The Clintonville City Council was informed at its meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 10, about several pending issues.
Interim City Administrator Chuck Kell updated the council about the Angelus of Clintonville sale to Aster and the TIF district it is located in. Kell first informed the council in January that the new owners had tax exempt status.
After researching the TIF agreement, Kell said “the agreement actually signed by Angelus prohibited them from selling that development to a tax exempt user without city approval.”
The sale has already happened.
Kell added that the agreement said that “the city had to be held harmless.”
In January, Kell informed the council that if the facility went tax exempt, the city would need to use $300,000 from the general fund to pay back the bonds. With the legal standing the city is in regarding the agreement, he said he didn’t think that would happen.
Kell said there was also an offer in lieu of taxes that hasn’t been completed yet.
The matter is currently with the city attorney.
“I think you are covered legally,” Kell said. “Now, how do we get them to the table to make good on what they signed as a development agreement?”
He added that the longer it is unresolved, the worse it will be for the city.
“It was a good agreement you had, it protected you,” Kell said.
Kell said Public Works Director Toby Kersten filed for road aids for Commercial Avenue. This is the new road in the industrial park. After applying, Kersten received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation informing him that part of the road isn’t in the city limits.
A parcel that was purchased by the city is still considered in the town of Larrabee.
The city will receive road aids for the portion of the road that is in the city limits. About 15 percent of the road isn’t in the city limits, Kell said. Road aids won’t be received on that portion until next year.
An annexation petition will come before the council in the next 45 days, Kell said.
“I guess it fell through the cracks. That’s all I can say,” Kell said.
Kell addressed the council about the Rec Center. He said he has been receiving calls from members of the council about what is happening with the Rec. Center and Food Pantry.
Kell said he also discussed the issue with Park & Recreation Director Justin Mc Auly.
Kell told the council some minor remodeling took place at the Rec. Center, which Mc Auly had authorized the food pantry to do. Kell told the council Mc Auly has the authority to “authorize minor things to be done that will help improve the operations of his tenants.”
Mc Auly was cautioned by Kell that he didn’t have the authority to authorize major improvements and investments. Those would have to come before the council for approval.
Earlier in the week, Kell said he was contacted by Dave Schmidt of the Food Pantry. Kell said Schmidt was upset that the minor remodeling was stopped by someone. Kell said when he contacted Mc Auly about that, Mc Auly informed him that a council member had come to the building to put a stop to the improvement project.
“I’m simply going to ask the council to not micromanage the operation of the city and to let your department heads and your administrator make those decisions,” Kell said. “I think the decisions that were made were appropriate. The things they wanted to do were very minor and it was going to help them. … We can’t have 10-12 different people deciding what’s going to happen out there.”
Kell added that there are too many mixed messages being relayed regarding the Rec Center.
The council received an update from Kell regarding the brush truck the fire department has on order.
He shared a letter with the council from Kevin Quinn of E.J. Metals, the company building the truck. In the letter addressed to Clintonville Fire Chief Shane Krueger, Quinn stated E.J. Metals attempted to work with Clintonville Motors as Krueger had requested. A different supplier was chosen for the purchase of the chassis because the cost of the chassis was upheld by that supplier.
Quinn also stated in the letter that in addition to cost, E.J. Metals felt that the dealership it selected is more familiar with fire apparatus.
“I don’t think this is something our fire chief could have controlled,” Kell said. “There certainly was some breakdown in communication between our local Ford dealership and E.J. Metals in terms of timing in getting back to each other on the ordering of the truck. Their intent was to order it through Clintonville Motors. That did not happen for various reasons.”
Kell said his major concern was that the city get the best price possible.
“I think that’s part of what went into this,” Kell said.
Alderwoman Mary-Beth Kuester asked what the price difference was between the two dealerships. Kell said he didn’t know the exact amount, but that it was several thousand dollars.
The council unanimously approved resolution 2015-01 – Preliminary resolution declaring intent to exercise special accessment powers under authority granted by Section 66.60 of Wisconsin Statutes. Alderman Mark Doornink was excused from the meeting.
Kell said this involves the 2015 Main Street project. He said the city will be assessing for sewer lateral placements when the mains are replaced. Property owners are charged for that.
A hearing will eventually be held, followed by a final resolution to adopt it.
The council unanimously approved allowing a citizen fundraising drive to raise money to pay for flower baskets on Main Street, and the watering of those flowers. The money is to be collected at city hall and recorded in the specified account.
Kuester asked what dollar amount needs to be raised.
Council President Jeannie Schley said it was $3,000.
Kuester responded by asking what if that amount isn’t raised.
Some council members said it would be raised.
Kuester again asked what if that amount isn’t raised.
Schley said she didn’t think it would be a problem raising that amount of money.
Kuester then asked Schley if she would make up the difference.
“Yes I will,” Schley said.
Mayor Judy Magee said she would also donate to the fund.
Oath of office
On the agenda for the meeting were two items regarding oath of office. Magee said these items were placed on the agenda at the request of Kuester.
When it came time to discuss the items, Kuester said the item concerning instruction to the city attorney regarding action of violations of policy by city officials didn’t need to be discussed since it was already taken care of.
The other item concerned discussion and recommendation of oath of office responsibilities from issues brought to the council in a recent citizens forum.
Kuester said she had spoken with City Attorney April Dunlavy about that and wanted Dunlavy to share that information with the entire council.
Dunlavy told the council she wasn’t sure what Kuester wanted shared with the council.
“We were wondering what our liability was if, it was a sort of a caution if you don’t act on things, and then the comment that you had made was, ‘it never, ever happens, so we don’t have to worry about it,'” Kuester said.
“I don’t believe that was my comment either,” Dunlavy responded.
Dunlavy said violations of oath of office are a rarity.
Dunlavy said she interpreted the agenda item as addressing specific items raised in a recent citizens forum.