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Village board amends budget
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The Gays Mills Village Board unanimously passed a resolution to amend the budget at their Monday, April 7 meeting.

The amendment allows the board to allocate $15,000 to repairs and the purchase of an advertising sign at the Gays Mills Mercantile Center. It puts $25,000 back into the employee health insurance fund and allocates $3,500 for staff bonuses.  An additional $1,000 will go to repairs on maintenance on the Gays Mills Community Building on Main Street. Tourism donations allocations will total $2,000. Of the $2,000, half will go to Jim Showen for advertising events at the Stumpdodger Campground.

Gays Mills Village President Harry Heisz stressed that the purpose of the donation was to promote all events at the campground and not just the Stumpdodger Bash after trustees Geraldine Smith and Barbara Sand expressed concern.

Smith and Sands questioned whether it was appropriate for the village to make a donation to a private entity for their own event, as opposed to a non-profit or community-wide sponsored event.

Problems with the storm drain behind Jay Haggerty’s house on Orin Street were discussed.

Haggerty offered up a history of the issue and frustration over its lack of resolution. He informed the board that he was working with a landscape contractor, which would alleviate the problem on his property.

“The drain that was installed does not work,” Haggerty said. “It never has.”

The problem, he believed, was the use of flexible pipe when it was installed. The landscaper could fix the problem, while he was doing the work on the property, according to  Haggerty’s son Branston, who said they were seeking permission from the village to proceed.

Haggerty expressed frustration at working with Gays Mills Public Works Director Jim Chellevold, when Heisz asked if he had brought the matter to Chellevolds attention.

“He (Chellevold) has been instructed to take care of this problem several times by the board,” responded village trustee Albert Zegiel.

“What I would like to do is sit down with Jimmer and with the two of you and draw up a plan,” Heisz said.

Heisz said that the four-person meeting would allow the village to ensure the plans would both work and be legal. Haggerty agreed to participate in the meeting.

Letters offering some of the properties acquired with Community Block Development Grant funds will be sent to adjacent property owners offering the lots for sale. The properties affected are 211 Orin Street, 210 Park Street, 102 School Street, and 111 State Highway 171. If the adjacent property owners choose to pass on the opportunity, the lots will be offered to the public.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• heard a report from Kickapoo Culinary Center Manager Brad Niemcek;

• heard a report from Gays Mills Economic Development Association on four boat landings and portage installations in and near Gays Mills;

• heard that GMEDA is fundraising and pursuing a grant to dredge the slough;

• approved releasing the Gays Mills Arts Collective lease in the Mercantile Center;

• approved the water rate increase mandated by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission effective April 1, 2014;

• gave permission to Harry Heisz to bid in an online auction for a street sweeper for up to $37,000;

• approved a general loan of up to $44,227 (refinancing $14,227 and adding up to $30,000 toward a street sweeper);

• approved pass rates and hiring recommendations for the pool;

• approved a flat rate, two-year contract for cemetery mowing, with payment made every two-weeks;

• approved a $3,000 contribution to Ocooch Mountain Rescue, with Trustee Earl Winsor abstaining;

• approved allowing any adult, trained in the use of the exercise equipment at the Gays Mills Community Building, to act as a supervisor when the building is open;

• approved issuing a letter of support to the Gays Mills Village Stewards who are seeking grants for improvements at the Log Cabin Park, with Trustee Ed Block abstaining;

• set the Gays Mills Community Cleanup Day as April 26;

• approved temporary Class B liquor licenses for the Sportsmen’s Club, Driftless Art Committee, and Post 308 American Legion;

• approved closing out checking accounts from the flood recovery and relocation projects that are no longer in use; and

• scheduled the next board meeting for May 5, 2014 at 6 p.m.

Present at the meeting were Trustees Earl Winsor, Geraldine Smith, Ed Block, Barbara Sand, and Albert Zegiel and Village President Harry Heisz. Absent was Trustee Aaron Fortney.