With the deadline for using allocated Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) money for flood recovery looming at year’s end, the Gays Mills Village Board took some decisive action at their meeting Monday, July 1.
The village board ordered Central Business District Manager Julia Henley to meet with Couleecap’s Kahya Fox and Dale Klemme of Community Development Alternatives the week of July 8..
“We had a meeting last week and it was recommended that CDA, Couleecap and you (Henley) work together so we know where things are at and what is left of the money and what is being done with it and what can be done with it,” said Gays Mills Village President Pat Brockway.
Brockway went on to say that village’s attorney, Eileen Brownlee, had sent a memo recommending the board pass. a motion to have Henley meet with the other organization representatives and supply all necessary information. The board made such motion and approved it unanimously.
The three will work together to create a clear picture of remaining obligations and funds, so the board can decide on remaining priorities at a tentatively scheduled July 17 special meeting.
With the contracts expired for Couleecap and CDA, the board also needed to decide how to proceed with their continuing work. It was agreed that the village would retain both agencies. Couleecap will complete remaining residential construction projects, rental elevations and park projects. CDA will do the financial recordkeeping for the CDBG-EAP projects. In addition, CDA will act as coordinator for project completion.
“There needs to be someone to make sure this is done,” said Klemme. “Someone needs to set the agenda and make sure everything is closed and complete at close-out.”
Henley objected, saying she had already provided everything requested and was in constant communication with Stan Kaitfors of the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Henley suggested a later meeting, but was reminded by Brockway that a motion had been passed and the board would need the information by July 17.
Henley noted that some exact numbers could not be supplied as she had not yet received bids for the Songs’ Mushroom Farm shelving replacement, nor was anything with the bistro project known.
“I think we can meet with our numbers and our really good estimates and see what is left and what we have left to do,” Fox said.
“We can have the numbers next week,” Klemme said. “But, we need a deadline for receiving final numbers. There needs to be benchmarks made for completion of these projects.”
Klemme and CDA’s role coordinating project completion will be contingent upon Stan Kaitfors approval and was set at 30 days as a trial period, to be continued through the end of the year if satisfactory.
Discussion regarding advertising of available space within the Gays Mills Mercantile Center led to a decision by the board to pursue placing a classified ad in the paper.
“Are we advertising?” asked trustee Harry Heisz.
“Through the website and press releases,” answered Henley.
“That’s not really working,” replied Heisz.
“There is nothing in the budget for advertising,” Henley explained. “There never has been.”
“We need to start doing something,” Heisz responded. “If we got one person, it would offset the cost of advertising.”
The board unanimously approved two months of advertising and then asked Henley about the lack of signs on the mercantile center indicating what was in the building.
“It was designed for placards on the front of the building, but none of the businesses wanted them,” Henley said.
“We have to figure something out,” trustee Albert Zegiel said. “I can’t believe they gave us all that money to built it and we can’t tell people what’s there.”
“Can we use some fencing money?” asked Heisz.
“Maybe from CDBG funds, if we can get approval,” Henley said. She is to check with Kaitfors to see if it can be done with any of the remaining CDBG funds.
The malfunctioning HVAC system in the Mercantile Center appears to be no closer to resolution. The board decided to instruct the village counsel to contact Veirbicher Associates.
“Vierbicher and the engineers need to look at this,” Heisz said. “It wasn’t designed properly.
Contention has arisen between the village and Weiser Brothers, the firm responsible for the construction, over whether the system, which is not wokring properly, is still covered by the one-year construction warrantee.
The board approved a contract with Weiser Brothers for the fencing to be installed around the Mercantile Center’s outdoor HVAC unit and meters, though trustee Geraldine Smith expressed reservations, objecting to the interest rate of 18-percent annually on the contract.
“I don’t think we should ever sign another contract with this interest rate,” Smith said, asking shortly after, “Do we want to be in this position with Weiser when we are still waiting on other work we have contracted with them for?”
Because the money for the fence project comes from the Economic Development Administration, Brockway noted that local contractors were excluded from eligibility by contractor regulations and requirements.
Gays Mills Swimming Pool attendance numbers appear to be down slightly, but were expected to rebound with warmer weather, reported pool manager Jen Klekamp.
Klekamp also reported that there is quite a bit of work needed to bring the pool employees to code on blood-borne pathogens. Training indicated the pool would need to improve storage of cleaning supplies, what employees wore when cleaning, and how cleaning was done. She is also in the process of collecting all employees’ record of Hepatitis B vaccinations.
In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:
• approved payment of the regular bills
• approved payment of relocation and JEM bills
• heard a Kickapoo Culinary Center report on utilization of the village’s shared use kitchen from Brad Niemcek that included nine events in the community room, four days of freezer use for emergency storage and six days of food prep
• approved following the village attorney’s advice and leave CDBG purchased properties as is and not apply deed restrictions
• approved allowing the village’s forestry committee to select the bid winner for the urban forestry grant
• approved soliciting input from neighboring property owners before leasing or selling village lots acquired through flood relocations and demolitions—giving priority to adjoining property owners to buy or lease the lots
• granted permission for use of village streets for Crawford County Fair 5K Run/Walk
• approved a $300 donation to the Gays Mills Fire department for the 2013 fireworks, with Heisz and trustee Earl Winsor abstaining
• approved operator’s licenses for Ed Block, Robert Brewster, Cindy McCullick, and Carolyn Swiggum
• approved a temporary Class B Liquor License application for the Crawford County Fair for Aug. 7-11, 2013.
Board members Earl Winsor, Geraldine Smith, Harry Heisz, Barb Sand, Albert Zegiel, and Pat Brockway were present. Aaron Forney was absent.