Embattled police chief still center of disgruntled residents ire
Animosity persisted in what's becoming the standard opening act for the Village of Roberts monthly Board of Trustees meetings. At issue it seems, is almost anything the police chief does or doesn't do.
Several disgruntled residents teamed up with board members Don and Scott Gerhardt and Mary Shemon to question Police Chief Daniel Burgess about a lack of police presence on village streets between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. citing unticketed traffic violations.
"Does the squad car ever come out of the garage?" asked Don Gerhardt.
Shemon added, "The department is the laughing stock of St Croix County."
In response to President Villard Moeri's suggestion to add additional officers, a resident responded, "We just need one that works when he's here."
Chief Burgess responded, "No Comment," and referred any additional accusations to his lawyer.
"I'm not trying to dismiss anyone's comments. We're just trying to better what we have. I'm open to hearing any suggestions to resolve the issue," Moeri said.
It was left that Moeri and Trustee Scott Gerhardt would meet with Burgess to discuss possible solutions including the addition of a log to document officers' whereabouts.
In a related discussion, the board approved Ordinance 2013-6R adding a 15-mile residency requirement to future contracts for police and fire personnel. The ordinance authored by village attorney Bill Radosevich is intended to align village policy with new state legislation.
Public Works Director John Bond told the board his department is closely monitoring water levels at all of the city wells. Levels have fallen two-and-a-half feet since the end of June due to a series of leaks that bled the system of as much as 100,000 gallons a day in combination with prolonged drought conditions.
The leaks have been fixed, but Bond warned that if drought conditions continue, the 15-foot level about the well heads could be reduced further. The effects of an irrigation operation on the south end of town are also being monitored but would require DNR intervention to regulate if it becomes necessary.
Several pieces of property owned by Ed Forletti have become substantially overgrown with weeds, which he has defended as planted prairie. The board approved cutting the properties by whatever means necessary and billing the cost to Forletti's taxes. The board also directed Bond to pursue a timely remedy for the sections of failing exterior stucco walls and leaking roof at the old library building budgeted at $3,500. Any additional work due to unforeseen circumstances would be budgeted at $10 per square foot.
In his report, Burgess told the board the opening day of school went smoothly even with the altered route at the elementary school. His department is also monitoring the truck traffic situation at 70th and Highway 65. Backups appear to be the result of poorly timed traffic lights, an issue he intends to discuss with the WisDOT to resolve.
In other business
--The board instructed Bond to place an ad in the paper advertising two retired pieces of village equipment, a John Deere mower and small dumper trailer, for sale.
--The board approved Ordinance 2013-9VB rezoning property owned by County Material Corporation clearing the way for construction of their proposed addition.
--The board approved Ordinance 2013-8VB rezoning the additional parcel of land recently acquired by the library to Institution 1 to clear the way for a new parking lot. The library board approved the installation of a new irrigation system yet this season to address lawn care needs.
--The board approved the business plan for the Taxi Company of St Croix LLC contingent on the operation of a single vehicle for as long as the business is located in a residential neighborhood.
--The board also approved a new three-year lease on the 10-acre parcel of land surrounding the Waste Water Treatment Plant for $75 per acre per year.
--The board approved the implementation of signage at locations around the village, to be determined, to address the issue of jake braking on village streets.