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Village of Ellsworth Board, May 4, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 2:52pm




Pres. DeWolfe called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room located in Village Hall.

Members Present: Trustees Dick Hines; Curt Wandmacher; Rick Sweig; David Deiss; Neil Gulbranson; Kenny Manfred 

Staff Present: Clerk; Peggy Nelson, Public Works Director; Greg Engeset

Others Present: Village Attorney; Robert Loberg - arrived 8:08 p.m., Brad's Corner Liquor; Brad Marx, Pamida; Dan Washburn

APPROVAL OF MINUTES - April 6, 2009 Regular Meeting and April 21, 2009 Organizational Meeting:

MSC Deiss/Manfred to approve minutes as submitted. Unanimous.

APPROVAL OF BILLS: MSC Manfred/Gulbranson to approve payment of vouchers submitted for audit to date.  Unanimous. 

#17461-17462, 17496-17582           

General fund - $267,897.02                          

Water fund - 11,255.92                          

Sewer fund   - 15,277.60

Public comment on non-agenda items: None

Pamida; Dan Washburn address previous request to amend Municipal Code Section 12.06 (2) (c) - Quota on "Class A" Licenses for sale of intoxicating liquors, present store plan for sale of off-sale liquor:

Dan addressed the board apologizing for not being in attendance at the 4/21 meeting, informing them of facts he had researched related to alcohol sales.  Pamida is looking at a 4 ft. section in the front of the store by the checkouts, which would be enclosed, monitored and closed off during off-sale hours, housing 1/2 wine and 1/2 liquor products.  He feels competition is limited and does not feel it would hurt Brad's Liquor Store as they do not plan to advertise hard liquor only beer products they currently sell plus they have a set pricing guideline they need to follow.  He feels that sales would be a direct impulse item, hoping to get people heading north out of town that may stop here in town versus stopping out of town, looking to generate $2000 - $3000 profit from adding off sale which in turn may increase food sales as food sales goes with wine sales. He questioned if current retail businesses like Pamida would be grandfathered in if the current ordinance is left in place when the population reaches 4000, who would get the license?  He feels competition is good, any type of business that may come into Ellsworth would hurt Pamida, noting that they had a negative $300,000 in sales in 2008, with sales being up 300% this season, any profit they can generate from other items they can offer for sale will help Pamida stay in business, noting they just installed an ice machine.  Trustee Neil Gulbranson questioned the limited competition statement with all the bars selling off-sale,  what happened in regard to plans for a fast food to be attached to Pamida, getting more businesses out there and if Pamida could do anything to help the village to add new business to that area.  Dan informed Neil that he was not aware of the bars selling off-sale as he came from Minnesota, he would contact Jim Larson, founder of Pamida, and see if he would be willing to help solicit more businesses, noting that Pamida rents the building and does not own it, Pamida does not have any plans to add business in that area that he is aware of.  Gulbranson asked Dan if he was aware of the covenants put in place limiting other types of business in the park that would be of competition to Pamida with Dan informing Neil he did but feels this will have to change as competition is good, any new business in that area would bring additional foot traffic which would benefit Pamida and any other businesses that would locate there.  Pres. DeWolfe informed the board that whoever made the original motion and second at the April 21st board meeting would need to rescind their motion, however at this time he feels that this issue should go back to the Health, License, Welfare Committee and start over, bring a recommendation back to the board.  Brad Marx informed the board that he has been dealing with this issue for a few years now and won't go thru his reasons again as to why the ordinance should not be changed, he is basing his trust in the integrity of the board and counting on the board to keep the ordinance in place which is what people count on to do their business, the people that put ordinances in place need to look at this and keep it in place.  He has been thinking about this and thinks that 4000 population is high and has some suggestions and would like to be involved when the committee meets.  Trustee Neil Gulbranson commented that we talk about this every month and that he does not want to see this issue coming back to the board every month. Pres. DeWolfe along with other board members agreed that everyone has the right/opportunity to come to the board to ask that an ordinance be amended. 

Adopt Resolution No. 2009-3 establishing sewer rates: MSC Wandmacher/Gulbranson to adopt increasing sewer rates July 1, 2009 3.8%,   quarterly service charge rate from $15.25 to $15.82 plus volume charge of $2.68 to $2.78 per hundred cubic feet per customer.  Unanimous.

Letter to Congressman Ron Kind and State Legislature asking for grant assistance/support: Trustee Neil Gulbranson informed the board that at the meeting the County held with Ron Kind's office, Kind informed those present that he would like copies of any applications submitted by municipalities so that he can contact the people that would be involved with the application process.  No action taken.

Discuss Delinquent Utility Bills/collection process: Information given to the board by Clerk Nelson showed an outstanding balance due of $46,570.43 as of 5/4/09 plus an outstanding balance due from the 2008 tax roll of $6208.65 and from tax roll years 2003-2007 an amount of $1456.88. Collection and disconnection process was discussed by the board, along with Clerk Nelson and PWD Engeset, with the board in agreement that property owners who have had their outstanding bill put on the previous year's tax roll should have their service disconnected if they are still not making an attempt to pay their bill.  Board agreed to put this as an agenda item for June, with a copy of the past due report at that time to board members for a dollar comparison.


Plan Commission:

4/20/09 Trustee Rick Sweig - Continued work on developing a Comprehensive Plan for the Village of Ellsworth addressing corrections/additions from the 3/16/09 meeting along with, Goals, Objectives, Programs, Policies & Actions, Utilities & Community Facilities and Community Facilities Map.  Next meeting date 5/18/09, 7 p.m. to address corrections/additions from 4/20/09 meeting, Public Participation, Goals & Objectives, Maintaining Water Quality, Agricultural, Natural & Cultural Resources, Today's Goals & Objectives, Land use Map and Prime Soils Map.

Water & Sewer: Committee met with Roccy Raymond from SEH Engineering Firm to discuss Economic Stimulus Funds for upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.  He informed the committee that the Village has a slim chance of getting monies this year do to projects already submitted.  Reviewed and discussed various options including a new Wastewater Treatment Facility.  MSC Deiss/Wandmacher to accept committee recommendation and hire SEH to do a full facility plan for the Wastewater Treatment Plant at an estimated cost of $30,000 - $40,000, plan to be used for future grants or stimulus monies if they become available.  Unanimous.

Library Board: 4/28/09 Trustee Curt Wandmacher - April circulation 10,051 items with 43 new cards issued.  Discussed the State Investment Pool and investing options.  No action taken on fine money, meeting will be set up with the Library Board, Village Finance Committee and John Thompson from IFLS. Shelley and Janet will attend a long range planning workshop, Shelley and Laurie attended a basic computer class.  Staff meetings are being held the 1st Wed. of each month.  Discussed wage increases to be more competitive with other Libraries in the area.  Library will be closed Friday, July 3rd.  Next meeting date May 26th, 6:30 p.m.

Public Safety - Ellsworth Ambulance quarterly meeting: 4/21/09 Trustee Rick Sweig - nominations for officers held with officers to remain the same.  River Falls Hospital transfers discussed and they are following the plan as given by the new director.  Information was presented about the possibility of a joint building venture between the Ellsworth Fire Association, Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service and the Village of Ellsworth.  Plans were shown, decided more information is needed as to what each departments needs are and a plan as to what each brings to the table toward this building with a meeting scheduled to work out more details.  Next meeting date July 21, 2009, 7:30 p.m.  Sweig questioned the joint venture building as he had not seen anything come before the Village Board.  Dave Deiss informed the board that there would be no financial involvement from the Village, making application under the Village of Ellsworth would give them a better chance of getting funds.

License, Health, Welfare: Set meeting date for 5/12/09, 5 p.m.

Solid Waste, Cable TV, Special Committee: 4/8/09 Trustee Dick Hines - met with Chris Hove of Veolia Environmental Services to discuss their contract that expires 12/31/09.  Last increase was in 2007, Village has no major problems with Veolia.  Chris informed the committee that the state could add another charge per ton this year for garbage, he should know by July and feels that there is a need to educate residents about recycling to help cut back on garbage.  No action at this time.

Chief of Police report: Absent

PWD Engeset report: -Requested a meeting of the Street & Sidewalk Committee to address sidewalks, streets and retaining walls.  Date set for 5/20/09, 5:30 p.m. -Safe Routes to School Grant; told by engineer that it may be 2010 before we see any funding due to the state review process -Old Jr. High School Building; has been in contact with new owner, majority of items outside have been cleaned up.  Board discussion on zoning violation with the business being a warehousing business versus a commercial business open to the public, Greg to contact owner and advise him to make application to the Plan Commission or he may be subject to fines for being in violation of the Zoning Ordinance.

OLD BUSINESS: -Trustee Dick Hines brought up discussion on the odor coming from the Biosolid Facility which seems to be worse since the new equipment has been installed.  He feels it is back to day 1 when we had the odor problems; 2-3 years were good, now he can't open his windows due to the smell. He has seen that the doors in the back and service doors remain open which are to stay closed which might be part of the problem.  Discussion held with the board in agreement to have Carl and Sam come to the next board meeting to address the odor issues and give an update on the facility along with a time table on improvements.

-Trustee Rick Sweig questioned if the improvements to the English Lutheran Church parking lot would be done this year.  PWD Engeset informed him that it is his understanding that it is a go, also noting that Ridge road is a go.  Road will be widened 6-8 ft., estimated cost under by $1200. 

-Trustee Rick Sweig questioned the status of the complaint in March on the outdoor wood burner in East End which is in violation of the Municipal Code.  Discussion held, noting that he is in violation and subject to fines.  Owner will be notified of the Health, License, Welfare Committee meeting on May 12th to attend. 

NEW BUSINESS: Village President Jerry DeWolfe asked, as he is curious, if anyone has recd any complaints in regard to the students parking on Woodworth St. by the Catholic Church as he has observed the street full of cars, wondering what the church does when they have a funeral or something going on.  Discussion held with PWD Engeset informing the board that he has also noticed that they are parking on S. Grant St. 

ADJOURNMENT: MSC Hines/Deiss to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m.  Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted:                                       

Peggy A. Nelson-Clerk

Published June 24, 2009 25 1C