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Cat control confounds Roberts Board

Feral cats are running roughshod through the Village of Roberts, according to one resident who waited her turn to speak until the end of Monday night's board meeting.

"We've had a cat living in the engine of our Yukon. We've had cats defecating in our vegetable garden and all over our yard. Our indoor dog ended up getting worms from eating cat poop in our yard. We can't set traps or use poison because there are lots of small kids in our neighborhood. I don't know what else to do," said the mother of two young children, "and we're not the only ones."

President Willard Moeri sympathized with her situation and then aired out the board's frustration with the issue.

"This board's been dealing with this issue for five or six years," he said. "What I am most concerned about is that some kid is going to get cornered by one of these, gets bit and then it becomes a disease issue. The real problem is when a few people feed these cats and keep them going. And they're the first people to scream when they find a litter of kittens under their porch."

Tanya Borg of the non-profit organization, Farm, Feral & Stray, Inc., presented the board with a option to fund a program to help spay/neuter free-roaming cats. The organization plans to provide volunteers to work with local veterinary clinics to help sponsor vaccination clinics.

The goal is to substantially raise dog licensing compliance through the clinics. Currently spay/neuter programs are paid for out of the funds raised through dog licenses. Any funds raised above a county's yearly average (St Croix County 56 percent) for dog licenses would go toward a program dedicated to capturing, spay/neutering and vaccinating free roaming cats thereby reducing the number of free-roaming kittens born each year.

An added advantage to the program would include the creation of a single database which would combine the dog licensing information of multiple communities. Borg hopes to have the program in place starting in 2014.

In other business:

-- The board tabled a resolution which would have updated the village personnel manual to include a 15-mile residency requirement for village employees. The resolution is intended to bring the village requirement into compliance with current state statutes. Board member Scott Gerhardt questioned whether the new requirement could be enforced retroactively affecting the status of current employees regardless of their individual contracts. Moeri also questioned whether the new requirement would apply to all village employees. The resolution will be revisited at the September board meeting.

-- The board accepted a bid worth $35,500 by Eau Claire Roofing Company to reroof Village Hall. EC Roofing will have approximately 90 days to complete the project.

-- The board approved a contract with Kleven Property Assessment, LLC., to act as its property assessor for 2014. The contract worth $8,800 includes a review and sales analysis of every twin home in the village.

-- The board approved an annexation plan setting the stage for County Materials planned two-year expansion. Randy Thompson of County Materials said the expansion calls for a new 600' x 200' building to accommodate production of large steel beams inside to meet forthcoming state requirements. Thompson expects the expansion will provide 20 to 50 new jobs in the community and will also require County Materials to make upgrades to sections of 70th Street to handle increased truck traffic.

-- Police Chief Dan Burgess reported his department will be participating in the "Over the Limit, Under Arrest" safe driving campaign from Aug. 16 through Labor Day. By participating, the department becomes eligible to win equipment grants worth up to $4,000.

-- Public Works Director John Bond, reported that the water tower will be shut down for about three weeks in September to be repainted.

-- The next regular meeting of Village Board is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 9, beginning at 7 p.m.