The future location of the Clintonville Food Pantry continues to be up in the air.
Over the last several months, Clintonville City Council has discussed helping the food pantry move if the city decided to close the Clintonville Recreation Center building. But at the council meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 13, a new plan was introduced to the council. This plan would keep the food pantry at its current location, with improvements also being made to the building.
During the citizens forum portion of the meeting, Dave Schmidt, vice president of the Clintonville Food Pantry, addressed the council. He began his remarks by saying the pantry is a valuable part of the city. He also stated the old armory building is good for the pantry.
“Justin [Mc Auly] has put out a proposal to us of how to fix the front of the armory that would provide us with wheelchair access, heat, a bathroom, and also allow his office to stay there, and also for the historical society to stay on the top floor,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt recommended that the proposal be reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Committee, or to form a citizens committee.
“To look at what can be done to provide a space that meets our needs, yet costs the city and us as little as possible,” Schmidt said.
He also said it would be beneficial to form a committee to seek donations for some of the building improvements.
“We do have one person right now who is willing to donate a sizeable amount of money if other people put up money also,” Schmidt said. “It could possibly be done without use of city money to fix up the front part of that building.”
During the Finance Committee report later in the meeting, the rec center building was once again discussed.
Alderwoman Mary-Beth Kuester told the council she had previously met with representatives from the food pantry and at that time the food pantry was considering purchasing a building and had financial backers for that purchase.
“Now it seems like we’re looking at trying to keep them there,” Kuester said. “… I’m just concerned we’re using the food pantry as a way to keep the rec center open.”
Interim City Administrator Chuck Kell said ultimately it will be the council’s decision whether to make improvements to the building or not.
Kell informed the council Fawn Schultz is resigning from her position as administrative assistant in the clerk’s office. He said the city is working to refill that position. He added that because of budget cuts, the city will discuss the position internally before actually making a decision about filling the vacancy.
“It’s a very key position that deals directly with the public on a day-to-day basis,” Kell said.
The council was also informed by Kell that the city has hired Brent Bouchonville of Green Bay as a certified wastewater operator at the wastewater treatment plant. Kell said he hoped Bouchonville would be on staff around early February.
Kell informed the council about the budget issues that were discussed at the Finance Committee meeting the previous night. A recap of that committee meeting appeared in last week’s Clintonville Tribune-Gazette and can be found at www.clintonvilletribunegazette.com.
Kell said the finance committee directed him and the department heads with two plans. The first would require cuts of the entire shortfall of $176,000 from the department budgets. The second would require cuts of $47,000 which equals the amount of one-time expenses hitting the city in 2015.
Department heads have expressed concerns that they are being asked to make cuts to make up for lost revenues that were the results of prior budgeting decisions, Kell said.
“The department heads don’t particularly feel it’s fair they should be held accountable for those decisions in terms of budget cuts,” Kell said.
Tax exempt status
Kell informed the council that the Angelus Assisted Living facility has filed for and been approved for tax exempt status.
“As of January 1st, 2016, the 2015 tax bill they will no longer be paying property taxes to the city. That amounts to about $47,000,” Kell said. “It’s going to be another issue that affects your budget.”
He said the property is in a TIF district so it probably won’t impact the general fund much.
“The concern is going to be that loss of money going toward paying the debt on that TIF district,” Kell said.
Kell said he would be conferring with the city’s financial advising company because that TIF has an annual debt payment of $150,000. He added that if there is no revenue coming in for the TIF district, the payment would have to come out of the general fund.
The facility has offered an agreement with the community, Kell said. The agreement is with the City Attorney April Dunlavy for review.
“That agreement basically says they will pay a little less than half of the tax payment annually to support the services they use in the community,” Kell said.
City Clerk Treasurer Peggy Johnson read to the council from an email received from the city’s financial advising company just prior to the meeting. Johnson said there is $825,000 in principal outstanding. Payments are approximately $130,000 per year. This year’s tax levy will be collected. There is around $450,000 in this TIF, so that should be able to fund 2016, 2017, 2018 and a portion of 2019. This would create a debt shortfall of around $330,000. They also suggested looking at the developer’s agreement.
After hearing that update, Kell said that news wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
City administrator vacancy
Kell asked council members if they had any suggestions regarding the city administrator job description he had written and given to them the prior week.
Aldermen Mark Doornink and Jim Krause both said they thought it was well written.
Kell recommended a salary range of $73,000-$80,000 depending on qualifications when hiring a new city administrator.
“That’s going to be slightly lower than quite a few existing administrators in the communities your size, but it allows for a younger individual starting out to maybe start in this community,” Kell said.
Kell said he was a little concerned because the city has a department head that is approaching $80,000 per year.
The council unanimously approved the job description and pay range that Kell recommended.
Kell updated the council on what it would cost to hire a consultant to prepare a rural development grant for the wastewater treatment plant upgrade. He shared a letter with the council from Philip Korth, lead environmental engineer for Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC out of De Pere. The estimate to have the grant completed came in at $32,070.
“This kind of confirmed my suspicions about the amount of effort this was going to take if we move forward with this grant application,” Kell said.
The largest part of the project is utility mapping, Kell said. The grant writing process could take up to five months to complete.
Kell told the council he has more research to do in order to get a better idea if the city will qualify for the grant. He added the cost of writing the grant can be recouped from the grant. He didn’t recommend proceeding yet, rather he wanted to keep the council updated.
The council adjourned into closed session after a 6-4 vote to discuss a claim filed by former city attorney Tim Schmid, and a Chapter 17 complaint against Mayor Judy Magee. Those voting no included Aldermen Doornink, Bill Zeinert, Phil Rath, and Alderwoman Lois Bressette.
After a little more than an hour of closed session discussion, the council reconvened in open session. In open session, Magee announced the council disallowed the claim by Schmid, as recommended by the city’s insurance company. Notice of the disallowance was to be sent to Schmid.
Council President Jeannie Schley announced that “the council is pursuing options to meet the legal obligations of the Chapter 17 complaint for respecting due process and providing a timely response.
• The council unanimously approved the carryover of $2,081 from the police department uniform allowance account from 2014 to 2015.
• The council approved a temporary class B beer license for the Clintonville Firemen’s Association, Jan. 31, 2015 at Pigeon Pond off of Pickerel Point. The vote was 9-0-1, with Doornink abstaining.
• The council unanimously approved a resolution for the 2014-15 pound adoption fees.
• The council unanimously approved ordinance 1098 – Impounding and Disposition of dogs and cats. This was the second reading.
• The council unanimously approved suspending rules that require two readings, in order to adopt ordinances 1099 – Street Committee Jurisdiction, 1100 – Clintonville Utility Board, and 1101 – Management of Clintonville Sewer Utility. All those passed unanimously.
• Passed by a vote of 8-2, ordinance 1102 – Bow Hunting in City Limits. Clintonville Police Chief Terry Lorge told the council it is required to pass the ordinance. Aldermen Krause and John Wilson voted no.
• The council unanimously approved the salary range of $60,000-$70,000 for the recruitment of a water and wastewater manager, and to initiate outside recruitment for that position.
• The council unanimously approved for the Tourism, Marketing, and Advertising Council, $10,600 for new scoreboards at baseball fields at Bucholtz Park.
• The council unanimously approved for the Tourism, Marketing, and Advertising Council, $11,700 for a billboard to promote Clintonville during the Main Street reconstruction project.