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Junk and unlicensed vehicles are a topic at board meeting
In Gays Mills
gays mills village board

GAYS MILLS - Junk and unlicensed vehicles kept in the Village of Gays Mills prompted a lengthy and at times impassioned discussion, during the monthly board meeting Monday night.

Village resident Bob Lomas was on hand to pursue his quest against unsightly and unlicensed vehicles.

Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz said the village had sent out letters to residents with unlicensed vehicles on their properties and quite a few of them had been addressed by the owners. He said that others were attempting to get in touch with people who owned the cars to have them removed and others were still working on the situation.

Village resident Roger Dull indicated he was unhappy with the ordinance. He acknowledged that he had two unlicensed vehicles on his property. One was a valuable collector car, housed in his garage, that he did not care to license at the moment. He said that he did not have immediate plans to drive the car. The other vehicle belonged to his son and it would not be dealt with for some time nor will it be driven until then.

This resident said that when he served on the Readstown Village Board the rule was that vehicles in buildings or covered were not subject to rules about abandoned cars on properties in that village.

“Who is the board to say I can’t have a vehicle on my property?” Dull asked.

Heisz said the village ordinance did not apply to vehicles stored in garages.

“You guys are controlling our lives,” the resident told the board.

Bob Lomas made comments about  the unsightly appearance of the property owned by Bob Robinson, a village employee.

At that point, village trustee Aaron Fortney tried to steer the conversation back to enforcement of the village ordinance against storing non-registered cars on property within the village limits.

“You let wild cats run around town,” Dull told the board. “We can’t do anything about that. I watched one tear open a convertible top on one of my cars.”

There was a discussion that followed whether the village was being too picky in enforcing the unregistered car ordinance.

The conversation returned to Bob Robinson’s residence on Highway 131. The resident noted that Robinson was running a salvage business and should be on a commercially zoned property.

Harry Heisz spoke up in Robinson’s defense. He asked how many people at the meeting had dumped junk in Robinson’s driveway at one time or another to have it disposed.

“Every time he comes home, there’s pile in front of his driveway,” Heisz said. The village president also noted that currently there was just one unlicensed vehicle on the property.

Lomas insisted that there were two such vehicles and the other vehicle could not be seen from the road because it was at the back of the property.

The resident insisted the village should stop Robinson from doing commercial work at his residence in the village.

“We have an ordinance about unregistered vehicles being stored on property in the village,” village trustee Kevin Murray said. “We need to act as rational human beings.

“I don’t want anything infringing on my rights,” Murray said. 

Murray explained he was against having a government committee, as suggested by Dull, established to investigate what’s on people’s property.

“Leave sleeping dogs lie,” Murray said.

For his part, Bob Lomas advised Dull to take the vehicle in question out to the village shop and park it there with the two or three other vehicles parked there.

“Take it out there, everybody else does,” Lomas said.

Fortney again tried to refocus the discussion on the village ordinance about unlicensed cars being stored on property within the village and the enforcement of that ordinance.

Harry Heisz said that the first letter about unlicensed cars had been sent out and that some action had been taken as result of it. The village president explained a second letter would be sent out and anyone not in compliance with the ordinance after that would face getting a fine. 

Village resident Craig Anderson noted that someone who received a judgement that they were in violation of the ordinance and didn’t agree could object to the letter at the office with staff or come to a meeting and bring the matter before the village board.

“How many letters were sent out? Bob Lomas asked.

“There were 36 letters sent,” responded Gays Mills Village Clerk Dawn McCann.

Lomas said he wanted to see the list of who got letters. He claimed there were more than 36 violators.

Lomas also questioned whether residents were taking care of their garbage totes and thought leaving them back by the alley was unsightly.

Heisz told Lomas that it was not relevant because the village could not deal with that situation.

The final complaint from Lomas involved dog licenses. In answer to a question, Dawn McCann explained that people with three or less dogs were required to buy a license for each dog and those with more than three dogs were required to buy a kennel license.

Heisz said the village had turned the dog licensing issue over to Crawford County and will keep trying to get it resolved.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• listened to village president Harry Heisz start the meeting by thanking village trustee Kim Pettit for her six years of service and part-time village employee Terry Murphy for his nine years of service

• learned the Crawford County Highway Department has agreed to repave North Railroad Street from its northern end all the way to the alley that runs parallel to Main Street behind the M&M  Bar and the old Community Building at a cost of $6,000–it was noted much of the deterioration on the street was caused by large highway department trucks using the garage located on Railroad Street

• heard a report from Town and Country Engineering that the firm was recommending seeking a relaxation of some the conditions in the sewer plant’s phosphorous variance submitted to the Wisconsin DNR and U.S. EPA and the board unanimously approved sending a letter to the DNR outlining the village’s concerns with meeting some of the conditions 

• learned that many or all of the trees planted near the Gays Mills Mercantile Center, the nearby plaza and the adjoining area are suffering and dying and can’t be saved because they were planted too deep, according to village forester Cindy Kohles

• learned there has been no progress made on the roof at the millhouse building by the dam 

• learned there has been no progress made on getting more bids for a metal roof on the old Community Building at 212 Main Street, but village trustee Kevin Murray would pursue getting more bids

• approved a finalized version of the 2021 Amendments to the North Mills Subdivision Deed Restrictions and Protective Covenants

• decided a village ordinance would  not be passed requiring residents with property adjacent to fire hydrants to shovel away snow, but would instead try a volunteer system incorporating Tara Heisz’s suggestion to ‘Adopt a Hydrant’-the village will revisit the plan at their July board meeting.

• approved a Class B Liquor License for the Sportsman’s Club to be used at the Friends of Gays Mills Adult Prom planned for April 17 at 212 Main Street-the old Community Building

• approved operator’s licenses for Jayne Gardner and Kristian McCormick

The board reconvened in open session following a closed session meeting to discuss personnel and hired Kayla Fortney to serve as pool manager, a position she held last season.

The board also approved running an ad for a public works position.