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Town of Webster

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

July 19, 2005



1.  Chairman Skip Oliphant called monthly board meeting to order at 7:00 PM. A total of 29 people were in attendance including all board members except Treasurer Jan Parker.


2.  Clerk Ole Yttri gave proof of posting of meeting and agenda.


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


4.  Gordon Nemec moved to adopt the agenda with the addition of 14.5, letter to the Board from George Briggs regarding payment for driveway tubes. Tim Parker seconded. Motion carried.


 5.  Motion by Nemec and seconded by Parker to approve the minutes of the June 21 regular board minutes, the June 23 special meeting, and the July 7 special meeting with one correction to the July 7 minutes. The correction pertained to the starting date of July 18 by Randy Volden for the South Elk Run road project.  Due to family health reasons, the start date will be later than July 18.  Carried.


6.  The clerk asked the Board to add the payment to the LaFarge Fire Department of $2275 and adjust the bill to Kraemer’s to $494.72 to reflect the current amount payable as per phone call to Kraemer’s Company.  The Board discussed/reviewed bills payable.  Parker asked if the rest of the Board was satisfied with Widner Construction’s work on Avalanche Hill. Nemec stated that the three conditions had been met, and the rest of their bill should be paid as written by the clerk’s bills payable. Parker asked the clerk approximately how much money the township could expect to take in from shared revenue and property taxes before the end of the year. The clerk replied that approximately $100,000 was expected. Nemec questioned the patrolman about some bills, which Shane clarified.  Motion by Nemec to approve all bills for payment, seconded by Parker.   Carried.


7.  The Board members verified with their signatures a request to Vernon County by Salem Ridge Cemetery Association for reimbursement for the care of veterans’ graves.


8.  The Board considered the proposed Driveway Ordinance by Skip Oliphant.  Chair Oliphant suggested the following changes to the draft proposal:

            Under the “Purpose” section, add: 


Under “General Provisions”, add:


Under 4. “Fees and Procedures”, add:



The clerk reported that the procedure for passing an ordinance included the following steps:

Parker moved to schedule a hearing for public input on the proposed Driveway Ordinance to be held on August 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Webster Town Hall. Nemec seconded, and motion carried.


9.  The Board considered a Nuisance Ordinance proposed by Joe Swanson.  Nemec reported that according to his research, what constituted a “nuisance” could be very subjective, so the wording of an ordinance would be difficult because of the need to be very specific. The clerk provided a 10 page sample ordinance obtained from the Wisconsin Towns Association website for the members to view.  Chair Oliphant suggested looking at Vernon County’s Ordinances under the Health and Sanitation section because the township would fall under the county ordinance as well.  After further discussion, Nemec moved to not pursue enacting of a Nuisance Ordinance for the township since we are covered under the county ordinance. Parker seconded, and motion carried.


10.  The Board next considered a Citation Ordinance, also proposed by Joe Swanson.  Again, Clerk Yttri circulated a sample Citation Ordinance from the Wisconsin Towns Association for Board members to view. Chair Oliphant cited WI Statutes 66.0113 and 66.0114, which state that the town officials have the power to issue citations, which would be heard before the county judge or municipal court.  Board members questioned whether the money from the citations went to the township or to the county. No answer was available. After much discussion, Nemec moved to not pursue the adoption of a township citation ordinance. Parker seconded, and motion carried.


11.  Next, the Board heard from the committee appointed to research a possible Room Tax proposed by Art Thelen.   Art Thelen reported that the committee recommended no action be taken because his research had indicated the cost to administer the tax would be prohibitive unless there were 100 to 200 “rooms” to assess.  The Board followed the committee recommendation and took no action on the Room Tax proposal.


12.  The Board then considered a Mobile Home Park Ordinance proposed by Roseanne Boyett.  Clerk Yttri circulated a sample Mobile Home Ordinance obtained from the Wisconsin Towns Association to the Board members. Chair Oliphant suggested that interested citizens could access these and other sample ordinances from the Wisconsin Towns Association website which is   Oliphant quoted from the Wisconsin Statutes which define a mobile home park as two or more units and cannot be operated without a license from the township. Nemec reported that according to his research, a mobile home is not considered a “mobile home” if three conditions are met:  set on a foundation rather than on wheels, wired to electricity rather than plugged in, and owner of the mobile home owns the land on which it sits. Parker moved to not pursue the adoption of a township Mobile Home Park ordinance. Nemec seconded it, and motion carried.


13.  Generating the most discussion of the evening was the proposed Hazardous/Industrial Waste Burning Ordinance proposed by Roseanne Boyett.  No sample ordinance was available on this topic.  The Board members questioned whether the ordinance would be directed at the manure digester in the township or at the Amish sawmills in the township. There seemed to be disagreement as to what was legally allowed by the DNR. Opinions ranged from a report that burning of edgings is legal but not preferred, except for use as home heating, to a report that the sawmill burning is not legal unless the sawmills have been licensed by the DNR. Boyett was present and asked to explain her intent in proposing the ordinance.  Boyett referred to the recent air quality alert issued just last week for Vernon County due to the high amount of particulate in the air, and she referred to the increasing number of respiratory ailments due to decreasing air quality. She asked that the Board take a stand to protect the health of its residents by enacting this ordinance. Perry Beechee was asked about the burning and whether the Amish were looking into a chipper as an alternative way to recycle the wood.  Beechee replied that the Amish never burned sawdust and were making many efforts to cooperate. Representatives from Buckeye Ridge Renewable Power Corporation were also asked questions about the manure digester, and the addition of industrial waste required for it to work properly.  Art Thelen reported that the digester project was under strict licensure from the DNR, and that no more than 20% of wastes may be added which cannot be hazardous waste.  He reported that the digester does not come close to using the maximum limit, and added that the waste used in the digester would wind up in a landfill if the digester did not use it. Dave Abt responded to a question about the flame currently being emitted from the digester by stating that the flame will be ending within the next few weeks as soon as Dairyland Power finishes their part of the project.  Dairyland Power required a trial run of the digester, and that is why the flame is present at this time. Chair Oliphant referred to Vernon County Ordinances, Chapter 30, which he interpreted to apply to this issue. He encouraged citizens to read this section themselves, available as a link on our township website,

Parker moved to not pursue a township level Hazardous Waste/Industrial Waste Burning Ordinance at this time.  Nemec seconded, and motion carried.


14.  Patrolman Shane Stone reported that the men had been continuing brushing, ditching, and patching sealcoat.  Chair Oliphant added that 4 loads of patch mix of the town’s own had been put on the roads in addition to 3 loads by Scott’s.  The east side of Green Hollow has been ditched, and Wemmer Hollow has been brushed. Oliphant stated that there is lots of brushing to do because the brushing and the ditching have been let go over the past several years. He also reported that the brushhog blade is being retrofitted to use as a flail cutter to try to produce a neater job of road trimming. Shane also reported that he had contacted Vernon County about the use of the road groom, but that county will not allow townships to lease the machine for its own use. The township may, however, hire the machine and its county operator to groom the roads of the township.


14.5  A letter was read from George Briggs requesting that the township pay for the driveway tubes added during the Husker Hollow Road resurfacing project to his driveway and to the driveway of Mike Leum. The township currently holds property owners responsible for the installment/replacement of driveway tubes. Briggs stated that Joe Swanson had agreed orally to replace both driveway tubes at township expense, but this did not occur before Swanson’s term as chair ended. Briggs stated that he thought the township charged only when the tube was at the property owner’s request. Two former board members from over 10 years ago were present; Brent Waddell and Richard Parker, and Board members asked if they knew any information regarding driveway tube policy from the past.  Both Parker and Waddell reported that the township provided a driveway tube in the town right of way prior to the time Joe Swanson served as chair. There was disagreement as to whether the town provided replacement tubes in driveways in the town right of way.  The clerk was directed to research the historical town minutes to see if a reference could be located during Swanson’s term regarding the financial liability for driveway tubes. Nemec moved to table the Briggs and Leum request for tube reimbursement until such research is completed. Parker seconded, and motion carried.  It was noted that the tube Briggs had replaced was in his secondary driveway, while Leum’s tube was installed in his primary driveway. Board members also asked for clarification as to how tubes were requested from the township. Shane responded that citizens might order a tube through the township because the cost is less. The citizen contacts Shane for ordering the tube, and Shane is responsible for getting the bill to the clerk.


15.  The next item on the agenda was comments from Board members. Clerk Yttri opened this segment by clarifying the website problems of the past. He explained that he had previously put minutes and the ordinances on the website, but that they were lost due to the website designer’s change of site manager.  Yttri has conferred a number of times with Al, and the problem has finally been solved. Minutes, agendas, and ordinances, along with several Frequently Asked Questions, have now been added to the website and are available to all viewers. The calendar is current into August.  Yttri also announced that the assessor had finally provided him a date for Open Book and Board of Review for the Town.  Open Book will held on August 25 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Webster Town Hall.  Board of Review will be held on August 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Webster Town Hall. The clerk will post these important meeting dates in all the regular places, and also asked permission to place a small ad in the Epitaph for these two meetings. The Board members agreed to this.  Yttri also read a list of current building permit applicants and asked that members of the township report any other residence building projects to him in the future so that he can insure all buildings have the required building permit.

Board member Nemec next offered a succinct comment, “Quit the crap and work together for the good of the township.”

Board member Parker commented, “We have received some good comments on our work from the township and some very bad unsigned comments. I ask the citizens of the township to bear with us; we will get it done.”

Chair Oliphant commented regarding the ditching being done in the township: “It’s the ditching machinery, not the operator, that is not working as intended. A ditch can be made, but not the shaping of the bank.” He reported that he is currently researching the machinery used by the Town of Clinton.


16.  The final item on the agenda was Public Input.  The Board asked that comments be limited to 3 minutes per person. Many citizens contributed input this month:

·         Ben and Marylee Miller reported that he had cut all of his thistles, but that others in the Town had not, and asked the Board what could be done.  Chair Oliphant responded that the first line in the process was to have the Town Chair contact the offender and remind them of the Noxious Weed state-mandated standard. Some discussion was held as to the possibility of having the Town cut the thistles and then adding the charge to the property assessment. Most agreed that this was a difficult standard to enforce.

·         Anita Zibton asked the Board to consider how we preserve what we have. She suggested that the Board should pass local ordinances and take local responsibility, while also attempting to keep a balance with the working relationships among neighbors.

·         Duane Parr commented, “There’s too much nit-picking in our township.”

·         Perry Beechee suggested that township citizens try to act with common sense rather than publish insults in the local newspapers.

·         Ardene Wirts suggested that she would like to see members of the Town enjoy what we have here and work together. She commented that laws and rules for everything could become oppressive.

·         Leon Primmer agreed, and stated, “We live in this township to be free.”

·         Lonnie Muller reminded the Board of the Annual Picnic and Training sponsored by the Wisconsin Towns Association open to Board members and spouses to be held on July 28th at the Viroqua Park.


17.  Prior to adjournment, Chair Oliphant stated that the next regular monthly meeting of the Town Board of Webster would be held on August 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Webster Town Hall. Nemec moved to adjourn at approximately 9:00 p.m., Parker seconded, and the meeting was adjourned.


Submitted by Ole Yttri, Clerk, Town of Webster

Date July 19, 2005


Signature ________________________________





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