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Village Board honors Aaron Fortney’s service
Gays Mills
gays mills village board

GAYS MILLS - The sparsely attended Gays Mills Village Board began on a pleasant note Monday night, when village president Harry Heisz made a point of recognizing Aaron Fortney for his 14 years of service on the board.

Unfortunately, Fortney was not in attendance for his last scheduled board meeting. Other village trustees missing from the regular monthly meeting included Lee Ruegg and Josh Kasinkas.

However, village trustees Larry McCarn, Kevin Murray and Seamus Murray joined Heisz to make the needed four-member quorum necessary to hold the meeting.

A bright note in the meeting was the village board development committee report. Village trustee Seamus Murray reported that a recent Facebook ad placed by the committee advertising available residential lots in the village was met with a tremendous response. The $30 ad got response from 15,800 people and 375  were ‘engaged’  when the clicked on it and viewed the Facebook page. There were also at least nine direct inquiries to the village as a result of the ad.

Seamus Murray told the board that the committee will make a list of frequently asked questions to help the village response to inquiries  being made about available lots and other things about the village.

Murray also said the committee will work at helping to enhance and improve the Village of Gays Mills Facebook Page.

A report on the village’s shared-used kitchen emphasized some positive developments. Kickapoo Culinary Center Director Jill Riggs told the board that chef Dani Lind was one of couple of potential new tenants asking about using the kitchen. Lind, the owner of the Rooted Spoon in Viroqua, has sold the business and is in the process of having a new kitchen built. The chef would like to rent space in the facility for the next six months to a year. She is also looking to rent some refrigerated and freezer space, according to Riggs.

Another woman intending to market whole grain pancakes also has intentions of using the facility, Riggs reported.

Yet another potential use of the kitchen was recently presented by the the Crawford County unit of Aging and Disability Resources.

Crawford County ADRC Director Roby Fuller  approached Riggs with a proposal to run a senior meal site at the Community Commerce Center using the shared-use kitchen to prepare meals for home delivery, as well as serving them at the site.

Riggs recalled that in the past the building was used daily in the flood recovery effort and utility bills were much higher. She asked to see those bills to get an idea of what price to charge ADRC.

In answer to a question from the board, Riggs assured them that ADRC will clean up daily after using the facility.

Riggs told the board that she was interested in hiring Arleena Roe’s daughter to help with cleaning at the facility. She noted cleaners already hired are having scheduling difficulties.

Riggs noted that the American Hazelnut Company was never charged for storage of their products as others had been. She told the board it was her intention to charge the company for storage going forward. 

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• passed a motion to add recycling fees for village residents that will go into effect in the fall

• dropped attempts to institute a universal fire protection fee at this point since it would be revenue negative in the long run

• approved a flea market proposal made by Jimmy Richter, the owner of Little Boxes, to have a flea market in the plaza of the Gays Mills Mercantile Center or elsewhere in the village on one Sunday a month from May or June through September or October

• adopted a resolution of a 2022 Amendment to North Mills and First Addition to North Mills Subdivision modifying rules for buildings

• learned cemetery cleanup would require everyone to remove flowers and decorations from the Gays Mills Cemetery from April 15 to April 30

• learned the Gays Mills Village Cleanup Up Day would be Saturday, April 30 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• learned that yard waste pickup will be done every Monday until fall

• set Monday, May 2 for the next Gays Mills Village Board meeting

Following a closed session, the board reconvened in open session and approved hiring Samuel Gallagher as the Gays Mills Pool Manager. The board also approved hiring two pool employees-Kaleb Harrell and Sophie Ambrose.

The village will also post a cleaning position for the Gays Mills Mercantile Center and the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center.