Rib Lake wants details about county plans for new shop
The Rib Lake Village Board at its meeting on October 14 told the county it wanted to see the plan for protecting ground water before considering a request for a variance of the village’s well head protection ordinance.
The Taylor County Highway Department plans to build a new highway shop on CTH D to replace the current one in Rib Lake. The site is within the 1,200-foot setback requirement in the ordinance for a salt or fuel storage facility.
Highway Commissioner Ben Stanfley said the current salt, sand and fuel storage facilities in Rib Lake are within the setback. He said the salt storage shed at the new site would be outside the 1,200-foot setback but the shed for the sand and salt mix would be within the setback limit. Stanfley said to move the storage facilities outside the setback limit would require purchasing additional property to the north and cutting down existing trees which screen the highway shop area from a neighboring house to the north. He said the owners could plant new trees, but that it would take time for the trees to grow to provide adequate screening. Stanfley said before the county moves forward with purchasing and rezoning the property, it was asking for some sort of variance on the 1,200-foot setback.
Village president Bill Schreiner said the ordinance requires a hydrogeologic survey to be conducted and one would have to be conducted before granting the variance. Stanfley said if the county would have to conduct one, it would probably be cost prohibitive and would take longer than the time frame the county was looking at to complete the project.
Schreiner asked if the village could issue a variance without conducting the hydrogeologic survey.
Zoning and building inspector Bob Christensen said the village could look at it from two different positions: the ordinance states the hydrogeologic survey must be done if a structure is within the 1,200-foot radius, but there is also the “good faith” discussion that could the county put the salt storage facility within the setback limit and protect the groundwater. As an example, Christensen said “taking that extra step” by constructing a fuel storage tank in an above ground vault to protect the groundwater would allow the tank to be within the setback limit where normally it would not. Looking at the salt storage building, Christensen said the same argument could be made. He said the village needs to ask if there a construction method that could be employed that would prevent any salt from percolating down into the groundwater.
Christensen said by construction method, the county could come up with a plan that would allow the salt shed to be within the 1,200-foot setback. He said what Stanfley was asking the board is if it was possible for the county to do that and recommended to the board that the highway department show the board a plan on how the buildings are going to be constructed and what measures the county is going to take to protect the village’s groundwater from surface runoff and other contamination. Christensen said the board can then decide if it feels the plan will protect the groundwater and grant the variance or if it doesn’t feel the plan is adequate, ask the county to do a hydrogeologic survey to determine if it would be safe to grant the variance.
The board members agreed with Christensen’s suggestion and asked Stanlfey to come back to the board with plans on how the structures at the proposed site are going to be constructed.
In other business: The board approved installing a flat cover on the sludge storage tank at the sewer plant to reduce problems with freezing for a cost of $181,000. The original plan was to install a dome cover, but Pat Morrow of MSA Professional Services recommended a flat cover due to concerns over access to the telescopic valve in the sludge tank with the dome cover. He said the flat cover cost $33,000 more to manufacture than the dome cover, but some of that increase would be offset by a lower installation cost. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has approved using contingency funds left over from the sewer plant project to pay for the cover.
The board approved purchasing an electronic speed sign with extra battery for the police department. Police chief Derek Beckstrand said he had raised $2,790 from the community toward the cost of the sign. He said if the village purchased the sign without an extra battery, the cost to the police department would be $78. Beckstrand said the battery on the sign would last from three to five days and the sign would be out of service for a day while the battery was recharging. He said if the village purchased an extra battery for the sign which would allow the sign to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week without interruption, the cost to the police department would be $478.
The board agreed to go ahead as planned to hold treat-or-treating on October 31 from 3-6 p.m. Schreiner said with the increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, he thought the board may want to rethink its earlier decision, but after reading in the paper that the city of Medford was going through with its Harvest Days celebration, he felt the village should hold treat-or-treating and let people decide whether or not they wanted to participate. The board agreed.
The board approved increasing the dumping fee at the sewer plant to $15.12 per 1,000 gallons. Trustee Vernall Van Hecker said this was the same dumping fee the city of Medford charges at its sewer plant. The current fee is $15 per 1,000 gallons. The new rate would take effect January 1 of next year.
Damian Jones asked the board for its support in the effort to bring high-speed internet to Taylor County. Jones said the county was applying for a grant and needed letters from local municipalities, businesses and individuals in support of the project to improve the county’s chances of receiving grant funding. He said he would be talking with business and individuals in the community about submitting letters of support and asked the village for its support. Jones finished up by saying just because Rib Lake was small, it shouldn’t be left behind. The board approved sending an official letter of support on behalf of the village.