Monthly Meeting Minutes I March 13, 2023

The monthly meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Cedar Lake met at the Cedar Lake Town Hall in Mikana on Monday, Mar 13, 2023 at 6:30. Present was Kory Weiss, acting chairman, Tony Wolff, Supervisor, Maryhelen Drew, Clerk, and Gladys Roux, Treasurer. Ken Leners was absent. There were 51 people in the audience.

  •      The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance. Ken joined the meeting by cell phone.
  •      The minutes of the previous meeting were read. Kory made a change in the minutes stating that the new landing at the Loch Lomond Beach Club is not a pier. Kory made the motion to accept the minutes with this correction. Tony seconded and all were in favor.
  •      Under public input, Ralph Kleven complimented the men for the great removal of all the snow this winter. Kory also thanked Scott and Ken as well. Good job!!
  •      Lee Ellerbruck has been reading the minutes from past meetings on the website. She is wondering why the town is even involved in this matter with Loch Lomond Beach Club. Kory said that this issue is not on the table at this time.
  •      Gladys then gave the report on the finances for the past month. The clerk balances with her and the bank accounts. No further comments or questions at this time.
  •      Kory spoke about the roadwork for the past month. Of Course there was more snow. Also, dealing with a lot of equipment issues this winter. Kory continued to discuss the issues with the equipment. The men have done an excellent job given the difficulties with all the equipment. The weight limit signs will go up on Thursday and effective on Friday, March 17, 2023.
  •      There continues to be problems with people plowing snow from their driveways across town roads. There are several items with this. 1. It’s illegal, 2. Freezes on the road in clumps and 3. Very hard on the town equipment when these spots are hit when plowing. Expensive to repair. So, a postcard or letter will be created to be sent to those persons who continue to do this. There have been several calls as to why people’s roads are not plowed. The men have stopped plowing due to this issue. So when calls come in, they are made aware of the issue as one of their neighbors is doing this.
  •      The next item on the agenda was the report from the Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services Dist. Mike Hessling is absent, but sent a report which was read by Kory.   This is for information only as the minutes will be posted on their website. The Fire Auxiliary is busy with planning the Jon Sleik Golf Tournament. Anyone wishing to join may contact Becky George, Cindy Fairchild, or Deanna Hessling.
  •      The new building is coming along well.  Two items for the agenda next month are recouping money for fire calls and a long term capital plan for the Fire and Ambulance Departments.
  •      Next on the agenda is the Budget Resolution for 2022.This number 2023-3-A.  Kory read the resolution. Tony made the motion to approve the resolution as presented, Kory seconded and all approved. This must b e posted within 10 days after approval.
  •      Sherry Timmerman Goodpaster attended the meeting to explain to the Board that as the property on the corner of Hwy 48 and Alderman Dr. needs to be approved as a special exception by the county as the business in an “unincorporated town”. Also, the building hasn’t been used as a business in over 20 years. The town needs to complete the special exception form for the county so a hearing can be set. Sherry explained that they are following all the regulatory requirements for this Wine License. After they have completed  all of these steps, they will be back to the town board for the township wine license. They are using only their own grapes which they grow to make the wine and this will be the only wine that they will be able to sell in this building.
  •      Kory explained that completing these forms is the way the county lets the town be informed. As the Board has no objections, this form was completed and signed by Kory and Maryhelen.
  •      Under new business,Supervisor Wolff’s responses to an emailed complaint read by Chairman Leners during agenda item correspondence received at the Feb. meeting. Ken is attending by phone as Kory is conducting the meeting. Tony wants to explain that the issue to discuss is complicated but not personal. It has taken many months of investigation to come to the conclusion derived from facts that the town should not get involved in use of private property. There will be no public input or questions as this is a conversation between the Board members. Ken had received an email from Tom Goodwin regarding a post made by Gladys, which he felt was not accurate in regard to the WPOA. As an elected official she should be accurate and not add to the tension in the  town. Then he stated that Gladys as well as Tony had an emblem which had appeared at the bottom of their facebook entry which leads people to think this is in conjunction with the Town Board. He stated that the WPOA had began in April 2021 and has not changed the status for the organization. Ken wanted to know why this was being read at this time. It should have been read as correspondence at the Feb. meeting. Also, an email from Doug Fischer had been received by Gladys. These emails should have been directed to all board members. Kory than read the email from Doug Fisher to Gladys Roux. Tony is unsure why Doug Fisher’s email which came at the same time to all board members, but addressed to Ken, was not included also under correspondence, but would like it read by Kory. Doug is very disappointed with the negative campaigning. He said that the subject of the ordinance over the last year has become a moot point as there will be no campers allowed in the LLBC going forward. He feels that Tony only listens to persons who are non- residents such as the group identified by Birchwood Crew. These people have no concern for the issues of the LLBC. He would like to stop the negative campaigning as it has created a division among the Town Board members.
  •     Tony doesn’t understand why people don’t call someone if there is an issue to be able to resolve it. Tony called each of these individuals and had a discussion regarding their concerns. The page on facebook is a political page not a personal page and the emblem is so that a person may link to the town’s website where minutes are kept. It is felt that both people want to tell Gladys what to think and say. Tony had asked Doug to call and talk with Gladys, but he sent a text to her personal phone. Tony has permission to read the text to Gladys from Doug. Kory read it. He feels that Glady’s remarks regarding the WPOA are extremely disturbing. As a representative of the town, she should remain neutral on all issues. Her comments stating that the WPOA hate campers is based on her ignorance of the facts. The reason the WPOA was established is to defend the covenants and restrictions of the LLBC. The judge’s order states that camping violates the covenants and restrictions.  By the way, Ken Leners has done more for the town than anyone, including your work. Because of social media, his support of Tony has been tainted. Your constant attacks on home owners will  not be tolerated. If he was on the Board he would ask for your resignation as her actions and those of non-residents have caused the division in our town. Gladys along with Ken received text.
  •      Ken wanted to know why this text is being talked about as it came to the treasurer and not the supervisors. Gladys should speak for herself. The reason Tony brought this up was to determine if this was something Ken had read. He wondered if Ken had taken any action. Does Ken agree with the content of the text from Doug? Ken said that he is not on trial here, so get to the point. So, Ken doesn’t want to answer any questions about Gladys? He wants Gladys to speak for herself. Let her ask me a question. Gladys asked why of all the emails received, Ken would pick only that particular one to share with everyone? Ken wanted to know why no other Board member had shared it? It appears that some people are unwilling to share that information. So, the real question is why no one seated on the Board spoke about it. Ignoring will not make it go away. Tony got to the point that as the Board is divided on this issue there are members who are being disrespected as in the case of this text. Ken should have stood up for Gladys. As a matter of fact, Tony is defending her tonight from the comments made by Doug Fisher.
  •     Tony indicated that the influence of the WPOA is indicated by these emails and texts. Tom Goodwin is in disagreement with what Tony had posted on his campaign post and Gladys shared it. Tom then fires off an email to the chairman who reads the complaint in open meeting to shut Tony down. Why? Because Tony is concerned about an undue influence of the WPOA against the town board members, specifically Ken. With that in mind, Tony read part of what Ken had posted on the website concerning this ordinance.
  •      The chairman consulted with the WTA attorney and town’s attorney after the August 8, 2022 meeting. They said that the Board should not commit time and energy to a non-binding referendum in November based on current boards continuing not to take action for the past 15 months. They said it would be better to seek candidates for the upcoming election who would be proactive on this issue. Tony asked if the Town had ever received a bill for this recommendation. Ken stated that nothing had changed, didn’t receive an invoice and had no funds for this expense.
  •      So, Tony wants to know how we got here and why he is talking about this now. The bottom line is that Ken brought to this Board his concern about a large number of lots being used for camping in LLBC. He failed to make a convincing argument as to what the problem is, let alone having a solution. This Board has disagreed with him 2 to 1. Yet he persisted. Tony made a motion to table the issue for one year to allow all to sort out legal problems. This passed 2 to 1 and yet Ken still persisted. He still considered a referendum which he knew would be non-binding.
  •      So, instead of getting us to agree with him on the merits, Ken wants to replace me(Tony)with someone who will agree with him. Tony asked that the following be placed on the April agenda:provide evidence/discuss why Chairman Leners should abstain from any discussion or vote concerning any  town ordinance or resolution regulating the use of recreational vehicles on private property.
  •      Ken would like to address and clarify a few statements which are untrue. Tony has asked him several times if he was recruiting someone to replace him. No, he has not. He has only recruited for Maryhelen, who said she would not run for office again and for himself as he is already 2 years past what he intended to serve. Tony called Ken Leners, Tom Goodwin and Doug Fischer asking them if Ken Leners recruited Mary Hele to run against him for the position of Supervisor 1.  All three individuals have told Tony that, no, Ken did not recruit Mary Hele.  Still Tony is saying that Ken is trying to have him replaced. That is a false statement.( Maryhelen be sure to capture this in the minutes).
  •      At this time the ordinance is no issue as the judge’s decision supersedes all. At the time, Ken felt that it made sense. Since the ruling this is a non-issue.  Ken continued to say that only Barron County is able to issue temporary dwelling permits, as the Town turned all of the zoning matters over to the county. The Town Board cannot issue any, LLBC cannot issue any,and no other organization within the town can issue temporary dwelling permits.
  •     Ken still feels that the LLBC falls under the jurisdiction of the  town board. This problem goes outside of the town. He is not a person to sit back and wait and see what happens between LLBC and the plaintiff.
  • He would be neglecting all of the taxpayers of the Town of Cedar Lake. So, being proactive is better than being inactive or sitting around to wait and see. Tony wanted to validate what Ken had said that the ordinance is no longer an but, it is more important now, because if LLBC settles and causes people to remove campers the town would need to have the authority to do so if LLBC could not. Ken said that if necessary the ordinance would be reviewed. Since the judge’s ruling it would go against that ruling if he were to pursue a fee. But no intention to introduce the ordinance as written. There may be a different ordinance he would introduce based on this. The one referred to is mute.
  •      Tony said that the WPOA is currently endorsing the person who is running against him.  Ken said that he is not being influenced by the WPOA, he is making his own decisions. He is not sure why Tony continues to connect the WPOA to him. He is not a member and has given no funds.Tony answered that it is because he continues to get the Board to pass the ordinance . Tom Goodwin appeared before the Board and discussed the lawsuit against LLBC regarding the outcome of it as plaintiff. Tony is not for the campers, but for all taxpayers of the Town of Cedar Lake. Everyone should know what the Board is being asked regarding private property. This is a complicated issue. Most of the people attending have no clue as to what is going on and need to be informed. Tony will let the voters decide regarding Board members.
  •      Ken wants to clarify that this is not a land right’s issue, but a contract issue specific to LLBC.If they would have enforced their covenants and restrictions  and if property owners would have followed the covenants and restrictions that they agreed to in writing, we would not be having this conversation.
  •      Ken went on to  explain that the average assessed value of  homes throughout the township versus the average assessed value of lots being used for camping  results in camping  lots only paying 6% of all  town expenses  while homes are paying 94% of all town expenses. These figures are facts based on information provided by the town’s Assessor.
  •      Tony stated that the LLBC covenants and restrictions have nothing to do with the Town authority.
  •      Next on the agenda is correspondence received during the month. Ken had none, Kory had none. Tony had contact with the Rice Lake VFW to see if they would welcome the items left behind here at the town hall by our VFW when they disbanded. So, he wanted to know if we had any use for any of these items? After a short discussion, it was determined that the items would be donated to the Rice Lake VFW.
  •      The clerk made the Board aware that the WTA training for the Board of Review is not scheduled until after our date of Apr 24, 2023. She has talked with the assessor and he will talk with the State and get back to us. The training from last year does not apply. At least one person each year has to be certified by the State. This information had been sent to us by WTA.
  •      CLA wanted to know if the Board would want the auditor to attend the annual meeting to discuss the audit for 2022. It would be a new person this year, Jonathan E. Sacks. He also enquired if it could be attended by zoom. After some discussion, it was determined that a representative would not need to appear as Brandon could clarify any questions.
  •       The clerk had an email forwarded from LLBC regarding a permit for a camper. I told them that all permits come through the county and LLBC. Kory also had several calls requesting permits. He told them all permits are issued by the county and the building inspector.
  •      Kory spoke about a couple of items in the invoices. He asked about the fee each month from Xcel Energy regarding the blinking lights on Hwy. 48. These were installed when the State allowed the Town to put up the current speed limit and I think we had to take the cost of the lights so the speed limit could be approved by the State. Kory will talk with the county about this as the Town should not be paying.
  •      Kory also mentioned that again the garbage bill is increasing monthly. So, we will be shopping again. At this time, Walzack doesn’t have the large containers.
  •      As garbage was mentioned, Todd Barthen asked what was happening with the Gerry Frazier property across the street from him. It is a health hazard. The neighbors have lost faith in the town board over this issue. Kory asked that this be put on the April agenda as this had been turned over to the county.
  •      Tony made the motion to pay the bills and adjourn the meeting. Kory seconded and all were in favor. (7:45)

This meeting agenda was posted at the following: The Grill, Bear Trap, Red Cedar Country Store, Town Hall, LLBC, Chronotype and the website.

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