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Town of River Falls: Damaged fence leads to heated accusations

At last week's River Falls Town board meeting, Chairwoman Diana Smith explained steps she took regarding damage to a fence said to be caused by a town employee while mowing last summer.

The fence was on property owned by town resident Vernon Kelly. When the damage was discovered, Kelly phoned the police department and an officer came out in response. The officer told Kelly to contact the town board and report the damage. Allan Kelly, Vernon's son, was present at the meeting to represent his father.

Allan Kelly claims that the board was notified soon after the officer's visit and Kelly was angry that Smith did not respond in a timely manner.

Smith said she went out to the property and viewed the fence as soon as she was made aware of the damage allegedly made by the town's road crew. She reported that the fence was down when she went out to view it.

Smith stated that the road crew had no recollection of knocking the fence down or even hitting the fence. Smith said she contacted the sheriff's department and obtained a report but was told no photos were taken of the fence.

The official report stated that there appeared to be mower tracks but Smith said the report contained no useful information in determining how the damage was sustained.

Standing in front of the board members, Allan Kelly continued to argue with Smith about not taking action in a timely manner. Kelly also said that Smith should have contacted his father to notify him that she was out to view the fence. He also said that the town is lucky they are not being sued and all his father wants is compensation for the damages.

Supervisor Brad Mogen said he wanted to see a written estimate and would like to speak to Vernon Kelly regarding the amount of money he thinks the fence is worth.

Allan Kelly said his father had sent an estimate to the board months ago but Smith said she did not recall receiving it.

Supervisor Tom Sitz stated that he remembers seeing it and that Kelly was asking for approximately $500. Smith said she will call town attorney Bob Loberg to get his opinion on the claim.

In other action:

  • David Kusilek who resides at W10175 690th Avenue was present to request temporary liquor licenses and class B licenses for upcoming annual events on his property. The first event being held on May 22 is "Dust 'Em Off" and Kusilek provided proof that he has met all the new county rules and regulations for the events.
  • Regarding the request for a temporary liquor license for the annual tractor pull scheduled for July 21, Smith said she was very uncomfortable with allowing liquor to be served during Farm Technology Days (July 20-22). "...we should not have another alcohol event during Farm Tech Days; we will have our hands full and we are (already) stressing out every emergency agency we've got," said Smith.

    Mogen disagreed saying he did not think allowing beer and wine for the tractor pull would be a problem but Sitz stated that he also had an issue with approving the liquor license. The Board agreed to issue class B permits for "Dust 'Em Off", the tractor pull and Harvest Days scheduled for August 27-29 but voted to disallow liquor for the tractor pull with Mogen voting in opposition.

  • Recycling Center employee Michele DeLong-Reiter was present to discuss a new recycling program proposal and to report on an issue with Waste Management.

    DeLong-Reiter said that Waste Management overcharged for the months of October, November and December in 2009. The town's contract was to pay $39 per month but the town was charged the new 2010 rate of $42 for the last three months in 2009. Smith requested that DeLong-Reiter try one more time to resolve the matter before the board gets involved.

    The proposed recycling program is the collection of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Delong-Reiter said that these items release radioactive materials when broken and recycling collection would prevent the materials from getting into the ground. The board approved the program and a $3 charge per unit will be added to the recycling center fee schedule.

  • Zoning Administrator Jerome Rodewald reported that beginning April 22, contractors will be required to attend education classes and obtain certification for working on homes containing lead-based materials. The new state requirement applies to homes built prior to 1978. The town's next newsletter will provide homeowners with information regarding the new state laws and when they will need to hire a certified contractor.

    Patricia Huber can be reached at

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