SHULLSBURG — The Shullsburg City Council meeting was called to order by Mayor Gloria Swenson on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.
Shullsburg Ambulance was a sore subject with some council members. Alder Jim Paquette brought the subject up and laid out his concerns. The ambulance crew has been paying $175 rent to the city, since the Townsend Center was built. Last year the rent went up to $200. Paquette said, “The question is does any money from Shullsburg Township and other townships go to offset the cost of that rental expense? The city pays for electric, heat, sewer, water, phone, insurance and cleaning. We’re probably losing money at $200 a month.”
Paquette continued, “The point is if this council or the residence of the City of Shullsburg are willing to subsidize the ambulance, that’s fine, but then the township should be subsidizing them too, not just the city.” Alder Emmett Reilly noted that when the ambulance garage was built they brought in a grant to help pay for it, and does the city charge the library and police department. I don’t agree with raising the rent. There are so many volunteers there and we want to encourage involvement. It’s hard for the ambulance crew to swallow when they get these small raises that don’t mean anything to the city’s budget, I think it’s a kick in the face for them.”
Paquette reiterated, “The City of Shullsburg is paying for that building and expenses, not the townships and that’s not fair!” he continued, “It’s not about running down the people who run the ambulance, for people to bring that up is just silly.” Alder Kory Ritterbusch said he wouldn’t support a large increase.
A motion was made to increase the rent $50 to $250 per month and was approved. 3-1, with Reilly voting no.
Reilly and Mayor Swenson again talked about the need for lowering the speed limit in the city limits. Swenson had talked to WDOT personnel and was told there is nothing that would justify lowering the speed limit. She asked to talk to higher ups and was given names or she could talk to the Governor. They may consider moving the 40 m.p.h. limit west past A & M Hardware Store on Hwy. 11.
The Beer Garden Ordinance was discussed. Ritterbusch stated this came up at a Historic Preservation Committee meeting. The Russell Family (representing Kingsley Crossing) have an open lot next to their building and want to make it into a open area where customers can enjoy the outdoors.
Ritterbusch said the current beer garden ordinance was not conducive to tourism. His complaints on the ordinance include: require a six foot fence; required to have a concrete floor; must enter through an indoor door only; no music allowed. Those are the big points according to Ritterbusch.
Ritterbusch said, “We could do a uniform change of the ordinance or we could spot zone for this particular business.” Other items in the ordinance, such as residential neighbors within 100 feet would have to agree to the beer garden, etc. where discussed, Reilly said, “You could change to ordinance or make a spot ordinances, but whatever you do you can’t eliminate other establishments (bars) from being able to do the same thing. I don’t know how you could give one and exclude another. I think you’d have a real tussle with that.”
Ritterbusch thought you could separate bars from multi-use establishments. Ritterbusch asked Sandy Russell if she wanted to speak. Russell said, “When I think of a beer garden, I think of a large area, a lot of music and hoopla. What we’re asking is more of a social garden. We do alcoholic drinks in our ice cream and we want an area where customers can go outside and enjoy those drinks.” They also stated they are rarely open past 5:00 p.m., although when asked about hours they stated they would be happy with 7:00 p.m. The Russell’s said they wouldn’t be starting constructing until Spring 2018 if the city can meet their needs.
Ritterbusch said, “We could create a spot zone for that address alone and create whatever we want, without being discriminatory. That’s how I would like to proceed.” Reilly said, “Yeah, I would like to see you explain that to some people.” Ritterbusch will be rewriting ordinances for the council’s consideration.
The council discussed Development Agreement Payments. Generally perturbed and confused conversation took place. Alder Duane Wedige said, “We’ve been paying this for sixteen years and it’s time for that to come to the end. These payments should have ended in 2004 or 2011.” The council asked former Mayor Tom Lathean about the situation and Lathean said, “(In the past) I talked to the Department of Revenue and at this point it’s distressed and it will finish in the red. You have no positive tax increments to be giving back to developers.” Reilly thought the council should get an attorney to look at it.
A motion was made to pay to pay the 2016 development agreement payments, payable in 2017 and that would be the final payment. Motion carried 3-1 with Reilly voting against, because he wanted an opinion for an attorney.
The city approved purchasing two commercial trash cans for Water Street. Also, two trash cans are purchased and donated by Bruce and Sandy Russell, one trash can is being purchased and donated by Jim and Pam Paquette and one trash can is being purchased and donated anonymously. Wedige made and donated plaques that will be put on containers. The two trash cans will cost the city $1,300.
The Shullsburg Water Dept. has been in need of a new truck for some time. Two quotes for the new truck where received – Pioneer Ford, Platteville for $21,419 and Virtue Motors, Darlington - $21,474. The council approved buying a truck from Virtue Motors, with running boards and a new box the total cost came in under $27,500.
The city approved to purchase a trencher (ditch witch) - $46,500 from Ditch Witch Midwest, Waukasha; mini excavator - $51,593 from K&L Bobcat, Darlington and a trailer - $5,900 from Scott Implement, Platteville - totaling $103,993 for the Electric Dept. The main reason for the purchase is that this will save the city money in the long run.
•Water – Issues with the bromine tank at the swimming pool, going to use tablets; winterizing is progressing.
•Sewer – Sludge got hauled; rip rapping is done at the sewer plant.
•Electric – street lights at the school are getting done; summer projects are completely done.
•Street – Met with Shullsburg School and discussed bussing and kid drop offs at the school. It was decided to load and unload the busses on Judgement Street and make Peace Street one-way (for 45 minutes in the morning and afternoon). This will start Monday, Oct. 30 and will try it for thirty days.
In other business:
•Discussed zoning for the Parkview Development. Swenson wanted to take the zoning they did for the Geissbuhler subdivision and tweeking it for Parkview. Later in the meeting Joe Edge wanted to make sure the zoning for Parkview will be the same as the Geissbuhler Subdivision to be fair. Lethlean pointed out the zoning hasn’t be done for the Parkview Development and it doesn’t need to be the same.
•No action on an invoice submitted to the city for water damage submitted by Francis Halferty. Marsha Einswieller, clerk/treasurer, has a form that Halferty can fill out and submit. Einswieller was directed to send it to the city attorney when the form filled out.
•Approved a Fair Housing Proclamation 3-1.
•Set Dec. 6, 2017 at 6:30p.m. for the Public Hearing.