PdC council hears proposal to reduce citywide cleanup to once a year

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

Public info meeting may be set for flood mitigation project

By Correne Martin

Prairie du Chien Mayor Dave Hemmer had to cast his vote to break a 5-5 tie from Tuesday night’s common council discussion regarding changes to the biannual citywide cleanup. The public works committee recommended to the council that cleanup events be reduced from twice a year to once a year and a fee-based tag/ticket system be implemented for removal of larger items.

Co-manager of Public Works Terry Meyer explained that these changes could potentially save the public works department $10,000 a year. “With decreased staff and a greater workload, we’re looking at ways to save money in the public works department,” he said, noting that the details of how a tag and ticket system would work and the related costs are yet to be determined. Meyer also wondered if the city might consider a once a month, permanent drop-off location, which would allow for cheaper fees than a tag/ticket system for large items such as furniture and appliances. But, he said, the city would have expenses associated with managing such a site.

According to City Administrator Aaron Kramer, changes would not take effect until 2016. “We’ve already budgeted for the 2015 citywide cleanups,” he stated.

A number of council members weren’t interested in any changes to the system however.

“If we take away this benefit to taxpayers, I’d like to see where those labor hours will go,” Alderwoman Jean Titlbach commented.

Alderman Ken Fleshner agreed that the proposed changes could be a loss for taxpayers. He also wanted more information, particularly about tag and ticket fees, before agreeing to any modifications.
“To save $10,000 in a city of 6,000, that’s less than $2 a resident,” he added. “I think the system works fine the way it is.”

Those councilmen who eventually voted in favor of the recommendations didn’t share their opinions on the cleanup matter.

Upon action, Fleshner motioned to reject the committee’s recommendation and Mark Thein seconded. In addition to those two, Titlbach, Mike Jones and Edward Hayes-Hall, agreed with the vote to reject, while Todd Myers, Sharon Boylen, Karen Solomon, Kyle Kozelka and Nate Gilberts were opposed to the motion. After the 5-5 tie, Mayor Hemmer was also opposed to rejecting the recommended changes. This put the topic back on the table and, in the end, the council voted, 9-1 (with Fleshner opposed) to direct staff to provide a more detailed proposal, including the tag/ticket concept, and a better breakdown of what going to one cleanup would mean to the efficiency of the public works department.

Yard modification ordinance
At its Jan. 6 meeting, the council discussed an ordinance that would establish a maximum height of 20 feet and maximum size of 1,000 square feet for accessory structures in residential districts within the city. Unable to come to an agreement at that time, the council sent the item back to the plan commission for further discussion. Then, on Jan. 19, the commission recommended the council approve the ordinance as written.

Hayes-Hall didn’t wholly disagree with the ordinance but stated his belief that structures such as detached garages should be allowed at 30 feet high from ground to peak, which would be the same height as attached garages.

Kramer added, “I don’t think it’s the size, it’s the aesthetics that are the problem. If you want to modify the ordinance, you should have a second reading on this.”

Fleshner strongly opposed the ordinance, as he did during the Jan. 6 debate. “If the garage matches the house, I don’t think we should be putting restrictions on it,” he said. “Yes, the person would have the option to go before the commission for a variance, but they’re not going to get it (from the commission). You’ve got to prove a hardship and that’s not easy to do. I guess, if you don’t want restrictions, move to Bridgeport.”

Again, no decision was ultimately made, as the council chose to postpone action until its Feb. 17 meeting when Zoning Administrator Julie Jackson can be there to answer questions.

Flood grant/mitigation
Administrator Kramer informed the council that the Wisconsin DNR has awarded the city a municipal flood control grant for $436,050, which will require a $255,000 match from the city. The grant is to be used toward a flood mitigation project for the Jackson Street ditch and detention basins. Three residents who live in the nearby area, Roger Kordus, Stan Toberman and Kyle Pattison, addressed the council.

Kordus stated that the affected neighborhood has not been provided as much information as it would like or opportunities to comment on this project. “The neighborhood feels like we should’ve been a part of this project,” he said. “[Our opinions] should be taken into account.”

Kramer understood but worried about the project completion deadline of December 2016 if work continued to be delayed. “The DNR already extended the deadline once,” he said. “I don’t want to jeopardize that. We applied for this grant in 2004 and were denied. We tried for a stormwater utility in 2007 and that didn’t work. I don’t want to lose out a third time.”

Alderman Myers remarked that a lot of work has been done “upstream” to eliminate debris and improve the ditches. He felt the city could build a secondary ditch in the area on its own for about $75,000 less than going with the DNR grant project and having to meet the required $255,000 match.

“But that wouldn’t include debris catching [mechanisms],” Kramer responded.

Hayes-Hall finally suggested a public information meeting be offered to the public, with invites sent out, giving affected residents the chance to comment. The council agreed, 10-0. The DNR will be asked for an additional extension on the grant and, if that is granted, a public meeting date will be determined.

Other business
The Prairie du Chien common council also approved:

•bid authorizations for a water leak survey, annual concrete and asphalt work, and state-mandated inspection and cleaning of water reservoirs.

•bidding out the addition to the tourism information center.

•creation of a water meter reading position. The job candidate must have or be willing to obtain knowledge of reading water meters.

•the release of a 20-foot utility easement in Block 43 of the union plat, creation of a 12-foot utility easement in Block 43, and the certified survey map all associated with the property north of Walgreens that is slated to be the location of the new True Value.

Rate this article: 
Average: 2 (2 votes)