With three trustees absent and a relatively short agenda, the Gays Mills Village Board needed only an hour to conduct business Monday night at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting.
Trustees Kevin Murray, Albert Zegiel and Aaron Fortney were not present for the meeting. Murray contacted village president Craig Anderson prior to the meeting to let him know that he was attending an event involving his children.
However, it wasn’t just the three trustees who were not present at the meeting. Four of the five people scheduled to make administrative reports were also absent. Only Brad Niemcek, the Director of the Kickapoo Culinary Center, was present to make a report.
Niemcek told the board the village’s shared-use kitchen had “a fairly quiet December” and he expected about the same for January. He did note that holiday-related activities, which “a lot of local cooks participated in,” had given the kitchen more exposure to potential future users.
Although Vierbicher’s Kurt Muchow, Gays Mills Central Business District Manager Julia Henley and CouleeCap’s Kahya Fox were not present, all had filed written reports.
Gays Mills Director of Public Works was also not present and did not present an administrative report.
The board did approve a plan, created by trustee Harry Heisz, to facilitate the payment of heating and cooling costs to tenants of the Gays Mills Mercantile Center. Heisz noted that none of the seven leases are the same.
The plan he arrived at assesses each tenant’s utility costs based on the percentage of space they occupy in the entire building. The village will pay for the space that is not within rented spaces like hallways, bathrooms and storage areas. The village also pays any heating and cooling costs associated with the unrented spaces.
Heisz told the board that the village’s share of heating and cooling costs for the common space would be covered from maintenance fees being paid by the tenants in their current leases.
The village trustee emphasized that the plan is temporary at this point and should be revisited in May, when there will be a 12-month history of heating and cooling in the building.
A motion to approve the plan was made by Geraldine Smith and seconded by Earl Winsor. The board passed it.
The board spent some time discussing a request by village resident Joe Klekamp about property at 111 Highway 171 and an adjoining alley.
Klekamp, a neighbor to the property, is requesting the village close the alley. He is also requesting to purchase the garage and the lot at 111 Highway 171.
Anderson noted in introducing the agenda item that Klekamp’s request had “just come in” and that a committee of the board had not reviewed it. Anderson also explained that while the board had asked CouleeCap to get bids for the removal of the garage, it was not a requirement of the funding used for the buyout of the Ben and Rebecca Eby residence at 111 Highway 171. The village president noted that it was the board’s decision to seek removal of the garage and that the board had the option to allow it to remain.
There was some sentiment on the board that selling the garage to the neighbor might be a better use of it than having it removed.
Trustee Earl Winsor reacted positively to the idea of closing the alley since it would remove future maintenance costs from the village.
Heisz told the board that he favored more discussion of the matter, particularly of the sale of the property. The trustee said that at this point he could favor a lease of the property, but not the sale.
It was decided to refer Klekamp’s entire three-part request to the village’s public works committee for discussion and a recommendation.
In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:
• approved a CouleeCap request to allow Habitat for Humanity to salvage building materials from the former Martin residence at 210 Park Street (a floodplain buyout), if the house is to be demolished rather than moved
• agreed to pay relocation bills to Jacaranda for consulting work, including $900 from EDA (Economic Development Administration) funds and $1,044 from CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funds
• appointed village president Craig Anderson to work with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department to secure local law enforcement services for Gays Mills
• approved a plan commission recommendation to rezone a property owned by the Silvers at 48325 De La Mater Road from residential to conservancy
• agreed to pay a change order from CDBG funds to Weiser Bros. Construction of $3,235 for mailboxes and signage at the Gays Mills Mercantile Center
•appointed Sandy Lester and Barbara Sand to be chief election inspectors
• approved a temporary Class B License for Crawford Stewardship for Saturday, Feb. 9
• approved an operator’s license for Cynthia Kohles