lowest per capita incomes in Marinette County, which is one good reason to start a community garden. Another is that it would give families the opportunity to have their own space to plant crops of their choosing. The sandy soil in the Wausaukee area would help with getting a grant to cut some of the cost, and the gardens may need to be raised beds. The village needs to find land that would be fit for the garden. Ruth Jicha was assigned to see if there would be any interest in the community and report back to the board. Reuss said in January that his wife is a Master Gardener, and she for one would be happy to help. Work appears to be continuing on the Community Garden idea.
Radtke in January had addressed a concern that there is an increased police presence in Wausaukee. He stated that increased traffic speed, particularly on Main Street, which is Hwy. 141 through the village, is a big reason, and encouraged all residents to slow down.
After finishing regular business the board went into closed executive session to consider applications for a part time water/sewer assistant, but adjourned without taking action after returning to open session.
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