City gets properties from county due to back taxes
By Bert Lehman
Over the past week, the city of Clintonville razed buildings on two pieces of property in the city.
The demolition of the buildings at each property was previously approved to take place sometime this summer.
One of the properties was bought by the Clintonville Library Board. The property is adjacent to the current location of the library. There currently isn’t a planned future use for the property.
The garage on that property was razed Monday, July 27, while the house was razed, Tuesday, July 28.
The other property at which the buildings were razed was located at 164 N. Main Street. The city council was informed at its November 2014 meeting that a raze/repair order was issued for that property. At its March meeting, the council approved razing the buildings on the property.
In May, the council was informed by interim City Administrator Chuck Kell that Waupaca County offered the property at 164 N. Main Street to the city of Clintonville.
He said property taxes hadn’t been paid for a number of years and the county will take the property for back taxes.
“However, the county will not agree to take that property back until the house has been removed,” Kell said at the May meeting.
Also at that meeting, Kell said once the house is removed, Waupaca County agreed to write-off the property taxes and deed the property to the city if the council would accept it. This would allow the city to sell the property to recoup some of the cost of tearing the house down.
At that meeting the council unanimously approved to accept the property once it is taken by the county and the taxes are written off.
Toby Kersten, director of Public Works for the city of Clintonville, had previously told the council that the city could save money if city workers did the demolition work.
Kersten presented excavator rental rates to the Street Committee on Monday, July 20. He received four estimates.
Aring Equipment of De Pere, submitted a rate of $1,475 per week, with a moving rate of $95-$110. The excavator the company offered didn’t have the necessary “thumb” piece needed to do the job.
Fabick Cat Rentals of Green Bay and Wausau, submitted a rate of $1,600-$2,100 per week, with a moving rate of approximately $175 per move. Moving from job to job was $95 per hour.
Brooks Tractor of De Pere, submitted a rate of $2,133 per week.
T.L. Kersten Excavating, LLC of Clintonville submitted a rate of $1,400 for up to 40 hours, with a moving charge in Clintonville of $75.
Kersten recommended that the project be limited to one house per week so the Street Department could continue to provide its regular services to citizens. This meant down time between each demolition, if the city rented equipment by the week.
He said the proposal from T.L. Kersten allowed the city to pay a flat amount based on 40 hours of use, which could take place over the course of more than a week.
“The whole point of this is these other equipment rental places aren’t going to bend outside of the realm of equipment rent,” Kersten said. “Now I just happen to have the same machine, this is in full transparency, I don’t want this to look bad that I’m trying to, or my wife is trying to, line pockets due to my position here.”
He added that renting the machines from a dealership could result in having to paying additional costs for damage to the exterior of the machines. At the meeting, Kersten had copies of the rental contracts from each company.
No matter which company the city chose, Kersten was going to operate the machine during demolition. He said one company said it wouldn’t rent the machine to the city unless he operated it.
“Through all our meetings on saving money and budget cuts I’m trying to do what’s best to get the most bang for our buck for the street department to do a project like this in house,” Kersten said.
Kell informed the committee that the cost to rent trucks to haul the debris was $75 per hour from T.L. Kersten Excavating, while other companies were in the $80-$85 range.
“We wanted this on the agenda because I wanted to have this very open to the public as far as what might be done here, and transparent,” Kell said.
He added, “I think it’s a good proposal. It’s going to save the city money, and I think Toby is going to be more comfortable running equipment that he’s run all his life and put many hours on.”
Kersten said one of the city trucks would be used, but more would have to be rented because only one city truck meets the requirements for hauling debris to landfills. When renting trucks, a driver comes with the truck.
He also said all the demolition work would be done by city employees.
The committee unanimously approved renting the excavator and the necessary trucks from T.L. Kersten Excavating. Steve Kettenhoven and John Wilson were excused from the meeting.