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Another small delay in completion of Community and Mercantile buiildings
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Discussion of construction in the new development on the northern end of the village was central to the Gays Mills Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 7.

Completion dates were moved back slightly for the Mercantile and Commerce Centers.

It was stated by Julie Henley, the Gays Mills Recovery Coordinator, that the rental occupants of the Mercantile Center should be able to move in by the substantial completion date of December 16. That’s the completion date cited by Kurt Muchow of Vierbicher and Associates, the engineering and planning firm responsible for the new development site.

Gays Mills Village President Craig Anderson ased if the completion dates cited were correct. The village board was assured by both Henley and Muchow that they were, although Muchow did indicate there was a possibility of some delay to the Mercantile Center being completed because of the overlap of finishing activities on the Mercantile and Community Commerce Centers.

A change order proposed for the face of the exposed steel column at the Mercantile Center that would hide exposed lighting conduit was shot down by the board as both unnecessary and overpriced. The proposed change, recommended by Henley and suggested by Muchow, would have covered the four beams with roughly 6 to eight-foot high cement board facings.

Board member Kevin Murray questioned the cost and stated hours for the work were excessive.

The board moved to continue with the building as designed.

Repair work on the cracks in the cement flooring of the Mercantile Center were accepted. The repairs, deemed a structural issue, were fixed at Weiser Brothers’ expense and must be covered by a five-year warrantee by them.

Additional hairline cracks were discovered in the northwest corner of the building and would be repaired in the same way.

A request to plant a tree in the new development on the margin between street and sidewalk will result in the village drafting a new ordinance.

Board member Harry Heisz dissented on the grounds that trees in the margin raised the potential for damage to walk and curb as well as presenting issues during snow removal. The board voted to send the matter to the public works committee to draft an ordinance specifying what types of trees and clearances were necessary.

The canopy effect in the older part of town was found desirable to include in planning by the board. All new homes in the development are required to plant a tree already. The proposed ordinance is intended to help ensure plantings that do not create maintenance issues for the public works department.

Recommendations from the finance committee on contract payments were approved with the board. Anderson was appointed to make decisions outside of meetings on small change orders of under $1,500 if they would slow down or halt construction.

CouleeCap’s Michelle Engh reported that two homes were under construction at the redevelopment site with one nearing completion. One would be sold by the end of November as soon as the grant funds arrived.

The park project in the new development is waiting on the final approval letter and is scheduled to go in the spring, according to Engh.

A public meeting to invite input on the design elements of the new townhouses will be held one hour before the December board meeting.

CouleeCap plans to take the input to create design points that will be paired with cost constraints as a means of selecting the contractor for the work. 

Discussion of the proposed budget was limited. Healthcare expenses have increased by 33-percent, increasing the expense by approximately $1,900 a month. Gays Mills Village Clerk Dawn McCann is inquiring into Health Savings Accounts as a way to bring the expenses down before publication of the budget.

Publication is set for mid-November. Village residents and others will be able to view the budget at the village offices. The comment time is in conjunction with the regular December meeting.

Board member Geraldine Smith made a point of noting that village expenses for police service had to be cut from the initial proposed amount of $15,000 to $5,300. If money can be saved through HSA accounts for village employees, some of those funds can be restored.

The purchase of the Bell business property at 217 Main Street was finalized and offers to purchase on properties at 405 Main and 500 Main Street were sent to the finance committee. Chris Smith and Stephanie Brandt, owners of the 405 Main St. property, said they had not received enough information to make a decision to pursue a buyout and relocate. They were still waiting for the cost estimates from Henley. They also expressed a desire to have it shown more clearly to them how moving would economically benefit the village to leave their present location.

Brad Niemcek gave the board an update on concerns and questions raised in previous meetings regarding the management contract for the commercial kitchen in the Community Commerce Center.

Niemcek clarified that the revenue split with a third of revenues going to the village, a third to an account for civic development headed by the village economic development committee and a third being retained for emergency contingency funds.

Niemcek also further clarified discounts that would be given to local residents and organizations wanting to use the facilities. A 20-percent discount on usage rates would be offered to locals. The village would handle scheduling with priority given to local use first.

Murray asked for a draft usage policy that clarified age requirements, especially as pertained to local groups.

Niemcek and Henley will speak to insurance providers and report back to the board at the next committees meeting.

McCann reported that the village needs additional election officials. Two of the officials have passed away. McCann can train any interested party. The training takes just over an hour. There are no age requirements, but the individuals would need to be residents of the village.

Resident Eddy Furo approached the village with a request to move the skating rink to a more visible location. Furo had already arranged for supplies to create a removable rink.

Receiving positive response, Furo was asked to meet with the parks committee and the Gays Mills Director of Public Works Jim Chellevold to determine where the rink would be placed and all other relevant details.

Other items include:

• A sewage pump malfunctioned and would need to be repaired at a cost of $5-6,000. Funds can come from the left over sewer and water money from Rural Development as long as several repair and replacement quotes are obtained.

• Julie Henley will host a meeting about the ‘old town’ on November 14 in the community building and a ‘Discovery Center’ meeting on November 27.

• The sidewalk from the Marketplace to the highway is scheduled to be poured in the spring.

• Cemetery measurements and reporting need to be done immediately as the village must comply with the request within 45 days of notification, which was made on October 3.

• Annual year-end village employee interviews will be scheduled as will pool employee exit interviews in the future.

• The village will maintain its arrangement with the Kickapoo Stumpdodger campground.

• No camping will be allowed in the pool parking lot in the future.

• Approval of the issuance and sale of $125,000 general obligation refunding bond to pay off the short-term loan with Royal Bank.

• Approval of alcohol license to Chandra Chellevold.

The next regular meeting of the Gays Mills Village Board will be held on December 5 at 7 p.m.