CRAWFORD COUNTY - The Crawford County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution honoring the service of late Supervisor Don Stirling at their February 21 meeting.
At the same meeting, the board acted to affirm the appointment of Gays Mills resident Craig Anderson to fill the remainder of Stirling’s term on the board.
The resolution passed by the board to honor Stirling’s service reads as follows:
The Crawford County Board of Supervisors, in legal session assembled this 21st day of February, 2023, to honor Donald Lee Stirling.
WHEREAS, County Board Supervisor Donald Lee Stirling passed away on January 1st, 2023; and
WHEREAS, on April 19th, 2016, Donald Lee Stirling was duly elected and sworn into the Crawford County Board of Supervisors District #10; and
WHEREAS, we are deeply grieved by the loss of this dedicated public official who has served Crawford County for six years, and chaired many different county committees including, Agriculture and Fair, Aging & Disability Resource, Health, and Public Safety. Don represented the Driftless Area with great pride and was very active in implementing broadband access to the entire county.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this Board does commend the life and public service of Donald Lee Stirling, as a worthy example of good citizenship; and
BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors express their regret at the passing of Donald Lee Stirling and extend to the members of his family their heartfelt condolences.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution will be set forth at length upon the minutes of this meeting and a copy properly attested by the signatures of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors to be presented to the family of Donald Lee Stirling.
New District 10 Supervisor Craig Anderson was sworn in by County Clerk Robin Fisher, and briefly introduced himself to the board.
“I have lived in the Village of Gays Mills for 20 years, am a past president of the village, and previously ran a real estate business there,” Anderson said. “I also owned the Hotel Fortney in Viroqua for 14 years, and before that, I lived in Minnesota where I worked as a social worker and as an urban planner.”
Tax delinquent lands
Crawford County Treasurer Deanne Lutz asked for the board to approve a list of tax delinquent lands, which would be acquired by the county through a legal process, and then sold to recoup unpaid taxes on the properties.
Supervisor Mary Kuhn commented that the Gays Mills Meat Locker and Red Apple Inn properties were included on the list, and asked, given their location in the floodplain, whether they can be sold.
Lutz responded that they can be sold, with full disclosure, and that the buyer would assume any responsibility for a property located in the floodplain.
“It’s not worth acquiring and attempting to sell the properties if they’re just going to be condemned,” Supervisor Gerald Krachey said. “The county is probably going to have to deal with the DNR on this.”
Supervisor Craig Anderson asked Lutz if, when the properties are auctioned off, the county does not succeed in recouping the past due taxes, are the former owners still responsible for the unpaid taxes?
Lutz responded that they are not.
The board voted to approve the list of tax delinquent lands as presented.
Crawford County Conservation Director Dave Troester reported to the board on progress his department has made to get all septic systems in the county into compliance with state law.
“The County Board amended the ordinance regulating septic systems in 2018 to require that all septic systems in the county be inspected every three years,” Troester said. “In initiating the change, we gave all septic system owners in the county until 2021 to get the inspection and submit a report.”
Troester said that in the summer of 2021, his department had realized that there were still too many systems not in compliance, and extended the deadline into 2022. He said that the department had decided to tackle the problem in thirds, spread out over three years.
“In May of 2022, we sent letters out to 1,187 individuals with an August 31 deadline to have their system inspected,” Troester said. “By late July, we still hadn’t heard from 900 of those individuals, and so we sent out another letter notifying them that they needed to get on a list with a pumper for an inspection or they would be charged a $100 late fee plus court costs.”
After the deadline, we still had 150 that had not complied or contacted us, and we gave them one more month to get on a pumper’s list before assessing them a $100 late fee charge.
“In the end, we sent citations to 54 of the 1,187 people, with two court dates scheduled for February of 2023,” Troester said. “Prior to those dates, we determined that 23 are “in progress,” 18 were dismissed by the court, and 13 were ordered by the court to pay the late fee.”
Troester said that another batch of 1,250 septic system owners will be put through the same process in 2023, and then the last batch in 2024.
“We’re trying to work with people,” Troester said. “That’s our goal.”
In other business
In other business, the board:
• heard from a representative of Congressman Derrick Van Orden’s office that he would be announcing mobile office hours across his district in the next few weeks
• approved a resolution calling on the State of Wisconsin to return to the 1969 formula for real estate transfer fees whereby 50 percent of the fees are sent to the state, versus the 80 percent required now by WisStat 77.24• heard that five new respondents, including Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies, have been added to the opioid litigation settlement, meaning that more funds will be available from them, and that the county needs to sign the documents to have access to those funds.