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Village board updated on biosolids facility

In its hour-long-plus meeting Monday, the Ellsworth Village Board covered a variety of topics. Among them, board members:

--Heard from Eugene Laschinger, representing Town and County Engineering, who gave an update on the West Central Wisconsin Biosolids Facility. Laschinger presented a list of potential goals the committee representing the facility would like to achieve within the next 10-20 years. He also talked about changing some of the technologies at the facility, but it's going to come down to costs.

He also discussed odor, which Village President Gerald DeWolfe confirmed was the village's number one concern. Laschinger said he believed the odor was caused due to operations, but it's getting better, which DeWolfe and fellow Trustee Dick Hines agreed with, as Hines said he lives near the facility.

Hines' main question had to do with spreading, which he described as very potent. Laschinger's response was that, to stop it, an increase in costs might occur, but that's the price of doing business. Overall, Laschinger also told the board that, if the village gets a complaint about the facility, let his company know and they'll deal with it.

--Approved an ordinance which created an additional chapter about the fire department. Of note, the Ellsworth Fire Department will now be known as the Ellsworth Fire Services Association and Brent Langer, current fire chief, will also hold the office of fire inspector. Furthermore, board members approved another ordinance which amended various sections of the municipal code. Most of the changes revolved around pay for the board members, which they approved in December.

--Got an update from Police Chief Greg Place on the Safe Routes to School Grant plan. Place said the application is nearing its completion and the meeting, which was to be held yesterday, should be the last one, as the application had to be postmarked to the Department of Transportation (DOT) by March 15. The target areas start on Piety Street by St. Francis and will go all the way down to Panther Street, where the middle school is located, along with a trail area behind the high school, which is on school grounds. He also said because the DOT wants to spread the money to as many communities as possible, officials here figure the grant amount to be around $200,000.

--From committee reports, approved Kim Huppert as a Demo Site attendant, with Wayne Schaar as the alternate; learned six candidates out of about 30 were chosen to be interviewed for the vacant library director position; and purchased two lift stations needing alarms, an eight-channel dialer for TPC, alarm light and horn for $3,350, split between the water and sewer fund.

--During Place's monthly police update, he requested and was authorized to start looking for part-time help for the department as he said they've been short-handed for a while.

--Tabled a letter from U.S. Cable requesting to renew its services with the village until 2015. Presently, the village is in a contract with U.S. Cable until 2010. The matter will be discussed by the Solid Waste, Cable TV and Special Committee and the item will be discussed at the April meeting.

--Praised the Department of Public Works for their work in plowing the streets after the snowstorm last week. Trustee Neil Gulbranson said he had around five people come up to him, praising their work, which he let Public Works Director Greg Engeset know.

--Set the April board meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, April 2.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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