Wednesday, July 08th

The Common Council met at City Hall in the City of Black River Falls on May 5, 2020 at 6:00 P.M. Alderpersons GearingLancaster, Ross, Brown, Ammann, M. Rave, E. Rave, Busse, were present. Alderperson Olson attended via telephone.
Mayor J. Eddy presided.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson M. Rave to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the April 21, 2020 6:00PM Special Common Council meeting and approve as presented. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson M. Rave, seconded by Alderperson Ammann to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the April 21, 2020 7:00PM Special Common Council meeting and approve as presented. Motion carried.
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CITIZENS IN ATTENDANCE
There were 26 citizens in attendance (24 in person and 2 via telephone).
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David Schofield from SEH, Inc. presented the Council with application for payment #6 from A-1 Excavating for the Andrews Road and South McKinley Street projects. The contractor has restarted work, the Andrews Road retention pond is done, the roadway is being built, may pour curb and gutter this week, expected completion potentially in June almost two months ahead of schedule. Dave is very happy with the work to date and recommends payment to A-1 Excavating in the amount of $141,897.00.


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It was moved by Alderperson Busse, seconded by Alderperson M. Rave to approve payment #6 to A-1 Excavating for the Andrews Road and South McKinley Street projects in the amount of $141,897.00 using funds from TID No 3. Motion carried.
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There was discussion on the proposed Fire Chief job description. Recommended changes included changing bullet point #10 to read “Conducts fire inspections compliant with all rules, regulations, per Wisconsin Administrative Code, WI Statute, the State’s 2% Dues Program and NFPA related to fire inspections”, Adding “per WI statute and NFPA 921” to bullet point #11, adding bullet point #12 to state “Submit all fire reports to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) per Wisconsin Administrative Code and the State’s 2% Fire Dues Program”, adding “”workers compensation insurance injury files” to Bullet point #16, and adding “County Fire Association” to bullet point #24 under Essential Duties & Responsibilities.
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It was moved by Alderperson M. Rave, seconded by Alderperson Ross to approve the Fire Chief job description with recommended changes. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Ross, seconded by Alderperson Brown to approve the Parks & Recreation Department’s request to purchase a 4WD Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD from Nel’s Gunderson Chevrolet for $34,517.00. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Olson, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to approve the application for a Liquor Operator’s License from Melissa R. Heller. Motion carried.
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The City Administrator presented an update to the Council on the City’s COVID-19 Recovery Microloan Program indicating 5 loans had been funded to date for a total of $47,007.00. Have 4 applications pending waiting for additional information from two and should be funding the other two this week. When all information is submitted it is a 2-3 day turnaround.
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The Mayor, City Administrator, and Council members have received letters and emails from local businesses requesting the city take action to reopen businesses. There was lengthy discussion on the issue. Ellen Moldenhauer from Jackson County Public health advised the county’s position is dictated by Chapter 252 of state statutes and they take their direction from the Governor’s office, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and state statutes. The County is not in a position to issue local orders that are less restrictive than the state’s. Ellen also discussed the guidelines outlined in the Badger Bounce Back plan, testing capacities, and local statistics. City Attorney Mark Radcliffe advised those in attendance that the city must follow state law until or unless the Governor changes his order or the WI Supreme Court overturns the order. The city cannot tell law enforcement not to follow or enforce state law. Mark also advised there is no regional control included in the Governor’s orders so we are bound by those rules and outlined issues with following the path cities such as Hartford, WI have chosen and the liability this would place on the municipality and the business owners. Jen Gunning shared a letter with the Council outlining the economic impact of the Safer at Home order and the need to reopen local businesses. Citizens / local business owners in attendance expressed concerns with the huge financial impact this has had on small business owners who do not qualify for many of the programs including unemployment and have been without their only source of income for six weeks or more. Discussion included the details, feasibility, and lack of dates included with the Badger Bounce Back (BBB) plan, ramifications for reopening before the order is lifted, why large corporate businesses can be open but small businesses cannot, testing and the unlikelihood of meeting testing thresholds outlined in the BBB plan, concern that more than half of all small businesses in the area may not be able to reopen, and urging city officials to contact their state representatives to apply pressure to reopen our small businesses. The Mayor and several Council members expressed their empathy and support for local businesses acknowledging there wasn’t anything the city can legally do to change the orders to allow businesses to reopen, and stated they would be contacting state legislators.
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The property assessment report on the Falls Cinema located at 26 South First Street was discussed. The City Administrator advised this property owner has been on notice for over a year about the dilapidated state of the building and the inspection was delayed due to a pending sale that could have resulted in the building being renovated and restored to a cinema. That sale did not go through so the inspection was ordered and the City Administrator advised the next step would be for the Council to order the building razed, and if the owner does not do it, then the city would raze the building and charge it back to the property owner on their property taxes. Attorney Radcliffe recommended a raze order be drafted giving the land owner the minimum amount of time allowed by statute to complete the work. Radcliffe also advised the city would most likely be the one to raze the building and charge the cost back to the owner on their property taxes if the owner does not fulfill the order. The City Administrator advised the building is not a stand-alone structure and shares walls other buildings so an engineer may need to be consulted to ensure damage is not done to the neighboring buildings which could get costly.
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It was moved by Alderperson M. Rave, seconded by Alderperson Gearing-Lancaster to request a raze order be drafted for the Falls Cinema located at 26 South First Street giving the property owner the minimum amount of time by statute. Motion carried.
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It was moved by Alderperson Olson, seconded by Alderperson Brown to adjourn. Motion Carried at 7:24 pm.
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A. Brad Chown
City Administrator