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Gays Mills may spray for mosquitoes again
GM Village Hall

GAYS MILLS - Will the Village of Gays Mills begin fogging for mosquitoes again? Well that possibility took another step toward potentially becoming a reality at the village board meeting Monday night. Gays Mills Director of Public Works Jim Chellevold reported to the board he had located the sprayer previously used for the job.

Jim Chellevold informed the board he “dug it off a shelf” and it’s “not in too bad of shape.” The village has not fogged for mosquitoes in quite a few years.

The DPW director also noted the village of Soldiers Grove has 55 gallon drum of spray and if the village needed some for a test of the sprayer they would provide some.

Following Chellevold’s announcement, Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz asked the board if they were in favor of fogging the village for mosquitoes or not. The board’s response was mixed.

Village trustee Albert Zegiel said the village should “ask more people” for their opinion on spraying for mosquitoes.

“Myself, I wouldn’t be up for it,” Zegiel said. The trustee also noted that mosquitoes were not a big issue this summer near his residence and business on Main Street.

Village trustee Krista Eitsert echoed Zegiel’s opinion on the lack of mosquito pressure where she lived on Mulberry Street.

“We have a lot of gnats, that’s all,” Eitsert said.

“It’s kind of a strong issue—insect yard spraying,” Zegiel noted. “Can you avoid this spraying? Can it be turned on and off? A lot of people don't want it.”

Then, Zegiel asked an important question.

“What’s in the spray?” he asked.

Chellevold said he did not know what was in the spray, but he would find out.

Village trustee Erin Martin noted that two members of her family had allergies and when they lived in Soldiers Grove would have severe problems in reaction to the spraying.

Martin explained that a DPW official from LaCrosse had stated that city had stop spraying and gone to covering standing water with an oil that would eventually degrade, but not before killing mosquito larvae. He noted fogging only stopped the insects for 48 hours.

Village trustee Aaron Fortney pointed out that the City of Boscobel sprays every week and also sprays for special events.

Unlike Zegiel and Eitsert, Heisz and Fortney reported mosquitoes were bad at their residences. Both own houses with lots backing toward the slough.

Fortney also noted that the mosquito situation was bad at the Stump Dodger Campground, which is sprayed by the operators.

Zegiel asked if the sprayer could be turned off in certain parts of the village or even at certain residences.

“Is it hard to run?” Zegiel asked.

“I don’t know,” Chellevold replied. “I’ve never run it.”

Eitsert said turning the sprayer on and off might not make much difference since the spray would be in the air.

Martin asked if village residents had been requesting the spraying.

Fortney said two or three people have asked him about it since it’s been on the agenda for the past couple of meeting.

Heisz said that he personally favored spraying.

“It would be nice to know what it is,” Zegiel said of the substance that would be used in the mosquito fogging.

Fortney said he would be willing to talk with Jim Showen about conducting a test of the village fogger in the campground.

“If it functions properly and we find out what’s in the spray, then we can decide what to do,” Fortney said.

The board agreed to table the mosquito-fogging proposal until the next meeting.

Progress on the Stump Dodger Trail was the subject of Rachel Jovi’s report to the board.

The co-chairperson of the Stump Dodger Trail Committee told the board that the segment of the trail in Lions Park was now paved.

Jovi also informed the board that a cleanup workday on the railroad bed segment headed toward the Carter property was scheduled for Saturday, July 29 from 9 a.m. to noon. She noted that only about one quarter of railroad bed segment remains to be cleared.

The second phase of the railroad bed segment will involve filling in the low spots in certain locations, according to Jovi.

The trail committee co-chairperson also told the board that a culvert had been extended and cleaned out in the area of the railroad bed portion of the trail. This resulted in water draining from the west-facing wetland adjoining the slough.

Jovi also reported that signage for the trail is proceeding. After proofs of the signs are approved, the signs will be created. They will probably installed in August.

A sign designating the trail off limits to motorized vehicles was placed near the Stump Dodger Campground during the recent Bash, according to Jovi.

Heisz reported that some motorized traffic was observed on the trail.

There are 114 days left of the trail project, the committee co-chair noted. The end date set by the DNR is October 31.

The $45,000 DNR grant for the trail requires a $45,000 local match. Of the match $22,500 must be in cash and $22,500 can be in-kind contributions of material, labor or other donations. To date, the project has raised $28,000 in cash and about $12,000 in in-kind donations. This means there is about $5,000 left to raise, because more in-kind contributions are coming.

Jovi believes there may be lots more in-kind contributions to be reported and counted. She believes work done by the Showen Company, the county and the village, along with the work of individuals on the workdays will be substantial.

Village trustee John Johnson asked if any of the money available to the trail committee in a line-of-credit provided by the village had been expended. Gays Mills Village Clerk Dawn McCann told Johnson that none had yet been drawn.

Sewer rates were also back on the Gays Mills Village Board agenda.

At the board’s request, attorney Eileen Brownlee provided a memo of interpretation concerning Ordinance Section 9-2-4(4). The attorney wrote in the memo to the board that it was her reading of the ordinance that the village had the right to charge any property owner within 100 feet of a sewer line a fee for sewer service regardless of whether there was an inhabitable structure or functioning business currently located on that property.

However, Brownlee advised the board it would be prudent to follow the current procedure for assessing the flat rate sewer fees, which are sometimes aimed at residences that could hook up to the sewer, but choose not to do so. However, that flat fee is not charged to vacant or marginally used property at this time.

As the discussion of what to do to clarify the ordinance as to who would be charged the flat rate for sewer service, the board agreed to table the matter and read through the ordinance and the memo carefully before making changes to the ordinance to clarify it.

The board also took up the issue of sewer rates. Since 2012, the sewer revenue has not been keeping up with expenses. However, proposals to raise the rates will not be popular. Some trustees believe that the rate should be raised from the current $4.60 per thousand gallons to $7 per thousand gallons to make up a large part of $30,000 that sewer budget is behind.

During a discussion, it was pointed out that payment on an $872,545 outstanding bond balance is what was one of the root causes of the sewer deficit. The board discussed the interest rate of four percent on the bond and questioned if paying off the bond with a two-percent loan might alleviate the shortfall in the sewer budget.

Clerk Dawn McCann cautioned that the village might not have room in its debt limit to accommodate that size of loan. She noted that the bond is not considered in the debt limit and loan probably would be.

It was agreed that McCann would contact attorney Brownlee to get an opinion on the situation. The board tabled the sewer rate discussion to the next meeting.

In other business, The Gays Mills Village Board:

• heard an upbeat report on the situation at the swimming pool from manager Jared Smith indicating patrons were satisfied and the pool help was stable and meeting the needs

• approved three volunteers—Beth Jensen, Craig Anderson and Bill Mort to the village’s Tree Board Advisory

• approved the 2018 Urban Forestry Grant Resolution

• added the cost of tree removal to the selling price of any village-owned lot that was acquired through Community Development Block Grant funds in the relocation effort

• approved repealing the parts of the village ATV-UTV ordinance and replacing those parts of the ordinance with language adapted from the county ordinance

• donated $100 to the Crawford County Clean Sweep

• approved a kennel license application for 22 School Street (Schaldach/McCann) for three dogs

• decided to advertise for bids for the building inspection services

• agreed to let village trustee Erin Martin pursue improvements to the canoe-kayak landing in Robb Park, including seeking grants