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Kastens appointed emergency management director

Following a closed session Monday night, the Roberts Village Board announced the appointment of police officer Joe Kastens to the position of emergency management director. Kastens will assume the duties of the new position in conjunction with his existing responsibilities as a police officer. Kastens brings experience with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the position. The board agreed to compensate Kastens at a rate of $300 per month for his additional responsibilities. The board also agreed to begin the search to hire an officer to fill a vacancy within the department.

Baldwin Area Medical Center

At a public hearing preceding Monday night’s board meeting, Baldwin Area Medical Center CFO Brian Lovdahl and National Healthcare Capital representatives Tom Mayfield and Tucker Plumstead were present to answer questions regarding the proposed financing for a new 100,000-square-foot hospital and clinic in Baldwin. Following the hearing, the board unanimously approved Resolution 2014-3R. The resolution throws the weight of the Village of Robert’s credit rating behind the project without actually obligating the village to any debt enabling the medical center to secure a better interest rate on their loan for the new facility. According to the resolution, “Under the Act, the revenue bonds and interest thereon will not be a charge against the Village’s general credit or taxing powers or a pecuniary (monetary) liability of the Village.”

The resolution declares the board’s intention to issue revenue bonds in the aggregate principal amount of up to $10 million on behalf of the medical facility.

Open container laws

In his police report, Officer in Charge Sgt. Aaron McWilliams appealed to the board to amend the existing ordinance that deals with the temporary extension of a business premises. McWilliams said his department doesn’t have adequate manpower to enforce open container laws for large groups of patrons, especially when given short notice for such events. He referred to large motorcycle gatherings in the parking lot of L&M ‘s Bar & Grill as an example. When officers are tied up enforcing open container laws at that site without prior notice they either are not available for potentially more serious law enforcement demands or late arriving because of this issue. McWilliams suggested that establishment owners be made responsible for providing adequate signage informing patrons of the laws and as well as added security to enforce the laws.

“We can provide them with signage but I think it would be a lot easier for them to station somebody at the points of exit and entry to make sure that the open containers aren’t leaving the premises,” said McWilliams.

Board President Willard Moeri agreed to have the village attorney take a look at amending the ordinance.

McWilliams also asked the board for guidance with regard to animal control and specifically dog management. A current criminal case has the department boarding three dogs as evidence at a cost of $25 per day per dog. The costs in this particular case will be recovered pending resolution of the criminal case but are an example of the kinds of costs associated with capturing and boarding stray dogs, costs the department cannot afford and is not equipped to handle.

“Is it the police department’s responsibility?” asked one resident.

“To a certain degree it is, like with the three dogs currently, but the aftercare and everything else that goes along with it I don’t believe is,”said McWilliams.

“We can’t turn the police department into a shelter,” said Moeri.

Moeri pointed out that this is a long standing issue in a number of surrounding municipalities as well. A history of failed attempts to resolve the issue led Moeri to suggest that the issue might be best addressed at the county level.

Water tower

Public Works Director John Bond told the board that completion of repair work to the water tower has been delayed until Aug. 28.

“When they pressure washed the outside of the tower, they found some major issues with the paint so they ended up sanding the whole ball. It’s going to take 10 days to prime and paint and allow the paint to cure,” said Bond.

Due to election day Tuesday and the Lions Club’s Threshing Bee over the weekend, the pouring of the curbs and gutters for the Maple Street construction project will begin on Monday, Aug. 18.

 Other business

  • The board approved the Stormwater and Site Plan submitted by County Materials to address relocation and improvement of truck parking to the east of the property. Moeri noted that with the closing of their Eau Claire plant, the Roberts location is primed to grow to be able to serve the expanded territory of the northern halves of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • The board approved a bid submitted by L P Landscaping for $3782.90 to provide landscaping at Village Hall necessitated by the Maple Street construction project.
  • The board approved a new Municipal Emergency Operations Plan.
  • Library Director Brenda Hackman announced the library had received a donation of five exterior lights from manufacturer J. H . Larson worth $6,000.
  • The Board approved the 2014 roster of Fire and Rescue officers submitted by the Fire Association. Moeri reported the association is also planning to write a grant for the purchase of a new tanker truck and secure a loan to pay for new air packs.