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Library renovation one step closer

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Hammond Community Library Director Michelle Johnson was hoping to get the green light to go ahead with a needs assessment for the proposed library renovation at Monday night’s meeting, but the Hammond Village Board decided it needed more details from the two engineering firms before making a final decision.

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Village Trustee Laurie Gruber made a motion to go with Travis Schroeder’s proposal from Ayres Associates of Eau Claire, but the motion died on the table.

Village Trustee Sandy Brecht said she would prefer if Johnson and the library board have more say in who is chosen.

The board has heard proposals from Schroeder and Gayle Mack of General Engineering Company of Portage. The project includes developing a floor plan that provides accessible public meeting and program space; developing a preliminary code review for the second floor, which reviews egress, access, restroom requirements and occupancy; and identifying the structural integrity of the upper level and mezzanine areas.

According to an email from Mack, the estimated total project budget for the entire renovation project would be $320,000.

Trustees asked for clarification on structural, plumbing and electrical costs from GEC. According to Mack’s proposal, those wouldn’t be included in the $8,350 price tag for the initial needs assessment.

Ayres’ proposal, which Johnson described as “apples to apples” with GEC’s, has a cost estimate of $9,300.

Johnson agreed to get clarifications from Mack, meet with the library board and present an opinion at the next village board meeting.

Brecht promised Johnson a decision will be made at the next meeting.

Police department staffing

Trustee Mary Rivard expressed concern that Police Chief Rick Coltrain and police department clerk Jean Peterson would be gone at the same time in the near future. Coltrain will be out of town for a training and Peterson will be on vacation.

Rivard asked Coltrain who would be available at the police department to answer phones and citizen concerns if they are both gone.

“It says ‘to serve and protect’ in your motto,” Rivard said. “When we take that away, we’re not serving and we’re not protecting.”

Coltrain said serving and protecting is his main goal and that he takes it very seriously. He assured the board that an officer would be checking in frequently at the station and checking voicemails at least once per hour.

Other business

-- Coltrain was named emergency management director for 2014. He will be paid $1,000.

-- The board approved a leak detector for the Public Works Department not to exceed $2,700.

-- The board voted to move the village’s bank accounts to Citizens State Bank in Roberts. The village will save at least $1,200 a year in service fees.

-- Rivard and Trustee Lynn Pabst were appointed, along with Clerk/Administrator Sandi Hazer, to revise the employee handbook.

-- The board convened to closed session to review employees in the clerk’s office and Public Works Department.

-- A new code keypad was installed in the police department to provide for better emergency access.

-- The board approved the SCADA contract, which provided software to run the treatment plant contingent on receiving a certificate of liability. The cost is $1,800, plus $800 for refresher training for Public Works employees.

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Sarah Young
Sarah Young joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News. She covers primarily Hammond, Roberts and Somerset. Previously she free-lanced for the River Falls Journal, Hudson Star-Observer, RiverTown special publications and the Superior Catholic Herald. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. Before working at the New Richmond News, she was an assistant manager at Philander's Grill & Bar in Prescott. She lives in Prescott with her husband Mike and daughter Carolina.  
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