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Progress made on mobile home courts sale, waiting continues

The sale of the village-owned mobile home courts is closer to finalization, as reported during a Village of Gilman regular board meeting Nov. 11.

“Things are moving along,” said Jane DeStaercke, board president, of the mobile home park sale. “Everything looks like it’s a go, but it hasn’t happened, yet.”

She says they are just waiting for things to fall into place, so the paperwork can be signed.

“We will no longer be landlords,” said DeStaercke.

DeStaercke also noted during her report that the village will need to find a new attorney. The current attorney, Karl Kelz, was elected as the district attorney for Price County, so the village will no longer have his services. She says Kelz assured her the final negotiations of the mobile home courts sale will be complete before he leaves the position.

DeStaercke says Canadian National Railroad also notified the village that everything seems to be in order for installing railroad crossing gates at the Riverside Drive intersection. The cost of the project is borne by state and federal resources. Candice Grunseth, village clerk, says the railroad has until December 2022 to put the gates up.

“So, it’s not like it’s going to happen overnight,” said Grunseth.

The board also discussed how to fill an open village trustee position, left by the recent death of Bob Mechelke.

“We’ll have to think about what we want to do,” said DeStaerke, asking the other members if they would like to look for someone to fill the position. “It’s a long time until April.”

Board member Mike Kinas asked if Mechelke’s position was slated to be up for election in April, and DeStaercke said it was not. Kinas said he thought they should find someone to fill the position, then. Those interested in serving on the board are encouraged to apply by contacting Grunseth or sending a letter of intent.

Grunseth also reported the November election went well.

“We had 205 voters, which was almost a 99 percent turnout,” said Grunseth.

Grunseth also says they received the final pay request from Rohm Construction for the library expansion project and received reimbursement from MSA for all except the last pay request.

Members also held a public budget hearing for the 2021 budget, prior to the regular meeting. Grunseth noted that the mobile home courts are still in the budget, because the sale was not completed, at the time of the meeting.

“We don’t have a closing date, or anything, so that’s why they are in there,” said Grunseth.

The proposed 2021 budget shows a slight decrease in expected revenue and expenses.

Grunseth says she is still waiting on the county’s numbers, school credit number and a few other things before she can complete the mill rate worksheet.

Members approved a resolution to adopt the 2021 budget, during the regular meeting and also approved the levy limit.

The board also approved a 3 percent increase in the water rate, to keep up with costs, to go into effect March 2021. The increase has happened annually in the recent years, as long as the increase is approved by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

“Are we in good shape now, with the money we have for water and sewer?” asked Greg Steinbach, village trustee.

Grunseth says the sewer budget is much healthier than the water, which is why they are not proposing a sewer increase.

“Our auditor is going to be reviewing it further, to see if we have to do more than a 3 percent,” said Grunseth of the water rate.

Rick Johnson, public works, asked if the need for the increase is because of the water towers. Grunseth says it is not. She says some costs, such as the chemicals, have come in higher than projected the past few years. Johnson says they try not to use any more chemicals than they have to.