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Committee recommends Ellsworth board adopt budget

The Ellsworth Village Board Finance, Purchasing and Building Committee Monday recommended adoption of the 2014 village budget by the full board next month.

The budget will have a levy of $1,139,303, with an estimated mill rate of $6.10 per thousand dollars of value. Committee Chairman Curt Wandmacher said the mill has declined over the last four years.

The budget hearing is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 2, just before the village board’s monthly meeting when they will vote on the budget.

Village Public Works Director Greg Engeset reported to the board on the latest chlorination of the village’s water supply after samples taken found bacteria again. He told board members the chlorinating process was shorter this time than the process which took place a few weeks before and the residuals were out in about four hours.

Engeset said the village’s water towers will be inspected to look for the causes of the contamination, but he said the time may be coming in the future when the village will have to consider chlorinating the water supply year-round, similar to other communities in the county like Bay City, River Falls and Spring Valley, for example.

The tennis courts at Summit Park will be upgraded. The board unanimously approved a Parks, Recreation and Development Committee recommendation to work jointly with the school district to replace the tennis courts at Summit Park with new ones. The cost of putting in four new courts will come to $160,000, but a USTA (United States Tennis Association) grant the school will apply for should cut that cost by $50,000, and the remaining costs will be split between the village and the school district.

Board members acknowledged how working together with the school district on such projects has been productive. The courts have been in bad shape for many years and the Ellsworth High School tennis teams have been unable to host dual meets at the park.

Another of these joint projects between the village and the school district has been Young Field at Summit Park. Board members heard an update on the progress of renovations there. The sod has been laid and sprinklers installed. Additional red rock will be needed for the infield to bring it to final grade and ensure correct water runoff. There are also repairs needed for the right field. The school is planning to build a 10x20-foot storage shed on skids and repairs will be made to the batting cage. Fencing will also need to be installed along the bullpen.

The board took action on several agenda items. They unanimously approved naming Village Police Chief Eric Ladwig as the new Animal Warden/Humane Officer, placing an ad in the annual visitor’s guide for $474, granting the 2014 mobile home license for Cudd’s Evergreen Estates and accepting the audit contract with Wipfli for 2013.

The full board also unanimously approved committee recommendations to hire Zachary Schultz as a full-time police officer, renew the village’s health insurance policy with Health Partners on Dec. 1 with a 10 percent premium increase, adopt a new policy establishing part-time employment at 30 hours or less and going with the workman’s compensation and liability insurance policies offered by the League of Municipalities Mutual Insurance at a $79,651 premium for 2014.