Posted on

Getting it done

Getting it done Getting it done

County eyes using one time grant funds to cover major long-term projects

Taylor County is looking to tap into one-time federal grant funds to cover the cost of long term buildings and grounds projects.

At the county buildings and grounds committee meeting, committee members approved a plan to use up to $90,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to replace the roof and make necessary repairs to the dairy barn at the Taylor County Fairgrounds. The funding request will go to the county’s finance and personnel committee for review and potential approval.

According to county finance director Larry Brandl, because it is under $100,000 it does not need to go to the full county board. The county has about $140,000 remaining in federal ARPA funds.

See COUNTY on page 4 The current roof is approximately 45 years old and is in need of replacement with leaks causing damage to other parts of the building. In addition to being used as a dairy barn for the fair and other events, the county rents it out for about six months each year for winter camper and boat storage.

In addition to replacing the roof, the plans call for extending eaves out three feet on each side, which is the recommendation of the roofing contractor. An ongoing issue with the current roof is that water comes off the roof and rather than run away from the building would come down inside the walls.

Beyond the roof, buildings and grounds director Joe Svejda noted that while the building is structurally sound, it is in need of work to spruce it up. He asked the committee to consider setting a not to exceed request and that they would look to replace some of the six exterior access doors to the barn and make other repairs as needed.

Committee members initially discussed going with a not to exceed amount of $85,000 which would cover the estimated $70,000 for the roof replacement and $15,000 for other needed repairs. Committee member Rod Adams disagreed and said that there may be additional cost to the roof as things are found when the current roof is removed and instead convinced the committee to request up to $90,000 for the project.

It was noted that the county collects revenue from the rental of space in the structure with a rate based on the length of the campers and trailers stored there. Committee member Lori Floyd noted the current price is about one third of the cost of what private storage units would be.

“We should be charging more than that,” she said. “We have to tread lightly,” Svejda said noting that the taxpayers paid for the construction of the building and that at the end of the day the county needs to be mindful about increasing fees.

Committee member Jim Gebauer said the county also needs to be fair to private storage places by not undercutting them. County clerk Andria Farrand said at the current rate, the space fills up very quickly. She explained the letters go out in August to those who have rented storage space in the past and that if the committee wanted to make a change they would need to do so before then.

Committee chair Diane Albrecht said they would put review of the rental fees on the next committee agenda. The collected fees go into the county’s general funds and Brandl noted that they are used to offset maintenance costs of the county buildings.

In addition to eyeing ARPA funds for the barn roof, committee members also discussed the possibility of using a different pool of federal grant dollars to replace the north section of the courthouse parking lot and the human services parking lot. The county has received about $99,000 in federal local assistance funding. Brandl noted this would about cover the estimated cost of replacing the two parking lots and provide a long-term fix.

Svejda said he had considered using chip seal and spray patching on the courthouse lot, which could buy several additional years. However, with the availability of the grant funds, he said it would make sense to take advantage of those. “We can put these big expenses behind us,” Svejda said, noting a parking lot should last 30 years or more.

Svejda will continue to look into options and costs for the parking lot projects.

In other business, committee members:

  Approved working with the Department of Natural Resources to conduct a goose round up on Miller Dam (Chequamegon Waters Flowage) later this month. Working with the state, and funding from the Miller Dam Lake Association, the plan is to remove about 100 geese from the lake in order to reduce the overall population there. Svejda said he has been working with the DNR on this project for about a year.

“We mow more goose feces there than grass,” Svejda said of the goose problem at the flowage.

“We have a large investment in the park. If we can’t use it, then what are we doing?” Svejda said, noting that at this point he would not bring his own family to the park and beach because of the amount of goose feces covering everything. The Miller Dam Lake Association will cover the $2,200 to $3,500 in costs for the round up which will be done with a combination of DNR personnel, county workers and lake association volunteers.

  Received an update on the boat landing at Miller Dam. Crews were on site doing the survey work needed for the replacement of the boat landing. The county received a $127,437.50 state grant to go toward the replacement of the boat landing there.

  Approved allowing the DNR to install a new Smokey Bear sign near the highway shop on Hwy 13 north of the Hwy 64 intersection. The sign alerting residents and travelers of fire danger will be similar in size and shape to the existing sign on Hwy 64.

Rehearsals are in full swing for the Medford Area Community Theatre summer production, “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery.” The Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic The Hound of the Baskervilles is transformed into a murderously funny adventure with the cast of characters switching roles throughout the play. Show dates are July 13, 14 and 15.Alex Wilson/The Sta r News