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Darlington revisits upstairs project
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DARLINGTON – Two committee meetings and city council meeting were held Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 at the City Council meeting room.
    The council received three proposals regarding the possibility of converting the second floor of the municipal building into senior housing units. The three companies that submitted proposals were: Delta 3, Platteville; Jewell Associates Engineers, Inc. Spring Green and ADCI, WisconsinDells/Madison. The council asked for proposals that would design, layout, determine how many units and most of all, the remodeling (construction) cost associated with the project. The fees for determining this were between $6,000 and $10,000.
    After receiving a construction cost estimate the council will determine if it would be advisable to go forward with the project. John Sonsalla, council member, pointed out the lack of a parking garage may be an issue. Steve Pickett, council member, asked if there would be a feasibility study done to see if there is a need. Don Osterday, council member said, “It’s a gamble, but leaving that upstairs empty when we could be bringing rent money in, that’s what this is about.”
    Pickett suggested the Property and Insurance Committee meet with the engineering firms and share information with the firms so they know exactly what the city wants. Dave Gough, council member, said, “I’m not sure what we will ask that hasn’t already been asked.” A meeting was proposed for Monday, Oct. 16.
Police commission
    The commission considered the proposed Darlington Police Dept. 2018 budget. Chief Jason King presented a brief outline, pointing out focal points. King started by saying, “The budget calls for an increase of 2%, the majority of that being in payroll, which is a 2% raise for all the officers in the union. That raise was pre-negotiated by the city. The compensation package (including payroll, FICA, retirement and insurance) totals up to $459,862 for the year.
    King stated he lowered other areas of the budget to accommodate the raises, most notably the gasoline went from $10,000 to $7,000. In outlay the traditional $20,000 for new vehicles, $1,000 for DARE and $1,000 for storm sirens all were in the budget. King said all three of the sirens are in good shape as the city refurbished the downtown siren last year. A new vehicle is bought by the department every other year.
    Two options for a new squad car from Virtues Motors were discussed. The first is the traditional SUV the other is a Ford F150 Police pursuit vehicle. King said he doesn’t have strong feelings either way and wanted the commission to give him direction between SUV or truck. The pickup truck would cost $4,000 more and a lot of agencies are going to them. The police car being replaced is the K9 unit. King said, “The K9 units gets very dirty. The dog’s hair gets on everything. With a truck the equipment could be stored in the box area, so that would be an advantage.” The amount in the vehicle account (with this approved budget) is $39,906. No clear-cut decision was made regarding a new vehicle and it will be brought up at Finance.
    The total income in the department was projected at $21,120 and the total expenses were at $496,964. The commission asked a few question about the budget and then approved it. The budget will be sent to the Finance Committee.
    Dave Gough, council and commission member asked how old the Police department’s dog was and generally how many years the dogs were in service. King responded that the dog is seven years old and they are usually replaced after eight or nine years. There is $12,000 in the K9 account (some of which will be used on the new K9 vehicle). A new K9 costs approximately $10,000 and the department will need to look at replacing the dog in the next couple of years. King pointed out that the K9 fund is comprised of donations and city money is not used.
Planning commission
    The commission considered approving a paint color scheme for the building facade at 225 Main owned by Christina Curry. While the commission was discussing colors, someone at the meeting pointed out that the painting on the Curry building had already been done and looks good. The commission approved.
    Tim Wiegel of the Wiegel Group was present looking to get a certified survey map approved. The map is in the Tama Run subdivision. The city is involved because the property is within one mile of the city border. The map was approved. The map was approved at the regular meeting as well.
Park and Rec
    The Park and Recreation committee and then the city council discussed the possibility of naming the field at Black Bridge Park – Doug Lindstrom Field. The discussion included where to put two signs – the committee thought they should put a sign at the entrance from the two parking lots that service the park. Pickett’s opinion was to have a sign facing the highway. Osterday, park and rec chair, wants to leave the placement of the signs to Wade Berget, Park and Rec director. A motion was made and approved to name the field at Black Bridge Park – “Doug Lindstrom Field” and pay for two signs.
    Trading off a Ferris Lawn Mower. Berget noted the department has the funds to put towards the mower. The new mower will cost $12,000, the government discount is $1,500 and the trade-in is $2,000, so the mower will cost $8,500. Motion made and approved.
    In Other Business:
    •Approved a temporary class B liquor license for the Darlington Fire Dept. for Oct. 7 at the Darlington Firehouse.
    •Approved Trick or Treat hours for Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
    •Approved paying city, direct deposit, water department, sewer department and library vouchers for Sept. 2017 in the amount of $547,722.