Monthly Meeting Minutes I July 10, 2023

The monthly meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Cedar Lake was held at the Cedar Lake Town Hall in Mikana at 6:30 PM on Monday, July 10, 2023. Thirty persons plus the board were present, 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 previous monthly meeting were read. These were approved with a motion made by Kory and seconded by Mary. Approved by all.

     Under public input, Norma Jankowski reported that the committee for Mikana Beautification has met. The motto is “Wake up Mikana”. There are two properties that are being focused on at this point. They have a petition signed by many asking the Board to make those persons accountable for violating the Public Nuisance Ordinance.  As they were getting signatures on the petition for these two properties, they also asked about the use of the recycle bin behind the town hall. This was an anonymous survey. There were 24 no votes who do not use the bins and there were 9 yes votes.

     The petition will be taken into consideration by the Board. Ken would like a complete list of violations of each property so that it is known the exact problems.

     Ken also asked what was recommended for the recycle bins. Some of the answers to the questions were always full, not being used, not open at convenient times. The county has been looking for volunteers to man the recycle center here in Mikana with no luck.

     Todd Barthen said he had called the Barron County Health & Services office in regard to the Gerry Frazier property. He was told that the case on that property was closed. As the county looked at satellite pictures, they could see many violations. Todd also suggested that maybe a few more signs would help regulate the recycle bins. Kory mentioned maybe some set hours. A discussion followed. Ken will follow up with the county. It was suggested that the times of the recycle center should be on the website. They are already there.

     The county nurse had called Ken in regard to Gerry’s property. She stated that her office confirmed that there were no issues such as water in the swimming pool or vermin present.  There followed much discussion, with Laura Moyle reading from the Public Nuisance Ordinance. It is felt by the committee that the property owners should be pressured and fined as the county won’t do anything as it is up to the town board. Ken asked that they submit expectations for the properties to the town board. Something needs to be done. Kory also suggested that the committee come back with a specific list of requirements for the board. Once submitted the board will make it an actionable item.

      Next under public input, Lois Gabriel has two items: 1. What are the ramifications of the lawsuit to the town? 2. The added agenda item posted on Sunday prior to the June meeting was not legal as Sundays are excluded from the 24 hour regulation. Lois stated the statute as 9.90-04 which states the requirements for posting of meetings.

     Ken said that the lawsuit which was filed against the town is covered by the town’s insurance. Liz Schulte will pay her own fees.

     Ken contacted the WTA in regard to the notice requirement as to what and when items needed to be posted. He received an email from Carol Norwaki, WTA attorney, stating that the info on the website was incorrect, as it did not clarify that holidays were not included in that post.

     Next, Mr. Ken Widiker appeared to ask the Board to consider closing the road/trail past his house, 29th Ave, Sucker Creek Rd., as there are many ATV/UTV’s going past on the road. There is also racing, noise bar lights are blinding. He was asked if this was a major trail used? Yes, except in the winter.

     Kory said that there is something written in the ordinance on the procedure for closing a road. Kory will work with Ken W. in regard to this issue. As no action can be taken tonight, it will go on next month’s agenda. Discussion then followed regarding speed limits noting that there are no speed limit signs on that portion of the road.

     Next was the financial report by Gladys, treasurer. Ken gave the quarterly report.

     Kory said that no major roadwork was planned for this year due to the expansive road work completed last summer. There is one large cul-de-sac which will be brought up to standard. This will cost approximately $10,200.  This will be posted as contracting it out for work. Ken said that the Lemler road needs striping to complete the project. Kory said that this is listed with Barron Co. Hwy. to do as they go through the area. The Local Road Improvement Program funds for this road should come in regardless of the striping. Scott has placed an order for culverts.

     Ken said that $4000 of the celebration funds did not need to get spent on celebrations, as the fireworks were all covered.  The town only paid for the insurance for the parade, $1000.

     Gladys then detailed all of the revenues and dates when funds are expected for the town between now and Jan.1,2024.

     Ken asked if the driveway permits and culverts have been in high demand. Scott said it was extremely busy in the spring, but has leveled off now.

     Kory spoke about an email received by him about 3 weeks ago regarding an increase in Hwy. Aids from the State being included in the new state budget. Nice idea, but the Governor vetoed it. We will get a slight increase in Shared Revenue in 2024.

     Katherine Mintari talked about the road sign funds in the budget. She has been noticing that some of the road signs have turned white, making it difficult to read them. The road sign replacement is an ongoing project. Kory said that the town had changed sign distributors who don’t seem to do as well with the paint. Kory will have Scott check to see what signs are in stock to maybe replace as needed.

     (It appears that the air conditioner has quit working. Mike Hessling said that it had blown the breaker one time on July 4th. He checked the breaker and reset it. Kory will call Paul’s Sheet Metal to check the box.)

     More and more stuff is appearing at the brush pile that doesn’t belong there. Scott asked if he could purchase more cameras to put up in that area. Kory said that he should do that. There has been some success in reporting license plate numbers to the Sheriff’s Dept.

     Kory spoke to the fact that the work that is being done at the Hwy. V landing by Stout’s Island is encroaching on public access. If things get stinky we will send Scott there with the backhoe. Mike H. said that they have taken down the kiosk with lake information, so there are issues brewing there.

     Kory spoke about a phone call he received from Laura Bergman who owns a subdivision by Minnow Lake. She has a developer who is interested in developing that land. She would like to know where they and the Board stand regarding the road requirements. She wants to be sure to follow rules. This will be investigated.

     Mike Hessling gave the report for the BFCESD next. As of July 15, 2023, the fire and ambulance services have completely moved into the new building. Tentative grand opening is scheduled for August 12. Mike also approached the board to consider expanding the EMS service to include all of the Town of Cedar Lake. He further discussed the pros and cons of this move. This has also been proposed to the Town of Birchwood. Increased cost would be $6658.38(based on 2023 assessment) He feels that would be more a part of the whole community. Some people had questions, such as will they take passengers to Barron, who I would call, can’t find addresses in our town. Hopefully all these questions and more would be answered. Birchwood does mutual aid with Rice Lake and other communities. This will be put on the next agenda. Ken thanked Mike for the report and information.

Ken thanked all the people who donated money to make this year’s fireworks possible. The money Tony Wolff received from doing the fireworks this year will be donated to the fireworks for next year. So therefore will be doing this service for the town for free. There is a link setup on the website to donate directly to the fireworks for anyone who would like to do that. Ken would like someone to volunteer to head up the fundraiser for future fireworks. He suggested a rumor was around

that Mary Hele would accept that responsibility and clarified that fundraising for fireworks is not part of her job as Supervisor and would be, if she chose, a personal decision and effort.  Norma Jankowski mentioned that The Grill in Mikana will be hosting a fundraiser for the fireworks on August 13, 2023.

     A floater was requested to carry a microphone around the room.

    The next item Ken L. discussed was the special meeting held on June 29th with Dave Gifford at his office in Barron. Attending was Ken L., Kory Weiss, Mary Hele and several residents from Cedar Lake. The reason for the meeting was to find out what procedure the Board must follow if it decided to pursue rezoning. Much discussion of the situation as it stands now and for the future. The Town does have the authority to rezone, it has the authority to petition the County to rezone. Each parcel would need to be handled individually, then the petition turned over to the County where the Barron Co. Board of Supervisors would make the decision. There would have to be a very good reason presented to that Board for rezoning. The courts may need to decide if a parcel that is now being used for camping, and has complied with all the county permits, would be allowed to continue to use it in this manner. It’s very possible this could open up the ability for more lawsuits to the town. Mary, who lives on the east side of the lake, but is not in the LLBC, is just realizing that there are two distinct groups who do not understand the rights of  land use. She suggested the Board get some legal guidance. There is too much emotion in this issue. Sally Griffin asked why the town would consider doing this? The problem is not going away and has been here for 30 years. Mary feels that not just the Board should figure this out.

     Ken made a motion that the Town Board contact a municipal attorney for guidance. Kory feels that we need to ask for specific guidance, not have an open checkbook. If all 3 Board members are talking with this attorney, would this be violating the open meeting law?

     Sally G. speculated that those lots which are non-conforming now would be grandfathered that are able to keep status until that property was sold.

     Ken said that he appreciated all the input which has occurred during this discussion. If the Board does nothing, he feels that they would not be doing their jobs.

     Questions were asked by attendees, who would pay for this rezoning and isn’t that discrimination?

     After discussion, Ken made the motion to pursue legal counsel to consider a petition to rezone not to exceed $1000. Mary seconded. No discussion. Roll call vote: Ken,yes: Kory, yes: Mary, yes. Motion carried. Sally mentioned that she knows a good municipal attorney and will send Mary that number.

     Under correspondence received during the month, Ken had a letter from Mark Servi, Barron Hwy. Commissioner stating that he will be retiring in August after 25 years. There will be a retirement party.

     Kory received an email from Xcel Energy regarding some work to be done on town roads. Nothing for the town to worry about. Kory had been approached by Stout’s Island in regard to the George property which is for sale. They are interested in purchasing this property contingent to rezoning by the county.

     Mary had no correspondence.

    The clerk received an email from Dick Ballou wondering about liability for the volunteers for the Buckthorn project. Kory had contacted the insurance company, who said that as long as the project was under the control of the Town board, liability would be covered. There followed a discussion where it was determined that a person on the Board should be appointed to be in charge of this project. Maybe this could be Mary.

     Also received a letter from Barron Co. describing the Bike/Pedestrian Project for the county. Our town has decided not to participate as we feel it would not apply in our town.

     Next, the clerk received a request from a reporter for completed absentee ballot requests and each person’s proof of ID. I had contacted the Barron Co. Clerk Office discovered others had also received this same request. Her suggestion was that we should contact our town attorney, which I did, but have not received an answer. After some discussion among the Board their advice was to contact the Insurance company attorney for advice of what exactly should be given to the reporter.

    The clerk also received two notices from the county regarding special exception hearings, an answer from the Goodpaster’s regarding their wine license. Paperwork should be completed in time for the August Town Board meeting.

     Gladys had a request from the county of all the unlicensed dogs.

     Ken then mentioned he had received another public records request from Weld, Riley Attorneys on June 30th. Kory mentioned that he had 2 requests for records also in the last month, which have been rescinded. Ken stated that the plaintiff in the pending lawsuit is Liz Schulte and that the Town’s attorney responded with a motion to dismiss.

    The county had a request from someone about who regulated the dam.

Tyler told them that Kory managed the dam. Yes, the lake is low. This is due to no rain, not bad management. Water does have to continue over the dam due to the habitat below in the river.

     Ken made the motion to adjourn and pay the bills. Mary seconded and all approved.

The notice for this meeting appeared on the website, Red Cedar Country Store, Bear Trap, Cedar Lake Grill, town hall and LLBC

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