Town Meeting Minutes | July 19, 2021
JULY 19, 2021 MONTHLY MEETING
The monthly meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Cedar Lake met at the Mikana Town Hall at 6:30 PM on Monday, July 19, 2021. Present was Ken Leners, Chairman, Supervisors, Tony Wolff, Kory Weiss, Clerk, Maryhelen Drew, Treasurer, Gladys Roux. Also attending in person 79 people and by Zoom. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ken thanked everyone for attending. It is the biggest meeting since he has been Chairman. Also, thanked Sheriff Fitzgerald and Officer Randy Cook for attending, as well as for last week and always.
The minutes were read from the previous meeting. Kory made the motion to accept the minutes as read. Tony seconded and the motion passed.
Under public input, Ken would like to express gratitude to Gary Garbe and all the volunteers who did a great job with the 4th of July parade.
Norma Jankowski thanked the Board and all involved in being so diligent at keeping the junkyard on Main Street to disappear. Thank you.
Brain Masters, a property owner from the east side of the lake, is concerned about the conflict of interest on the Town Board on properties at Loch Lomond Beach Club. Ken asked that Brian wait until this subject is addressed later on the agenda. He will be first to speak at that time.
Next, the financial report was given by Gladys, discussing amounts in all accounts. The clerk balances with the treasurer in all accounts. Tony made the motion to accept the report as read. This was seconded by Kory and approved by all. Ken went onto explain the budget in comparison to the monies actually spent as it is the end of the 2nd Qrt. There is a total of $2,708 of credit at the Barron Co. Hwy. Dept.
Kory said that Bull Dozin has been working on the cul-de-sacs. Gravel grading is being done as moisture allows. No crack filling this season. Ken Leners thanked Scott and Ken for the mowing completed. It looks very good.
Next on the agenda was Mike Hessling with a report from the Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services Dist. With scheduling, there have been two meetings since the time of our last meeting. The June 10th meeting included a motion to continue with Tim Stearns acting as president in John Depoister’s absence.. A Golf Tournament is being organized by Cheers as a fundraiser for the BFCESD. No date set at this time. At this time it is stated that the BFCESD is not committed to Northwest Builders for anything going forward. Mike has volunteered to be on the building committee.
Mike then spoke about the July 15th meeting. A president is still not in office. As John Depositer was nominated for vp, he accepted and conducted the meeting. Cindy Fairchild is again the secretary/treasurer. There was a budget discussion. Also discussed was the addition of a new vehicle extraction equipment for the Fire Dept. The cost would be $24,300 which is in the capitol budget. Also, discussed fundraising for the new building. At this time there is $229,000 in the fund. There was a discussion of the timeline for the new building. The golf tournament sponsored by Cheers is scheduled for Aug. 29 at Tagalong.
Ken mentioned that the Town of Edgewater has rescinded their letter of withdrawal from the BFCESD and giving full support to the organization. Ken explained that at the time Cedar Lake sent a letter to rescind involvement in the BFCESD, Marshfield, about 2 years ago, had been discussing a building in our town which would be supported 24/7 by EMT’s at no cost to the township. Marshfield now supplies Doyle, Rice Lake, Oak Grove, Wilson plus the City of Rice Lake. Due to COVID all plans were put on hold and have not begun again. City of Rice Lake is now in a holding pattern for a decision. So, Ken is making a motion that the Town of Cedar Lake rescind the letter of intent to withdraw ambulance service with the BFCESD, Kory seconded and all approved. Fiscal year 2022 ambulance services will continue the same as fiscal year 2021
Next on the agenda, is the discussion regarding Public Nuisance Ordinance violation by Jerry Frazier. The 3 member committee had met on June 30, 2021 at 10 AM for discussion of this issue. Mr. Frazier did not appear but sent a handwritten appeal. After discussion, the committee voted to fine Mr. Frazier $1,900 for violation of this ordinance.
Now, the Board needs to decide to uphold the committee suggestion or make another decision. After little discussion, Ken made a motion that the Board continue with the suggestion of the committee of the $1,900 fine for Mr. Frazier. Tony asked if the fine would continue from here on due to the fact that the south side fence has not been constructed? The fine will not continue as the fence is a separate issue being handled by Barron Co. zoning. At this point, Mr. Frazier has removed all the fencing he had installed and is removing all junk from the parcel. So, probably no problem at this point. The motion was made to maintain the $1,900 fee for Mr. Frazier. Ken, Aye: Tony,Aye: Kory, Aye. Motion carried. Norma asked if he had given any indication of moving. Ken said that he had mentioned it about a month ago.
Next on the agenda was Hwy. 48 & V public landing, Deanna Hessling said that they are disappointed with the results of all this research. It is her opinion that an erroneous survey is attached to the public record. It was unfortunate that they had to cancel the zoom meeting at the last minute but could not understand why another appointment wasn’t rescheduled. Tony related that the appointment wasn’t rescheduled because our town attorney advised that his recommendation was IAW state statute in regards to the towns Right of Way of the unrecorded Highway. He also related that a zoom meeting with the property owners including the town attorney would not be in the best interest of the town. After some discussion it was said by Hesslings that they would like to see the landing continue to be public. They also stated that they would like to see a meeting between all of the landowners and the Board members. Ken stated that the Board is caught between a rock and a hard place, but understands there needs to be a resolution. Ken said the board would consider a meeting with the property owners involved in this before our next town meeting in August. .
The next item on the agenda is to create a separate money market account at the bank for the funds arriving from the Federal Gov’t. known as American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA). The Federal Gov’t is going to want full accounting of where this money is spent as well as if any interest was earned with these funds. Ken made the motin to create a separate account at Dairy State Bank for the ARPA. Kory seconded and all approved. Gladys mentioned that all would need to go to the bank to sign for the account.
Next the Board will be opening up the floor to public input regarding temporary Dwelling uses. Please state exact reasons, with no repeat of other input. Each would be given 3 minutes.
Ken began the process by showing and discussing his notes on the temporary dwelling issue. He read 17.18 from the Barron Co. Zoning Ordinance. The County is concerned with waste water and use of the land use permit from the county. At this point, there will be no decisions made by the Board. Only discussions. Ken has called an attorney, July 19th to ask questions. With that conversation in mind there will probably not be a committee appointed.
The problem: LLBC is without authority to issue perpetual licenses for temporary dwelling use. Also, discussion of comparison of annual property taxes of lots with campers versus homeowners. Ken sees the following as potential courses of action: (attached copy of Ken’s key points)
- Do nothing
- Adopt resolution to establish temporary dwelling fee increase to reduce burden on all taxpayers.
- Adopt resolution for Barron County to enforce statute 17.18
The item suggested for the August 9th Board meeting are as follows:
- Adopt a resolution that resolves the temporary Dwelling issue in the Town of Cedar lake.
- Adopt a resolution that regulates and equitably adjusts property revenue streams.
Going forward, there will be the regular meeting on Sept. 13, Oct. 11 or 18 will be a budget work meeting, Nov. 8 will be a special meeting to approve fiscal budget for 2022, Dec. 2021 tax statements will be mailed with the Dec. meeting being on Dec. 13th.
Tony spoke first, thanking everyone for all the letters,emails. He tried to respond. There were many comments made that are not facts. Some of which are, chairman can not handle due conflict of interest, Woods,(NEW GROUP) behind lawsuit to LLBC. So, Tony asked Ken if he was affiliated with the new group. Ken stated that he is not a member and has not contributed any funds to the organization. Ken does not live in the LLBC as Allison’s Point was never in the LLBC. He has purchased a lot in the LLBC which is a storage building for them. Ken stated that every property owner in the township is affected by this action, therefore, there is no one person, or persons that have a conflict of interest. There followed a discussion regarding the county’s zoning for temporary dwellings.
Kory spent much time also with emails, calls, & letters. He would like to know what each side is hoping to gain from the concerns. He too feels there are a lot of misinformation going around. Need to get the facts. Do we think the taxing system is fair? He was surprised to hear that some of those lots paid only $150 in property taxes per year. Kory spoke to the updating of the roads in the LLBC. At the moment, the town is spending $3,500 to update each cul-de-sac needed to support the sales of lots. He works at shifting the highway budget to accommodate updates as needed. Kory is still neutral on the issue of campers and homeowners. At this time, LLBC has ordinances that they are unable to enforce. It would be good to wait until the lawsuit is settled so the Board doesn’t get in the middle of that issue. As to the population density, that was determined 70 years ago when the lots were surveyed. Every buyer is aware of the density when purchasing. As to the run down campers areas, the Board now has an ordinance to enforce those areas with fines.
Tony has lived here his whole life(68 yrs) on the west side. When it was established in the “60’s it was supposed to be a self contained area, maintaining roads and other issues that would come up. It didn’t work. The development went bankrupt, therefore not able to take care of itself. At one point the LLBC came to the Town Board and asked that the Town take over the roads. At that point the Board made the decision to accept all the roads in the development. Then the Town Board turned all zoning over to the County.
At this time, the Board will hear public input for 3 minutes each and please do not repeat thoughts already given.
Pattye Wack said that all members of the Woods, a new group, did not file suit against the LLBC. It is only 3 private individuals.
Rose Gumaer, a homeowner, is also concerned about the waste management of the campers. She thought each had to be pumped by Kenway? There have been 96 lots sold and how many more are resale? She spoke to the importance of parents bringing their children nature. She asked what is temporary? Tme up, thank you.
Next, Joann Mertens, a homeowner on the west side and a lot in the LLBC feels that the resolution of the dispute will be resolved as the Board checks with the County zoning. As each needs a land use permit and a septic installed. So, do we increase the fee to camper lots? As a homeowner and a LLBC owner would she leave the camper on the lot or pull it off and bring it to her home on the west side? How would that affect the taxation? The taxes on the property are paid based on the valuation of the lot.The lot cost $8000, spent money clearing the lot, put in driveway , got permit, septic and electric. What happens with the resort across the river, would they be paying taxes on the park homes? If proper procedures are followed within the county, people should b e able to get along. Time up, thank you.
Ken spoke to the resort on the river. That is a different situation and state issued licenses are required to have a campground such as that. Also, there are inspections of those premises annually.
Korry asked if you have a residence and a camper would you be assessed on both? Or only be assessed a fee if used as a camper for residence? Statutes should tell how to tax.
Pete Myer spoke next to say that the County does require a permit when the camper is used as recreational, with it not being on site all the time. He feels that trees going down, culverts, roads, and electricity are creating a popular place. Improving makes it better for the long term. He feels that with improvements that this is not hurting the community as the values continue to grow.
Joe Felt owns two lots in LLBC. He keeps coming up to these. And why? All persons who purchase don’t buy houses and campers next to an airport and expect the airport to change! Taxes should be paid on the value of property. If taxes were to go up, he would need to decide if he would be able to continue ownership of the lot.
Next, Mary Jo Wheeler, attended by Zoom, spoke with emotions aside with facts. Her father was one of the first to build on the eastside of the lake. She is very knowledgeable with the county and LLBC covenants.
Brian Masters provided information about how taxes are prepared and guided by state statutes. If there needs to be an increase in taxes, the Town Board has to get approval from the people as well as the state to do this. He feels that there should be no committee, only Board members to make decisions. Ken stated that there will be no committee.
Jim Goodpastor agrees with the argument. The LLBC has restrictions and covenants which need to be enforced. Campers are not a real home, not real property to tax, which would help with roads.
Ken Osmer said that he has lived in LLBC since 2005, in a camper for 9 years prior to building their home. When he first came here, the campers needed to be taken off the lot by a date and stored. Now, the LLBC has voted to allow the campers to remain on the lots all year. He feels that this makes the property values go down.
Ken Leners then scrolled through the chats online.
Gladys asked if the Town was being paid for these cul-de-sacs. Yes, we are just upgrading them at this time.
Liz Schulte,by zoom, said they are being called nomads, very disrespectful. In 2002 the town agreed to take over Barron County zoning, so why is this an issue? All campers need to get a permit, most campers have holding tanks which they have pumped, only allowed to use the camper only 1 months out of the year per county. They still pay taxes and have since ownership. Many campers own multiple lots. They come to enjoy the community, people, and nature. They buy groceries, gas, and support local bars. During her conversation, Ryan Landuyant gave Liz his 3 minutes of time. Liz continued to say she feels that Ken L. is not unbiased. He should recuse from voting on this situation. Ken spoke saying that the job of the Town Chair is to represent everyone in the town.
Next to speak was Michele Weber who feels that Ken has chosen not to read some of the chats. They cleared their lot, built and are fine with the taxes. Feels there should be no changes. She is very disappointed with Ms. Wheeler’s attack. We use the marina in Mikana and we could just as well go to Birchwood. If they can’t resolve they can speak with their wallets if the actions continue forward.
Tom Goodwin spoke next stating that he is a homeowner with LLBC. He feels there are two items to consider. One being that even though the campers pay taxes, it doesn’t meet the cost of roads and other costs of the town. There needs to be a basic charge for services. Need to find a resolution. Next, there needs to be enforcement provisions if resolutions. It has been 21 yr. struggle with enforcement. LLBC struggles with enforcement
Terri Sterian bought it in 2004. She feels this is two separate issues. One would be the lawsuit taking place,need to see how that turns out. She feels that the public input will only cover covenants for campers and building. She feels that the tax and equity of the infrastructure needs to be addressed. As a homeowner, they support this issue.
Helene Doran, by zoom, spoke about her parents purchasing the land in 1972. As she was one of seven children, their family was always camping here. The lots have been in the family for four generations. She feels that they have made a miniscule footprint since that time. They do not have an unkept cabin. They would have to consider if the fees were increased. Even though they have minimal use of property with LLBC, they are obligated to pay all fees. Please carefully consider what should be done.
Fred Loring thought maybe it is an issue of what people bring with them during the summer. Are their expenditures bringing any revenue to the town? Then he said it would be a different county when going into Birchwood. The short answer is that no it does not bring revenue for the town only the businesses. There is ½% county tax charged which is paid with all transactions.
Don was curious about development on the west side of the lake. How does this pertain to zoned property on Hwy. V? Ken said it applies to all of the township, it will affect all 36 square miles of Cedar Lake. Kory said that in Highland Platt one needs to keep in mind that the zoning is different there. If anyone wants a camper, they must apply to Barron Co. Zoning for a permit.
Don wanted to know if there was a minimum size for the parcel of land? Yes under county zoning.
Shawn Blaine is suspected that the timing is after the LLBC election of officers. Where has this issue been since 1968, tax disparity, camper tax? Rose feels that an excessive tax would remove the 1st step for families to come to our area. Feel would be too detrimental and cause the Beach Club to fail. Unrealistic for people to build now due to builders.
Conversation continued with there are 262 vacant lots, 241 developer lots which pay lower taxes. Would this new fee be associated with them?
Ken thought these would be questions for the attorney. Kory feels a consultant needs to define lots/campers. Attorney to make a description to have a consultant.
Tom Goodwin asked why to update the cul-de-sacs? These are determined to update when they are not in current standards. This can happen when receiving a call that lots have been sold on the cul-de-sac, a call from the county indicating a fire sign number has been applied for. Scott will talk with owners to see what use the cul-de-sac will have to plan the work. The Town Board by state statute must maintain all roads properly. As the traffic increases, they need to be updated.
Roy Buckner stated that there are 262 lots, of which the campers own several each. So the numbers are deceiving as to the number of actual campers.
Dustin Miller owns two lots in LLBC. He was wondering if any traffic analysis has been done to support the need?
Ken stated that the Board will get legal assistance before anything is finalized.
Tony questions Shaun if he were to buy a camper and put it on a lot in LLBC any covenants or restrictions from the LLBC. Yes, you need to go to Baron Co. for a land Use Permit for a cost of $50. LLBC wants agreement to follow all Barron County and LLBC requirements. LLBC is stricter as they do not allow the campers to be used in Feb. or March. It is an annual permit at LLBC. Second step is the sewer permit at the county, with very little enforcement. Tom G. asked if Shawn had described the policy for LLBC of covenants and restrictions. Yes, but does not cover 17.18 of Barron Co. Zoning.
Tom Deschance has been on Red Cedar since 1993 and wants to know if this discussion is about RV at LLBC or the whole town? Not enough money to maintain all roads?
Kory asked if the town should be in the business of regulating RV’s? What is the ultimate goal? Is the issue that the campers are left on the lots all year or taxes? What does each side want?
Tom Deschance has spent his summers here since 2008 and has never felt that money was an issue for employees to fix, grade, and mow for the Town. But, he is also a realist and knows that to have good roads, money is needed to complete these projects. He is willing to pay more money if it is figured out for the future. Someone mentioned that they had ordered a culvert, which had been delivered. Wondering if enough cost to cover the expense of this? Kory said that the Town is not in the business to make money. As prices are set according to what we pay, we do not lose money on the culverts. The last order for culverts was up 15% which was passed onto the customer. This order is sold out with another order sent.
There followed discussion that the issue between homeowners and campers has been ongoing for 18 years. Feels that homeowners will only be happy when campers disappear. There is some irritation that there has been insulting and false accusations going around regarding the situation.
Fred Loring feels these issues began in 2005. Went further when the LLBC committee held a closed meeting to decide the campers,who previously had campers on lot from leaves onto leaves off. At this meeting, the committee made the motion to allow campers to stay on their lots all year long. People feel this when the tension becomes worse. Mr. Loring would like to see the current committee have the courage to reinstate previous camper rule. Tony has noticed through the years that there are a few campers still on lots when this was enforced. Tom Goodwin said that if that happened, the LLBC took it off and charged the individual a fee.
Kevin Tindell told of how they had searched for a long time to find the spot which they have purchased on Stout’s Point. By fault they became a member of the LLBC. They have met many great people who are very special to them. They enjoy the great sense of community. He feels that the taxes paid are equal to the enjoyment of the property and the friends made from people only increase the value of the area. Campers enjoy nature. A lot of people don’t want to disgrace the environment. We all have that in common. There needs to be a way to resolve this issue.
The next item on the agenda was the MOU from the county for the purchase of new election equipment. As the MOU was due on the 15th of July, Kory and I signed to deliver by date. If the Board were to decide that the Town would not want to purchase the equipment, the MOU would be pulled at the county. After a brief discussion, Ken made a motion to purchase the new equipment with the county, agreeing to the MOU Kory seconded and all approved.
Next was the connectivity of the town hall and town shop. Ken had met with Julie from Mosaic. After discussion, Ken made a motion to approve the proposal for the town shop. This was seconded by Kory. A brief discussion followed with the current cost of broadband and telephone costs being assessed. We would be able to keep the current landline number. Maybe we would be able to eliminate CenturyLink. At this point there is no effective date as cable is still being laid. The motion on the table: Ken, aye: Tony; aye: Kory, aye. A benefit of making this decision at this time is that there is no cost to the town to bury the fiber optic to the site. If done later it could cost anywhere from $2500 – 3000.
After some discussion it was determined that the Town Hall would remain with S & K as they are doing upgrades as well. After tonight’s meeting with 70 plus persons on zoom at one time, we should be good with this service. Ken made the motion to retain S & K TV Systems for the town hall. This was seconded by Kory and all approved. After discussion, it was determined to continue the landline in the town hall.
Correspondence received during the month was discussion beginning with Tony. As he had none at this time, beside all of the information regarding the LLBC issue, we went onto items received by the clerk. An application has been received by email for the purchase of the Red Cedar Country Store. An email was returned with the information needed further explaining the state statutes and timeframe. It was a bit confusing. The address is for someone in Minnesota, with a mailing address in Rice Lake. The person completing that application is not a resident of Wisconsin, so they need an agent who would be a resident. Very confusing. Ken said to continue to document everything going forward. The ball is in their court at this point.
Gladys spoke about the WTA convention which is held in Oct. Ken has already made his reservations. So, anyone else interested must make reservations also.
Kory is meeting with the insurance agent to get the renewal for the Town insurance. There should be very minimal changes. Wondered if the Board had any concerns about the current policy. The Board feels that it is a very good value.
Ken thanked all those who attended by zoom and also those attending in person.
Don, in Mikana, on zoom, stated that they are not getting S & K, so Mosaic has buried cable and gone through the blacktop driveway. He was wondering if they would fix this. Tony gave him the number to Mosaic to report the damage.
Tony made the motion to pay the bills and adjourn the meeting. Kory seconded and all