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Shedivy resigns, septic inspections will be impacted
In Crawford County
CC LCD staff
JAKE SHEDIVY, left, joins his former co-workers at the Crawford County Land Conservation Department, for a staff photo. Joining Shedivy, from left, is Becky Nagel, Dave Troester and Travis Bunting. The rest of the staff has been helping Shedivy with his heavy workload administering the POWTS program, and with little action on the part of the County Board to get them more help, they are now working double time to keep all the balls in the air.

CRAWFORD COUNTY - At a time when demands on the Crawford County Land Conservation Department’s zoning and sanitation services are ramping up, the department has suffered the loss of Zoning and Sanitation Technician Jake Shedivy. County Conservationist Dave Troester reported that Shedivy had resigned effective September 30 from his position.

With Shedivy on board, the department was already consumed with getting the county up to speed on private onsite waste treatment systems (POWTS) or septic system inspections, upgrades and approvals. The deadline has passed for all POWTS owners in the county to submit proof of inspection, and to have their system pumped if needed. 

As of the last meeting, nearly 2,600 systems had not complied. The county is looking at assigning them years, where they must have the inspection done. If the owner does not comply, at that point $100 fines could begin to be issued. If the fine is unpaid and the system remains out of compliance, then the matter could go to the court system.

At the October 12 meeting of the Land Conservation Committee, Land Use Concerns, the committee heard a report from Troester about how his department is responding to the situation.

“Tom Cornford and the Personnel Department told me to do what I had to do to keep new construction moving ahead until we can hire and train a replacement for Jake,” Troester said. “In the meantime, Myrna Stevenson is helping us get a little more organized, and Becky has really stepped up as well.”

To this end, Troester asked for committee approval of a contract with Andrew Skog from MSA Engineering for the service of reviewing permit applications. Skog will not perform inspections or do soil tests. MSA’s fee for the work is $150 per hour, with an estimated one-to-two hours of work per permit reviewed.

The committee voted unanimously, by roll call vote, to approve the contract.

Troester reported also that, as available, Vernon County sanitation technician Angela Reed will assist the department. He said that he would try to go out and perform some of the soil inspections. 

Troester also reported that he did not anticipate being able to have a replacement for Shedivy hired and certified before the end of the calendar year, but that because winter was coming, things should be slowing down some.

“We still have lots of other big issues in the zoning and sanitation area that need to be addressed, and have had to be placed on a back burner,” Troester told the committee. “For instance, there is the issue of holding tanks out on the Ambro, to name one.”

Additional staff

Troester reported also that he had attended the Finance Committee meeting to ask that another staff person for his department be included in the 2022 budget. He said that his department’s revenue would go up next year by as much as $66,500, including an additional $24,000 from DATCP for staffing. He anticipated that, at least for the next two years, revenue increases would almost completely cover the cost of the additional position.

Duties that Troester identified for the additional staff person would be to take zoning work outside of the POWTS program off the plate of the sanitation technician, work on the invasive species program, and potentially becoming involved in working with municipalities around water quality trading initiatives to help them meet their phosphorous reduction goals.

At the Finance Committee meeting, county board chairman Tom Cornford, who attended the meeting via Zoom, stated that he has asked the Finance Committee to table the topic of adding an additional staff person to the department until a replacement is hired for Shedivy. 

Cornford’s reasoning is that the committee should “wait and see what the capabilities of the new hire for that position may be.” The committee agreed to wait, and to consider the new position request at the same time that the whole budget is prepared and ready for review.