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Village Board contracts to study sewer rates
Soldiers Grove
Soldiers Grove

SOLDIERS GROVE - After plenty of starts and stops in pursuit of an evaluation of the village’s sewer rates, the Soldiers Grove Village Board acted at their Thursday, Feb. 4 meeting to undertake a study. Trustee Jerry Miller moved and Roy Davidson seconded a motion to hire Gary Cohen from Driftless Development to perform an analysis of the village’s sewer rates.

The village’s sewer utility has been posting losses for several years, and the board had previously explored several options to secure the needed analysis. 

First, their auditing firm had led them to believe that the village would need to seek approval of any plan from the Public Service Commission. The engineering firm, Delta-3, that they engaged to oversee upgrades to their sewer system informed them that PSC approval is not necessary.

After that, the board received various proposals to perform the analysis. Those proposals came from their auditing firm Johnson & Block, Delta-3 Engineering, and from Driftless Development Corporation. The proposal from Driftless Development was the most cost effective, at a maximum of $1,500, and so that was the option selected. 

Enforcement contract

The situation with a trailer that was first parked in the village campground, and later at a property on Tavern Road, led the board to explore contracting with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department for enforcement of village ordinances. The Village of Wauzeka has taken this route, and reported that it had worked out well for them.

The village, in attempting to get the owner of the trailer to comply with village ordinances, had realized that they needed to have access to an entity that could support the village in enforcement.

Steve George moved, and Harrison Heilmann seconded, a motion to contract with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department for the service. A deputy, on his or her own time, will provide the village with a certain number of hours per month at a fixed rate, to be present in the village for the purpose of providing this support. Contracting with the sheriff’s department for this service does not mean that the county district attorney will also provide legal services, so the village’s attorney will have to undertake any activity in the courts with respect to enforcement of ordinances.

Third Street problem

There was extensive discussion of problems and potential solutions for Third Street, which runs from Highway 61 to County Highway C, past the old Soldiers Grove High School.

“There is speeding on that stretch, where people seem to just come off the highway travelling a little too quickly, and also there has been two accidents there recently,” Soldiers Grove Village President Paul Nicholson explained. “The sheriff’s department is urging the village to do something about that stretch of road.”

One option that was suggested was to close off access to the road, making it a dead-end street only accessible off of County C. Another option discussed was to make it a one-way road.

“I am totally against closing the road,” village trustee Vicki Campbell said.

“They’re just coming off the highway going too fast,” trustee Roy Davidson said. “Maybe the solution is to get a sign like the one that has been on New Well Road, to let people know how fast they’re going.”

Nicholson agreed that the flashing speed sign might be a good option, and said that he would call the county to see if the sign would be available to the village. He said if it is not available, he would price similar signs and report back to the board at their next meeting.

“I support trying to deal with the situation with a speed sign,” Campbell said. “If that option doesn’t work out, then perhaps we’ll need to consider making the street a one-way street at our next meeting.”

In other business

In other business, the board:

• heard that things are going very well for the fire department, and that they have gotten a new recruit

• approved spending up to $2,500 on new tools for the public works department

• approved an easement on village property for Alliant Energy to bury an electrical cable

• approved a three-year contract, at $395 per year, for maintenance of the village’s emergency communications system

• heard that the preliminary estimate of the village’s financial responsibility for the Highway 131 improvement project, which could start as soon as 2025, is $26,190

• agreed that the village’s insurance contract with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities seems to expensive, and has some changes in the current proposal that don’t meet the village’s needs, and to seek additional bids

• agreed to purchase a drop box to be placed outside the village hall for citizens to use when the village offices are not open.

Closed session

In a closed session at the end of the meeting, the board:

• voted to approve Village Clerk Kaitlynn Gander to take training courses and to join the Clerk’s Association to help better her education on the Clerk/Treasurer position.

• voted unanimously that Harrison Heilman being the Soldiers Grove Village Library's treasurer is a conflict of interest, since he is a trustee on the village board, which approves the library's bills/budget.