Richland Center City Council January 3rd Meeting

The Richland Center City Council met for the first time in 2017 Tuesday night, January 3rd.

At the meeting the council granted approval of advertising for bids to repair flood damage from last summer along the Pine River. It was explained by Electric Utility Superintendent Dale Bender that the Federal Emergency Management Association could provide up to 75% of the costs associated with debris clean-up on a portion of the river as well as bank restoration to pre-flood conditions. Bender, who is also a member of Southwest Partners and the Friends of the Pine, explained that both projects face a limited timetable of March 21st to be eligible for that level of funding. The area that will receive the focus of debris removal is between Bowens Mill and Industrial Drive, where Bender said about 50 trees toppled into the water. While the exact cost of the debris removal won’t be known until the bids come in, Dale Bender said a rough estimate for the project is $30,000. The bank restoration – which largely includes rip rap – did not have a rough cost estimate at this time. In the end, the council approved the start of both bid processes. It’s the hope that bids will be received soon, to allow the projects to be approved and completed prior to the mid-March deadline.

The Richland Center City Council began the process to establish wage scales for each job within the city. The work will begin with the Personnel & Insurance Committee, however input will be sought from the council members at large during the process. Mayor Paul Corcoran indicated that the initial goal is to have a plan in place prior to 2018, but could be instituted prior to the end of this year if it’s completed. Corcoran said that he would also work on developing a timeline to get the wage scales finalized.

A discussion took place regarding a potential resolution that establishes who is authorized to operate city equipment and vehicles. A resolution was brought to the council that allowed current city employees, the mayor, or Common Council member with proper safety equipment, training and permission from the related department head to authorize the city’s vehicles or equipment. Some council members questioned whether or not that opened up insurance and liability issues. City Attorney Jay Robb indicated that he would work with the City Clerk to help refine the resolution to bring it within the boundaries of liability and insurance. The resolution will be presented to the council at a later date.

In other action from the Richland Center City Council meeting Tuesday night, the council approved an updated purchasing policy that deals primarily with petty cash, charge accounts with businesses, and the use of credit cards within the city. The council also gave formal approval to the purchase of a new stainless steel v-box sander for the Street Department in the amount of $10,300 from Universal Truck. Finally, it was announced that three of the four City Council seats will be contested in the spring. Incumbent Marie Rakow will be challenged by Dan Schwinefus in District #1. Justin Lockwood will challenge incumbent Lisa Miller in District #2. And incumbent Bill Kloehn finds challenger Kathy Troxel in District #4. Only Marsha Machotka, the current representative in District #3 will be unchallenged during the Spring General Election in April.