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RF town: New policy to address ditch mowing

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government Ellsworth, 54011

Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

The citizens' road maintenance complaints have been heard and the Town of River Falls Board is responding with a policy.

While only in the beginning stages, the roadside upkeep policy will address some recent complaints.

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The Town Board went through the preliminary draft and made corrections at last week's regular meeting.

The board believes it's the town's "...duty to maintain roads," including along the roadside.

Recent complaints about town employees mowing landowner's property has required a provision on the width of ditch mowing.

The new policy will set that limit at eight feet, which is the width of one swipe of the lawn mower.

As Town Board Supervisor Brad Mogen pointed out, "We are not going all the way back to the corn fields. It's a waste of time."

Town Chairwoman Diana Smith agreed: "An eight-foot swath is enough. I know it will help with pushing the snow back, but the stuff (brush) dies off anyway."

The only time the eight-foot limit may be exceeded is when safety is an issue.

Provisions, such as requiring residents to keep the areas around utility boxes, mailboxes and fire numbers clear, are also included in the policy.

Numerous residents have voiced concern about trees hanging over the roads that obstruct views.

The Town Board is taking this into consideration and the new roadside maintenance policy also addresses tree cutting/maintenance.

At the Oct. 3 board meeting a corrected copy of the policy will be available, discussed and possibly adopted.

Town of Kinnickinnic Chairman Roger Van Beek came before the Town of River Falls Board to ask permission to place a sign on the town's property.

At Kinnickinnic's last Town Board meeting, a resolution to change Saddle Club Road, 830th, to a Class B Highway with weight restrictions was voted on and approved.

Both towns own a portion of Saddle Club, but since the town of River Falls did not change its half to Class B, a sign needs to be posted.

Van Beek asked to place a sign on the corner of Hwy. 29 and Saddle Club, warning drivers of the forthcoming weight restriction.

Mogen wondered where the sign would be placed.

"Are they going to be already turning when they see the sign? Are they going to have to back up?" he asked.

Van Beek assured him that that sign will be placed in such a way so that it can be seen before a driver turns.

He also reminded the board that this will not affect anyone living on Saddle club. "Residents can still receive deliveries," VanBeek said. "The truck drivers will need a bill of sale or something similar."

Supervisor Siri Smith still had a few concerns.

First, she didn't think there was a traffic issue with passing through trucks. Smith has talked to three residents who live on Saddle Club. None report any issue with passing-through trucks.

Second, she felt because the road is monitored by two county sheriffs' offices, enforcement would be an issue.

Diana Smith reminded her that the enforcement issue would only be a St. Croix County issue, since the weight restrictions are only in one county.

Siri Smith reiterated that she was still not in favor of the sign and viewed it as over-regulation.

Mogen agreed with Siri Smith, but felt the board should let Kinnickinnic put up the warning sign.

He did, however, want to make sure that the sign indicated that the town of Kinnickinnic had the weight restrictions for trucks, not the town of River Falls.

Van Beek confirmed that that was the plan.

He told the River Falls board that the main reason for the sign at Hwy. 29 is to eliminate a potential safety issue, since trucks turning around at the town border could create a traffic issue.

Diana Smith felt that, "...putting up the sign won't hurt us. We are just going to be protecting ourselves from the traffic turning around on our road."

The board voted 3-2 to approve the request for the sign. Siri Smith and Supervisor Tom Sitz were the opposing votes.

The town also:

--Decided to replace the current Town Hall roof with asphalt shingles. The decision between asphalt shingles and steel came down to cost, with steel being about $4,000 more. As Sitz pointed out, "...Steel pretty much priced itself out."

The reroofing will be contracted with Mike Shley. In addition to the roof, Shley also put a bid in for gutters.

The total cost for both the roof and gutters is $7,525, less than the $8,000 budgeted. Siri Smith is hoping to get the roof and gutter done before the end of the year.

--Heard that it's been six months since the Pierce County ATV Association has had use of 720th Street. The group will come before the board at the next meeting to ask for an extension, as well as another area to be opened up.

"There have been zero complaints, so I don't see this being an issue," Mogen said. More discussion on this will take place at the Oct. 3 meeting.

--Heard Recycling Center Supervisor Michele DeLong-Reiter present an estimated 2012 recycling budget of $33,248. That budget will be sent to the state to qualify for a slice of a recycling grant.

Said Diana Smith: "The town will not get the whole amount. The grant is based on a per capita amount."

The board thanked DeLong-Reiter for her diligence in assembling the budget.

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