Town Meeting Minutes | September 13, 2021

September 13,2021 Monthly Meeting

The monthly meeting for the Town of Cedar Lake was held on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 at 6:30 PM at the Cedar Lake Town Hall in Mikana. Present were Ken Leners, Chairman, Tony Wolff and Kory Weiss Supervisors, Maryhelen Drew, Clerk and Gladys Roux, Treasurer. There were 42 people in attendance in town hall and 64 by Zoom.

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance. As the minutes from the previous meeting had been read on line by the Board, Tony made the motion to approve them as presented. Kory seconded the motion and all were approved.

Next on the agenda was public input. Andre Helquist, attorney representing a few persons from the Beach Club has three quick points to state. He is wondering why the final ordinance is not available for comment and review for the people? He feels that the pause button should be hit until campers have an opportunity to digest. Feel that transparency is not happening. Also, is the Board following legal procedures, does the Board have the authority to pass this ordinance? And is the cure worse than the disease?

Ken explained that the draft would be discussed tonight, then noticed for 3 weeks. This is not an actionable item this evening. Mr. Helquist had requested certain information from Mr. Leners and has not received the items requested by the deadline. Kory had contacted the
WTA attorney in regard to this request. He was told that a draft did not have to be complied with for records request. A draft is not part of public records. There is really no reason not to share the draft if the copy clearly states across the document that it is a draft.

The next item on the agenda is the treasurer’s report by Gladys Roux.

The report was read and all balanced with the clerk.

Under past month’s road activities, Kory stated that Truck #2 is still in the shop. The parts for the repair should arrive this week. Ken George has begun the second mowing for the season. Asphalt reconstruction of Methil Drive will be started next week by the County. Tony asked if the County would be closing the route. Scott feels that they will try to keep open to traffic. The Emergency services will be notified.

Ken has a document for a lease agreement with the county to lease a portion of the town shop to position some equipment in our shop as the county is building a new shop. After looking at the lease, it appears that it would renew automatically on 8/22 unless the Board objects. After some discussion, Ken will sign the lease and return the copy to the county.

Next is the report from Mike Hessling regarding the Birchwood Four Corners Emergency Services Dist. The last meeting was on Aug. 19th. The auditors report was accepted. They are asking the Dairy State Bank to extend the FDIC insurance due to the monies collected for the new building. They are working on making the public aware of tree trimming on private property for accessibility. New officers include John Depositer, President, Mike Hessling as vice president as well as building committee chairman. Bill Zimmer will be assisting with this committee. Birchwood noticed a mistake in the constitution and bylaws for the BFCESD that will need correcting. They are ordering new Motorola pagers for first responders. The money is in the budget for this expenditure. There are a couple of clarifications which need to be adjusted on Town of Cedar Lake minutes from the July 19 minutes as well as the Town Annual Meeting.

The new building portion is at 33% at this time for the Town of Cedar Lake. The Jon Sleik Memorial golf outing has occurred, and the Cleveland money is coming in. Shooting for $1.5 million for the new building. They would like to meet with Northwest Builders to get an updated budget on the new building.  They are working on getting the promissory notes requests out to the entities. Ken asked if a date had been set for them to work on their budget? We will need the best estimate for our budget work meeting.

Next is the discussion regarding Hwy. 48 & V landing. The summary at this time is that the Town chooses to follow the advice of the attorney, feeling that this issue is closed at this time. Mike & Deanna Hessling are pursuing further legal assistance.

Ken is moving item 7(b) to the end of the agenda for discussion.

The next discussion is regarding the ward boundaries in the Town of Cedar Lake. These wards are created when a township goes over 1,000 in population. With the latest census, the Town of Cedar Lake is at 1,076. So, we need to create two wards within the town. After some discussion and suggestion from GIS specialist Rhonda Sukys, it was determined that the recommendation of the Board would go with hwy. 48 being the boundary for the 2 wards. All agreed. A resolution will be prepared for signatures next month.

The next discussion was in regard to the blacktop on the Swamp Rd. Kory has done some checking and this project could be put on the budget for 2022. As there has been gravel added on the west end recently, we should only need to grade and shape before blacktop. So, the approximate cost of the blacktop and shouldering would be from $66,000 to $70,000.

As several Board members will be attending the WTA Conference to be held on Oct. 10,11, & 12, the Board would like to move the October meeting to the 18th at 6:30 PM. Also we would like to set the budget work meeting for Oct. 20th at the Cedar Lake Town Hall at 8 AM. Ken made the motion for the dates for the October Board meeting and the budget work meeting to be on Oct. 18th at 6:30, and the budget work meeting for Oct. 20 at 8 am.  Kory seconded the motion and all were in favor. Ken will give a FY 21 financial update at the next meeting as it will be the end of the third quarter. Ken and Maryhelen will work together on the budget prior to the work meeting.

The next item was the correspondence received during the month, beginning with Gladys. She has received a $50 check from the Tuesday night group which will be sent onto the Birchwood Food Pantry.

Kory said he had received a letter from the LLBC Board as well as many emails regarding the proposed ordinance. He also mentioned that he had purchased propane for the 2021- 2022 winter for the town and had gotten a check from them for the amount. They will be applying the credit to last year as well.

Ken said that he has received about 200 letters and emails regarding the issue with LLBC. Kory requested that the letter from the LLBC be read as he feels it is worth sharing. Ken then put the letter received on the monitor and read it to everyone.  The letter is representative of all those who are frustrated with the situation at this time.  Ken also shared two emails which he had received in regard to his purchase of an Outlot from LLBC. The LLBC is saying that this lot has been sold against the covenants of LLBC. Both of Ken’s emails have been given to the Sheriff’s Dept. Ken strongly suggested that if anyone receives harassment or threats they should be reported directly to the Sheriff’s Dept. Liz Schulte mentioned that there have been threats on their side which have been filed with the Sheriff as well.

Ken then went on to discuss 7.(b) of the agenda. Delmore has gathered information regarding campsites in the Town at a cost of $6,000. There are 270 campsites and growing with 111 of them without fire sign numbers.   Ken placed a map on the monitor showing the campsites. This is the first time Kory and Tony are seeing these results. Ken had received a draft letter from Delmore on Sept. 8th with the map arriving on Sept. 10th.  The fire numbers are not the responsibility  of the LLBC to enforce. It is up to the individual  property owners to get from the county. It used to be the practice that these numbers were assigned when applying for a septic permit. At this time, there is a form available to complete to apply for a fire number from the county on their website.

Ken then spoke about the ordinance which is being presented for discussion. There are no items which are different from the Barron Co. Zoning. The change would be in the management of the zoning. The county does not have the staff to manage the situation. This ordinance would not need approval from the Barron County Zoning before being adopted. The purpose of this discussion is to give the supervisors opportunity to provide input and questions on this as it is a draft notice which will be adopted or not at the Oct. 18th meeting.

Kory asked if Ken had any conversation with the county regarding enforcement of these issues. Ken said not in the last couple of weeks. Kory has spoken to the County who says they do not receive very many complaints,but do inspect them when they are received. The feeling is that the information gathered by the Delmore Co. should be shared with the county as well as LLBC. This way the county could compare records. Kory feels that this situation deserves more attention than a phone call, but at this time of the year does not have the time to spare. Would someone else from the Board like to approach this?

A sub-committee has been formed at the LLBC to discuss different issues there and how to enforce in a transparent way the complaints which they receive from their members.  Ken stated that maybe further down the road the Board may ask for assistance from their committee.

Ken then read the draft of the ordinance as presented by the attorney which would govern the camping in the Town of Cedar Lake. Ken then showed figures of how he had arrived at the cost of the fee which would be due each year on March 1st to the clerk. The range would be from $414 to $425 per campsite.

Tony made the motion to table the ordinance for further discussion until we hear the results of the lawsuit settled against LLBC.

Kory would like to come back to this after  a couple of questions. Kory asked Ken why the Town of Bass Lake in Sawyer Co. chose to create this ordinance for them in the first place. Ken said that they were having similar issues within their town.  Tony had talked with the clerk from the Town of Bass Lake and discovered that they had a unique situation.  Also, they have a double population as well as a 5 man Board to assist with the responsibilities. The clerk is full time. Tony does not feel that the towns are comparable.

Kory said that nowhere in the ordinance did he see any language regarding septic systems. Ken said if this were to pass it would be put on the application for each parcel. There would be 30 days to fine tune the permit application. Kory wondered how it could be finalized tonight to be published. How would enforcement take place. It does place the responsibility on the clerk to validate all receipts. Would the Board then validate at each meeting? Ken said that could be worked out later. Maybe contract out to have this done. Ken then asked Gladys how the dog licenses work. Gladys needs the verification of rabies and the amount. There is no application.

Ken said that the scope of work would be written, then presented to the Board for guidance. The details are not worked out yet. A contractor could be paid to do detailed work. There would be 30 days to develop.

Tony again made the motion to table the ordinance until which time the results were in on the LLBC lawsuit.  Kory seconded. There followed much discussion. Tony mentioned there were some items in the ordinance that are good, but this ordinance should be the last resort. We need to determine the exact problem, sit down with the parties involved and get to a resolution. This is not able to happen until the lawsuit is resolved.  There don’t seem to be many complaints coming into the zoning or Sheriff’s offices.  Not saying that there are no complaints, just not many. After the lawsuit is settled, if the Beach Club is not compromising, then maybe go to a referendum.  Kory feels that he understands most of Tony’s comments. He feels things should be equal for all. It bothers him that there aren’t beter checks and balances for the septic systems. Chances are that there are only a few people violating the county zoning rules. Evidently as we have 111 which don’t have fire numbers, there are people not complying. He too would like to see the lawsuit settled. He likes the simplicity of the ordinance, sees a lot of cost attached to it as well as more responsibility for the clerk. He feels this should fall on the LLBC. If they are unable to have the authority or the manpower, then they should come back to the Town. He feels that the report from Delmore should  b e given to the county to see if it follows their files.  He feels that we should wait until the lawsuit is settled and not spend any more money or time on this matter until then.

Ken is not convinced that we should stop now. He feels that the lawsuit00, that simply addresses whether campers stay on year-round or must be removed, will not affect the town ordinance. Ken said that LLBC has current policies on their books that they can’t enforce. Shawn said that there is a fee of $500 for non- compliance of policies. They are working with their attorneys.

Ken Osmer spoke about the tax amounts which the camp sites pay per year to the town. At this point it is about $24 per year while the average homeowner pays $345 toward the town budget. He feels that the revenue side needs to be addressed before building the 1.5 million emergency services building.

Ken L. feels that the Town could contract out for the services to take care of this issue. He will write a proposal for Delmore to give the Board an idea of the cost. We may have to have a special meeting to discuss the results. He has spent many hours on a similar  public nuisance ordinance which has been effective at correcting non-compliant properties and understands that an ordinance addressing non-compliant campsites will also be effective. We need to resolve  this campsite problem now.

Tony does not disagree with these points or any further issues. He feels we are putting the cart before the horse as he feels it could be resolved without an ordinance. Many things could change with the LLBC as a result of the lawsuit.  He does not feel that the Town Board should be responsible for the enforcement of zoning. Need a resource to pay for the ordinance.

Maybe we need to work with the county and actually attend some meetings. Tony does not understand being caught flatfooted!

Kory said that even if we wait 12 months, if lots were sold they would be included in the enforcement of an ordinance.

Tony feels that the people at the LLBC need to come together and enforce each other. At some point the town may need to get involved.

Ken asked if the Board waited with the ordinance put on hold, what criteria would be required to place this topic  back on an  agenda?Tony says that the Board goes back to this issue when people come back with complaints which are not addressed, after other avenues, county and others.

Ken says that the county is not the one who suffers if nothing is done. If the lake is damaged due to campsite waste water negligence , the Town Board is responsible.  Ken stated that our town board was elected by resident  constituents and we are not representing them if we fail to resolve this issue..

Tony says that the Board is representing everyone within the Town. He does not feel that the Board should be telling people what to do to live on their lots. He does not want to tell any resident what to do with their property. He feels we are jumping the gun as there are other ways to address this issue.

Kory said unfortunately only those persons who elected us would be able to vote on the referendum as residents. So, most campers would not be eligible to vote. Kory is getting a lot of calls from residents on both sides of this issue. There is no harm in pumping the brakes.

What criteria would be needed to address this again? Maybe set a date, reach out to LLBC to see how the lawsuit is going? Tony said again that we would be unable to do anything until the lawsuit is settled. Ken does not feel that the results of the private citizens vs. LLBC lawsuit addressing leave on/leave off policy  is needed to do our job. The town board needs to be proactive, not reactive..

Ken asked the clerk the dates of the next elections. On the WEC website the following dates are listed: Aug & Nov. 2022.

Ken Osmer again went back to the amount of taxes campers are paying versus homeowners to the town levy. Tony again explained that the Town does not have any authority in the way property taxes are collected. This is all done by State Statute. There followed some discussion.

Liz asked to clarify the issue. It would be sanitation and Barron Co. not doing their due diligence as well as the State. There is concern that the big picture is not being seen.

Ken clarified that 1) fire numbers 2)driveway permits 3) sanitation. Concerned with the influx of people to the tax base. He feels we could assess appropriate campsite fees.     Tony stated that fees are not necessarily a bad idea as a tax could be charged for Tourist Rooming Houses. Ken stated that the owners of tourist rooming houses do in fact pay higher taxes compared to campsites that pay minimal annual taxes and that a campsite fee would resolve this revenue issue..

The clerk was asked to read the motion.  Tony made the motion to table the ordinance for further discussion until we hear the results of the LLBC lawsuit. He would like to amend that motion: The motion to table the ordinance for further discussion until the lawsuit is settled or the Board brings the subject back up. Some discussion followed. Tony again stated the motion to table the ordinance until which time LLBC results of the lawsuit are determined or the Board brings the subject up. Roll call vote: Ken,no: Kory. yes: Tony:yes.

The last item on the agenda is the motion to [pay the bills and adjourn. Kory made that motion, Ken seconded and all were in favor. (8:49)

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