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Town of Webster

Minutes of the Monthly Meeting of the Town of Webster Board of Supervisors,

August 16, 2005



1.  Call to Order:  Chairman Skip Oliphant called monthly board meeting to order at 7:00 PM. A total of 30 people were in attendance including all board members.


2.  Pledge of Allegiance:  The Board led those in attendance in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.


3.  Proof of Posting:  Clerk Ole Yttri gave proof of proper posting of meeting and agenda.


4.  Adoption of Agenda:  Gordon Nemec moved to adopt the agenda with the addition of 20.5, action by Board to a letter written by George Briggs regarding payment for driveway tubes, which was tabled last month for research of past minutes. Tim Parker seconded. Motion carried.


 5.  Minutes of Previous Meetings:  Motion by Parker and seconded by Nemec to approve the minutes of the July 19 regular Board meeting and the August 9th ordinance hearing meeting as printed. Carried.


6.  Review/Payment of Bills: The Board discussed/reviewed bills payable, which totaled $15,500 this month.  Motion by Nemec to approve all bills for payment, seconded by Parker.   Carried.


7.  Update on the Aug. 9th Proposed Driveway Ordinance Hearing:  Clerk Ole Yttri reported on the 2 and ½ hour hearing where he praised citizens for their input and explained that the proposal had been revised as a result.  A new hearing will be held on September 20 at 6:00 P.M. The Clerk reminded residents that the new proposal was on the Town website, and hard copies were available from him as well.


8.  2005 Budget Update:  The clerk presented a year-to-date budget report to the Board.  He presented the budget designed last November, the actual amounts spent to date, and estimated amounts to be spent by the end of the budget year. Under General Government, for which example items were given, the clerk estimates that the Town will be approximately under budget by $10,000. The clerk reminded the Board that I will time soon to begin to consider next year’s budget, and that he will update the Board again each month until a new budget is proposed. Parker asked what the total debt at the La Farge Bank was.  Clerk Yttri reported that the debt is 151,600 on a 4.75% loan.  The Clerk reported that the Town has paid interest only on this loan and recommended that the Board authorize payment on the principle as well.    


9.  October Cleanup/Recycling Date:  Chair Oliphant will check on dates when three additional dumpsters are available. October 15 was mentioned as a preferred date.


10.  Mower Update:  A flail mower was purchased at St. Joseph’s Equipment and then the head was fabricated to be interchangeable with the brushhog head.  Nemec reported that the resulting mower was purchased at approximately 10% of the cost of a complete new mower. The cost was $852 plus the coast of fabricating. Patrolman Shane Stone reported that the flail mower does a nice job even in taller grass.


11.  Roads Being Seal Coated:  Chair Oliphant reported meeting with Kyle Gibbons of Scott Company to finalize the cost of the seal coating for this year.  The roads from the original list totaled about $35,000.  The Board had budgeted $50,000, so some additional work will be done. Work will be done on portions of the following Town roads: Green Hollow, Nemec Road, Husker Hollow, and South Elk Run.  Pricing for Smart Hollow was requested.  Nemec Hill Road, which was on the original list, was delayed until next year to allow for the completion of a new driveway entering that road. The work on South Elk Run was substituted for the Nemec Hill Road plan.


12.  Insulation of Town Shop:  The rising cost of LP gas prompted Chair Oliphant to ask the Board whether they were interested in considering insulating of the town shop.  Citizen Jack Lee reported that the price of fuel had gone up 30% in the last three weeks alone. Citizen Perry Beechee volunteered that members of the Amish community could work with other community members to do this project.  An outdoor wood stove was also suggested and supported by several residents. Carla Oliphant mentioned that the resulting smoke might be hazardous on this blind intersection. Supervisor Nemec suggested that the chairman pursue the insulation project and bring back hard figures of the cost to the Board.


13.  Cement Pad:  Patrolmen Shane Stone and Mark Lombard recommend that the Board install a cement pad for salt so that when they are mixing salt and sand, they don’t mix in dirt, rocks, and other foreign material. Perry Beechee had drawn up a diagram for a 30 by 30 foot uncovered structure of white oak. He said the materials would cost about $1,000 without the cement and that several Amish had volunteered their labor to construct it. He said the cost of ready mix cement would be $80 per yard and estimated the project would require about 20 yards of cement plus reinforcing material. Beechee said he knew where reinforcing material could be found in 8 by 10 sections of 3-inch squares of rod fastened together.  Nemec asked the chair to pursue more information on the project, and bring back hard cost figures to the Board.


14.  Poll Worker Wages:  Hourly wage for poll workers was brought up last spring.  The current rate is $7.00 per hour.  Stark pays $8.00 per hour and Treasurer Parker reported that some towns pay as mush as $10.00 per hour.  Parker moved to raise the poll worker hourly wage to $8.00 per hour. Nemec seconded. Motion carried.


15.  Website Update:  Citizen Roseanne Boyett complimented the clerk and Al Bus for the recent updates to the town’s website. She reported that the site had been viewed over 1,100 times and said this was a wonderful way to keep Town residents informed. She also requested that Yttri edit the recyclable items section so that the description of recyclable items matches those items that the town is set up to recycle.


16. Junk Vehicle Odinance :  Roseanne Boyett had asked that this item be placed on the agenda because she thought it had been an agenda item in May.  A review of the agendas and minutes did not bear this out, and the Board moved to the next agenda item.


17.  Dark Sky Ordinance:  Boyett asked if the Board was interested in pursuing a Dark Sky Ordinance to protect our local skyline from unnecessary light pollution. She reported that Liberty Township has passed this type of ordinance.  Citizen Ardene Wirts stated that she felt members of this area were already respectful of each other’s property. Citizen Jack Lee said that he thought the towns of La Farge and Viola were producing the most light, and wondered if the Board might consider submitting a recommendation to those towns to consider more sky friendly lighting when the time comes for them to replace their current city lights. It was also suggested that recommendations rather than regulations might be developed and included when people ask for building permits and/or put on the website for information purposes. Nemec expressed agreement with recommendations for preferred lighting, but stated that he did not see that this township currently has a problem and thus an ordinance at this time is unnecessary. No further action was action.


18.  Attorney:  Citizen Roseanne Boyett asked that since there were unanswered questions last month as to whether the town has an attorney, the issue be addressed again this month.  The chair reported that the Town of Webster has no attorney at this time. Attorney David Abt was present and asked by the Board the cost of putting a lawyer on retainer for the Town. Abt stated that first of all he was not in the running for the position and secondly recommended that the Board not put a lawyer on retainer, but instead hire one by the hour as needed. The Board asked Stark Clerk Lonnie Muller if Stark hires a lawyer for the town. Muller stated that they do have an attorney who is hired on an hourly basis. Clerk Yttri suggested that if a lawyer is needed (to review proposed ordinances, for example,) that the decision as to whom to hire be made by the whole Board. All members orally concurred. No action was taken at this time.


19.  Oath of Office:  Boyett had requested this item on the agenda, but she reported that Clerk Yttri had provided her with a copy of the oath.  She was interested in its wording, and her request had been met.


20.  Village Power Authority: Boyett also requested this item on the agenda.  She questioned whether there was any more to it than what was published on the website. The clerk responded that what was on the website was the entire resolution.  Boyette asked if it was registered with the county.  The clerk responded that he didn’t know if resolutions were registered as ordinances were.  Boyett asked what the difference between a resolution and an ordinance were.  Chair Oliphant directed the clerk to research to differentiate a resolution from an ordinance and to find out what is registered with the Vernon County Register of Deeds for the Town of Webster and report back to the Board.


20.5  Clarification Regarding Driveway Tube Question:  In response to a letter from George Briggs regarding whose responsibility is it to pay for driveway tubes in the township, Clerk Yttri has researched the minutes and located a motion passed in November, 1997, whereby the Board voted to discontinue providing and installing driveway tubes due to the rising cost of the practice.  In light of this clarification, Nemec moved not to pay for the tube(s) and installation(s) requested in the letter from Briggs. Parker seconded, and motion carried.


21.  Patrolman Report:  Shane reported that he and Mark had been brushing, prepping roads for the upcoming seal coating, rebuilding the sickle mower, and mowing.  He reported nearly becoming entangled in high wires while working with trees because he didn’t have enough light to see the wires.  He requested that he buy a light to be used when called out during the dark. Board members authorized him to purchase a light, which they estimated would cost around $25. There was also some discussion about the reseeding of roadsides after construction. The chair and patrolmen will look into mulch versus hydro seeding to evaluate each process.


22.  Board Comments: The chair gave the only Board comments of the evening, expressing his frustration with the lengthy agendas mainly due to one resident suggesting so many items be added at one time. He informed the Board that he would be restricting items to be added to the agenda to one item per person per meeting.  He also stated that if an item was a suggested regulation, an active example of current need must accompany the request. A complete account of Chair Oliphant’s comments is part of the Clerk’s records.


23.  Public Input:  Again this month, there were a number of citizens who gave input.


·         Roseanne Boyett:  Boyett expressed her disappointment that the Board did not choose to take a stand on the air quality of the Township by pursuing an Industrial Burning Ordinance last month.  She reported that Gayle Frie had recently reported to Vernon County officials that the number of patients in emergency rooms with respiratory problems had doubled under the recent air quality alert.

·         Jan Parker responded that many respiratory ailments come from heredity as well as from mistakes in personal choices made by people 40 years ago.

·         Art Thelen referred to a letter to the editor from Joe Swanson that he felt was unnecessarily inflammatory and asked why the finger was once again pointed at the manure digester as a source of pollution when it was designed to reduce pollution.

·         Sherri Yttri commented on the wonderful way the democratic process was observed during the recent proposed driveway ordinance hearing. She also expressed her concern that the reports printed in the La Farge Epitaph of the town’s monthly meetings have been biased and have contained inaccuracies. She questioned whether the current reporter, Roseanne Boyett, was capable of objective reporting, given her relationship with the past and current Town Boards.  She requested that the Board contact Publisher Bonnie Sherman about this issue.

·         Jack Lee commented that this was the best Board he had seen in 30 years.  He cautioned the Board to “stay clean” and listen to all points of view, avoiding a personal vendetta again anyone.

·         Mike Wallace, a new resident in the township agreed with Jack Lee, and advised the Board members to maintain a high profile. He reported his experience with a board that became very antagonistic and suggested this town avoid that as much as possible.

·         Carla Oliphant stated that this Board is very tolerant, as evidenced most recently in the ordinance hearing.  She said that all people, however, have a breaking point when continuing to be harassed.

·         David Abt suggested that he would like to see the Board address a legitimate health and safety issue—regulation of two dangerous intersections in the township.  He cited the intersection of Salem Ridge Road and Stoleson Road, and the intersection of Bloomingdale Road and Miller Road as dangerous and in need of regulation.

·         Chair Oliphant thanked everyone for their input. He stated that this Board has tried very hard to maintain respect, but that the continuing news articles, letters, and flooding of the agendas have “tried our patience”. 


24.  Future Meeting Dates:  The next regular monthly meeting of the Town Board of Webster will be held on September 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Webster Town Hall. Other upcoming meetings include:

            August 23, Election Board Update for Clerks, Vernon Co. Courthouse, 6:00-8:00 P.M.

August 25, Open Book, Webster Town Hall, 5:00 -7:00 P.M.

August 29, Board of Review, Webster Town Hall, 5:00 -7:00 P.M. (or until finished)

September 20, Driveway Ordinance Hearing, Webster Town Hall, 6:00-7:00 P.M.

            September 20, September Board Meeting, 7 P.M.


25.  Closed Session, pursuant to s. 19.85, Wis. Stats.

26.  Reopen: No action was taken.

27.  Adjournment:  Nemec moved to adjourn at approximately 10:15 P.M., Parker seconded, and the meeting was adjourned.


Submitted by Ole Yttri, Clerk, Town of Webster        Signature________________________

Date August 16, 2005

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