VILLAGE OF LA FARGE
Regular Board Meeting Monday, September 13, 2021
*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 - Present at the meeting:
Board Members: Terry Jensen, Karen Leis, Aaron Nemec, Aaron Appleman, Barbara Melvin, and Cheryl Purvis. Absent was Frank Quinn.
Also present: News reporters Lonnie Muller and Bonnie Sherman, Public Works Manger Wayne Haugrud, Police Chief Jonathon Brown, Utility Clerk Greg Lawton, Mark Digman with Delta 3, Grace Nemec, and Clerk Kimberly Walker.
*Verification was given of meeting publishing in the La Farge Episcope, and of posting at the Bank, Post Office, and Village Office on September 10, 2021.
*Melvin moved, Jensen seconded to approve the previous meeting minutes: (8-9-21/Regular Village board meeting). (Carried).
*Correspondence: La Farge Area Ambulance Association annual meeting is October 7th, at 7:00 p.m. with the La Farge Area Fire Association annual meeting following at 8 p.m. The board is welcome to attend.
*Public Comment: None.
*Utility business: From last month’s meeting, the fence around the retention pond at the end of Oak Drive has been removed, and the area mowed. The posts are still there. Getting a quote for a security fence.
*Main Street Project: Mark Digman, with Delta 3, was present to review the project. A sheet was passed out of Gerke’s schedule. They have the curb and gutter finished from Bird Street to West of Organic Valley. Met with the DOT again on driveway concerns. About 10 driveway permits need done. And still waiting on the DOT on the agreement with them, on reimbursing the village for our costs agreed upon. The electric company is now putting in the concrete bases and conduit for the street poles. This week, Gerke will be working on watermain and sanitary sewer. Next week will start pouring sidewalks. The construction contract deadline is October 15th.
*Mark gave a recap of pay application #3. Jensen moved, Nemec seconded to approve pay request #3 to Gerke Excavating for $270,839.00. (Carried).
*Mark mentioned a couple bills the village has paid that they will get credit for. At the fault of the contractor, a vault box for the fiber optic fell in by Organic Valley. The village will pay the bill for now to have it repaired, but it will be deducted off Gerke’s in the end, shown on a change order. Also, the contaminated soil bills will be used for match. And on the substation relocation project, Forster called and asked Delta 3 for help with doing a site survey and with some information on the building.
*Update on Grants: Nothing new to report since last month.
*Dollar General Update: Cheryl reported the church board met and decided they don’t want us to pursue. Greg, Cheryl, Wayne, and Kim are looking at other sites. The developer would like us to get all possible sites we can think of and rate them how we would like to see it. They will then look at the sites and the recommendations and see what works for them. Will try to get this back to the developer by the end of the week. On the two back lots, behind the skatepark, they will be deeded back to the church, which was decided previously. The front two lots will be put on the agenda for next month to see what the board would like to do, on giving them back or keeping in our name. The church currently maintains the area and pays the electric to the site. The village can’t do anything with the lots. Will check with the Attorney on this.
*Last month, the board agreed to advertise for a second round of proposals for multi-family apartment development. We had one developer inquire, but they were unable to keep the per unit cost under $125,000, so they didn’t put in a bid. We still have CDA for a 7-unit complex that was approved last month.
*Old business: Last month Chief Brown was asked to find some quotes for junk removal services. He got a hold of 10 companies, but only one will be able to work in the area, and they charge $335 per 15-yard load and $50 an hour labor. Others are dumpsters only, or don’t service our area. John’s been working with our Attorney on other issues going on. He’s looking at easement language to see if we can remove stuff or not. Cheryl asked Jon to ask our Attorney to look at our ordinances to see which ones need updating. She heard from Senator Brad Pfaff, and he said he’d like to set up a call with him, village personnel, and the Dept of Revenue to explain our frustrations and to ask to have the law changed to be able to have municipalities more easily put municipal fines for ordinance violations on the tax roll. This is the initial steps.
*A group, called the Kickapoo Dark Sky Initiative, would like the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Tunnelville Cliffs, and Wildcat Mountain State Park areas dark sky designations. They’re asking for letters of support from surrounding communities. Cheryl put together a letter for the board to review, and added the Village is installing dark sky streetlights in our Main Street project. Nemec moved, Leis seconded to approve the support letter for the Kickapoo Dark Sky Park. (Carried).
*Connect Communities agreement: This is a recognition we received 7 years ago from the WEDC, to help promote growth, tourism, etc. LAPA takes care of the requirements. Cost is $200 a year, which we split with LAPA. Jensen moved, Appleman seconded to renew the Connect Communities agreement. (Carried).
*The 12th annual Fall village-wide rummage sale dates are Friday and Saturday, October 1st and 2nd.
*Jensen moved, Melvin seconded to approve a picnic license for the La Farge Volunteers for their annual gun raffle banquet on October 2nd. (Carried).
*Jensen moved, Leis seconded to approve an operator license for Alexis Potenziani. (Carried). She holds a current license in the Village of Yuba.
*Chief Jonathon Brown explained a new public safety system Vernon County is looking into for use throughout the county. The old system is nearing the end of life and we all need to get something soon. He’s looking to the board for a letter of support for this, to include a request for Ho-Chunk funds from the Vernon County Board to pay for it. Jensen moved, Appleman seconded to support Vernon County in a new public safety system. (Carried).
*Police report/update: Chief Brown reported 74 calls for service in August. He reviewed his arrests.
**Parks: Aaron Appleman received an email from the Greater Kickapoo Area Disc Golf Club, inquiring of village support in expanding the disc golf course in Sandmire Park. Aaron will have a park committee meeting to discuss this further.
*Jensen moved, Melvin seconded to approve payment of the bills. (Carried).
*Aaron Nemec commented that he and his family are intending to start a soft serve ice cream and soda fountain shop in La Farge. Planning on Spring of 2022. He’s looking at the property next to the old clinic, which was the old spot of the former root beer stand that was there for 70 years, first built in 1952. He has acquired a building. He’s proposing to purchase the land with intent to put in water and sewer to the building if the village could install the electric. The board felt this was a wonderful idea. The area is already zoned commercial. The board will discuss this further in closed session.
*Jensen moved, Appleman seconded to convene into closed session, in accordance with Wisconsin State Statutes section 19.85 (1)(e), to deliberate on the possible land proposal, when bargaining reasons require a closed session. (Carried 5-0, with Aaron Nemec leaving the room and not voting).
*Jensen moved, Leis seconded to reconvene to open and continue the meeting. (Carried 5-0)). Nemec re-entered.
*The board deliberated and is offering the village property for $1.00, based on the precedence of going to sell property to General Dollar for the same price. We will reach out to our consultants to see what’s available for infrastructure help, and have our Attorney draw up an offer to bring back to the board next month for approval.
*Jensen moved, Melvin seconded to adjourn. (Carried). Adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
Kimberly Walker, Village Clerk/Treasurer