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Roberts Village Board briefs

Municipal court

The Roberts Village Board has set a special meeting to discuss concerns with the village municipal judge and municipal court at 6 p.m. Monday, April 16.

Police Chief Aaron McWilliams spoke to the village board April 9 about Municipal Judge Peter Tharp. McWilliams said it appears citations are being "amended from the bench." However, McWilliams said, citations cannot be amended by the municipal judge alone.

He said Tharp had been "discouraged" from doing this in the past and it was still happening.

Board President Willard Moeri asked Tharp if he was prepared to give a response.

"I believe I'm following the law and the Wisconsin Supreme Court judicial ethics code," Tharp said.

"Well does it say that you can be ... judge and jury both?" Moeri asked.

"Well, no," Tharp said.

The special meeting will include Tharp, the prosecuting attorney and the village board.

McWilliams recommended dissolving the municipal court.

The meeting's agenda will also include considering a speed limit reduction on County Road TT / Graham Street and considering sidewalks and a turn lane on TT /Graham Street.

New library hours

Library Director Krissa Coleman reported the library's board has set new hours. The library will now be open at 10 a.m. every day. The library's new hours are:

• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday

• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday

• 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

Rolling Meadows

The board approved a final plat for Rolling Meadows 7th Addition development. In discussion, a potential buyer for the subdivision wanted to clarify the board's position on sidewalks. The potential buyer said he would not buy the area if he had to put in sidewalks.

He was informed that the Plan Commission is implementing a policy of requiring sidewalk on one side of the street or the other.

Moeri said he respects the buyer, but hopes the buyer understands the sidewalks are a public safety issue.

The board also approved a plan including four street lights per block, an increase from the proposed three, as recommended by Xcel Energy.

Chicken moratorium

The board approved a moratorium on the village's chicken ordinance. The board said the current ordinance is impractical.

"Our ordinances say we should have a taj Mahal for four chickens," Moeri said.

Additionally, the chicken coops must be inspected by the building inspector, at a cost of $10 to the owner of the coop, but $65 to the village.

The moratorium will mean no new chicken coops will be allowed under that ordinance. However, any chickens already in the village are grandfathered in, and will continue as they are.

Trustee Katy Kapaun said as she understood it, the moratorium should stay in place until such a time as the board decides to bring back the chicken ordinance.

Clearas financing

The board discussed financing with SEH representatives Jerry Doriott and Katie Jo Jerzak and Rich Knoelke, a representative of Mulchay Shaw Water, a Wisconsin representative for Clearas, the company constructing the village's new wastewater treatment plant.

The village is putting together a financing agreement with Ehlers to help pay for the new wastewater treatment plant while waiting for a clean water grant to go through, which, SEH representatives said the village should receive next year.

The present representatives agreed to come to a special meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at which they will have payment schedules of when installments are due, so a financial plan can be developed.

Moeri said he would like the Finance Committee, Public Works Committee, village board, Ehlers representatives, SEH representatives and Clearas representatives to be included in this meeting.

New realtor

The board voted to switch to a new realtor for selling property at 204 W. Main St. Rich Vorland had contacted the board and was interested in being the realtor. The board voted to approve using him, provided the village's previous contact had run out, and the board had no other ongoing commitment to any other realtor.

Police issue

The board accepted a separation agreement following a closed session for "considering dismissal, demotion, licensing or discipline of any public employee over which the governmental body has jurisdiction," according to Wisconsin State Statutes 19.85(1)b. The closed session was in regard to a current Roberts police officer, said Clerk Megan Dull prior to the meeting.

No further information was given following the board's decision in open session.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(651) 301-7849