City hikes fees, rent
Those looking to use city facilities in 2015 can expect to pay more.
At the Clintonville City Council meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 9, the council approved fee increases recommended by the Parks & Recreation Committee. The fee and rent increases passed 6-2. Alderwoman Mary Beth Kuester and Alderman Jim Krause voted no. Aldermen Mark Doornink and Bill Zienert were excused from the meeting.
Activities receiving fee increases include the use of the outdoor swimming pool, recreation programs offered by the city, park and shelter rentals, renting the recreation center, renting the community center, and senior citizen activity participation fees.
In addition, the monthly rent the food pantry pays for space at the Clintonville Rec Center was increased from $30 to $50. This was a topic of debate.
Kuester said the city shouldn’t be trying to balance the budget on the back of the food pantry. She said she was very concerned about the increase and strongly objected to it.
“I think this is a very poor public relations move for the council, committee and community. We need to support them, not penalize them,” Kuester said.
Alderwoman Gloria Dunlavy, who is also on the Parks & Recreation Committee said the cost of everything the city offers has gone up.
“I do not believe that upping this $20 is going to make a big difference.” Dunlavy said. “We’re really cutting them a deal.”
Dunlavy added that the food pantry is not run by the city.
The current city health insurance plan has the city funding each city employee’s HSA account with $3,000 in January of each year. This way the employees have it available to pay for medical expenses throughout the year.
Interim City Administrator Chuck Kell said since the city is researching switching to the state health insurance plan April 1, he recommended the city contribute only $750 to each employee’s HSA account in January. That amount represents the amount for the first quarter of the year.
Kell added that if an employee has more than $750 in medical expenses in the first quarter, they can submit their bills to the city to be paid up to $3,000.
The new medical plan won’t have an HSA component. It will be a plan with a deductible.
If the city doesn’t switch its health insurance, the rest of the $3,000 for each employee can be sent into the HSA accounts in April.
“This will save the city money. Overall switching insurance will save the city money on monthly premiums, and it will save the employees money on monthly premiums,” Kell said.
The council unanimously approved Kell’s recommendation of putting only $750 in each employee’s HSA account in January, and reimbursing employees up to $3,000 who accumulate medical expenses of more than $750 in the first quarter.
After meeting in closed session, Mayor Judy Magee informed those still present that the council had promoted Brian Ellickson to the position of utility manager. His salary will be $79,999.
Earlier in open session, Kell told the council the city conducted four interviews for the vacant utility accountant position.
“It was a unanimous selection for everyone on the committee to offer the position to Stacy Zachow,” Kell said.
Zachow is a resident of Clintonville and has a bachelor degree in accounting and finance from UW-Oshkosh, Kell said. She’ll start with the city on Dec. 22.
2015 audit firm
Kell asked the council if it wanted the city to seek proposals for future audits. He said the city has been using the same audit firm for more than five years.
“Generally communities like to at least take a look at audit firms on a five year rotation,” Kell said.
He added that he thought it was too late for the city to make a change for the 2014 audit. He said that if the city wanted to seek proposals from other audit firms, it should start the process now.
The council unanimously approved a motion to allow the city to seek proposals from audit firms for 2015.
Lois Bressette said that she thought the discussion regarding Rose Publication should be discussed in open session and not closed session. The agenda had the discussion slated for closed session.
Alderwoman Mary Beth Kuester asked if the city attorney had an opinion about that.
Clintonville City Attorney April Dunlavy said the reason the item was to be discussed in closed session is because it dealt with litigation that the city may or not become involved in.
Bressette said she felt that even if it involved litigation, it should be discussed in public.
The council did meet in closed session regarding Rose Publications. When the council returned to open session, Mayor Judy Magee announced that the council had reached an agreement with Rose Publications. No further details were given.
The council unanimously accepted property for placement of excess snow with the provision that the public works director be advised there is a concern about drainage, and the site is to be used only in an emergency. The city will also continue to look for two additional sites in the downtown area.
Kell said the reason this was being brought to council is because the property is owned by the Toby Kersten, public works manager for the city.
“Because of his position with the city I wanted to make sure this was all above board, that everybody was aware of it,” Kell said.
Kell said there is no rental charge. The two stipulations would be the public works department would keep the grass cut on the property in the summer and pick up the garbage once the snow melts.
“That’s the typical requirements on any site where they dump snow on private property,” Kell said.
Kell added that the city lost access to the Seagrave site that it had used in the past for snow hauling. He said the city could haul the downtown snow to the airport, but that’s a long distance, which would make it costly in terms of wages and fuel.
The approved site is small, so more sites are needed that are close to downtown.
The council unanimously approved that the city abide by Implements of Husbandry Law – Wisconsin Act 377 regarding agricultural traffic. Kell said the act was passed by the state legislature. The act raised the weight limits for agricultural traffic from 80,000 pounds up to 92,000 pounds.
Kell said Waupaca County formed a group of local government officials to study the new law and develop recommendations. He also shared with the council information received from Dean Steingraber, Waupaca County highway commissioner.
Steingraber recommended that all local governments select the same option for implementation
“This would benefit government officials, farm community and law enforcement officials by making the implementation less confusing,” Steingraber said in the memo.
Steingraber said the county was recommending local government abide by Act 377 because it would be simple to administer and easier to issue permits.
The council unanimously approved the recommendation of Waupaca County to abide by Act 377.
Kell said the bids for the brush truck for the Clintonville Fire Department were opened the previous night and they were higher than the approved amount for the truck. The amount available for the truck is based on a grant that the department received.
Kell told the council it was his understanding that the fire department was to contact the low bidder and see if the price of the truck could be negotiated to the amount of the approved grant and expenditure limit.
The council was informed by Kell that at the Finance Committee meeting held prior to the council meeting, Clintonville Fire Chief Shane Krueger asked the committee to approve the truck at the maximum price so he could move forward on a timely basis. That motion did not pass the committee level.
Krueger was told by the committee to negotiate a price and bring it back to the committee.
A special council meeting might have to be called in the next couple weeks to approve the purchase in order to stay on schedule to have the truck built and the federal money received, Kell said.