March 9, 2021 Monthly Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes – Approved

The Regular Monthly Board of Trustees Meeting of the Village of Birchwood was be held on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021, at 6:00 pm at the Birchwood Village Hall, 101 N Main St, Birchwood, WI 54817


Village President John Depoister called the meeting to order – Meeting was recorded Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Roll call by Clerk R. Vangilder, P. Parkos, J. Depoister, S. Small. M. Manning in attendance. Also in attendance Bob Longacre, Lisa Longacre, Audrey Weiss. Ashley Beffa attended via zoom.

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

Police Report: Officer Adam Brunclick presented. More snowmobiles traffic. Working on office paperwork and files. Working on setting up new taser. Will be taking training on taser March 16th with Sawyer County. Vehicle rollover on South Main on night of super bowl. Sent out sidewalk letter to businesses to maintain the areas in front of their business. Sending scam letter to local businesses. Scammer looks like a legitimate business. They offer to put coupons/advertisement for the business in a book. The business pays for this, but never receives the coupon/advertisement promised. Some juvenal thefts and delt with that with Barron County. Some juvenal referrals. One vehicle pursuit ended in taking person into custody. No questions.

Public Works Report: Tucker Fee presented – A couple of homes had freeze-ups inside their home crawl spaces. Trickle order for Wise and Euclid Avenue. Checked water and was still at 37°. Should be ending Trickle mandate soon. A few minor issues at sewer plant. LW Allen came in and worked on the PLC screens that are outside. . They need to be replaced because the UV rays are affecting them. We can put black covers over them to help protect them. The blower switch needs to be replaced.

Non-Committee Reports: At last BFCESD (Birchwood Fire Community Emergency Service District) they are still continuing to work on the building. They are going to stay in the spot that they have. One of the other spots has been sold and someone else is looking at the other. They want to redesign the plans. The new ambulance has arrived. Edgewater approached and they may be pulling out of ambulance service. They are working with Sawyer County to see what they can do. We are charging them and so is Sawyer County. Sawyer County is not giving them service, but they are charging them anyway. To save money they gave notice that they would pull out of Birchwood, but they do not want to. Cedar Lake also brought up that on November 11th they are pulling out of BFCESD also. As it stands now there are two townships that are doing away with ambulance service. Stacy Small asked if it was just ambulance and not fire. John Depoister responded that at this time it is only ambulance. Part of the controversy is that we raised the wages for EMTs to keep some and to recruit some.  Difficult to keep an ambulance 24/7 with only 3 EMTs. Fire department is making $17 to $18 an hour for their calls. $10 for EMT calls and is a good amount to pay our EMTs to retain them. However, some of the other townships do not feel the same. It is important for Birchwood to have it. We will do what we need to do to keep ambulance service.

Ordinance Committee Report: Mark Manning – stated that the parking lot on Hinman Drive will be tabled until June until the seasonal residences return and can have a say in the decision.  Remaining items would be discussed as agenda item 6. No other committee reports – Stacy Small stated that Dan Griefe may be in Birchwood sometime in March so there may be a Parks Committee meeting in March.

Citizen Comments: (Limit 3 minutes per person) None for this meeting

Correspondence: One from a “concerned resident” regarding Dollar General coming to Birchwood. Citizen felt that Dollar General would cause the small businesses in town to suffer a loss of business and does not have an interest in the community. Requests that the Board of Trustees research all the pros and cons of a Dollar General in Birchwood. Stacy Small commented that we are not to make comment to correspondence, however, the village does not have a say if a business wants to come into a property that is zoned commercial. Citizen comment was made that the Dollar General in Branson pays $6900 taxes. $2000 goes to the Village of Branson, $2900 goes to the schools. There is a lot of misinformation in the letter. Also, the location mentioned in the letter is not correct. John Depoister stopped any further comments.

Discussion/Action Items (No public comments allowed):

  1. Current agenda: Motion to approve by John Depoister with correction of date for March Special meeting from March 9th to March 2nd. Second by Mark Manning. Carried 5 to 0
  2.  Meeting Minutes:.
    1. February 9th, 2021 Board of Trustee Regular Monthly Meeting – Stacy Small motioned to approve. Rocky Van Gilder second. Carried 5 to 0
    2. March 2nd, Special Meeting – Paul Parkos motion to approve with correction of date for March Special Meeting on current Meeting Agenda from March 9th to March 2nd. Mark Manning second. Carried 5 to 0

3 . Financials: Motion to approve by John Depoister, second by Stacy Small. Carried 5 to 0

4.  John Deere Tractor 524K Tractor Repair Quotes:

  1. Tractor Central – Received a bid from Tractor Tucker Fee mention that they will not work on the harness. John Depoister mentioned that we did receive a check for $2500 from Mid-State Equipment to cover the repair costs.
  2. McCoy Construction & Forestry – Will not accept another bid from They are to complete the work they have started but to do no further work on the tractor.
  3. Northland Lawn, Sport, and Equipment – Did not receive a bid at time of meeting. John Depoister suggested tabling until bid is received. Only allow McCoy to finish with the wing and the blade. John Depoister made motion to table until second bid received. Mark Manning second. Carried 5 to 0

5.  Bucks Hardware:

a. Sidewalk complaint – Bucks Hardware is concerned that he my loose the interested Since the new sidewalk was installed in front of the building, the sidewalk heaves when the temperature drops, and the front door will not open. Would like the village to resolve and to give a letter to him, for the buyer that the village will address. John Depoister stated that he spoke to someone about the situation. They stated that the piece in question could be removed and two-inch foam could be put down with sand on top and then the slab. This would prevent the frost from going to deep. Stacy Small stated that the Village did not do the sidewalk immediately in front of the door. The section that heaves is against the building. We did not do that section. John Depoister commented that Buck’s is saying that it is because of the section the village replaced that is causing the other section to heave, that it did not happen before. Tucker Fee commented that this has been happening for years and if you look at the building itself you can see that there have been 3 different pours and three different foundations. And that there is cracking and settling. This is not new. We have put in heavy big rock all the way to the section that is shifting. Because it was really wet down at the Blue Gill as well, so we put in breaker rock then we put in gravel sand and gravel. The section that is heaving ad moving is right under his building. Stacy Small questioned if there have been issues reported in the past since we replaced the sidewalk. John Depoister stated that Buck’s stated they have been constantly complaining and he just keeps getting put off. Tucker Fee stated that none of the sidewalk is the villages. We put it in, and we put in the curb. However, from the curb into the street belongs to the village, and the sidewalk belongs to the businesses. Mark Manning commented that if we do it for Bucks then we will get a call from the Blue Gill, and other businesses. Tucker Fee mentioned that there was another issue in the morning in front of the clinic and Post Office where the sidewalk had raised. Stacy Small stated, this is not the result of the new sidewalk but a result of the frost coming out of the ground. Mark Manning questioned if this was a result of the new sidewalk of the frost coming out of the ground. Tucker Fee stated that just because we replaced the sidewalks does not mean that they are ours. They are maintained by the businesses that are on it. It is their property, we just beautified it. Stacy Small asked if we could investigate it. John Depoister stated that Bucks Hardware wants a letter from us stating that we will fix it. Stacy Small stated that we can not do that because we do not know how much it will cost and what needs to be done.

Ashley Beffa suggested that the village go back to MSA. MSA oversaw the street project. John Depoister stated he would talk with MSA. Audrey Weiss from MSA was in the room and stated that she would investigate the project. John Depoister will speak with Bucks Hardware.

Ordinance Committee Recommendations:

  1. Open ATV/UTV route to all streets in the village
    1. Excludes Holly Hill Lane and Main Street Mark manning presented – Ordinance committee met on February 10th to discuss opening all roadways in the village to ATV/UTVs use except for Main Street. One resident also asked that we would not allow Holly Hill to be open to ATV/UTVs. Speed limits would be 15 mph. Rocky Vangilder mentioned that the speed limit on Cedar is higher by the legion, and the speed limit should match the flow of automobile traffic on city streets and County Road D. Officer Burnclik pointed out, if you are going slower than the actual traffic you are creating a hazard. Stacy Small asked for confirmation on the village street speed limits. Officer Burnclik confirmed that the speed limit is 25 mph in the village. John Depoister mentioned that there would be a need for more signs to post the trails and prohibited areas. Bob Longacre a citizen remarked that the Ordinance was changed to 15 mph some time ago. Mark Manning corrected him and stated yes it was changed in an ordinance meeting but not in the ordinance itself. Currently the ordinance states 10 mph. Mr. Longacre was concerned that the ordinance had not been changed. Rocky Van Gilder agreed that the ATV/UTVs speed should be the same as traffic coming into and in the village. Officer Burnclik felt it was a good idea to open up the village with the exception of Main Street and Holly Hill. Also, that the speed limits should match the posted speeds. Mark Manning stated that currently the ordinance states 10 mph. Officer Burnclik stated this is where things don’t get done. It gets published and does not get into the books and disappears. Stacy Small asked if there was a need for a public notice that the ordinance was being changed. Mark Manning stated that there was an amendment to the current ordinance and that he did not believe that there needed to be a public notice. Officer Burnclik stated that he would like to see more signs at drop off spots. People start at the hotel and they have not even been on a trail. He is currently trying to talk to people to let them know to stay off Main Street. Even with signs people don’t always see them because they are not following the main trails. Stacy Small mentioned that some of the crossings on 48 are not legal and that the village has nothing to do with those and we cannot change those. John Depoister stated that the village would have to redo their maps and mark what the speed limits are and where the crossings are. Stacy Small stated that some of the ATV/UTVs are getting very loud blaring their music. Questioned if it would fall under a noise ordinance. John Depoister stated it is no different if a person driving through town has their radio blaring in his car. Mark Manning reviewed the discussion points of keeping Main Street and Holly Hill closed to ATV/UTV traffic. 15 mph on all roads except for County Road D coming into town and Cedar Avenue to follow posted speed limits. Paul Parkos made a motion to open up the roads in the village to ATV/UTV use with the exception of Main Street and Holly Hill, with the speed limits of 15 mph in town. Cedar Avenue to follow posted speeds from Main Street to the county line. And county Road D to follow posted speed of 25mph. Mark Manning second. Carried 5 to 0.

7.     Closed Session:

Pursuant to 19.85(1)© and 19.85 (1)(b) WI statute which, if discussed publicly, would likely have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person(s) referred to in such data. No closed session would likely have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person(s) referred to in such data) Motion to go into closed session by Stacy Small, seconded by John Depoister. Roll Call: R. Vangilder, P. Parkos, J. Depoister, S. Small, and M. Manning. Motion to come out of closed session by Stacy Small, seconded by Mark Manning. Carried 5-0.

8. Open Session:

  1. Matters discussed in closed session – Employee Handbook and Policy for retroactive pay for Holidays and Vacation. Vacation rollover, sick time rollover. Discussed the need to make changes/update the policy manual. John Depoister expressed the need for a Policy Committee John Depoister made a motion regarding Ashly Beffa vacation and holiday pay. Ashley does not get the first six months of her vacation pay because of how the policy reads that she had to put in her 6 months probation. However, she is eligible for the 4 holidays she missed out on. According to policy that was affective immediately. Stacy Small second. Carried 5 to 0 John Depoister, in consideration of vacation, comp pay and sick time that employees have built up. In reading the policy some of the totals are in excess of what the policy states we can have. Recommendation is that we go with what the employees have currently. But we will be setting up a Policy committee meeting very soon to get this changed. We need to get it in line with what is going on now days. Motion is to have a Policy Committee meeting, but to stick with what they have already. Stacy Small second. Carried 5 to 0

9. Adjournment: Stacy Small motioned to adjourn, Rock VanGilder second. Carried 5 to 0


Questions or Concerns?

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

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