Monthly Meeting Minutes I November 13, 2023

The monthly meeting began with the reading of the past month’s minutes. These were approved as read by Ken and seconded by Mary. All approved. There were 20 persons present, plus the Board.

Under public input, Tony Wolff asked about the special meeting on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 5 PM. for zoning and that there could be no public input. Could this decision not have waited until the November Board meeting? Also, Tony asked about the special budget meeting for the levy as two of the Board members were absent physically but present by phone if a vote taken at that time is legal. Does the town have a policy for voting when absent, and is this really a quorum?

Mary spoke to the question of the absent board members. Both she and Ken had talked with attorneys at the WTA convention who told them that it was legal for the board members to phone in and vote. Mary said that a policy with guidelines could be made for the town. The board may do that in the future. At this time, will go with the advice from the WTA attorneys. Tony asked if a quorum needed to be physically present if it is an elector meeting. This has not been discussed. Since COVID things have changed in the way business is done. This would be optional. At this point don’t see the town doing a policy at this time.

Ken answered regarding the special meeting. Kory was going to be absent for the November meeting and He didn’t want to wait 30- 45 days for the December meeting. He had chosen no public input.

Ken moved John Rupp up on the agenda as he needed to drive back to the cities tonight. Ken explained that John, as representative for Stout’s Island, had created some encroachments to the Hwy. 48 & V on the town’s ROW. Ken explained that The Gathering Place, Hesslings, have deeded a portion of the landing ROW to the town recently. So, the town has 49.5 ft. of access. Ken showed pictures of what John had created at the landing. Then he showed pictures of where that project encroached on the town ROW. John is requesting that the Town give him perpetual easement going forward on the south side and perpetual easement to the landowner, Mike Klutho, on the north side of the access.

John Rupp then took the microphone, stating that he had been in business with Tom Dow, for 30 years at the Island. There have been numerous conversations regarding Hwy. 48 & V over the years. He feels that the town is letting people die by not showing where the lake begins. He feels that after 30 years of mismanagement  and the loss of lives something needs to be fixed. His suggestions he feels would fix the problem of people driving into the lake. He also stated that this would be self serving as well as he needs to find a better way of loading and unloading the guests and the garbage to and from Stout Island.   His suggestion is what has already been created to which he would add a very hefty dock to be able to assist with this. He would like to see the delivery trucks back directly from Hwy. 48 to the lake to unload.  John explained that the grading guys he hired went ahead and created 25 ft. of the landing into a ramp. He feels that leaving half for the boats to be launched, then he could have the other for unloading for residents who are unable to get materials and equipment to their property on the lake. So, John is looking for input from the public.

Ken and Kory have gone out and measured the ROW showing where the Town road is located. At this time there is an encroachment which has been created by John.

Liz Drew stated that she doesn’t disagree with John in regard to the safety of drivers. But, the ramp could create more of an opportunity for a vehicle to hit the ramp and rollover, making it worse instead of better.

Others, as well as John spoke up to say that there needs to be barriers, lights and more signing. There is no indication that the road ends at the stop sign. Ken spoke to the fact that the Town had already contacted the State Hwy. Dept. in regard to a blinking light on top of the stop sign. The notice was sent stating that the State DOT did not support adding a flashing light to the stop sign. There have been rumble strips placed into the County Highway V blacktop.

John stated that if an accident happens, who will they sue? First it would be Stout’s, then the Gathering Place and then the Town. Need to do something so this doesn’t happen. John still feels that moving garbage is a bigger problem.

Linda Zillmer made the comment that the fatalities are not the fault of the town. The town has not mismanaged this landing. Maybe a sign to indicate that it is a boat ramp/dead end.

Tony Wolff said that what John has done and is proposing does nothing for safety. Maybe the garbage pickup should be on the south end of their property. John explained that the side is too shallow for boats to come into.

Pudge Kohel, a business owner for many years, wondered since when is the town responsible to solve John’s business problem. All the years he has been in business, he has never asked a government entity to solve a business problem.  He understands there is an issue, but businesses need to take care of their issues in their business.

John feels that he would be subsidizing by building the pier. Maybe there needs to be a new driveway into the Stout’s property.

Mike Hesslings stated that he was aware that the town always had a 49.5 ft. ROW at the Landing. The Gathering Place has a perpetual 25 ft. of the ROW for their guests to use.

John said that he had relied solely on a Certified Survey MaP which he had to determine the Right of Way.  He would like to know how the community would like to resolve this issue. Concerned about liability/insurance.

Mary suggested that if the garbage is the problem, maybe a scheduling issue exists. Now, the concern would be because the area has been made smaller. John stated that it is difficult to arrange as guests arrive hourly.

Ken asked John if he had gotten any permits from the DNR to complete what has been accomplished? No, he did not.  Did John request a permit?  No, he did not.

There followed much discussion regarding setting a precedent , that  would allow others in the town to come forward and ask for perpetual easement to any other town property. There is a reason that the town owns certain parcels. The insurance would still be the town’s liability.

Mary made the motion to approve John’s request for perpetual easement that would encroach on town property. There followed some discussion. As there was no second to this motion, the motion failed.

Ken spoke to John stating that the landing must be returned to the way it was before he encroached upon it by midnight, Nov. 20. Kory and he will then check to make sure it is back to original. John stated that he would try to get it removed by then.

Next on the agenda was the financial report from Gladys, treasurer. All bank accounts balance with both the treasurer and the clerk.

Under road activities, Scott has gotten all the salt/sand mixed for us as well as Oak Grove and Doyle townships. The shouldering is complete. Just waiting for winter. Mary said that a person had called to ask for a pothole to be fixed on 28th Street. That person went to Rice Lake and when he returned, Scott had the pothole fixed. There were some trees which came down on Sunrise and they were taken care of asap. Ken noted that we are very lucky to have incredibly good service. Scott does a lot that people don’t even know that he does. We are lucky that he is self-motivated. Thank you.

Mary had talked with Travis Tramel on Oct. 19th regarding her special project of search for funding for the town. As she has said before, most grants are for projects only, not maintaince. Equipment does not classify for these grants. Also talked with Steve Freeze, from Grant Co. concerning leftover COVID Relief funds. As the truck has not been ordered at this time, Kathy and Mary may find money to help with the cost by the time it arrives.

Next Mike Hessling gave the report for the BFCESD committee meeting which had been held on Nov. 9th. The joint board approved a reimbursement schedule for the remaining funds to be returned to the municipalities. Town of Cedar Lake will receive $31,290.28 of the remaining $99,353.83 building fund. The Board contracted for snow removal, scheduled a meeting with the Village in regard to water and hydrants,and approved $2000 from the Auxiliary for EMS to set up First Aid and CPR training classes. Reported the fire and ambulance calls. The EMS Dept. will meet with the Town of Cedar Lake EMS committee on Nov. 14th at the new fire hall to discuss information related to BFCESD’s request to provide coverage to the western half of the Town of Cedar Lake .

Next on the agenda is the discussion of possible abandoning 28 ¼ Eden. This will be tabled until December.

Ken had spoken with Joe Ruth, Wisconsin Towns Association Attorney, in regard to what should be done with the refund from the BFCESD for building. Should the funds be retained? Mr. Ruth said that the Board would need to amend the budget to include these funds if the board elects to retain the funds.

Ken made the motion to have the BFCESD refund the Town of Cedar Lake the excess of the new fire hall building fund. Mary seconded this. Roll call vote: Ken, yes: Mary,yes: Maryhelen, yes. Liz Drew asked if the funds would be returned to the bank to pay down the loan the Town took for the new building.  Board may consider this option.

Mary spoke to the issue with Jerry Frazier regarding his property in Mikana. He finally answered her phone calls and said he now lives in Catwaba and runs the General Store. They briefly discussed the public nuisance ordinance and then he asked if they could talk more one evening during the coming week as he works during the day at the store. Mary agreed to call him. As Mary had read the ordinance and realized that he had a violation on every single page,she is giving him one more chance to comply.  If he does not answer her calls she will speak with attorney,Jon Cuskey, and begin legal proceedings.

Norma Jankowski thanked Mary for taking this on as they have been working on this project for a very long time. Mary acted as the good cop, while Norma acted as the bad cop. Now we just need to be patient.

Thank you.

Under correspondence received, Ken read a letter received from the Barron Co. DA in regard to a verified complaint under Stat.19.97(1) against the Town and Ken investigating the allegations of Open Meetings

Law and issue charges as appropriate. The DA office feels that this allegation would be better suited for the State Attorney General’s Office.

The clerk had the following correspondence: An email from Tony Brown regarding the rezoning and his objection: a notice from the Barron Co. Real Property Lister in regard to remaining ownership of the Hwy. 48 & V landing:

letter from DNR granting permission to the Brill Sportsman’s Club creating two burms on their property: a letter from Town Advocacy to join: WTA Dist. meeting, Nov. 27, 7:00 in Prairie Farm.

Gladys had no correspondence at this time.

Ken made the motion to pay the bills and adjourn the meeting. Mary seconded and all approved. (7:58)

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