Tuesday, December 11th

The Common Council met at City Hall in the City of Black River Falls on November 7, 2018 at 6:00 P.M. Alderpersons Olson, Busse, Gearing-Lancaster, Ross, Redbird, and Brown were present. Alderpersons J. Rave and M. Rave were excused. Mayor J. Eddy presided.
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It was moved by Alderperson Redbird, seconded by Alderperson Brown to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the October 2, 2018 Common Council meeting and approve as presented. Motion carried.
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CITIZENS IN ATTENDANCE
There were no citizens in attendance.
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COMMITTEE REPORTS
It was moved by Alderperson Busse, seconded by Alderperson Ross to place on file the minutes of the September 26, 2018 Airport Commission meeting. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to approve the minutes of the October 17, 2018 Committee of the Whole meeting. Motion carried.
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The Committee of the Whole met at City Hall in the City of Black River Falls on October 17, 2018 at 6:00 P.M. Alderpersons J. Rave, M. Rave, Olson, Busse, Gearing-Lancaster, Ross, Redbird, and Brown were present. Mayor Jay Eddy presided.

  1. There were 2 citizens in attendance.
  2. City resident Mary Wegman addressed the Council on questions and concerns she had related to Ordinance 9.19 regarding curfews which included questions on the purpose of the ordinance, how it is enforced and concerns on a specific citation that was issued. Chief Bakken provided information on narratives that are included on citations, the use of body cameras, the ordinance being enforced year round, officer discretion, and some additional information related to the specific citation being addressed.
  3. The City Administrator presented an updated 2019 proposed city budget that included new estimates for state shared revenue and highway aids and excluded a proposed additional position for the Police Department.
  4. There was a lengthy discussion regarding RESOLUTION 2018-11 – a resolution authorizing the direct charge of public fire protection fees. Black River Falls Municipal Utility General Manager Casey Engebretson explained the 3-6 month process the utility would have to go through to move the public fire protection charges which would include a public hearing. The resolution will be considered at the November 7, 2018 Common Council meeting.
  5. Council members and department heads discussed a proposed revision to the employee handbook regarding Section VII. Leaves of absence, Section C. Vacations. The revision would change the vacation hour accrual method from annual to per pay period and would add clarifying language on how unused vacation hours would be handled. The revision will be considered at the November 7, 2018 Common Council meeting.
  6. The Department Head monthly reports were reviewed. Department heads present were Todd Gomer, Steve Peterson, Tammy Peasley, Jody Stoker, Kelly Bakken and Brad Chown.
  7. Library Director Tammy Peasley will be a presenter at two upcoming conferences.
  8. There was discussion on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) mentioned in Chief Schreiber’s monthly report which included the competitiveness of the grant, the limited funding for the grant program, and our previous success applying for and receiving AFG awards.
  9. EMS Division Chief Jody Stoker thanked Fire Chief Steve Schreiber and the Fire Department staff for help on EMS assist calls the previous month which is vital to EMS being able to provide the service they do.
  10. Street Superintendent Todd Gomer reports the blacktop patch needed in the parking lot at the Lunda Community Park will need to wait until spring due to the ground being saturated with water.
  11. Police Chief Kelly Bakken shared the complexity of the curfew ordinance and homecoming week. The Chief had discussions with her officers prior to homecoming week and provided them with clear direction on how to handle it for child safety and to prevent vandalism.
  12. Parks & Recreation Director Steve Peterson thanked Chief Bakken and her staff for enforcing the curfew ordinance this homecoming week which resulted in less vandalism in city parks compared to previous years. Steve will be attending training on new codes for aquatic park managers.
  13. It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson M. Rave to approve vouchers for September 2018 check #64618 to #64735 totaling $606,487.60. Motion carried.
  14. It was moved by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster, seconded by Alderperson Olson to approve the City Treasurer’s Report for September 2018. Motion carried.
  15. It was moved by Alderperson M. Rave, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to approve the Revenue & Expense Reports for September 2018. Motion carried.
  16. It was moved by Alderperson M. Rave, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to convene in to closed session for the purpose of discussing strategy to be adopted by the governing body with respect to litigation in which it is likely to become involved in regarding work completed on Commerce Drive in 2015 which is authorized under Section 19.85(1)(g) of the Wisconsin Statutes. Motion Carried.
  17. Mayor Eddy announced the Committee of the Whole was reconvened in to open session to take or announce action, if any and if appropriate.
  18. It was moved by Alderperson M. Rave, seconded by Alderperson Ross to authorize the City Administrator to work with outside legal counsel to determine a course of action in regards to work completed on Commerce Drive in 2015 as discussed. Motion carried.
  19. It was moved by Alderperson Olson, seconded by Alderperson Busse to adjourn. Motion carried.


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It was moved by Alderperson Olson, seconded by Alderperson Busse to place on file the minutes of the October 17, 2018 Public Safety Planning Task Force meeting. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson Olson to place on file the minutes of the October 23, 2018 Business Improvement District (BID) Board meeting. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Olson, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to place on file the minutes of the October 29, 2018 Utility Commission meeting. Motion carried.
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First National Bank representatives were unable to attend the meeting so their request will be placed on the December Common Council meeting agenda.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson Busse to deny the application for a Cass B Liquor License for Mr. Pita located at 24 N. Water Street due to unavailability of a license. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Busse, seconded by Alderperson Olson to approve the application for a Class A Beer License for Relaxing Sensations located at 6 East Main Street. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson Olson to approve the 2019 Shared-Ride Taxi Operating Contract between the City and F.D.S. Enterprises, Inc. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Busse, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to approve the Title VI Plan. Motion carried.
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There was a lengthy discussion on Resolution 2018-11 which included how the city would use the extra levy dollars and how the utility charges will be regulated. The City Administrator advised the levy dollars freed up from moving the fire protection fees to the utility bills are intended to be used to pay debt service on the proposed public safety building; if the project is not approved, the Council would decide how to use the money; even if the building project is not approved, the money will be needed in future budgets to maintain services; and utility bill charges are regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
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It was moved by Alderperson Busse, seconded by Alderperson Olson to approve RESOLUTION 2018-11 – a resolution authorizing the direct charge of public fire protection charges on utility bills. Motion carried. (4-3) with Alderpersons Ross, Redbird, and Brown voting no and Mayor Eddy casting the tie breaking vote.
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CITY OF BLACK RIVER FALLS RESOLUTION 2018-11
A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE DIRECT CHARGE OF PUBLIC FIRE PROTECTION
WHEREAS, the City of Black River Falls, Jackson County Wisconsin (the “Municipality”) owns and operates Black River Falls Municipal Utilities (the ”Utility”) as a public utility; and

WHEREAS, the Municipality provides fire protection for the benefit of the public health, safety, and well-being of its residents; and
WHEREAS, the Utility is authorized by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to recover the cost of providing and maintaining fire hydrants used for public protection; and
WHEREAS, the Municipality has determined it is in the public interest to change the manner in which public fire protection charges are paid from a municipal charge (via tax roll) basis to a direct charge on water bills based on an equivalent meter basis, thus, allowing for the collection of public fire protection charges from property owners not presently subject to property taxes; and
WHEREAS, all Public Fire Protection Charges shall be a direct charge on water bills. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) cost of service study results indicate a total public fire protection charge of $286,913.00 as of June 21, 2017; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with Wis. Stat. Sec. 196.03(3)(b), the Municipality has chosen to have the Utility bill a specific dollar amount for the public fire protection;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council, requests that Black River Falls Municipal Utility apply to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (the “PSC”) for authority to establish a direct charge on water bills to collect Public Fire Protection Charges for the City; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ALSO RESOLVED, that this change shall take effect on the utility billings effective January 1, 2020 based on final meter readings of December 2019.
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It was moved by Alderperson Busse, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to approve RESOLUTION 2018-12 – a resolution encouraging the Wisconsin Legislature to close dark store loopholes that shift a greater property tax burden from commercial to residential homeowners. Motion carried.
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CITY OF BLACK RIVER FALLS RESOLUTION 2018-12 A RESOLUTION ENCOURAGING THE WISCONSIN STATE LEGISLATURE TO CLOSE THE DARK STORE LOOPHOLES THAT SHIFT A GREATER POPERTY TAX BURDEN FROM COMMERCIAL TO RESIDENTIAL HOMEOWNERS
Whereas, home owners in Wisconsin already pay 70% of the total statewide property tax levy; and
Whereas, that disproportionate burden is about to get much worse unless the Legislature addresses tax avoidance strategies that national chains like Wal-Mart and big box retail establishments like Target and Lowe’s are using across the country to gain dramatic reductions in their property tax bills at the expense of homeowners and other taxpayers; and
Whereas, a carefully-orchestrated wave of hundreds of lawsuits in Wisconsin is forcing assessors to slash the market value of thriving national retail stores, shifting their tax burden to local small business owners and homeowners; and
Whereas, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS stores in Wisconsin have argued in communities across the state that the assessed value of their property for property tax purposes should be less than half of their actual sale prices on the open market; and
Whereas, in many cases the courts have sided with Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS, requiring communities to refund tax revenue back to the stores; and
Whereas, there are hundreds of Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and CVS stores located in Wisconsin’s cities and villages; and
Whereas, the Republican-controlled Indiana state Legislature has on two occasions in the last two years overwhelmingly passed legislation prohibiting assessors from valuing new big box stores the same as nearby abandoned stores from a different market segment; and
Whereas, the Michigan state house overwhelmingly passed similar legislation in May of 2016.
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Common Council of the City of Black River Falls urges the Governor and the Legislature to protect homeowners and main street businesses from having even more of the property tax burden shifted to them by passing legislation clarifying that:
1. Leases are appropriately factored into the valuation of leased properties; and
2. When using the comparable sale method of valuation, assessors shall consider as comparable only those sales within the same market segment exhibiting a similar highest and best use rather than similarly sized but vacant properties in abandoned locations.
Furthermore, the Common Council directs the City Administrator to send a copy of this resolution to our State Legislators, Governor
Scott Walker and to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson Redbird to approve Revision #5 to the City’s Employee Handbook Personnel Policies, Procedures, and Regulations, Section VII. Leaves of Absence, Section C. Vacations effective January 1, 2019.
Motion carried.
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The City Administrator advised a proposed budget from the Downtown Association was received that included funds for storage rental. $1,300 for storage rental funds was included in expenses and $330.42 was added to the BID assessment revenues to reflect actual. These changes were made to the proposed budget the BID Board recommended to the Council. The City Administrator advised these additions provide an accurate budget for reconciliation at the end of the year. It was moved by Alderperson GearingLancaster,
seconded by Alderperson Brown to approve the Business Improvement District (BID) Operating Plan and Budget for 2019. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster, seconded by Alderperson Ross to approve the Purchasing, Budgeting, Accounting Processes, Practices, and Policies manual effective January 1, 2019. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Olson, seconded by Alderperson Brown to convene in to closed session for the purpose of considering FY2019 compensation for all non-represented city employees over which the governing body has jurisdiction or exercises responsibility which is authorized under Section 19.85(1)(c) of the Wisconsin statutes. Motion carried.
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Mayor Eddy announced to those present that the Common Council was convening in to open session.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to approve a 2% wage increase across the board for all non-represented city employees (FY2019). Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Olson, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to increase Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Kelly Hurst’s wage by $1.64 per hour (FY2019). Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Busse, seconded by Alderperson Olson to increase Parks & Recreation Director Steve Peterson’s wage by $1.75 (FY2019). Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Redbird, seconded by Alderperson Ross to set Police Chief Kelly Bakken’s wage at $32.35 effective
September 4, 2018 and not have a take home vehicle. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Redbird, seconded by Alderperson Brown to adjourn. Motion Carried.
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A. Brad Chown
City Administrator