Monthly Meeting Minutes I August 14, 2023


The monthly meeting of the town board of the Town of Cedar Lake was held on Monday, Aug. 14th, 2023 at 6:30 PM at the Cedar Lake Town Hall in Mikana. Forty-three persons were present along with the Town Board, Chairman Ken Leners, Supervisors Kory Weiss and Mary Hele, Clerk Maryhelen Drew and Treasurer, Gladys Roux. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The minutes from the July meeting were read. With no corrections, Kory approved the minutes as read. Mary seconded and all were in favor.

Under public input, Larry Johnson, 2955 27 ⅞ St., appeared to ask the Board the procedure for lowering speed limits. He checked several other roads which appear to be posted at 30 mph. The road which he is speaking of is Stout’s Point entrance and circle which is posted at 35 mph. There are several neighbors and Larry who would like the speed limit to be lowered to 25 mph on that road. This will be added to Sept. agenda. Kory will look into the laws to see how this could be accomplished. Liz Drew spoke up that maybe a stop sign on the y in the same area or a yield sign to help with that corner.

Ken L. had investigated the recycle bins in our town finding out that they will be open 24/7. The sign regarding hours, days will be removed. He had found one bin overloading and one empty when he looked.

Next Gladys gave the financial report for the month. Kory mentioned that expenses are going up with all purchases. The town may need to look at a levy increase for the taxes. There are some equipment replacements which need to be considered. Mike Hessling stated that the town’s EPV had increased 20% with this year’s assessment. There followed much discussion with the clerk being asked to look at the timeline needed to increase the tax levy in time for tax statements. Kory explained that property taxes go way up but the part that actually comes back to the town is a small percentage. If needed the Board could hold a special meeting in August to discuss the budget for 2024.

The Special Funding Committee report was made by Mary. Mary thanked Tom Goodwin and Kathy Krizan   for attending a project meeting where they discussed finding monies for the Town. Steve Craker with Focus on Energy came and checked all town electric for improvements on Jul 14, 2023 He suggested that the town had been doing very well, such as boilers, insulation, and light bulbs. Mary’s goal is to put people together with available money and Kathy. has been searching county and state documents in search of possible funding for a new truck. She is finding that most of the dollars are dedicated to municipalities of 5000 or more. As our county does not have one person who does this, she reached out to Romaine Quinn, met with him on July 8th in Birchwood. Mary began the conversation to get money without borrowing or increasing taxes. Another place to look for funds would be BCPL which does public loans. Mary is positioning herself to be a lobbyist to navigate waters to raise money for communities around 1000 in population. She will be attending the WTA annual convention as well as approaching Dave Armsrtong, Ron Johnson, maybe even Tammy Baldwin. She is very interested in a managed economy for the town’s long game.

Kory then spoke about the past month’s roadwork. The county will be doing the striping on Lemler Rd. yet this fall. He has contracted with Bull Dozin to reshape two cul-de-sacs on the east side of the lake sometime in the next month. Someone spoke up to say that it appears that Xcel Energy had patched the place in the blacktop where the lines fell during the winter over the blacktop. Kory thought this would be done later.

Kory explained that the town has two trucks. The newest truck, 2015, is in the repair shop the most. At this time the oil pan has rusted out. The backhoe had a flat tire, called to replace and realized that it needed to have both back tires replaced.

Kory has checked with Paul’s Sheet Metal regarding the air conditioner in the town hall. It appears to be drawing too many amps. Currently it is a 5 ton unit.(way over-sized for building). It was recommended that a 2 ½ ton unit would do the job for this building. An estimate to replace the unit would be between $8200 – $8400.

Mike Hessling discussed the last month of the BFCESD which included the grand opening of the new emergency services building. There were between 150-200 people attending. Much thanks was given to Carolyn Cleveland, as we could not have completed this project without their financial assistance. They have stopped the leased office space on the village property. The committee met  on August 10 and  discussed budgets for both the fire dept. & EMT’s. Both budgets look solvent for many years going forward. Mike is encouraging the town to commit to the whole of the Town of Cedar Lake to be included in the EMS contract instead of having a portion of services by Marshfield Ambulance from Rice Lake. There followed much discussion with no decision made at this time.  It would be a cost of $8000 more on the funds we already pay to BFCESD.  Mike had also talked with Romaine Quinn on raising funds for the EMS within the BFCESD.

Ken had asked about Long Lake and Doyle as well as Edgewater as to how this would affect them going forward. Edgewater is also charged by Sawyer Co. for Ambulance service. Ken also asked Mike to discuss the billing for an ambulance run. Mike said that no person in the district pays for ambulance service beyond what they pay in taxes. If the insurance co, medicare, medicade don’t pay, the patient doesn’t pay the balance.  Gladys mentioned that the ambulance bill she received, in 2022,  she needed to pay the balance due to the BFCESD after insurance.  Mike will look into this as she should not have received a bill.

Ken thanked Mike for the great job he has done,all volunteers and the auxiliary for the wonderful grand opening of the new fire hall.

Next was the report from the Beautification Committee, Norma Jankowski and Laura Moyle. They met on Jul 26, 2023. The committee at this time is focused on the property owned by Gerry Frazier in Mikana. There were many photos where the violation in the ordinance was read for each photo. They did not enter the property to obtain the information. When they were looking at things from the street, a person was mowing the lawn. He had asked the next door lady to help him find what smelled. Upon finding a dead fox, he buried it in the front yard. Ken will give Gerry Frazier a call/talk about cleaning up the property. Will need to see what the next step will be. The other person who had violations in the past had worked with the Board to resolve issues so didn’t need to go further into the process. Kory asked what he would do if Gerry refused to talk with Ken. Ken said we may go directly to the attorney.

Next on the agenda is to discuss the information received from the attorney,Timothy Proue, regarding rezoning on the east side of the lake. Ken made a motion to send a petition to Barron Co. Zoning to rezone portions of Sections 2,11,14,23 from RR to R1, in order to ensure positive economic growth by attracting homeowners and other low density  use  assets. Mary seconded this motion. Kory feels that it would be opening the town to many lawsuits. He feels something is telling him that this is not right. There followed much discussion. Ken said it would b e the Barron Co. Board of Supervisors making the decision. A parcel would have to be individually petitioned to rezone. This would incur much expense to the town. Ken said that this would all need to be ironed out with the county as this has never been done before. Nothing was stated about the cost and who pays what. He would like to prepare the first section,prepare a cover letter, and petition with all documents needed to send to Dave Gifford to see if it is filed correctly. The Barron County GIS technician has shown Ken where all the information he may need could be found on line. It is possible there may need to be a special meeting to accomplish this.

Mary asked if this would involve the lots which are undeveloped at this time. Ken said that we should do as the judge told the LLBC to do and treat it as a housing development.If the town proceeds with the petition, it would go to the Co. Board of Supervisors. Ken read a statement from an Attorney that indicates the act of camping does not meet the definition of “grandfathering”.  A person from the floor spoke up. Ken told the person that she did not have the floor and that her interruptions would not be tolerated.  If she interrupts  again she will be removed. There followed much discussion. He stated  that people are asking the Town Board to ignore all of the problems that have been created by the LLBC’s failure to enforce their covenants and restrictions.

There followed much discussion with the question of what to do if this path fails, if they shut us down? Ken said that the Board will then  tell their constituents that  they have turned over every rock while doing their due diligence on this issue.

Kory feels that what stands out the most is the very personal feelings have returned this into group versus group with no one willing to sit down and talk..It is a  group of homeowners/campers who don’t want to compromise so have pushed this all on the town board. Keep the drama at the Beach Club and away from the town business.

Ken feels that the services are increasing due to the campers using their lots. Kory explained that all the roads which the town takes care of must be maintained in order to receive the state highway aid from the government. Mary feels it is not so much the expenditures but more the lack of revenue.

Mary wants to do what is best for the township. It could take forever to resolve all aspects of this situation. Looking toward the future,Mary feels that going forward with zoning would be a legacy step. I Want the community to continue to grow. She has been watching for two years and feels nothing will change.

Kory agrees with both in regard to the future growth of the town but on the opposite side feels that this rezoning would stifle the growth. As it is now, there is a better chance that those with campers will build. He feels that to rezone would be a negative game.

Ken said that it is good that the town board can discuss this issue  without a fight! There is nothing stopping people from building now. He wonders why the land was originally zoned the way it is. All need to focus on facts not emotions. That’s what the judge did.

Ken again made a motion that the Town of Cedar Lake submit a petition to Barron Co. Zoning, portions of 2,11,14,23 from RR to R1, low density in order to ensure positive economics, by attracting homeowners and other low density residential use assets.Roll call vote: Ken,yes: Kory,no:, Mary,yes. Motion passed. Team to get together to build a packet of what is necessary to determine whether to go forward. Then reconvene to discuss going forward.

Next on the agenda is the discussion with Ken Widiker regarding the use of Sucker Creek for the ATV/UTV route. As there have been no complaints until now, petition drafting has not happened. It appears there are no speed signs on this portion of the road. There followed discussion regarding signing as well “One complaint away from losing trail” type of sign. Ken L. said that there are steps to go through before shutting down the road. Kory wondered about getting signs for this area. Maybe the clubs would have some that could be purchased. However a formal petition needs to be created for further issues. Ken W. had drawn up a petition for the Board to look at. Ken L. asked Ken Osmer if there were problems by his house as he lives at the end of the Dave Moin Trail. There is noise and many machines. Maybe possible to shut down as a temporary solution until further notice. This has  been done with Berry Rd. in the Town of Birchwood, which has since reopened.

The Board decided to keep the petition which had been written by Ken Widiker as a template. Kory asked if Ken would like to have additional signs or move toward closure. Ken W, stated that he would like to go ahead with road closure. Kory said that we will move forward with the signage, as well.

Brian and Laura Bergman appeared to ask to have two lots( 9 & 10) within their subdivision rezoned from Ag-2 to RR to match the other lots within the subdivision. The Board had a discussion regarding which zoning would be best for their lots. Ken L. made a motion to check  approved, recommending rezone to residential. Mary seconded the motion, Kory said yes, as well. If need be they could come back to match other lots after talking with the county.

Next was the discussion about the Minnow Lake Road in Bergman’s subdivision. As lots are being built they would like the town to plow and grade the road until building is complete. They would like to wait until after building to blacktop the road to save it. The road had been built to the county standards originally, but not blacktopped at this time. The Town does not accept roads which are not blacktopped. Laura said that they are prepared to spend the revenue on blacktop. Just wondered how to protect myself. A possibility that a special exception could be made with a written agreement between both parties. Kory wants to make sure that the town would be protected if we took on the maintenance before accepting the final step of blacktopping. There would need to be special exception verbiage. A roll call vote was taken, Ken,yes: Mary, yes: Kory,yes. Kory will do some homework to know what we both would need.

No decision will be made regarding the whole town being included in the ambulance portion of the BFCESD as the board needed time to review the documents that were just submitted..

Ken L. made a motion to appoint Mary Hele to be the point person for the Buckthorn Project. Kory seconded, all approved.

Next on the agenda was for the Board to approve to apply for funds for replacing absentee ballot envelopes as the state has changed the form. The Board agreed to the Memorandum of Understanding with the Wis, Elections Commission. The forms were completed.

Next was an added agenda item regarding Hwy. 48 & V landing. Deanna Hessling gave a brief update regarding the ownership of a small strip of land at the landing which had been included in the deed with the Gathering Place. Their goal is to keep the landing open to everyone as it has been for 50 plus years. The solution the Hesslings are presenting is that a quit claim  deed be prepared for the town with a perpetual easement retained by the Gathering Place. This would be a donation to the town from the Hesslings.Ken made a motion to accept the quit claim  deed from Hesslings and the town reimburse them $210 for their cost. Kory seconded this and all approved. Thank you to the Hesslings!

Ken said that he had  been contacted that Tom Nanstad had made the decision to be the point of contact for the fireworks going forward. He is submitting a permit to send some test fireworks off in different locations to see where a good spot for future use would be. One would be the Don Johnson property on Loew’s Shorewood. They would purchase consumer grade fireworks for less.

Mary said the Tom Goodwin, chairman for the architecture committee of the LLBC was wanting to understand the regulatory requirements for VRBO’s. He is looking for further guidance from the Town. Sally Griffin said there are state laws which need to be followed. There is also a very strict approval process with the county. It was suggested that Tom contact Kim Collins, at the county, regarding the Tourist Rooming House information.

Also under correspondence received during the month, the clerk had sent an overdue bill for culverts to Due North Development by return receipt. It was returned undeliverable. Kory will call and talk with them. These culverts are in the ground right of way and could be extracted.

Next, it is time for the propane bid for the winter. Kory has done this in the past. We usually bid for 4000 gals. Mary will take care of this.

Received the renewal for the insurance for the Town. Question: What is Injunctive Relief Endorsement? Kory will talk with Tom from Marsh Insurance. He feels that this would have been recommended by Tom.

Sherry & James Goodpaster appeared with all the documentation for the application of a Class “B” winery license as well as a Class “B” beer license. The board determined to charge $100 for the winery license.  A motion was made to accept the application for the Class “B” winery and Class”B” beer license effective August 18, 2023. All approved.

A note had been received that a WTA unit meeting will be held on Aug 28, 2023 at the Oak Grove Town Hall at 6:30.

Gladys had gotten a letter from Master Touch that the rate for tax bills will increase this year. Also, the town will be receiving the August settlement of taxes in the amount of $163943.38.

Ken made the motion to pay the bills and adjourn the meeting. This was seconded by Kory and approved by all. (10:00 PM)

This meeting was noticed at the Chronotype, website, The Grill, Red Cedar Country Store, Bear Trap Inn, LLBC, and Town Hall.

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