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Gays Mills board pares down budget wish list
gays mills village board

GAYS MILLS - The Gays Mills Village Board experienced the stark difference between dreams and reality at their special board meeting to consider the 2020 budget held prior to the regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 7.

On the dream side of the equation was the village’s wish list–in all there were $63,461 of dreams on the wish list. They included $21,000 worth of construction on village streets and $5,000 for a used pickup truck to replace the one currently being used.

And, there was much more. The wish list included adding another part-time employee at a cost of $16,000 to $17,000 annually to help with village’s massive mowing responsibilities and other work. There was also $1,500 to add a fall cleanup and there was more.

However, the reality was that when the rest of the budget was paid for, there was only$10,605 left of the dream list. It was an easy decision. Use $5,000 to buy a used pickup truck and the other $5,605 could go toward the money needed for street repairs.

That’s how Gays Mills Village Trustee Lee Ruegg summed up the situation.

“There were many things on the list, but what we need is the pickup truck and to put the rest toward street repair,” Ruegg said.

The other trustees seemed to agree. Village trustee Larry McCann made the motion to buy the pickup and put the rest toward the streets. Albert Zegiel seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. 

In explaining the situation later, Gays Mills Village Clerk Dawn McCann noted that revenue was down this year. In particular, state transportation aid was down substantially for the village.

The board learned from village president Harry Heisz that clean up work in the village at a variety of sites was progressing.

The village has all but completed a major removal of brush and debris from around the old high school on School Street, according to Heisz. 

The village had been dumping collected brush and some debris in the area. However, it was decided that the area had become unsightly and a concerted effort was made by village employee Bob Robinson and his family to get the area cleared by Apple Fest.

Gay Mills Village president Harry Heisz thanked Robinson and his family for their work.

Village trustee Lee Ruegg who owns a nearby house said the area looks good as a result of the cleanup. 

Unfortunately, the clean up of a site on Grove Street is lagging despite the efforts of the family that owns it. It was decided a letter should be sent reminding those involved that they must complete the cleanup.

The family involved told Harry Heisz, that they would like to build a house on this lot. Heisz advised them that they would have to fill the lot to the flood elevation first and advised them to check with the DNR.

Another site adjacent to the Cross Roads Park at Highway 131 and Main Street also seems poised to get some help. A corner of the park contains some large logs being stored there by the owner of the adjoining residential property. Last month, the property owner gave the village permission to remove the logs and dispose of them.

The village will contact Smiley Logging to see if the company can use its equipment to get the logs out of the park area, Heisz told the board.

In other business, the Village of Gays Mills:

• learned rentals of village-owned, shared-use kitchen, known as the Kickapoo Culinary Center, remains about the same–but for unknown reasons the adjacent Community Room rentals are down, according to  Kickapoo Culinary Center Director Brad Niemcek

• discussed mosquito abatement and leaned toward using a larvacide in standing water and the sloughs instead of the less effective method of fogging–availabilty of larvacide and its price will be investigated

• approved a Community Development Alternatives Project Management Proposal for the 207 School Street demolition and removal of the old high school

 • approved a request to change the contract for the office copier-printer-fax machine to another model at a lesser cost

• renewed and approved village employee health insurance rates that included a 7.7 percent increase in premiums

• learned the village’s audit was complete and copies were available.

• set Monday, November 4 as the date of next village board meeting.