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City council minutes

City of Medford Common Council Meeting Minutes Tuesday, November 5, 2019 6:00 PM Council Chambers, City Hall 639 South Second Street Medford, WI {Subject to Council Approval} Call to Order/Roll Call Mayor Mike Wellner called the meeting to order with the following members present: Dave J. Brandner, Laura Holmes, Greg Knight, Peggy Kraschnewski, Christine Weix, Dave Roiger, Mike Bub, and Clem Johnson.

Pledge of Allegiance

Alderperson Johnson began the meeting by leading the group in the reciting of the “Pledge of Allegiance”.

Open Meeting Law Compliance Mayor Wellner announced that this was an open meeting of the Common Council. Notice of this meeting was given to the public at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting by forwarding the complete agenda to the official City newspaper, The Star News, and to all news media that have requested the same as well as posting. Copies of the complete agenda were available for inspection at the City Clerk’s Office. Anyone desiring information as to forthcoming meetings should contact the City Clerk’s Office.

City Personnel Present

The following City personnel were present: City Clerk Ginny Brost, Coordinator/Public Works Director Fales, Electric Utility Manager Spence Titera, Treasurer Kevin Doberstein, Incoming Treasurer Kathy Tom, Incoming Police Chief Chad Liske, Police Chief Bryan Carey, Street & Water Superintendent Joe Harris, and City Attorney Courtney Graff.

Visitors Present

Visitors present were Brian Wilson-Star News, Mitch Mertens, Sue Emmerich-Chamber of Commerce, Carter Waldhart, Shaniah Brandt, and Autumn Krause.

Citizens & Delegations Comments No citizens or delegations addressed the Council.

Council - Public Hearing #1

Mayor Wellner explained the purpose of the public hearing was to consider the advisability of imposing charges for delinquent payment for municipal services rendered, water, sewer, electric and refuse/recycling collection against property served pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 66.60(16) & 66.069 and City of Medford Ordinances #695 & #702/95 on the tax roll.

It was noted that this public hearing was to hear the public’s comments and answer questions relating to the 2019 delinquent municipal services and utilities notices that were sent on October 15, 2019 to all property owners with delinquencies as of October 1, 2019, and the City’s intent to place the same on the owners’ property tax bill for collection.

Council was informed that, by Statute, a 10% penalty is assessed to all delinquent utility and municipal services accounts on November 1, 2019. In addition, November 15th is the last day to receive payments prior to placement on the tax roll.

Wisconsin Act 25 prohibits the release of individual account information unless the property owner(s)/account holder(s) grants the release of information or has signed a waiver to release this information to Council. However, the Council can be provided with the delinquent amounts of each classification. The delinquent amounts as of October 31, 2019 are as follows: Delinquent Classification ................Amount Electric ......................$4,816.84 Fire Protection .............$624.09 Refuse/Recycling......$1,816.27 Sewer .......................$1,020.72 Water ...........................$818.23 Municipal Services..................0 Total ..........................$9,096.15 The above amounts do not include the Town of Medford delinquencies in the amount of $558.83. Total delinquencies including the Town of Medford are $9,654.98. In 2018, the delinquent amount placed on the tax roll was $5,022.34.

On November 5, 2019, the Clerk’s office was informed that the amount of City delinquencies has been reduced to $7,075.76 with $3,899.60 attributed to rental properties. Including the Town of Medford’s unpaid delinquencies, the total delinquencies to be placed on the tax roll is now $7,634.59.

Mitch Mertens - Council was informed that Mitch Mertens has filed a waiver of confidentiality regarding his utility account information. On October 15, 2019, Mr. Mertens received a letter from the City regarding past due utilities in the amount of $818.23 for property located at 236 North Third Street that he did yet own at the time past due utilities were incurred. The past due utilities were incurred by the previous owners. Mr. Mertens did not feel he was responsible for the delinquencies because he did not own the property at the time the delinquent utilities were incurred. He bought the property at a foreclosure. Mr. Mertens added that he had checked the County web site, and did not find this lien against the property. Two months after he purchased the property, he received the letter from the City. He does not feel he did anything wrong, and that it was unfair that he was going to have a lien placed on his property because someone else did not pay their bill. Mr. Mertens was requesting the City remove the delinquent utilities from his record, and indicated that the City should go after the people who owned the property which was the bank. Mr. Mertens indicated that the bank paid the taxes on it, and they should also pay for these delinquent utilities.

City Attorney Graff reviewed the matter prior to the public hearing, and offered the following to Council: (1) The City has no statutory authority to grant Mr. Mertens’ request. His request is appropriately heard by the Council on whether or not the lien should be placed on the property. Mr. Mertens is not contesting the legitimacy of the charge, but rather that it was not incurred by him personally as he was not yet the owner of the property. (2) The Statutes are written to allow the City to attach a lien to the property for a delinquent bill that is owed to the City. (3) The City was not a party to the foreclosure so the City had no opportunity to become involved in the sale. (4) The sale was “as is”. (5) The City did not make any guarantees or any representations during the sale saying it was clear and free of title, nor did it make any representations or guarantees that there was not an outstanding bill. It should be further noted that no inquiries were made regarding possible delinquent utilities on this property. (6) Mr. Mertens can seek recourse from the bank or someone who did the foreclosure or the previous owner. He does not have any recourse with the City. (7) The City’s only remedy to collect the delinquencies is to attach the lien to the property in order to secure the money it is owed.

Mr. Mertens then requested the City waive the penalties associated with the delinquencies.

Mike Bub moved, Greg Knight seconded a motion to waive Mitch Mertens’ penalties on the delinquencies associated with his property located at 236 North Second Street contingent upon Mr. Mertens paying the outstanding delinquencies by November 15, 2019. Roll Call Dave J. Brandner-Yes; Laura Holmes-Yes; Greg Knight-Yes; Peggy Kraschnewski-Yes; Christine Weix-Yes; Dave Roiger-Yes; Mike Bub-Yes; Clem Johnson-Yes (8 Yes; 0 No) Motion Carried.

Closed Session - A Closed Session had been scheduled for those property owner(s)/account holder(s) that did not sign the waiver, but wish to discuss their delinquencies with the Council. The Closed Session was canceled as there was no one present.

Adjourn to Public Hearing #2 Peggy Kraschnewski moved, Laura Holmes seconded a motion to adjourn from the Public Hearing #1 to Public Hearing #2 at 6:15 PM. All in favor: All Aye. Motion Carried. Public Hearing #1 Adjourned.

Council Public Hearing #2

Mayor Wellner explained the purpose of this public hearing was to consider the 2020 proposed City of Medford General Fund budget. The proposed budget is as follows: Activity - Proposed Amounts Changes* Property Tax Revenue $771,141 General Fund Revenue $3,630,358 Mayor - $11,410.00 Legislative - $22,420 Legislative Support $220,640 Elections - $19,700