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Darlington finalizes project, approves dog license increase
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DARLINGTON – The Darlington City Council meeting was called to order Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 at the City Council meeting room.
    Bart Nies, Engineer for Delta 3 of Platteville, was at the meeting to put a wrap on the infrastructure improvement project that was completed this fall. The project worked on sanitary sewer, water, storm sewer, street and curb reconstruction of Madison Street, East Lucy Street and Arthur Street.
    Neis had the final change order for the project. The biggest change was instead of patching Arthur Street all the pavement was redone from curb to curb. Neis stated the project was estimated at $780,000. Owen’s Excavating & Trenching, Inc. was the contractor on the job. The final costs ended up being $677,550, the city saved about $102,000 on the projected.
    A motion was made to approve the contract change order No. 1 (-$41) and to approve contracting application for payment no. 2 ($297,222), all contingent on a punch list being completed. Approved.
Policies, Procedures and Ordinance
    Darlington Police Chief Jason King asked that the committee review and possibly change the code that governs licensing dogs. King began by saying, “The city has about a hundred dog complaints every year. Many of those dogs are not licensed or vaccinated. People are not following the rules. We want to get better about compliance and the way we want to do that is to send out post cards in Jan. to all the households in Darlington, reminding dog owners that their dogs must be licensed. To do that we need a little money.”
    The current dog tax license is $3 for a neutered male or a spayed female dog and $8 for an unneutered or an unspayed female dog. The entire amount the city receives for the dog licenses is forwarded to Lafayette County. King thought it was logical to increase the fees so the city would have a little money to pay for animal control measures.
    King continued, “I think it’s safe to say we have hundreds of dogs in this town and maybe only a quarter of them are licensed. I don’t think it’s people intentionally breaking the law. I think people forget or they didn’t know in the first place. We should get a data base in place.
    Steve Pickett, committee member, said, “I feel that we should make the late fee substantial. So dog owners will know they need to get their dogs licensed before April1.”
    Other options were discussed.
    A motion was made to increase the fees to $6 for a neutered male or a spayed female dog and $12 for an unneutered or an unspayed female dog. Approved. This will be referred to the full council. A post card will be sent out in Jan.
    Amish horse diapers was revisited. The city’s attorney, Bill McDaniel, suggested that if the committee wanted to pursue this, the committee should contact some of the more prominent Amish and discuss it with them at a meeting.
Budget Hearing
    The Darlington Public Hearing for the proposed 2018 Budget was called to order. The council discussed the budget items and assessed property values (the city will be reassessed in 2018 and 2019).
    The general property tax levy is at $1,160,604. The 2018 mill rate for the city is at $32.99/$1,000, that compares with the 2017 mill rate was $33.68/$1,000.
    Mayor Breuning thanked Phil Risseeuw and the city workers for all the work they put into the budget process.
    In Other Business:
    •Approved the purchase of a new stair climber for $4,995, from the Park and Rec Dept. budget.
    •Approved the 2018 salary and wage rate schedule.
    •Approved the 2018 City of Darlington Budget and tax Levy.
    •Approved $50 Christmas gift (in the form of Chamber Bucks) for the full time city employees.
    •Approved Nov. 2017 vouchers in the amount of $199,207.
    •Park and Rec report from Alder Don Osterday regarding opening the gym on Friday afternoon and the pool situation.