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Shullsburg reviews capital improvement plan for city

SHULLSBURG —Mayor Duane Wedige called the Shullsburg City Council meeting to order on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Mark Doyle of Delta 3 presented the firms evaluation of what streets the City of Shullsburg needs to address in the upcoming decade.

Doyle explained, “We formulated this plan based on input from the Mayor, Alder Pat Heim and city superintendents. The city has always had a capital improvement plan, every year we are knocking items off the list. The following items are in prioritized order with a probable cost. Doyle stressed the opinion of probable cost can change, depending on what year the project is done, if material prices go up, etc.

The list: 1 – Charity Street from Friendship St. to Truth St. - $495,500 includes sanitary sewer, water main, some storm sewer, sidewalk, curb & gutter and total street reconstruction; 2 – Mineral Street from Water St. to Diagonal St. - $507,500 includes sanitary sewer, water, no storm sewer, sidewalk, curb & gutter and total street reconstruction; 3 – East Main Street from Judgement St. to the dead end - $636,500 includes sanitary sewer, water, sidewalk, curb & gutter and total street reconstruction, no storm sewer; 4 – Iowa Street from the Main St. to Water St. - $21,500 includes new asphalt, no utilities; 5 – Mercy Street from Friendship St. to Faith St. – $125,500 includes some storm sewer and total street reconstruction, no water or sanitary sewer; 6 - Lafayette Street from Ringold St. to Church St. - $146,500 includes water and total street reconstruction, no storm or sanitary sewer; South Henry Street from Ringold St. to Water St. - $307,000 includes sanitary sewer, water main, some storm sewer, curb & gutter and total street reconstruction; Ringold Street from Sidney St. to Park St. - $143,000 includes water and total street reconstruction (three streets) for a total of $596,500; 7 - Estey Street from Kennedy St. to Minor Ct. - $154,500 includes water and total street reconstruction, no sewer; 8 – Center Street from Wood St. to Clinton St. - $138,500 includes sanitary sewer, water, storm sewer and total street reconstruction.

When presenting the list Doyle mentioned that there are state grants available to help pay for these projects.

Alder Emmett Reilly asked about the storm sewer study that was done a few years ago. Reilly said, “With the new storm sewers included in a lot of these projects, that will mean more water flowing down to where we have a problem. I think it’s a priority to get the first two phases of expanding the water our storm sewer (to the waste water treatment plant) can handle.” This would be in the area of Union Street.

Doyle said, “So you’re suggesting that I add the storm water management study and the different phases that were presented to the capital improvement plan?”

Reilly answered, “I would, it is a capital improvement.”

Wedige agreed, “Yea, we want those on there.”

No action was taken, the council will mull over their options and the item will be put on the agenda for the Oct. 2 meeting.

Ordinance 308

The council has previously approved and published a change in the way alderpersons are elected. Instead of each council member representing a single district, they will now represent and be elected from the entire City of Shullsburg.

Reilly asked that this item be put on the agenda. The confusion for Reilly comes if there was a challenge to the new system and if citizens were to generate a petition to have a referendum to do away with the new system, it would have no effect on the April 7 elections, because that election has already been established.

Reilly said, “My thought is to rescind the new candidate election system that we previously approved and then put a non-binding referendum on the April ballot and have the residents tell us which way they want to go with it.”

City Attorney Nathan Russell said, “So, I’ll try to unpack that and answer the best I can. First of all, the council is completely legal in what you did. I did not address how to thwart an action of this council. I represent the council. I do not know if the referendum would be non-binding or mandatory.”

Reilly: “As I understand it all referendums are non-binding. If you’ll remember, when I filed a direct legislation petition and the city spent $12,000 to stop it.”

Russell: “You are correct that if citizens wanted to get a referendum and have it on the ballot, it would not negate the election on that same day.

Reilly: “Until I started working on the petition, I didn’t know that. That wasn’t the information we were given at the meeting.”

Russell: “I didn’t give you any information. I don’t believe it’s my responsibility as the city council’s attorney. If you’re asking me ‘can we do something?’ my job is to tell you yes or no. Honestly I don’t know why you would be looking at a petition, because you are the one who made the original motion on this action. If you made the motion and now you’re leading effort to overturn the newly created ordinance, this seems counter parliamentary procedure.”

Reilly: “The reason I did it is because the information I was given was wrong. I was told that we could file a petition within 60 days of publication and it would be on the ballot.

Clerk-Treasurer Marsha Einswieler said, “That information came from me, but Emmett this has been on the agenda for months. Why did you wait until after it’s been passed before you did your research?”

Wedige asked, “Let’s say Emmett is right, we got bad information about a referendum. Does that mean we have to start all over?”

Russell: “No.”

Wedige: “Then why are we even discussing this?”

Alder Jim Paquette said, “We’re wasting our time.”

Russell summed up, “Emmett believes he was given misinformation, thus he would not have voted the way he did.”

Reilly made a motion to rescind Ordinance 308, the repealing and recreating of section 1.01 of the City of Shullburg municipal code relating to election of alderpersons. Explaining his intentions of putting a non-binding referendum on the April ballot and go with the decision of the electorate of the city.

The motion died for lack of a second.

In public comments Tom Lethlean strongly stated, “I’d like to comment on something Mr. Reilly said. He said the city spent $12,000 to stop him from filing a petition for direct legislation. Yes there was an excessive amount spent on legal costs. But you never completed a proper petition for direct legislation, so all the council did was review the facts and you were never able to complete the task at hand.”

Reilly said, “Thanks Tom.”

Committee Reports:

Waste water treatment plant & water – discussed chemical for treating phosphorus; discussed a leak in well number 4, it is supposed to be pumping 400 gallon per minute (gpm) and is only pumping 250 gpm; water tower is complete, the antennas need to be installed on the corral on the top; water tower will be filled and should be good-to-go by Oct. 1; a new valve was installed at the water tower at a different angle than it was suppose to have been; 50 new water meters have been installed since June 17, 110 are left to be installed; received a letter from the DNR regarding two lead services in the city, these are the only two that have lead pipe service in the entire city.

In other business:

•Held a Public Hearing to hear interested parties with regard to a conditional use permit submitted by Robb Paquette to allow a duplex residential in the downtown business zone. There were no objections at the hearing.

At the regular meeting the conditional use permit for R. Paquette was on the agenda and the council approved the permit with the stipulation that there must be a business in the Water Street building and it can’t be all-residential. The vote went 3-0 with J. Paquette abstaining.

•Approved the bills of $19,066.

•Doyle spoke about grant monies that are available. Doyle said there are three programs and my suggestion is to put this on the next agenda.

The three programs: Local Road Improvement Program (for street and storm sewer projects) due to the county Nov. 1; Intent to Apply / Priority Evaluation and Ranking Formula (ITA/PERF) (for water and sewer projects) application due on Oct. 31; Multimodal Local Supplement (MLS) program (for street and storm) will pay 90% of a project, once awarded the grant will be available for six years, the minimum amount is $250,000, application due in Nov.

Doyle said, “Certainly apply. They don’t hold you to anything, if you decide you don’t want to use, then don’t use it. It will go the next guy.”

The council agreed and directed Doyle to start working on the paper work and the item will put it on the next agenda.

•Update on the Francis Street construction project. Pouring curb & gutter by middle of next week. Black topping will be taking place in two to three weeks.

•Approved same route for the homecoming parade. The council also approved blocking parking on Water Street Friday, Oct. 11 at 8:00 a.m. The parade is at 2:30 p.m.

•Approved allowing a bon fire at the city’s burning ground on Friday, Oct. 11.

•Approved purchasing chemicals for the waste water treatment plant at a cost of $31,900 per year.

•Approved spending $9,100 to rehabilitate well # 4, with an option to televise of $1,821. Peerless, Inc. of Kalamazoo, Mich. will do the work.

•No action on employees wishing to change their hours to starting at 6:00 a.m. and ending at 2:30 p.m., also not taking a half hour for lunch. Some starting 7:00 a.m. and some at 8:00 a.m. Wedige and Heim voiced their opinions that they didn’t like this at all. The item will be put on the next meeting’s agenda. Russell made a comment that he would be reluctant to allow employees not take a lunch break.

•Approved taking bids for the 2001 snow-plow truck.

•No action regarding a matter involving Marc Muehleip.

•Reilly asked for a meeting regarding the audit. Reilly said, “I’ve been here five years and I’ve never seen an audit.”