By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Council tackles a variety of issues
The City of Fennimore
Wastewater treatment facility signs, reimbursement, and tree roots were among the topics tackled by the City of Fennimore Common Council.
Fennimore resident Galen Freymiller was in front of the council once again to discuss possible reimbursement for the cost of removing tree roots from the sewer lines.
The council had previously tabled the action following a request to receive information on insurance coverage.
Steve Lendosky of Brechler-Lendosky Group LLC responded to the city’s request for information regarding the situation.  Lendosky shared in a email to city clerk Debi Heisner that “the tree root getting into the upper or lower lateral of the homeowner is not the responsibility of the city. The pipe and it’s care are the concern of the homeowner only. An act of nature such as a tree root causing damage to a lateral, is not the responsibility of the city.”
However, Freymiller seemed to feel differently about the issue.
“When that tree was put in I did not want it,” Freymiller told the council. “I have to back out of the driveway and my view is blocked. If it was up to me, it wouldn’t have been put in, it’s a safety issue. My concern is whose tree is it? Because, I didn’t put it in.”
Freymiller went on to explain that he paid around $500 to have the roots removed and would continually be burdened with the cost of approximately $50 a treatment for RootX.
“I didn’t cause the problem, and if you’re not going to do anything, I’d like to cut it down,” Freymiller said.
Mayor Ryan Boebel shared with Freymiller that cutting down the tree would require council approval. This led to a little friendly banter between Freymiller and Boebel regarding the ownership of the tree, in which Boebel noted once again that although cutting the tree would require council approval, the tree does not belong to the city.
The council agreed to pay Freymiller for half of the cost of root removal.
Town and Country Engineer Evan Chambers was at the meeting to share some recent updates.
Chambers shared the development in the Covanta tank cleaning bill. He reminded the council that Covanta had billed the city for $160,000 for the cleaning of the tanks, but after Town and County went over their records “with a fine toothed comb” they decided that $119,000 was a more appropriate amount.
“We submitted an invoice for the $119,000 and offered them time to rebuttal they didn’t, and that was what we felt was fair for what they hauled out.” Chambers noted that Covanta agreed on the new set amount, which will be paid by the city but later reimbursed with Rural Development funds and budgeted allowance dollars.
The alders were also presented with several options for new signage for the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Chambers presented the alders with options that surrounding communities have chosen. Director of Public Works Dennis Biddick also presented some options mocked up by Roddy Dull.
After much discussion regarding options. the council decided they would like to look into a 3x8 sign, preferably not in wood as it gives too much of a “State park feel.”
Another discussion brought up was of whose names would be on the plaque.
“We’ve had quite a bit of turn over on the council since the process began,” Biddick pointed out.
“No offense to anyone here but I think the original council who voted on it should be on the plaque,” Boebel said.
The final decision was not made regarding the names or sign, the council agreed to check over mock ups at future meetings.
A brief update on the solar farm from Biddick shared that things are coming along. A ribbon cutting is expected sometime in early July.
Garbage and recycling totes were also brought up during the meeting.
“98 percent of our calls lately are about the garbage toes,” City Clerk Debi Heisner noted.
“Now that they’re getting distributed, we have a few people who requested the small toes and are now regretting getting the smaller totes,” Biddick said.
Distribution will continue this week for the totes.
Police Chief Chris French shared in his report that there were several complaints at the Oakwood Camping area and businesses in town, which resulted in five carnival workers arrested during the first week of June. The complaints included fighting, disorderly conduct and theft. “These problems were often alcohol related,” French shared. “If they are coming back next year, we will try to meet with the carnival manager ahead of time to look for a solution.”
A major concern that French shared with the council in his report was a lack of available officers.
“Due to a lack of availability, we are unable to fill shifts with part time officers,” French shared. “Days off are being denied or canceled and shifts are being offered to full time officers for overtime. Law enforcement officers already work evenings, midnights, holidays and weekends. Being able to take a day off to make up for missed family time is important. Overtime shifts are not that popular as this means more missed family time. The shortage of part time officers will also affect our ability to fill liaison officer shifts next school year. The liaison program will be significantly reduced or eliminated. We knew this was coming and have been discussing it with the schools for sometime now. The schools are unable to fund a full-time liaison officer position.”
Alderman and police officer Adam Day spoke on the topic.
“When he talks about how hard it is in this field to keep officers and how much time and money it takes, especially for part timers, it’s a battle. I don’t know what the council’s plan is.”
Boebel noted that the police union rep shared that “everyone is having the same problem.”
“It’s hard when people are getting forced overtime,” Day said.
In other council news:
•Interviews for a new utility clerk are scheduled to begin in July
•Approved the sale of the city dumpsters to Town and County Sanitation
•Approved purchasing chicken bbq for city employees
•Approve hiring recommended lifeguards
•Approve City Clerk and DPW to approve the hiring of seasonal employees.

•Approved the hiring of Carrie Friederick as a part time employee for up to 400 hours at $20 an hour with no benefits until the end of 2019.