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Roberts Board gets back to business

It was back to business as usual for the Village of Roberts.

With Eric Fisher, Village President, on a six-week leave, board member Katy Kapaun took control of the Aug. 11 Board Meeting.

The meeting opened with public comments about the overgrown empty lots around town.

"Any obnoxious weeds, it's their (landowners) responsibility if they are annexed into the Village," said Terry Dull, Board member. "We should only warn them once."

At present, the Village has to give the landowner 10-15 days to mow the offending property. If the owner refuses to mow, the Village steps in to do the job and the owner is charged for the service on their taxes.

However, John Bond, Public Works director, said it is difficult to clear the areas as they are usually rough and full of trash.

"It's hard on the equipment," Bond said. "What about houses which are in the middle of bankruptcy? If we went ahead and mowed, we'd get stuck with the bill."

The Board decided to let Bill Radosevich, Village attorney, look at the current ordinance to determine a timeline of when to send out the notices.

Insurance review

As the Village's insurance renewal date is in September, the Board received quotes from its current carrier, Wausau Insurance, and another carrier, League of Municipalities.

Darrel Zaleski, from the League, gave a presentation to the Board in which they would give an umbrella of $4 million coverage "across the board." This would include public official's liability coverage. At present, Wausau does not offer that coverage to the Village so they have a separate policy with Laub and Holton.

"The taxpayers cover what your insurance doesn't," Zaleski said.

The Board had a written quote from Wausau, though they were not present at the meeting. Some Board members suggested having them come to the September meeting and make a decision then.


Jim Zeller, developer, asked the Board for its cooperation in "marketing" Roberts.

"We are working on marketing materials to take some properties to end users," Zeller explained. "We want to wave the flag for Roberts as a place of economic development."

He said he wanted to have a unified vision for developing Roberts and asked that some Board members be willing to meet with potential businesses.

"We've already had two large distributors - one with a $16 million project - express interest," Zeller said, "but we would like to sit down with the Board, someone from CDA, the Village Engineer, etc."

"This is very timely," Kapaun said. "We can see many small businesses closing in town. You can count on the support of this Board."

In other news:

• A resident asked about getting signage to stop engine braking near Rolling Meadows. Kapaun suggested the resident start a petition and they will put the matter on the agenda for next month.

• Beth Pabst gave a presentation to the board about her bid to become the next Registrar of Deeds for St. Croix County.

• Bond said they are starting the lagoon project with the DNR and hope to start reconstruction of the dikes by Sept. 8.

• The Board discussed the possibility of hiring a new building inspector or contracting the job out once the current inspector retires at the end of the year. It was decided to let the Planning Commission determine that at its September meeting.

• Bond said the Public Works committee determined that a waste oil heater would not be cost-effective for the Village.

• The Board discussed the possibility of raising the cost of the extra water meters for residents' use that is currently a $5 minimum fee. Bond said they are losing money as people use it to fill 500-gallon swimming pools. The Board tabled the issue until they discuss it in committee.

• The Fire Association said they sold the 1969 Ford brush truck to a New Richmond resident for $5,800.

• The Library Board reported they had 180 children enrolled in the summer reading program, plus there is active involvement in the book club. Next fundraiser is the Sept. 13 golf tournament.

• The Board approved a picnic license for the Roberts Lions Club on Sept. 20 for the Fall Festival.

• The Board approved a liquor license extension for the Sidetrack Saloon's Second Annual Grill Cook-off on Sept. 20.

• Angi Goodwin, Village engineer, gave the Board a Village of Roberts official map regarding the Highway 65 corridor. It will be up for approval at the September Board meeting.

• The Board voted to compensate the Police Review Board using the payscale from the election workers.

• The next meeting of the Village of Roberts will be Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.