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Spring Valley nursing home to host firefighter training

By Sari Gordon

SPRING VALLEY—A use for the former Spring Valley Health Care Center was discussed by the local village board earlier this month.

Fire Chief Terry Shafer asked the board to consider a request by Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) to use the vacant nursing home for fire protection training. Students would get training in roof work, search and rescue, proper ladder techniques and more. All the activity would take place in the original structure, which is all-wood construction.

The board agreed that, as long as the college's insurance policy listed the village as insured, the request would be approved. Shafer also indicated interest in burning the structure for firefighter training.

In other business:

The owner of Bill's Bar appealed to the board on behalf of an employee. The employee filled out an operator’s license application and omitted a felony offense from 2006. He believed he was convicted as a minor and was therefore exempt from reporting, and the Minnesota offense was reduced to a "drinking ticket."

The board agreed the application was unclear and the village should arrange to meet with bar owners to review the procedure for applications. Police Chief John DuBois also agreed and the board voted to approve the application.

The Affordable Care Act seems to have created some possible inconsistencies in the health savings account benefits available to village employees. The differences arise from employees who are insured by the village and those who are insured through their spouses’ plans. According to insurance agent Pete Sorenson, the differences are negligible.

The board voted to approve the changes recommended by the personnel committee contingent on getting Sorenson's assurance in writing.

Village Clerk Rita Goveronski alerted the board to the issue of delinquent water bills. She reported approximately 30 out of 500 accounts are regularly behind. Although residents and businesses can arrange deferred payment, a small minority never catch up. At least one business is $10,000 to $12,000 behind and, according to village policy, due for service termination.

The board voted to re-enforce the simplified policy and encouraged Goveronski to end water service when appropriate.

Trustee Rich O'Connell reported the library committee currently has seven board members, each of whom serve three-year terms. The village policy states the committee may only have five members and two-year terms. O'Connell emphasized the library board operated best under the current arrangement, but Village President Marsha Brunkhorst indicated changing the village ordinance would be much more costly than bringing the committee into compliance.

Trustees agreed appointing members in July when all other appointments were made would be more convenient for the board.

Matt Shafer asked to mow the hay as he did previously on village land and would also like to spread fertilizer to increase the yield. The board agreed that, as long as Shafer did not expect renumeration for any losses, he was free to use the field as before.

The board took up the issue of an unusual denial of a $15,000 LRIP payment request. The basis for the refusal was twofold: the bid price was not listed correctly and a "prevailing wage" clause was not included in the original bid narrative. Jeff Nussbaum of Cedar Corporation, village engineering firm from Menomonie, explained the Pierce County administrator was advocating for the village and the engineering firm's claim the bid price variance was allowable under the "12 percent rule," and prevailing wage verbiage was covered in prevailing wage terms of all municipalities.

Goveronski outlined a discussion she had with Ross Johnson of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) in Eau Claire. Johnson inquired about the $300,000 allocated for the Glade Avenue bridge project. He urged the village to spend the grant money, warning neglecting to do so would endanger future grant prospects.

The board understood Pierce County had channeled the funds to other projects. Goveronski was to meet with Bill Zinner of the DOT in Spooner to get clarification on the matter.

DuBois reported three police employees have left the department. Two took full-time jobs and one resigned so he could run for the board. The state was rolling out mandated electronic ticketing and an annual audit of database inquiry procedures was being conducted.

Upcoming elections in April will have four candidates for three vacancies on the village board.

An agenda item regarding safety restrictions pertaining to the new bow hunting law changes was tabled due to the village attorney's illness.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 5.