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Star Prairie trustees approve $15,000 for new siren; going without until new one installed

The Star Prairie Village Board approved the purchase and installation of a new emergency communications siren for $15,000 at their meeting Wednesday night, June 5.

The existing siren has been a source of trouble for an extended period of time requiring assorted repairs and requiring the village to deal with an unsatisfactory maintenance agreement.

Federal Warning System, provider of the new siren, comes with good references from several surrounding communities.

"Nate did call around and I know just from our past maintenance we're working with a very good company also with the recommendations from the other municipalities that have used them, they are very happy with this company. I think it's a good choice," said Trustee Craig Matthys.

Trustees acknowledged the current siren is not working at all, not ideal given the potential for dangerous weather this time of year.

The new siren is projected to ship at the end of this week to be installed hopefully sometime in July, but until it arrives and can be installed the village will be without an emergency siren.

Funds for the purchase will come out of the 2019 Capital Outlay Fund.

Community Center fees

Trustees discussed the merits of raising the reservation fee for non-profit and educational organizations to use the community center from $0 to $25 per use.

The issue was raised in conjunction with a request by the Church of Christ to regularly reserve the center on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Trustee Dan Scheeringa noted that it was not that long ago the board voted to waive fees for non-profits and educational groups. There was also a feeling that the village was leaving some money on the table by not considering charging a fee for those groups.

The discussion grew more complicated when the issue of insurance was raised and how to word an agreement that also allows the village to cancel any prearranged reservations in case a higher priority use arose.

Trustee Greg Gibson pointed out that the board's priority should be to make sure village residents take precedence over any outside groups' usage.

"There are a lot of people in the village that should come first. If you have a birthday party or you have a kid graduating, residents of the village should definitely come first otherwise you're going to get inflated with these non-profit organizations," said Gibson.

Trustees agreed to institute a $25 per time fee for educational and non-profit groups effective Immediately. They also agreed to table further discussion with regard to the Church of Christ and how to accommodate such requests moving forward.

Fire contract

Trustees approved a motion to amend the village's contract with New Richmond Fire & Rescue as discussed at the May 30 meeting.

President Rita Keating attended the special meeting and reported that due to Alden Township's withdrawal from the coalition, the other members will be required to make up the revenue lost through the end of 2019. The remaining communities will contribute funds to make up the revenue shortfall proportionate to the size of their community and use of service. The amendment to the existing contract would obligate any remaining member should they decide to withdraw from the coalition before the end of 2019 to pay up through the end of the current contract, December 2019. A new five-year contract is due to be negotiated with the member communities starting in January 2020.

Unfortunately the contract put forth by NRFR required coalition members to sign a new amended five-year contract effective July 1, 2019. The email from NRFR gave communities until June 10 to sign the new contract.

Keating agreed to speak with NRFR to alert them that the village would not agree to a new five-year contract effective July 1.

Other business

• Trustees approved Resolution 2019-02, approving the 2018 Compliance Maintenance Annual Report (CMAR) due to the DNR.

• Trustees approved the village clerk to apply for a village credit card which would provide cash rewards and require no annual fee. A credit line of $10,000 would be requested for the village office and two additional cards with a credit line of $1,000 each for the police and maintenance departments. The card would be used to schedule automatic monthly payments such as utilities.

• Trustees approved waiving the 2019 ballfield rental fees (valued at $1,900) for the New Richmond Baseball Club in exchange for the purchase and installation of a new scoreboard.