VILLAGE OF LA FARGE
Regular Board Meeting Monday, January 9, 2023
1). Village President Cheryl Purvis called the regular meeting of the La Farge Village Board to order at 6:30 p.m. at the Emergency Services building. Roll Call. All board members were present: Purvis, Barbara Melvin, Frank Quinn, Karen Leis, Aaron Appleman, Aaron Nemec, and Terry Jensen (via phone).
Also present: News reporters Lonnie Muller and Bonnie Sherman, Utility Clerk Greg Lawton, Police Chief Steve Palmer, Samantha Laskowski, Mark Olson, Caleb Olson, Ann Wood, David & Peggy Woods, Mark Campbell, and Clerk Kimberly Walker.
2). Verification was given of meeting publishing in the La Farge Episcope, and of posting at the Bank, Post Office, and Village Office on January 5, 2023.
3). Melvin moved, Appleman seconded to approve the previous meetings minutes: (12-12-22/Regular Village board meeting). (Carried).
4). Correspondence: None.
5). Public Comment: Peggy Woods, 113 E. Penn Street, thanked the board for getting something done with the cleanup at her neighbor Kathy Hart’s property. Kathy’s lawyer asked Peggy what the big priority was, which was the stuff that was killing their trees, but they got everything but that. Cheryl informed them they are to be getting another dumpster soon. Peggy said she appreciated the push and there is also a huge pile of sticks, which she asked if the village could chip. She was told we can if they get them to the street.
6). Utility business: Samantha Laskowski was present, looking for the board to pass a resolution to be a co-applicant with the Vernon County Energy District in its 2022 comprehensive energy planning and microgrid feasibility study. The only cost at this point is helping with the grant writing (which is to help cover the study). This could be up to $1,000. Quinn moved, Nemec seconded to approve being a co-applicant in the energy feasibility study. (Carried).
**Regular utility business: Wayne is on vacation. Greg gave an update on info that came in today on the substation. The board previously approved the low bid of Michel’s for the work. In the meantime, we had to wait for an amendment for an updated timeline and budget with the State. This came in, but it somehow crossed with the deadline that Michel’s had with their pricing to be good thru. Greg talked with Forster Engineering, and they and Michel’s both recommend to re-bid the project, as Michel’s won’t stand behind their pricing. Forster is willing to do this at no additional charge to us. The board will need to act on this, with a special meeting later this month. Still good with the construction start date of May 1st.
7). Old Business: Cheryl gave an update on the Mark Olson property, on complaints from last month that were forwarded to a DNR investigator. Amanda Harvey contacted us back, and she did find the village is not liable, and the village has removed all the contaminated soil as was stated.
8). Mark Olson was present. When the problem first started, he said no one let him know, so he contacted Wayne. They were dumping fill 4’ higher than his ground level. He was told Jon (Turner) was to put tubes in and it was going to be built on in the bottom so there wouldn’t be this problem. He never had a problem with Jon, until last fall. Mark went to the village office and asked when the meeting was, and claims Wayne must have contacted Jon and told him he was coming to the meeting. The next day Jon was mad, and Mark was the bad guy after 2 years of this. Cheryl asked him, “What do you want us to do, Mark? Every complaint you’ve made, we’ve investigated”. Mark said the problem is 3’ of water in his backyard. Cheryl told him he was in the flood zone area.
**Ann Wood asked to speak, as she was the previous owner. She said the only time she had flooding in the backyard was during the 2008 & 2016 flood, and it came up halfway to the end of the garage. She doesn’t know all the circumstances of what’s going on but can verify there was only water in that backyard when there were heavy rains, and then it would seep away. Now by building this up, there’s no place for the water to go. She talked to Wayne today and putting culverts in would help. She thought the village would also be concerned with the water issue with mosquitoes this summer. Cheryl told her the problem is a property dispute, and not our responsibility to fix. There was a tube in there, and did take care of the problem, but was pulled when the two had a dispute. Nothing was heard from Mark until this time. Jon never had it surveyed to make sure he wasn’t dumping on his land, which he is. Mark said four trees have died. Frank asked Mark if he’s tried to talk with Jon. Mark said after he went to the meeting, he was the bad guy. Jon harassed him and his kids, and Mark reported the problems to the police. Frank said we’ve done what we can, and it may be worthwhile for the two of them to sit down and talk.
**Cheryl said we can’t spend taxpayer money to fix something that’s not our responsibility. It’s a property dispute. Cheryl asked Mark to put all his complaints in a letter and give it to the village, so we can address them all at once, as he seems to bring up new things each time he meets with the board. Cheryl tried working with Mark, but he kept bringing up new things. Mark said the village has done nothing for 2 years. Cheryl asked him to please write a letter with all his complaints, even the ones tonight, so the village can address them, which she asked him 3 times. She asked, “can you do that?” …to which Mark responded, “I’ll try to”. Cheryl told him to not ever say the board, the village, or myself is not trying to work with him.
**Mark Campbell had a few questions regarding the village’s responsibilities on this. He’s not pointing any fingers, as we’re all aware of the problem there. He asked if excavation was done to code, which is a question for Jon Turner and if a permit was obtained. From what Cheryl understood, no permit was needed for what was done. He asked if from the edge of the roadway onto the owner’s land, does the village retain an easement for restoring the culvert that was there? If the village didn’t dig it out, no. In closing, Mark felt it a good idea if both parties could get together and come to an agreement.
9). Discussed Jacob Sells property. Chief Steve Palmer gave his report to the board of the violation of ordinances observed on the property at 121 S. State Street. The first letter sent had the wrong year which Steve noticed, so he sent a second notice. He was given until January 9th, at 1:00 p.m. to take care of the abated issues. As of 1:30 p.m. today, he was still out of compliance. Steve took pictures. The board can now act on a resolution to proceed with action on this. Our attorney will file this with the court, and they will send him an order, giving him so many days to clean up. If nothing is done, a court date will be filed. Quinn moved, Nemec seconded to approve the resolution to file an abatement order against Jacob Sell. (Carried).
10). Quinn moved, Leis seconded to approve an operator license for Zachariah Fogelson (beverage server training course completed on 1/13/2022). (Carried).
11). Discussed a CDBG planning grant for housing. The village has preliminary drawings for a sub-division and possible housing areas previously done thru our Flood recovery economic development plan. The next step is looking at sites that can be developed. We had a conversation with Delta 3 and CDA, and they have some good ideas. Looking for approval to investigate some areas and do RFPs for consultants. Melvin moved, Appleman seconded to proceed with a CDBG planning grant. (Carried).
12). Received a letter from Vernon County Crime Stoppers for a donation. A few years ago, we donated $200 and got a bench. We can do this same thing again. The board felt this is a good program to support. Quinn moved, Nemec seconded to do a $200 donation to VC Crime Stoppers. (Carried).
13). Police Report/Update: Police Chief Palmer reported on December 19th, the Vernon County canine unit came to school. No drugs were found. He’s been attending several training sessions for the new CAD system at Vernon County. With this we will both be able to share info on cases. Later in January, there’s a new Chiefs conference in Madison he plans to attend. It’s 100% funded from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. New tires and an alignment have been done on the squad. The missing person, Holly Clark, has been found. And there’s been a big increase in juvenile issues in town.
14). Committee Reports and Updates:
**Clinic: Appleman reported Rose (Wels) is retiring and working on getting her stuff out. And renters Hallistic Health and Angie Roherty are also leaving. Plenty of space to rent if anyone needs a place.
15). Leis moved, Quinn seconded to approve payment of the bills. (Carried).
16). Quinn moved, Melvin seconded to adjourn. (Carried). Adjourned at 7:28 p.m.
Kimberly Walker, Village Clerk/Treasurer