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Garbage charge up, fire charge down for village

The Ellsworth Village board approved a monthly 10 cent increase in garbage cart charges for the fourth quarter at the monthly meeting Monday evening.

The increase was requested by the village’s trash hauler PIG of Hager City due to increased charges at local landfills. The increase was recommended by the solid waste committee and was adopted unanimously by the board members, all of whom were present.

However, fire charges for the village are set to go down. Board members heard a report on the latest Ellsworth Fire Service Association meeting Sept. 16. The village’s share of the EFSA’s budget is set to go down $140 from $30,287 to $30,147. The EFSA Board also agreed to keep its current officers for the 2013-14 term, including Chairman Jim Harris of the town of Trimbelle and Vice Chairman Jim Fetzer of the town of Salem.

The board approved several recommendations from the Finance, Purchasing and Buildings Committee. Board members unanimously agreed to raise election inspector wages from $8 to $11 per hour and the wages of the chief election inspector from $8.50 to $12 per hour.

They also unanimously agreed to renew the space lease agreement with the Hunger Prevention Council of Pierce County inside the Village Hall for three years at $810 per month. Board members unanimously agreed to use water impact fees to install a pressure reducing station on North Brown Street for the new senior assisted-living facility. This will have the effect of separating the two water towers in the village into separate systems.

The board also heard a preview of the 2014 village budget. The amount of the allowable levy limit increase for next year is $11,236. There will be an increase in shared revenue from the state of $23,842. The estimated increase in the budget for 2014 will be $35,078 which includes a $5,000 increase in funding to the Ellsworth Ambulance Service.

Village Public Works Director Greg Engeset gave his report on the chlorination effort the village undertook when coliform bacteria was discovered in the water supply last month. Approximately 134 regular hours plus 43 hours overtime (not including Engeset’s time) was spent from the middle of September to the beginning of October chlorinating the water and testing samples. An additional $1000 to $1,500 was spent on testing kits.

Ten safe samples were found from testing Sept. 23 and 24 and nine such samples were found from testing Oct. 1-3 to verify the water supply’s safety to the satisfaction of the Department of Natural Resources.

Engeset also reported the renovations the Summit Park baseball diamond (Young Field) is progressing and that new sod has been put down, new sprinkler system installed and the concrete for the new field drains has been poured. The project will be completed when the restoration of both the backstop and right field is finished, although the school district is looking at adding a shed to store its equipment.

The fall clean-up dates were set for Oct. 19-26.

In other regular agenda items, the board approved by a 5-1 vote to allow the Fraternal Order of Masons/Eastern Star organization to put its sign on the “Welcome to Ellsworth” signs at the village limits. Trustee Rick Sweig was the only dissenting vote.

Sweig also commented that the village could do more in terms of notification of residents during village-wide problems, actions or events such as the chlorination process.

De Wolfe said he received similar concerns from village residents and said the village had contingency plans for door-to-door notification and the use of media to notify residents if the situation got worse.