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Pound Sets Dec. 29 Meet for Junk Issues

Issue Date: December 17, 2020

Junk and vehicles on two properties in the village as well as employee concerns occupied much of the discussion at the Pound Village Board meeting on Monday, Dec. 14.

By unanimous vote, with all members present, the board approved renewing the fire protection agreement with the Town of Beaver that Trustee Mike Rogodzinski said is basically the same as last year.

Rogodzinski reported the fire department had four calls in the last month, one for a list assist in the village, and three calls to accidents in the Town of Beaver.

Clerk/Treasurer Diane Patz reminded board members that if they plan to seek re-election their candidate packets must be returned by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Patz pointed out she had included a budget versus actual financial report for the board, showing all balances. She said property tax bills will be mailed out on Friday, Dec. 18, and there are 20 parcels in the village for which 2019 property taxes have not yet been paid.

The board has been dealing for several months with complaints regarding junk vehicles and other items on the former Village Auto property, and Patz said she had been contacted by neighbors with complaints about "quite a mess" on another property in the village. That discussion was also brought up later by Public Works employee Scott Fuelle and the board had a long discussion on what can and should be done about the complaints in connection with both properties.

Neighbors of the former Village Auto property had sent a petition with signatures of eleven individuals asking the village to get the property cleaned up. The petition mentioned an ordinance prohibiting junk yards in the village, and included threats of legal action if the board fails to correct the situation, which they say is unsightly, decreases their property value, and could attract vermin.

According to portions of the applicable ordinance that were read at the meeting, the property owners could be fined up to $100 for each day of a violation after being notified, or $100 per vehicle per day.

Trustee Wayne Gross pointed out the ordinance makes exceptions for vehicles inside a fence, and then does not define what type of fence is acceptable. He noted the occupant does have a fence around the whole thing, but it is not a privacy fence. He had his lawyer twice at board meetings and there were promises to fence it. The board was told he was going to be refurbishing cars.

Rogodzinski said the property adjoins his, but is not a problem for him because of the trees he planted years ago, but he did sign the petition.

Former Village President/Public Works Director Kevin Schutte, who owns the property on which Village Auto was located, was at the meeting and Trustee Mary Meyer asked if he could do something about it. Schutte said the tenant pays his rent, and he operates a repair business that uses the unlicensed vehicles on the site. He said the unlicensed vehicles are inside the fence as required, and added, "He's repairing all that stuff.

Village President Terry Earley said the occupant had removed a mobile home that had been located on the property without a permit, and then had brought it back in pieces and piled junk on it.

Trustee John Homontowski cautioned they should keep in mind that whatever they do here would apply to everyone, and mentioned a garage by the R-store that has as much junk but no one is complaining.

Fuelle then mentioned complaints from neighbors of 109 Colburn Street, where they still have a week to get rid of their ducks, but there are also issues with junk and location of a fence. Meyer suggested the sheriff might be needed to resolve those issues.

Fuelle said he had sent letters to all village properties with junk vehicles reminding them of the ordinance.

Patz commented they can send lots of letters, but wondered who in the village is authorized to issue a citation. Gross noted the ordinance states "a village officer," or a designated employee, which he felt could be any board member. Patz commented part of the problem is that they do not have a court system. Decision was to have a special meeting to resolve these issues, and it was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29.

Fuelle reported drivers "have been doing cookies" on lawns in and near the cemetery and park, and causing considerable damage. He said he is contemplating putting his deer camera there, and the board agreed that would be good. There were suggestions to put good size rocks or boulders along the edge of the road, and Fuelle said he may do that, and for now he will put some big poles there.

The agenda called for employee handbook updates, and after discussion the board took no action on providing special outdoor clothing for Fuelle since the expense was not budgeted. Fuelle said he had spent $600 on special boots and other gear because of the time he spends on the plow without a cab. Homontowski attempted motions to give him a partial allowance for the gear but received no second. Earley said the village does supply high visibility safety vests.

The board did agree to change the employee handbook to make vacation benefits the same as Coleman, with one week for the first two calendar years, three weeks after five years, and four weeks after 12 years. They also clarified holiday wording so if the holiday falls on a weekend the employee still gets paid with Friday or Monday off.

At the end of other business the board went into closed session for employee evaluation in regard to Patz's performance in her first months on the job, and after returning to open session they approved a $1 per hour raise.

Fuelle is slated for an employee evaluation in March.

Operator Licenses were approved for Heather Adamski and Sharon Patrouille, with Homontowski casting the sole opposing vote.


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