VILLAGE OF LA FARGE
Regular Board Meeting Monday, June 13, 2022
1). Village Pro-Tem Frank Quinn called the regular meeting of the La Farge Village Board to order at 6:30 p.m. at the Emergency Services building. President Cheryl Purvis was on a call with the Village Attorney.
Roll Call - Present at the meeting:
Board Members: Karen Leis, Aaron Nemec, Barbara Melvin, Aaron Appleman, Cheryl Purvis and Frank Quinn. Absent was Terry Jensen.
Also present: News reporters Lonnie Muller and Bonnie Sherman, Public Works Manager Wayne Haugrud, Utility Clerk Greg Lawton, Jim Lundberg (zoom), Todd Platt (zoom), Jean Grade, Clayton Steward, Amanda Quantz, 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 June 10, 2022. (Meeting was posted for Zoom or attending in person).
3). Melvin moved, Leis seconded to approve the previous meetings minutes: (5-9-22/Personnel & Finance committee meeting; 5-9-22/Regular Village board meeting; 5-12-22/Joint Police committee and Finance & Personnel committee meeting; 5-18-22/Board of Review meeting; 5-18-22/Special Village Board meeting; 5-24-22/Regular Library board meeting; and 5-31-22/Joint Personnel & Finance and Police committee meeting. (Carried).
**The La Farge Lions Club donated $500 toward the 2022 fireworks.
**Francis Hynek had planned to attend, but something came up. He asked to let the board know he wants to work with us on getting an enforceable ordinance together on junk & public nuisances.
5). Public Comment: None.
6). Utility business:
**Community Development Alternatives, Inc., (CDA), would like to amend the administrative services contract on the substation relocation project, an additional $6,000, to a new contract amount of $21,000. The village received an additional $1 million for the project, so there is more paperwork involved. Nemec moved, Melvin seconded to approve the amendment. (Carried).
**8). Moved agenda item #8 up. Todd Platt and Jim Lundberg were present on zoom but have another engagement. This is on the alley vacation, site plan approval (to meet the zoning requirement), and a CSM (to create the parcel) for DGI La Farge, LLC, developer for a proposed Dollar General retail store. This is a follow up from last month. Cheryl said she just spoke with our attorney, who gave us the order and resolution to vacate the alley, and unfortunately, we did publish this for 3 weeks in the paper as required, but we didn’t hold a public hearing. But since this meeting is open to the public, it can be regarded as a public hearing. We haven’t served official notice to adjacent landowners yet, but we can adopt this resolution based on written notification immediately to them, which we’ll work on tomorrow. This was fine with Todd Platt. Cheryl read thru the resolution. Quinn moved, Appleman seconded to adopt this resolution of the discontinuance and vacation of the plotted alleys, with the amendment that the abutting property owners will be served notice as soon as possible, with a 30-day notice. (Carried).
**Melvin moved, Quinn seconded to accept the site plan approval. (Carried).
**Nemec moved, Leis seconded to approve the CSM (certified survey map). (Carried).
6). Regular Utility business:
**Last week, Water Well Solutions completed the work on wells 2 & 3. On Well 2, they put on a new motor. With labor and parts it was $11,414. For Well #3, they did the airburst, and we purchased a new pump. This was $54,145.47. Have had no problems since.
**Received the CMAR report back from the DNR. Everything was good except the operator certification. In the past, when Phil Greenland was here, between him and Wayne, they had what was needed. Now they say the operator in charge needs all the qualifications. Wayne needs 2 more tests, which he’s working on.
7). Village Skatepark lease: Last month a lease agreement was put together. The Free Methodist Church has signed the lease agreement for the 2 lots the skatepark sits on. Quinn moved, Appleman seconded to rescind a previous motion (from 11-8-2021), transferring these 2 lots where the skatepark is located back to the Free Methodist Church. (Carried). (This was never officially filed, as we were waiting to make sure the Church got insurance coverage, which they could not find). Appleman moved, Leis seconded to approve the Village skatepark lease. (Carried).
9). Old business: None.
10). Leis moved, Nemec seconded to approve a picnic license for the La Farge Volunteers for July 3rd and 4th, and for the 4th of July Committee for July 2nd, for a Beer and Wine walk. (Carried 5-1, with Quinn abstaining).
11). Quinn moved, Appleman seconded to approve the 5 business alcohol license renewals: Phil & Deb’s Town Tap, Bergum’s Food Mart, Zzip Stop, Twisted Raven Lounge, LLC, and Organic Valley/Cropp Cooperative. (Carried).
12). A list was reviewed of 32 renewal operator licenses and 8 new licenses, for Stephanie Polnow, Larry Schoenemann, Tamela Daines, Francis Quinn III, Kori Small, Holly Hysel, Wendy Stueland, and Jerita Hubele. All have completed the required training. Appleman moved, Melvin seconded to approve them all. (Carried).
13). Quinn moved, Leis seconded to approve the renewal of the ad in the Hidden Valleys Visitors Guide for a cost of $284.05 (up $31.35 from last year). (Carried).
14). Police update: Cheryl talked about a small-town Police Chief position. We need a variety of shifts, which includes days, evenings, holidays, and every other weekend. Residents agree. We will ask this of the new Chief. The former chief worked this for several years, and recently they did not work for him. He considered them unreasonable and unsafe. Not sure why, but this contributed to him quitting and going to the county. The question came up with discussion with the former chief if the police committee had the authority to require certain shifts and days during a period. We wanted to make sure, so we consulted with our Attorney, Jacob Menn, and found out we do have authority to require certain shifts, at certain times, and holidays. But we don’t administer the hours, can’t tell what days and times. He or she does this themselves. Good to know the police committee was doing correct things. We have authority to request a schedule, and this goes to the village clerk or police chair, and we can request a timesheet. We’ve been following this correctly.
*As far as the pay, we ’ve realized for a while now, that our village employees have been under paid. We have good benefits and know the areas around us are upping benefits and pay. So our idea for the 2023 budget is to take a hard look at this. For the lineman position, instead of waiting to raise the pay next year, to be competitive, we increased it now. That is why the new Police Chief pay range is higher. It’s not what the former chief made, however, in 2023 it would have been higher. A few years ago, we changed from across the board increases to a performance and goal pay raises. With the new Chief, there will be a one-year probationary period and performance and goal raises. The chief will still oversee ordinances. Once a formal complaint is made to the chief, or he/she observes a violation, they can issue a citation. If they don’t pay, it goes to Municipal court. Currently if they don’t pay the citation, the village board can’t do anything about it, or the Chief. The former chief worked hard on these, but he has no power to issue arrest warrants. The village can though, abate a property. In February, multiple citations were given a perpetrator. It’s with our village attorney now. Shortly, he should have an order of abatement for us. So this right now is what we can and can’t do.
15). Update on Municipal Court: Cheryl explained there is a new court clerk. The Judge and her are ready to go after the past due fines. They will start by sending out letters, giving them so many days to pay their fine or one of 4 actions will be taken. #1 is income tax intercepting, #2 is turning it over to the Wisconsin Debt collection, #3 the court can put in on property taxes, and #4 is issue an arrest warrant. Bad news, Cashton has decided to pull out, so all the operating costs need divided by the remaining three: Viroqua, Westby, and La Farge. This is $16,000 to absorb by us. The police committee will be discussing this in the near future to see what to do.
16). Committee Reports:
**Library: Barb reported the library board did a little 6-month review. Everything is going well, and Lisa is doing a good job.
**Finance/Personnel: Karen asked the question, the new positions are getting raises, what about the other employees? Cheryl said it’s being reviewed, due to inflation, to see if it will be mid-year or wait until budget season. It will be brought to the board for a final decision.
**Special board meeting June 20th, at 6 p.m. at the ESB for approving the SDWLP paperwork.
17). Quinn moved, Nemec seconded to approve payment of the bills. (Carried).
18). Melvin moved, Appleman seconded to adjourn. (Carried). Adjourned at 7:18 p.m.
Kimberly Walker, Village Clerk/Treasurer