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March 1st Richland Center City Council Meeting

The Richland Center City Council met Tuesday night and gave the final go-ahead for the Pine River Trails & Recreation DNR grant.

The grant will allow for a host of projects including improving canoe & kayak sites along the Pine River, pave the bike trail from Bohmann Drive to County O, and create state road bike routes within the city and county. The City of Richland Center and private community contributions must total $94,000 of the cost of the projects; however, according to Dale Bender of Southwest Partners, a large chunk of the private contributions have already been obtained, with additional financial and in-kind donations expected to help offset the city’s portion. The City Council’s approval last (Tues) night allowed the projects to move forward, with the bidding process expected to begin soon.

The City of Richland Center has identified five road projects that it looks to complete this summer. They are the portion of Union Street from Main to Church Street; Union Street from Church to Park; Union Street from Park to Sheldon; Gage Street from Sheldon to James Street; and Court Street from Orange to Jefferson Street. The total estimated costs according to Vierbicher Associates is just over $630,000. Bids for the projects will go out soon, with the awarding of contracts expected in early April. Construction will start at the end of April, with the completion anticipated for each by the end of July.

Funding for the Brewer Public Library Needs Assessment Study were reconsidered Tuesday night. It was explained that when the council voted in January to award the funds, it had improperly approved the motion. It was explained that because the requested funds were unbudgeted, it required a two-thirds majority vote to pass. When a re-vote was taken last evening, the motion failed on an identical 5-to-3 vote, with Alderpersons Mike Kauffman, Judy Shireman, and Lisa Miller again casting the “no” votes.

A general agreement was reached between the city and the Buena Vista Flying Club regarding the Richland Municipal Airport’s fuel tank. Resulting from Property Committee Meeting attended by club members, a recommendation was approved last night where the city would cover the cost of insurance for the existing tank, and the fuel charges imposed on the club could be either 50-cents over the city’s cost or 10% over the city’s cost – whichever is greater – for one year, renewable if the account is kept current. The city will then take ownership of the flying club’s tank when a new take is operational.

In other action from the Richland Center City Council meeting Tuesday night, approval was given for a memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Richland Center Police Union regarding a 50-cent per hour pay increase for Field Training Officers who are actively engaged in training duties. Police Chief Lucas Clements said that there is presently one Field Training Officer on staff, and that individual provides 12-weeks of hands-on training with new officers when they are hired onto the police force. He said it helps instill confidence in the new officers, but there is added commitment from the Field Training Officer who takes on that responsibility.

Finally, it was announced that in-person absentee voting for the spring General Election will take place at the Clerk’s Office between March 21st and April 1st.