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Fisher wraps up loose ends at Roberts board meeting

The Monday, April 13, Village of Roberts board meeting opened with a public expression of thanks from outgoing Village President Eric Fisher.

"I want to offer my congratulations to Willard (Moeri)," Fisher said during the public concerns portion of the meeting. "And I want to thank the board for the time I've been allowed to serve."

Moeri, the immediate past president of the Village of Roberts, won last week's election with 136 votes to Fisher's 92 votes.

Water tower refurbishing

Mike Olson, of Utility Services, told the board that his company had inspected the Roberts water tower in November and reviewed it again recently.

"Because of the age of the water tower, it needs about $100,000 in repairs," said Rand Waughtal, board member.

Terry Dull, another board member, reminded the board that they had approved the refurbishing of the tower before but held off starting the project to see if any stimulus money was available.

"There is, but it doesn't include water towers," Dull said.

By signing with Utility Services, the Village of Roberts would pay $31,900 for the first five years to get it restored, which includes regular maintenance, and $16,100 would be the annual maintenance expense. Doreen Kruschke, village clerk, said a quarterly billing cycle would be preferable to a monthly or yearly cycle.

The board approved the contract and voted to paint the tower a "clear sky" blue with black lettering. The project will begin after Good Neighbor Days in early June and should be finished by Labor Day. While the tower is out of commission, Waughtal said the village will have a temporary tank with a different company to hold the water.

Sharing with Village of Hammond

John Bond, Public Works director, told the board that he had been considering signing a contract with local business Gator Maintenance to do street sweeping. However, he was approached by the Village of Hammond with an alternative.

"They have a street sweeper and will provide the equipment and operator in exchange for us going over with our chipper a few times a year," Bond said. He stipulated that each municipality would supply its own operators to alleviate any liabilities.

The board suggested getting an agreement in writing, but felt this gesture of government sharing would be beneficial.

"This is a no-brainer," Dull said.

Towing discussion put to rest

At the November 2008 board meeting, David Wilkens of Jerry's Towing approached the village board to ask for a rotating schedule for police tow requests. If a car needs to be towed out of a snow lane or to clear traffic, the Village of Roberts has usually called Roberts Towing and Repair. However, Wilkens said that was not fair.

"We're trying to come up with a fair solution," Wilkens said. "You don't regulate just one gas station or one restaurant."

Tom Peterson of Roberts Towing and Repair, said he usually gets about 30 calls a year from Roberts Police dispatch, when they are in the village limits.

Katy Kapaun, board member, asked if the driver was present at the time, would they be willing to disclose their prices so the customer could make an educated decision as to which company he would prefer.

"The police department can't enter into that type of capacity unless it's on a contractual basis," Wilkens said. "But if it's a police-ordered tow, we can do a fixed rate."

The big issue the board had with Jerry's Towing was that it was not located inside the Village of Roberts and Roberts Towing and Repair is.

"If we don't set up boundaries, we'd get businesses from Hudson or River Falls wanting to come in," Bond said. "If I have a line of cars to be towed in the snow, I'd have to wait for them to get out here."

"Is that the issue, that we're not in the village?" Wilkens asked. "We have 12-15 employees, we buy lunches here in the village, people live and work here. How much money are you spending on other businesses that aren't in the village?"

The board members said that those other businesses that he was referring to did not have direct competition with companies in Roberts.

"That's not apples to apples," said Scott Gerhardt, board member. "How do you see it's fair to take business from Terry when you are not in the village?"

Fisher stepped in and asked the board if anyone wanted to make a motion on this issue. No one did, so he said the issue died.

In other news:

• The police department reported that the county approved two squad cars to be outfitted with VisionsMOBILE equipment by September 2009. The village will just have to pay for air time cards, interface and printer paper.

• Waughtal offered to personally pay to install a bubble mirror to provide the village clerk office personnel with more security. Because there are no windows in the corridor, the personnel cannot see who is entering the building. The police department estimated a 12-inch mirror would cost about $85.

• The board approved to hire Cover-All LLC of Wisconsin to build the salt/sand storage building at a cost of $37,030. The had originally set up a budget of $40,000.

• The park board recommended spending $38,528 on lighting for the ball park to accommodate the need for more lights and taller poles. The board approved as it already had a $40,000 budget. The lights should be installed and functioning by Good Neighbor Days.

• Bond told the board that the bio-bags the village is selling for $1 each is getting good reception. After judging two less expensive bags inferior, the board approved Bond purchasing more of the current bags.

• The board approved buying 10 new garbage cans for the Main Street area before Good Neighbor Days.

• The library board said fundraisers are ongoing and the community block grant has been submitted to the Department of Commerce. Kapaun said they should know if they received the grant in a couple of weeks.

• The board approved Phantom Fireworks seller's permit and Phantom Fireworks shoot permit for Good Neighbor Days.

• The board approved Sidetrack Saloon and L&M Bar and Grill's liquor license extensions for Good Neighbor Days.

• Moeri takes office on April 21. He will preside over the next Village of Roberts board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, May 11 at the Village Hall.