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Funds returned with closure of relocation project
In Gays Mills
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A major chapter of the floodplain relocation project closed at the March 3 meeting of the Gays Mills Village Board.

Gays Mills Village Clerk Dawn McCann reported that the review of the project by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration was complete. EDA issued a final payment to the village and the agency’s file on the project was officially closed.

One item remains, an issue of additional funds that are either to be paid to the village or paid back to the EDA. McCann plans to clear up that issue with the EDA. If the village is to receive the additional funds, the total left over from the project will be $108,000, if the additional funds are to be paid back, the village will receive $80,000.

That money will largely go into savings, though Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz suggested some be used to pay for items that were cut in this year’s village budget.

A resolution will be presented to the board at the April 7 meeting for the board to vote on Heisz’s proposal that the village apportion some funds to:

• place $25,000 back into the budget to replace insurance line item funds cut previously;

• allocate $15,000 to the Mercantile Center to provide a new sign and to replace malfunctioning air handlers in the HVAC system;

• restore yearly bonuses to village employees of $250 part-time and $500 fill-time;

• allocate $1000-2000 for maintenance and repairs on the Community Building at 212 Main Street; and

• grant donations of $1,000 each toward Crawford County Tourism and the Stump Dodger Bash on July 4.

While the board did not vote on Heisz’s proposal, they did approve giving a verbal promise of intent to Jim Showen for the Stump Dodger donation.

One redevelopment project arising from flooding remains to be wrapped up.  The residential construction and rental elevation project with CouleeCap is still waiting on a signature from property owner Derek McCormick for the work done at 102 Main Street.

“Derek still feels there is work that is not complete, so we have sent him a letter asking him to provide a list of what needs to be done,” McCann explained.

Trustee Barbara Sand raised the future of the Community Building at 212 Main Street. Sand expressed concern over long-term planning for maintenance and repair of the building, saying its value would decrease if it is not kept in good repair making it worth less in the future if the village should decide to sell the property.

“I am not interested in tearing down old buildings, but we need a long-term plan for this building,” Sand said.

Heisz pointed out that the space the building provided was essential, as demand for use of the new Gays Mills Community Commerce Center meeting room and hall were greater than the could be met without the Gays Mills Community Building on Main Street as a backup space.

“The community has made it clear what they want to keep the building,” added trustee Albert Zegiel. Zegiel reminded Sand that the village board had been presented with petitions, that people had attended meetings asking the building be retained, and that it was currently being supported entirely through donations and rentals.

“We are expecting to have to continue raising funds to pay the bills and cover repairs,” said Kay Smiley, a representative of the volunteer group responsible for fundraising to keep the building open.

Sand reiterated that her concern was simply over making a long-term plan for the property.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• approved monthly bills and the final JEM grant bills and close-out;

• confirmed that the water issue in the newspaper office in the Mercantile center had been fixed, though it was unknown if the remaining units had been attended to;

• confirmed that state law allows only residents of the village to run for office;

• approved hiring Jen Klekamp as the pool manager;

• tabled discussion of pool rates and wages until April so Klekamp could meet with the personnel committee;

• approved the only cemetery mowing bid (Babb’s Lawn Care) received with the intent that Heisz would meet with the owner to negotiate mowing details and frequency;

• approved the swimming pool help wanted ad;

• reminded everyone of the public hearing to discuss water rates on March 12 at 2 p.m.;

• announced the date of the Spring Clean-up on Saturday, April 26 at the village shop; and

• set the next meeting for April 7, 2014 at 6 p.m.