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Antennae on water tower discussed
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DARLINGTON – A continued discussion at the Darlington Water and Sewer Committee brought back ComElect and Mike Rettenmeier of ComElec to discuss the possibility of placing antennae on the North water tower. The antennae will be used to connect internet customers with ComElec.
    Jeremy Williams, Public Works Director, spoke first, “ComElec approached the city and asked if they could put antenna on the North water tower. I have reservations and they are related to security and the amount of equipment on and in the tower is taking over the tower.” A meeting was held between Williams, Mayor David Breunig and Keith Brimeyer of ComElec. At that meeting Williams had some of his fears – calmed. In regard to security, Brimeyer stated that the city will have the key and any time ComElec needed   access to the tower, they will need to contact the city. As far as equipment – the Shullsburg tower (which Williams had looked at) had Lafayette County Sheriffs equipment in it and the Darlington tower wouldn’t have as much equipment.
    The antenna are twelve foot by eighteen foot rectangles and initially there would be four antennae on the tower. The committee was asked if they want to enter into an agreement with ComElect or have no antennae on the tower. The only item left is compensation. Rettenmeier said they usually enter in a barter agreement with cities they work with currently, but that won’t work in this case with Darlington. He asked if the city would be open to having a cheaper rate to begin with and then increase the rate when more internet customers hooked up to ComElec.
    The committee decided to pursue the endeavor and negotiate a compensation package with ComElec.
    The regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Darlington was called to order Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 at 7:10 p.m. by Mayor David Breunig.
    Mike Reuter the city’s building and zoning inspector presented a summary on 2016/2017. In 2016 ninety-one permits were issued; two tenant complaints regarding rental properties; 196 property maintenance violation contacts, with 78 corrections made bringing those properties into compliance. Reuter said “The junk is the big issue.” Three citations were issued. Reuter works four hours per week for the city.
    A resolution was passed authorizing the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to construct a bikeway or pedestrian way on Hwy. 23 from County Shop Road to the Pecatonica River. The project is going to take place in 2021.
    A two year conditional use permit for Sarah Messner, dba Messy Mutts LCC on Driver Street was approved by the Plan Commission of the City of Darlington. This was also approved at the regular meeting of the City Council.
     A liquor license was approved for Charly’s Place, 128 Main Street Darlington. This is the former location of Riverwood Restaurant.
    A schedule of salary and wage increases for the city’s employees were approved by the council. The increases include a 2% raise for all employees and for their budgets.
    The city approved a Christmas gift of $50 for full-time employees and $25 for part-time employees.  The bonus will be paid in Redbird Bucks.
    Park and Rec Chairperson, Don Osterday brought up the need for replacing a floor in the free weight room in the Dora Ritter Wellness Center. The floor will cost $9,220, The Wellness Center budget has approximately $3,000 left over that can be applied towards the project. The remainder will come out of the Dora Ritter Fund. The issue is the floor is in pretty bad shape. The project was approved.
    Another Park and Rec item is the outdoor basketball court, located in Riverside Park. This court was always known as the Sewer Dome, because at one time it was located near the city’s sewer facility. Osterday is struggling with “what needs to be done”. Does it need a whole new base, can rubberized tiles be put on top of the current base. Rough guess price range is from $15,000, all the way up to $25,000. The city has committed to $10,000 and hopes that local civic groups will help raise the remaining monies.
    The Library Board Chairman, John Sonsalla is going to the state to ask why libraries don’t get credit for ebooks.
    The council approved paying the November vouchers in the amount of $676,017.
Budget
    The City of Darlington Budget public hearing was called to order with no one present from the public. The city’s revenue for 2017 went down $122,779 from 2016, the expenditures also went down, by $68,763. The mill rate for the city of Darlington took a jump to $33.68 per $1,000 in 2017, as compared to $29.26 per $1,000 in 2016. The mill rate increase was partially due to a referendum that passed at Darlington Schools. The city indebtedness will be $2,334,232. This was also approved at the regular meeting of the City Council.