December 8, 2020 Board of Trustee Minutes – Approved

The Regular Monthly meeting of the Village of Birchwood Board of Trustees 

will be held on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020, at 6:00 pm

Location: Birchwood School Commons, 300 S. Wilson St, Birchwood, WI 54817


Village President call meeting to order – Meeting will be recorded 

Pledge of Allegiance – Roll call by Clerk (R. Vangilder, P. Parkos, J. Depoister, and M. Manning) S. Small was not present at time of rollcall.

Public Notice: Posted at the Birchwood Post Office, Village Hall, Gary’s Grocery and Village Website.

John reviewed where Public Notice Agenda was posted at the Birchwood Post Office, Gray’s Grocery, Village Hall and the Village Website.

John requested that when comments are made from the public at the public comment section of the meeting that attendees step up to the microphone to enable clear recording.  All are here as professionals, that is how all should act. If meeting gets out of hand, we will stop the meeting and if it continues people will be asked to leave. 

Police Report: Adam presented. Elections went well with no incidents. Everyone eligible to vote in the village was able to cast their vote.  Firearm certification working on contracts on taser. Busy with the school.  Several slide ins in ditches, no incidents with deer hunting, domestic in Exland.

No questions from the Board

Public Works: Ron presented: Streets and parks are set for winter and plowing.  Working on picnic tables, getting barricades up to code. Bluegill Park flag light is still on back order. Will be trimming bushes in the park.  Sewer and Water, Lift Station was pumped out on Friday December 4th.  All are up and running.  Water digs are completed and were able to locate most of the bigger leaks still some smaller ones to locate.  Went from 104 – 107 gallons a day to 47. Compared to the in-float at the sewage plant to water regions at the well. We have not received the Effluent Valve back from being repaired. Tucker is looking into the chemicals as the chemicals are not working. Worried on the sewer permits. Rocky asked for status of new loader.  Ron responded: As soon as the papers are signed the loader will be brought to Birchwood and Corey would take it to Little Falls to have plow blades installed. We will be able to use our old Loader until the New Loader is back from Little Falls. We have received our other equipment back.

Citizen Comments: 

John announced that we were going to citizens comments and that comments on the Garbage will be held until agenda item three (3). All other comments will be taken now. 

Linda Zillmer, Reminded Board in the 2019 when holding the 2020 budget meetings the board tried to double the Dog License fees, charge service fees for billing for garbage service. Wisconsin State Statues does not allow for those things. Going forward when you are revising your rates for garbage and billing that you do not incorporate a fee. On agenda item for East Hills sub-division, there are covenants and special assessments costs that need to be recouped and addressed. Does not feel that Wisconsin Surplus Auction would be a good option to recoup the costs. 

John inquired for other citizen comments. 

Bob Hayes, expressed concern that the Village was planning on charging the Lions Club for the use of dumpsters during Bluegill Festival, with comment that Bluegill Festival doesn’t add anything to the coffers of the Village. Bob Hayes who oversees the Ball Park. With no income coming in from the Bluegill Festival the Lions Club spent over $3000. The village fixed the fence, and the Lions Club gave them a check for what the Village paid for the fence.  The Lions Club has done work on the Ball Field. In consideration of the price of the dumpsters it should be noted that the Lions Club does things for the Village in return and the funds come out of the Bluegill Festival. 

Betsy Acrey stated has recording of November Board Meeting, John stated that Bluegill Festival does not return anything to the Village. You can listen to it now or go to the Village Hall website. 

Mary Marker asked if we were now discussing the cost of garbage going up.  John stated no that would be after Agenda Item three (3). Comments are now on anything other than the garbage. 

John inquired for any further comments. None were received


John reviewed and presented the correspondence.  Two (2) Correspondence were received one about the garbage issue and one from a concerned citizen on the decision not to open the ice-skating rink.  Citizen felt that rink should be opened for physical and mental health reasons due to the Covid-19 lock downs.  Requested that board would reconsider decision and build the ice-skating rink.  

No further discussion on correspondence. 

Discussion/Action Items (No public comments allowed):

John presented agenda and action items. Agenda item six (6) for the 08 December 2020 would be tabled. A representative from Horton present to answer any questions if need be.  To decide we need look into the item further.  On Item 12 we are waiting for a quote for the fence at the sewer plant, we have received a warranty, it was on the posts and not on the gate or the workings itself. We will wait until next month until we receive the actual quote. And will also be tabled.

1. John requested approval of Agenda.  Rocky Approved the agenda, Mark seconded the motion.  Motion was carried.   4-0

 2a. John requested approval of 10 November 2020 Budget Hearing Meeting Minutes.                                                                                            Rocky approved the minutes; Mark seconded the motion. Motion was carried. 4-0

2b. John requested approval of 10 November 2020 Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes.  Rocky approved the 10 November 2020 Board of Trustee Meeting Minutes John seconded the motion.  Motion was carried.  4-0

3. First Amendment to Solid Waste Disposal Agreement: Republic will do their presentation then Betsy Acrey will present.  Comments from other business member will then be received. 

John introduced Romack Franklyn Municipal Manager with Republic Services and introduced John Snyder General Manager of Republic Services.  Romack spoke to the benefits to the businesses in the village and for the village itself.  Republic has serviced the village and residences for the last 7 years. Romack presented a PowerPoint out lining 4 beneficial points of having Republic as the single provider for the village. 

  • Efficiencies: Currently multiple vehicles in the village picking up garbage on the same day.  Greenhouse emissions going into the air and negative impact on roads. Local businesses would see a savings of over $2000 a year but also a reduction in traffic.  All commercial and residential would be serviced on the same day.  Established uniform rates.  Cap on rate increases. 
  • Service Offerings: Weekly and offer of Bi-weekly.  Additional addition of up to 25 weeks of seasonal service for those businesses that are not in service during the winter months.  Offer of a free Blueprint waste assessment. Republic would assess/evaluate your business trash output.  In some cases, with some of the attendees we have spoken to on the phone, we have been able to increase your service while reducing your business overall rate.  Some additional service offerings include Blue Gard Electronics Recycling, Medical Sharps, Universal Recycling, Household Hazardous Waste. Universal Recycling would be batteries, light bulbs, ballasts.  Romack asked what businesses are doing with their light bulbs and ballasts. Questioned if they were being environmentally friendly or are you throwing in trash that goes to landfill. Stated that Republic Services provides simple solutions in an environmentally way is their standard.
  • Similar Communities:  Camron, Cumberland, Prairie Farm, Spooner have the same service of residential and commercial garbage and recycling services. 
  • Rates: There is a weekly rate and a Bi-weekly rate. In speaking with several of the attendees Romack was able to show them the rate reduction they would be receiving. 

Romack introduced John Snyder to the floor.  John stated that Republic Services is here to be part of the community and to provide the best possible situation for the Village and businesses.  Republic Services will circle back with the board for the best solution possible for the community. 

Betsy Acrey presented her concerns.  Speaking to Trustees, Clarification of Wisconsin Statue section 2-549.   Public officials and employees are agents of the public, their purpose and office are for the benefit of the public. Concerned with the lack of Trustee involvement when things are brought to the table for discussion. There is usually no discussion. Concerned that trustees are not asking the questions they should ask. Such as what would make us want to get out of our current contract 2 years early. What would make business give up their rights and let you make the decisions that we should be making for our own business. Keep the market competitive so we can choose who we do business with. Did not hear that in November meeting. Did not hear how this would affect the businesses and where their rates would go. Are there any templates that would illustrate this?  Expressed concern that the contract would take the ability to negotiate what was best for the business budget and needs. Requested that one of the Trustees verify the Ordinance that the trash contract is being applied under.  Questioned if Trustees had letter that went out to residences and businesses and if ordinance is on the letter.  John spoke up and stated” We know that you already brought up to all of us and have told us that every dwelling unit will have automatic garbage disposal facility or garbage storage container” Betsy stated that this was coming from John Depoister. John stopped Betsy from speaking and reminder her that this was not a bashing session and that she had done this twice earlier and was stopping her.  Betsy stated ordinance does not that we are not required to accept this service that is coming through the village or it is contracted company. In the letter and the application were listed two different ordinances. Expressed desire for clarification as to which ordinance we were speaking too. Asked if it was a clerical error and stated was assuming that it was a clerical error.  On Village Unicode and Ordinance reads by definition; that a dwelling per section 2-82; Dwelling means any building or portion thereof is designed for or used for residential purposes. Section 6-172; A dwelling means any building the is intended to be used for living or sleeping by a human occupant. Questioned at what point the ordinance applies to a commercial, industrial, or institutional.  John replied: No, the ordinance does not. We were doing this for the overall best interest of the village.  Betsy question if we were clear on the ordinance. And that the contract that was negotiated with Republic is a unenforceable contract, as there is no ordinance that states that businesses, industrial or institutional have to accept it. John stated that the Trustees have already spoken to the attorney and were told that.  So, we are aware of that.  Betsy stated she had questions for the trustees.  Do you truly feel that the contract is in the best interest of the public knowing what we know now? Do we feel that a public hearing should have possibly been considered?  If not a public hearing a referendum like they are doing in Chippewa? Take a vote; Section 2-589 Contracts with the Village; 1. The contract is awarded through a process of Public Notices and Competitive bidding or the board waves that requirement after determining that it is in the best interest of the village.  Betsy assumed that no competitive bidding was done. That no other Sanitary companies were called that could have possibly been a benefit to the village and its people to take a bid and see where we are at. It is a healthy environment to negotiate. There is not full disclosure on the November Agenda Item number 4a Republic Contract.  It did not provide any information to the public ahead of time that there would be a new contract with the current contract with Republic still in place and active for two (2) more years.  And the same contract was to add businesses to the contract and delete the services that was given to the Bluegill Festival. So now their cost will be approximately $1500 if they had to purchase that same dumpster size in two (2) forms. One for the park and one for the ball field.  There was no competitive bidding to ensure that the village was provided the best price, service to the village and the public and cost to the village. Wisconsin Statue 660628 Fees and Codes by a Political Sub-Division, In this case, means the Village.  It is legal to make money from a service in the municipality under a third-party billing. Betsy questioned if was true and commented no.  Should the service the service expense be a break even, for the cost of administrating service not to make a profit on the service. The village is already profiting on the service by receiving services pro-bono from Republic under the donated services category.  So, under this Wisconsin Statue the reasonable relationship means; cost charged by a village for a service provided to a person may not exceed the villages reasonable direct cost that are associated with any activity that is undertaken by the village that is related to the fee.  Betsy then asked Mark Manning what the administration fee being charged by the village. Mark did not answer. Betsy proceeded to state that Republic had provided a rate to the village, and that the village then created a new rate for the residents and businesses.  Betsy asked if the board knew what the percentage they were charging. Board member answered that they would have to look, they had a number. Betsy asked if the board remembered if at any time the recalled when they discussed what percentage they were going to charge on top of Republic. John answered that they discussed a charge but did not discuss a percentage rate. Betsy asked Ashly Beffa to answer the question. Ashley responded that last year before they discussed the refuse administrative cost, it was discussed with the board and with the village attorney, if we were able to do the rate administrative cost.  And it was agreed that the administrative cost that was added to the baseline rate was a reasonable for the cost of postage, paper and time it takes to update. It was discussed by the board, not during the November meeting but prior, as we had received questions form Linda Zillmer asking this was included in taxes. So, we went back to the village attorney and brought it to his attention.  He did look at that and gave us the ok for the 10% administrative costs. Betsy interrupted Ashley. Ashley requested that she let her finish.  Ashley continued; when it was the discussion for the commercial as was explained to Republic and the Board, there are not that many changes with commercial. Where residences are different, there are seasonal, move in’s and move outs. Where for businesses there are not many changes so for businesses it’s 3%.  Betsy: so, to clarify when I asked the village the other day, I was told it was a straight 10% because I didn’t ask the question correctly. So, it is 10% added a residence fee and 3% added to a businesses fee. Even at that per explanation of the postage and the paper is inaccurate in the sense that the same envelope is going to be used to mail the water bill that has always been used because it goes on the same billing, the same piece of paper. John Depoister: Do you realize that on $40 quarterly bill at 10% is $4, that is $16 per year. Do you not think that her time (referring to Ashley) is not worth $16.00?  Betsy: I just think that we should be transparent. 10% for residences and 3% for businesses. John: Which for businesses should be more because we spend more time on. Betsy: I can tell you Rice Lake has no fee; Hayward charges a $1 a month, Cumberland charges nothing because they do not administer through their office. John: $16 a year is just over $1 a month. Betsy: just trying to understand the fee associated with it. Businesses are affected as follows. 

  • Businesses are forced to change their service provider that is required by the village rather than allow for a competitive and open market. 
  • Businesses lose the right to negotiate the type of service that best fits their needs that might vary throughout the year and for a price that best fits their budget. 
  • Some businesses do not have a need for a dumpster and would be forced to have one at the cost of $535.20 annually.  John: If you don’t have the need for a dumpster at that site why would you pay the $500, wouldn’t you pay for a smaller one?  Betsy: Because that is the smallest dumpster.  John: No it is not.  Betsy: It is the smallest dumpster you offer.  John: Here is a 2 yard one for $133.80 quarterly.  Betsy: That is the smallest dumpster annually. If you multiply $133.80 it is $535.20 annually. Dairy State Bank, Cecil Builders, Jim Schmidt’s, Century 21, Unique Design that currently do not have dumpsters.  That is something they could not budget for and do not need to budget for because they do not need the dumpster. 
  • New businesses would likely consider whether this is the place for them based on things such as this that are imposed upon them. I say this because my business is for sale. When you sell a business, it becomes mor difficult because now you must tell the buyer, by the way this has been taken out of your hands and is in the hands of the village. So, you do not get to decide on this if you come and have your business here. 
  • Charitable organizations are affected by this. Food pantry will see the expense of $535.20 so there will be fewer funds for them to distribute their donations and make their efforts. The Lions Club will no longer receive donated dumpsters for the park and will have a cost of $1500 during the festival. Rather the village will secure those dumpsters for spring and fall cleanup. Betsy again as noted on recording that it was stated the Bluegill fest does nothing for the village. As a member of the Lions Betsy was offended by the statement. The Bluegill Festival brings a lot to the village and the community. This decision reaches far beyond the businesses that it was imposed upon. Businesses will have to raise their prices to help cover that charge.  Could result in employee layoffs, hour reductions. Landlords will most likely reflect it in their rents. Renters my decide to leave the community. Charitable organizations will have less to give. Taxes may go up to help cover the $2000 the school will be paying.  The taxes do not just affect this community. They affect every community that pays taxes to the Birchwood schools. Betsy stated she would be affected in Edge Water. 
  • The majority of business owners are unable to vote for who sits on the board and do not have the ability to run for position. Most of the business owners reside outside of the village.  We do have a voice however, and today illustrates our votes. 

Betsy stated that she had made some phone calls and enquired of other communities.  Hayward has an open market for businesses, and they do contract for residential. Their rates are lower than ours and they charge $1 a month administration fee.  Rice Lake charges nothing to process, they have an open market for businesses.  They have a controlled market for their residences, and they charge nothing. Minong for all 3 parts in Minong, they have a private dump situation they do not have trash service unless you want trash service. Everyone just takes their trash to the dump. Cumberland just recently went with Our Local a new company.  The uniqueness of this is they did negotiate a good rate for businesses and residential. It is not billed through the village; it is billed through the service provider. So, they can negotiate what ever service fits their need. They can be in direct contact with that service provider, so they do not have to wait to communicate.  They city of Eau Claire is open market on both. John: If we were that size, we would not either.  Betsy: I cannot see the explanation of that. You would think it would be the opposite, that big cities would want that to have more control. Betsy questioned if the board was going to take away our rights, and determine who we use for propane, who we use for a satellite provider, who we use for our phone, who we use for internet.  This is what the businesses feel that it is a personal attack. That we will not be able to run our businesses as we see fit to run our business with the decisions that we need to make. This is what I feel that you are taking away my right to make the decisions I need to run my business. Betsy is a current Republic customer and has been since she bought the café in 2009.  John: Does Republic do a good job for you?  Betsy: Yes, at half the price.  John: If you are being charged half, then I would go back to Republic and ask them why we are being charged a higher rate. I do not know why you would come here and think that as a board we are trying to beat down every single one of you. Do you think we sat here and say hay if we do this, we can screw over every one of these numbers here? No, we did not, we would not do that.  If you are being charged half, then I would go to him (Romack) and say hay why are we now being charged a higher rate? Betsy interrupted and stated its because the questions were not asked by the trustees in the beginning when this contract was put forth. When we started talking to our sales representative and Romack the lightbulb went off and we realized what was proposed and contracted, this is already contracted which means that you have already said this is good with me we need nothing else. Now they realize it does not work. One design does not work for everybody.  It was not until the public spoke. John: So, lets move on to that point. Because that is the only way we are going to get to anything done. Betsy: No because I would have to say that I could be speaking out of turn, but a s a majority, the majority of businesses and I have spoken to several of them in person or on the phone. For the majority of businesses, it’s not about price. John: And we would like to hear from them. Betsy kept speaking; we want the freedom of choice.  We want the freedom of choice and that is where this is. It is not just about price that is the third part of the conversation. Ordinance enforcement is not enforceable, freedom of choice, and price is the third choice. John: The ordinance is not enforceable you are correct on that.  So therefore, you have freedom of choice. Betsy raised her voice:  I had freedom of choice until you the Board decided to make a change to the ordinance. This is a concern. So, thank you very much I appreciate you listening. John: thank you. Betsy: I just ask that in the future when you are considering contracts think about competitive bidding and the people, they voted you in. 

John spoke: Want to address a couple of issues that were brought up. John emails from Betsy. John pointed out that this was the third month that the garbage issue has been on the agenda.  In October it was listed on the agenda that the board would be discussing the audit of the refuse carts and a possible amendment to the contract. One thing that was brought up to John was that board members need to contact businesses individually. That is not how the village board works. I can not go to Betsy and say I will take care of this, as village president I will take care of this, because it is a complete board decision. It is majority rules on the board. It is not each individual person. Betsy said you want a voice. 

Our meeting is the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 P.M.  We post an agenda of everything we are going to be talking about. If you think one of those items may pertain to you, call, and get clarification. You were told we were going to be discussing this and you said no you were not interested. And you still did not come to the meetings.  It is your email to me, that you were asked by one of the board members if you would like to… Betsy interpreted and stated two months before the meeting. And she did not say that you would be discussing it. She asked if I would be interested and I said absolutely not. John: It is on the agenda that we were going to be discussing it. So, you knew 2 months ahead of time that we were going to be discussing it and you still did not come to a board meeting. You cannot be on the board because you do not live-in town. That is how this works. But if you want a voice, we have a whole room that the audience can sit in. Betsy again interrupted stating and I do come to a lot of them. Citizens comment that we have jobs to do here in town. John: I understand that, but the businesses need to come and voice their concerns. I have the agendas here in front of me.  Betsy: You also only post it 24 hours before the meeting.  So, you only post it by 4:00 Monday for a meeting today. And people need more notice than that as to what is on the agenda.  John: Then we will work on getting our agenda out on Thursday afternoon.  Citizens comment: that where the business owners should get a vote or at least a survey on how we feel. I understand the agenda is posted but I cannot afford to follow everything the board does. At least have a heads up. Take a poll about this stuff. John: What your saying is if it does not affect you, you do not care so leave it up to the board to take care of it. Citizens comment: Right but then you get a letter in the mail telling you, you have 30 days and you got to use their garbage. John: Did you look at the agenda for the last two months? Citizen comment: No, because most of it doesn’t pertain to me. I got rid of Republic because they were more a month. I went to a small business. John: Did you see that emails I sent to Betsy back in fact One of the texts I sent back to her was we were told this was going to work for the businesses. When we start finding out that it was not working out for businesses and was costing more. I asked her to please be patient, let us renegotiate with Republic. Citizen comment: They should be given the first-rate price right off the bat. You do not just send out a price and then say we are going to come back and lower it. Where is your lower price? 2nd citizen comment: For me it is not just a case of simple garbage. I have multiple facets of garbage and what the rate is doing to my costs. Mine is going up $1400. John: What we wanted to hear was from the business owners. You are here, we want to hear what you have to say. Republic wants to hear also, Betsy: When I spoke to Ashley, and the contract with Republic was just renewed, and if you had the best interest of the business owners in town, then why didn’t you get more bids to make it better for all of us? I like Republic, but when I have to pay $400 dollars more a year. You say that my neighbor is paying less and that means they can spend more in my business. 2020 has been hard enough, and this is going to happen, and this bill is going up and that bill is going up, how are the businesses supposed to stay open? We want Birchwood to succeed. All of us businesses want to succeed and little things like this is going to have a huge impact on making Birchwood the best it can be.  John: The reason this was brough up was because when we did an audit, the reason we looked at the contract. We did not go out and ask Republic to re-wright our contract, we were auditing our service and found out that 43% of the people in Birchwood do not have garbage service. Citizen comment: Because they cannot afford it.  John: No, they are taking their garbage and either throwing it in your dumpster or Betsy’s dumpster or their neighbors’ garbage can.  Multiple speaking at once.  Citizen comment: It is the village responsibility to figure out who has garbage and who does not. John: And that is what we are doing. Citizen comment: if you are a resident you should have to pay for garbage. John: So now it is the non-residents that are telling us that we haul our garbage back to Minnesota. Citizen comment: They should take it to the public dump. John: I have seen many people dropping their garbage in the garbage cans at the ball park. And who pays for that? Not the person that is dumping their garbage in there.  Citizen comment: Those are not residents doing that. I watch it every day form the laundry mat window. John: Yes, but they are here. Citizen comment: I’m sorry but if the live here and they pay a water bill they are supposed to be paying for garbage. They are supposed to have a garbage can. If I saw them doing that and I had a dumpster I would have told them that they could not do that.  You have got to pay the fee that is on the bill as a resident. And Business owners who may pay double, I’m sorry, I did my audit, and my garbage will go down. And sitting here you are the board and my residential is going to go up. I would think you would negotiate to help the residents lower their garbage bills. Instead helping the common people. People who need to budget and need to make changes that is what you should be working on. How is it going to benefit the residents if ours go up and you are lowering the rates on a commercial business that is making money and not the person who lives here on a semi-fixed income. John: I have not heard of any going down. Citizen Comment: Well, mine is. I called. 2nd Citizen comment: There are like four that are going down. Reiners, Becky, Ed maybe. It’s limited. 3rd Citizen comment: *** I had a conversation on the telephone, and I said I know what I am paying and, and tell me what I would be paying and it would go up over $400. And you (referring to Romack) said specifically “well that’s odd because most people are going down”. And I said why should I be paying a penny more that I already am with my current billing. Why should any of us have to take the hit for this? It is not our fault people take their garbage back home.  It’s not our fault that they are not paying their water bill for the person who owns that home. I have people who do it to my garbage can and they ask permission. But this is  community of people who are trying to help each other.  It is not about coming here and stabbing us. We need people to come in from Minnesota, Chicago, from everywhere. Without all those people Birchwood is not going to exist. So we need to make sure that we are all in agreement with this. And finely, there seems to be a lot of hostility here. This is my first board meeting there seems to be a lot of anger and I don’t quite understand. I think you need to come to a common ground. John: Everyone thinks this is a personal attack on the business. John reminded them of April when then pandemic hit. Everyone was struggling to make money, that the village talked to the individual business to get your open and closed hours. Weather you were doing dine-in or carry out. We put all your information on our website to help you through this pandemic. We do not go out just to stab you in the back. We thought we were doing a good thing, we found out we were not. We are going to renegotiate with Republic now.  Citizen Question for Republic:  You come into a town like this, we use you I like your service. You come into a town like this and you take over the garbage service, I would think there would be a savings for us for allowing you to do that. Or even go up a little bit each year but to come in we get this increase for the same service we have today, and nothing has changed. Romack: On the residential market and on the business side you have like an open market, it is tough and challenging for people who have had a different services and types of services. For the best interest and the best rates overall, for the best for the entire community, some people are going to be impacted differently. That is where Republic services comes in and says here is my revenue for the month for the business that are in Birchwood. Republic is not making money on this. Citizen Comment interruption: You want us to believe that. Romack: Please let me finish. It impacts some businesses going up and a lot of them are going down. We are making less revenue.  Betsy: I’ll comment to that. Because, like I told Brent Reiner, who is paying you an inordinate amount of money, I said Brent that is why you must negotiate and that is what negotiation does. Betsy continued to comment on her ability to negotiate. John: The message here is that the board put something together to help the community out, and it does not sound like that is the case.  The board is committed to circle back to Republic and go back and renegotiate and do what is best for the community.              The board does have the best interest of Birchwood at heart.  They truly have your best interest at heart and resignedly with what the feedback is, we are committed to gong back to Republic and going through this again. Even though we have a signed contract I am willing to forgo that to make sure this community thrives. Hopefully, we can get past this and move forward.  Citizen comment to Republic: You say that you are not making any money so how can every one of these businesses be different? My cost has never gone up and it has never gone down. And you come in here and the business next door is $400 dollars more than the next guy. Romack:  I do care and if you compare apples to apples your rate as a supervisor is different. It is based on the business. It changes that is how the business is. Citizen comment: I understand that but how can everyone of these businesses have a different cost and they all have the same size dumpster? Citizen Comment:  Have been a customer of Republic for many years I represent Masonite and we have many different facets of our waste. I give coo-dos to the board I think Republic is the best choice. But like Jim said my service has not changed, why is our price going up substantially? When you get a crew together to generally get a crew rate. Your rates get better not rise substantially.  That is where we are really seeing a difference.   Romack: The conversation we have had was to help the community and the businesses. Maybe we can circle back at some point and see if we can come together and figure something out. I do know that we have been taking care of a lot of the businesses. We are going to do the right thing. Citizen comment: Discussion about dumpsters for the Bluegill Festival. Romack: In conversations with the board, we understand that the Bluegill Fest is a big deal, and we are going to make sure that the Festival is still taken care of.  And provide something at cost for that. Comment form Brad Fold: Former president of the Lions Club. Listened to what was said at the November meeting.  Strongly disagrees that the village should use the free dumpsters. Lions club makes money from the Bluegill Fest.  A list of what the Lions Club has done for the village. Various items listed as being paid for by lions Club, Ice Rink, Speaker system, Pavilion new floor. Tennis courts repair, etc. Proceeds from Bluegill Fest goes back into the community. Lions club pays a group of high school kids to clean up the street during the Bluegill Fest. If the Lions Club is going to have to pay for dumpsters and people to clean up during and after. Bluegill Fest may not happen. This will affect the community.  John: That is why we are re-negotiating. 

John from Republic has already said the contract is going to be redone, even though we have already signed it. The free dumpsters where put up there for use at the village’s discretion.  This year we lost a free dumpster. There was not Bluegill Fest. They were set aside for Bluegill Fest. That means we could not have them brought in for clean up day. So, if we want to have Bluegill Fest have one and the village have one for clean up day and negotiate the price on the 3rd one. That is what we are looking at.  This year we all lost. We are trying to make the village a better place. We do not want tire, mattresses and junk sitting everywhere. The last time we did clean up day we were taken advantage of. You can not tell me that this small village ended up with a full dumpster filled with mattresses.   Mattresses were brought in form out of town to be taken to the dump. At $30 per mattress the $2000 budget went to $9000.  We are looking out to cover some of our things as well. 2 Dumpsters would have been nice to have.   

Brad Fold:  The dumpster by the marina is huge and it does not need to be that big.  It only gets used when people drive by and throw stuff in there. 

Citizens Comment: Lions Club is important to the community of Birchwood. 

Citizens comment: If people are going around and dumping garbage in the dumpsters, then maybe you should have someone going through them. There has got to be some mail that lets us know who they are. 

Ron: I do, do that. We do not find any mail.  We do not find anything. I did find one thing and I gave the name to the clerk.  

Betsy: This contract and it is renegotiated there should not be anything forcible to put on us.

John: If we renegotiate the contract and take the commercial out there is nothing to force on you. You will negotiate your own, there will be no set prices and it will not be level for the next 4 years.

Citizen Comment: This negotiating day will not be level be ready we are all going to want to negotiate.  

Betsy: Again, questioned the ordinance as it pertains to the residences. Does not need to go through the village for the service.

John: We found out that 43% of the residences do not have garbage service. 

Betsy: The residences should be open market until you repair your ordinance and make it to where you can enforce it.  If 43% do not have garbage service and it is on the water bill that sounds like the is an issue.

John: That is what brought this whole thing up and why we are auditing it. 

Betsy: It is a nuisance issue; you have ordinances on the books for nuisance issues that is why you have Adam and Ashley. So, it gets on the books and can be addressed. They get three notices before you can do anything. Then you put it on their taxes.

John:  The nuisance ordinance is being redone at this time. 

Betsy: you are not enforcing the nuisance ordinance.  

John: that has nothing to do with this issue. Betsy kept pressing the issue.  Continued discussion on people putting their trash into business dumpsters.  And having a choice on the garbage service. 

4. Caucus January 12, 2021 at 5:30 Stacy made the motion Mark seconded the motion. Motion carried 5/0

5. Resolution 208-20 Village of Birchwood Budget Wage Increases for 2021.  Mark made a motion to pass motion. Joh seconded the motion. Motion carried 5/0

6. Municipal Insurance was tabled. 

6.1 2021 Quotes: Nathan Pazeski from The Horton was present and presented agency history working with municipalities.  Also, how he went about putting the package together for the village. 

John: Brought up the need to re-inventory as the village has upgraded the loader and the mower. 

Nathan: Noted that there were items that would need to be reviewed and discussed as there was not a value on them. 

John: With as much as it is that is why the board is tabling it. Noted that he would like all of the board members to review the proposal.  

Nathan: Noted to the board that the compound policy ends on December 31, 2020.  If you do table, it until January some companies will extend coverage.  

John: there is a lot to cover 70 pages. For the amount of time, we have had it. 

Ashley Beffa: Insurance is up for renewal, would like the board to take the opportunity to review what is the current insurance and what Nathan is offering.  Has addressed with John through out the year some concerns with the current insurance and representative. This is more discussion today. As John stated we will probably have a special session before the end of the year, to allow time to review. The packet is in your email. 

6.2. Wisconsin Surplus Online Auction: 

John: This is not to determine the price of each lot. There are covenants and assessments we need to look into. It is just to make the decision if we want to go with a realtor or to list them on the Surplus Auction.  We can list our price and we do not have to take less than that. We can list our price with the utilities. We can set that price and it either must sell for that or more.  With Surplus we are not paying a realtor.  Realtor fees were $1000 per lot. 

Ashley Beffa:  I will say as a clerk if we go to list this, we need to involve the attorney to make sure, as Linda Zillmer had mentioned that the special assessments and covenants, that all those details are worked through before listing.  At the last meeting you had discussed the possibility of listing with a realtor. CarolAnn our new deputy clerk had mentioned had we considered this as an alternative option. We were able to get further information and provide that to you today.  To determine if this is an option, we need to have the attorney review.

John: Buyer pays all fees. 

Mark: Sold rental business through auction site. Had no fees and were able to reach out to a lot of people.

John: They sell surplus property all over the state, they have a huge audience. There is a one-year clause in the covenant that they must build in one year. That means that the taxes will go up in a year. More revenue for the village. 

Ashley: Asking the board to give direction on which way they feel is the best way to sell these properties. Will work with the attorney and the online auction company, to ensure that all of the data that is needed. 

John: Made a motion to send the information to the attorney to tell the board if this is a good option for the village. Asked for a second. Asked if anyone had any questions.

Linda Zillmer: Asked about the Habitat for Humanity if it would be included in the sale.

John: We will have to look into that. They were given 2 years to build and it has been 8.

John: We have a motion. Mark second the motion to send the information to the attorney. Motion carried 5/0

6.2.2. Operators License: Stacy moved to approved licenses. Rocky seconded the motion. Motion carried 5/0

6.2.3. Mosaic: Resolution #209-20 Public Partnership Agreement with Chilbardun Telephone Cooperative, Inc. & CTC Telecom, Inc. dba Mosaic Technologies for broadband expansion.

John: To be a silent partner in allowing Mosaic to expand broadband in the village. This is not to take over the village. This is to expand broadband throughout the village. It will give the residences 3 options: Century Link, S&K and Mosaic.   Stacy made a motion to adopt resolution 209-20.  Rocky seconded the motion. Motion carried 5/0 Letter of support for Mosaic fiber optic broadband project.  Rocky made a motion to sign the letter of support. John seconded the motion. Motion carried 5/0

6.2.4. Clifton Larson Allen Invoice 2651848 Itemized charges. 

John: Letter is a breakdown of what they charged us for and what they did not charged us for. 

Ashley: They had charged it as budget, so it appeared that is was for the meeting that they left early on.

Rocky: This is done with them.  

Ashley: We are done with them. We have a new accountant and auditor starting January 1st. 

Rocky made a motion to pay the invoice. Mark seconded the motion. Motion carried 5/0

6.2.5 Rice Lake Glass and Door Co. LLC Quote: Furnish and install tempered glass with speak thru for clerk’s office.  

Rocky: Requested other quotes.

Ashley: Will pursue other quotes. 

6.2.6. Amundson Services LLC Estimate #376: Furnish and install aluminized chain link fence at 410 Edenharter Road. 

John: Received warranty for one year on the posts and not the fencing.  Will bring the Fence issue up in the January 2021 meeting. Financials: Approval of Bills, Payroll and acceptance of Treasures Reports for October 2020. 

John: Has the board had the opportunity to review the Financials?  Rocky made motion to approve the Financials. Mark seconded the motion. Motion carried 5/0.  

No Closed Session.  

John made motion to adjourn meeting and was carried 5/0

Questions or Concerns?

Please contact the Village Hall with comments, questions, and/or concerns and we will be happy to help.