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Siren call not reaching all Roberts residents

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A resident of the village spoke up during the public concerns portion of the Village of Roberts Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, about the warning sirens.

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He said that he lives less than a mile from the siren's location but could not hear it going off the other day when he was inside with his windows shut and air-conditioner unit off.

"We should move it to the center of town," he suggested, citing that currently the rotating siren encompasses a large section of open field.

"It should be warning the people, not protecting a cornfield."

Chuck Pizzi, board member, said that at the last meeting it was explained that the siren was not designed to "shake people out of bed."

"That siren is not for inside the house; it is there to warn people who are outside to seek shelter," Pizzi said.

Willard Moeri, village president, explained that at the meeting last month he had tested the siren's range with the manufacturer and it was tweaked to the maximum volume.

Police Chief Dan Burgess called dispatch to have them test all three sirens in the village during the meeting so the board members could hear them from inside a closed building. They could.

The board asked John Bond, public works director, to get some prices for the cost of moving the siren closer to the center of town.

Lee Johnson, of Veolia Environmental Services, attended the meeting to ask for a 3.4 percent cost of living increase to the village's trash bill.

She also explained that due to an error on her company's part, the village has not been charged the fuel surcharge as stipulated in the contract for the last year.

"That would be about 30 cents per household (a month) with 510-520 units in the village, depending on what places are vacant," said Johnson.

"I don't think this is the time for another rate increase," said Peter Tharp, board member.

Roughly calculating, the board estimated that the proposed cost of living increase would translate to be between 30-53 cents per month to each household, depending on the size of garbage container used.

One board member asked about getting bids for a new trash company, but it was determined that the contract still had some time left on it.

Johnson offered to lower the increase to 3 percent; the board members voted four to three to approve the new increase.

In other news:

• Moeri said the lines on Division Street will be painted in the spring.

• The village board was invited to the ribbon cutting of the Hudson Hospital on Oct. 8. Moeri asked any board members who were able to attend.

• Chief Burgess invited the board and audience members to the new Citizen's Academy classes the department is offering for free on Wednesdays. It is designed for adults to learn more about what the department does, such as handling firearms, doing traffic stops, etc.

• The board approved the Park Board to fix the foundation between the Park building and the stairs. They had enough money in their budget to cover the estimated $5,000 cost.

• After discussing it at length, the board decided to table the DSZ Concept plan to build a 450-ft commercial road near Highway 65. The board will have a special meeting at the Village Hall on Monday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m.

• The board agreed to the mutual aid agreement to include that the municipalities can charge for help. Bond explained that the wording was strictly so that, in extreme cases, the municipality can apply for FEMA financial aid; he said for smaller aid it was understood that many communities would not charge each other.

• Katy Kapaun, board member, said the library board did not meet due to a library employee being injured due to a warranty item. The situation is being worked through.

• The board approved Ordinance 2011-12 which prohibits entry or presence in public buildings while carrying firearms. Police officers are exempt from this ordinance.

• The board approved resolution 2011-R4, the new discipline and grievance procedure for the village.

• The board approved the Somerset Lions/Central St. Croix Chamber's picnic license request for Wednesday, Sept. 21.

• After a lengthy discussion with Tom Kortas, village auditor, the board approved a 1 percent water rate increase.

• The board went into closed session regarding a voluntary agreement of separation of administrative personnel.

• The Village of Roberts meets the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

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