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Soldiers Grove Board discusses roadwork
Soldiers Grove

SOLDIERS GROVE - As many may have noticed, the county is forging ahead with roadwork along County Highway C, which they are trying to complete before Dairy Days in Soldiers Grove, June 15-17.

Driving through the old downtown area, motorists are treated to the pleasure of driving on a new stretch of smooth black asphalt.

“The cost will come in a little higher because the county went all the way to the curb,” Trustee Shayne Chapman reported. “But I think it looks really nice, and doing the area between the road and the curbs will make the road surface last longer. However, next time the road will have to be completely torn up and redone – this is the last time we can apply a band aid to that road.”

There was discussion of the county’s plans to sealcoat the new blacktop as extra protection to make the new surface last longer. Chapman asked the board if he should get a quote to apply the sealcoat all the way to the curb, and the board directed him to obtain the quote.

Director of Public Works Brian Copus did not attend the meeting, but like everyone else, is working with his team to prepare for Dairy Days.

“Brian and his crew have been focused this last week on cleaning up the cemetery, and getting the new manholes installed before new blacktop is laid,” Village Clerk Tammy Kepler reported.

One local resident, Diane Coleman, attended the meeting and spoke during the public input section of the agenda.

“When is the board going to do something about all the holes in the roads,” Coleman asked. “There’s potholes so big out on Tavern Road a kid could fall in and die, and the area over the new culvert is sinking.”

Board President Steve George was quick to agree that the holes out there needed immediate attention.

“Brian just needs to get some cold mix so they can get out there and do some patching,” George explained. “That road is getting lots more traffic with folks trying to avoid the construction on 61, and we need to get that done before Dairy Days.”

Coleman also questioned the board about some of the residences in town not mowing their lawns. George responded that the way the village handles that is to send out notices of violation of the village ordinance, and a ticket. There was also discussion about a boat sitting in the yard of a property that had been vacant for some time. The boat had filled up with water, and was judged to be a health hazard for being a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Both President Steve George and Trustee Ray Davidson agreed that the problem could likely be solved by just opening up the drain on the boat.

The board also agreed to pay for two police officers to be present at Dairy Days for Friday and Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., and to spray for mosquitoes before the event.

Fire department

There was a lively discussion of some problems with the new brush truck purchased by the village, and a request by Fire Chief Ben Clason to keep the old brush truck for a back-up. Clason was not able to attend the meeting.

Chapman, who serves on the Soldiers Grove Volunteer Fire Department, had attended the last ‘Redcoats’ meeting. He reported that the new brush truck was not able to accommodate two fire hose reels.

“Ben has contacted the company to report the problem,” Chapman said. “The company said if we remove it from the truck, they will pick it up and refund the full cost to us. Removing the second reel will give us space to fit the jaws and other equipment into the truck.”

President Steve George was quite upset about Clason’s request to retain the old brush truck.

Waving a stack of printed out minutes from old meetings, George stated that “all these minutes document the number of times that Ben came to our meeting and informed us that the brush truck was on its last legs, and had to be replaced.”

George moved that Clason be given until the end of June to clean out the old brush truck, which would then be put up for sale in July.

By roll call vote, the board unanimously approved the motion. Trustee Chapman abstained from the vote.

Chapman also moved that the board support the department’s integration into the countywide Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS).

“The only expense, a very minor expense, that the village will have to pay is to get the tags,” Chapman reminded the board. “All of the departments in the county have voted to participate in the system, and the county will take care of everything else.”

The board voted unanimously to approve purchase of the tags.

Raze and remove

 By roll call vote, the board voted unanimously to direct Village Clerk Tammy Kepler to send notice of the village’s intention to raze and remove the property at 100 Prospect Street to the property owner.

“I will go ahead and get this sent out tonight, and then the owner has 30 days from the date of the postmark to respond,” Kepler said.

CDC report

Tammy Kepler reported that Laurel Hestetune has taken over as president of the CDC, and has recruited Bob Froiseth to the committee, in addition to President Steve George and Clerk Tammy Kepler.

Kepler reported that both of the recipients of loans from the village are making regular payments.

In cash accounts, the money market balance is $64,501.05, and the regular checking balance is $303.46.

As far as room taxes, Country Gardens is current, and the Old Oak Inn and Roth House owe for third and fourth quarters 2017, and first quarter 2018.

The board voted to approve a donation to the County Clean Sweep program of $100, and a donation to the Driftless Wisconsin advertising campaign of $250. Both donations were equal in amount to the donations made to the same entities the year before.

Later in the meeting, the board also approved a donation of $300 to the Gays Mills Fire Department to help pay for the Fourth of July fireworks display, and to spend an estimated $300 to replace the drinking fountain the Village Hall.

CMA report

Tammy Kepler told the board that the village had received all ‘A’s’ on their 2017 Compliance Maintenance Report, except for receiving an ‘F’ in ‘finance,’ and a ‘C’ in phosphorous.

“We’re working on the phosphorous, and finance should improve dramatically on the 2018 report,” Kepler said. “The reason for the ‘F’ in finance was all the bills the village paid last year to Davy Engineering.”

The board moved and voted unanimously to approve the 2017 CMA report.

License approvals

The board voted unanimously, by roll call vote, to approve the following liquor licenses contingent upon them being current with their room tax payments: TazZee’s Wonder Bar and Restaurant, LLC, Class “B” Beer and Liquor; Country Gardens Motel & Lounge, LLC, Class “B” Beer and Liquor; American Legion/Wm. Schoville Post 220, Class “B” Beer and Liquor; R.K. Campbell’s One-Stop, LLC, Class “A” Beer and Liquor; and Starfish Consulting, Inc., DBA: Old Oak Inn, Class “B” Beer and Liquor.

The board also unanimously approved applications for cigarette licenses, and for operator (bar tending licenses).

The next meeting of the board will be moved from Thursday, July 5 to Thursday, July 12.