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Trustees approve recovery plan

Marathon City to open hall, ball diamonds

The Marathon City Village Board last week Wednesday approved a COVID- 19 “recovery” plan that would open with social distancing the village hall and parks on Wednesday (today) and, possibly, depending on local case trends, with no restrictions by the end of the month.

Under the plan, the Marathon City village hall would open with six-foot social distancing, as would the village’s Lion’s Park, Veterans Park and Tower Park. The plan allows parties under 50 people to gather in the Veterans Park pavilions and 10 people in Tower Park. The village’s community room in the village hall will be open for use with “social distancing and capacity limits.”

The plan is based on an interpretation on state and Marathon County COVID- 19 case statistics.

It uses the Department of Health Service’s Badger Bounce Back six-point gating criteria, as well as Marathon County Health Department reports, to justify opening up village facilities to the public.

Village administrator Anbdy Kurtz, who drafted the plan, said that on June 1 both state and county cases of COVID-19 were trending downward and that Wisconsin hospitals and local county hospitals are able to handle COVID- 19 cases without going into crisis mode.

“We are green across the board,” he said.

Kurtz said the village’s recovery plan was put together in consultation with the county health department.

Kurtz said the plan would permit youth softball, baseball and T-ball leagues to use the Marathon ball diamond this summer. Youth would not be allowed to use play dugouts, he said, but, instead, would need to be socially distanced on diamond bleachers.

Kurtz said the village would not allow the youth leagues to host tournaments so that only “local kids” would use the ball diamond facility.

The administrator reported that touchless faucets and paper dispensers would be installed in the Veterans Park bathrooms to help fight COVID-19. He also said the village would install a glass safety barrier at the village office counter.

The village is expected to receive a $25,573 CARES Act Route to Recovery grant for projects that battle COVID-19. The grant could pay for these COVID-19 related projects, Kurtz said.

The administrator said the village could safely open village facilities because the COVID-19 infection rate in Marathon County was “relatively low” and there have not been any “significant breakouts.”

Kurtz said the village could be assured that it has less than 10 COVID cases because it would be contacted by the county health department if it has more.

“It’s probably zero,” said Kurtz.

Kurtz said the village did not need to wait to reopen public facilities until COVID-19 had been eradicated across the county or state.

“We are not going to get to a place of zero risk for COVID-19,” he said.

In other village board business:

_ Board members set a discounted rate of $413 for a Class B beer and liquor license. The amount is $87 less than the normal fee, discounted because taverns and restaurants were closed for nine weeks due to the Safer at Home rules to guard against the COVID- 19 pandemic.

_ Village administrator Andy Kurtz reported that the village continues to wait to be connected with the Marathon County Superion system for law enforcement reports. He said the village is scheduled to receive its one ton Ford truck to be built on June 22 with delivery set for August. He said a Cub Cadet zero turn lawn mower was saving employees up to six hours each time they mow village green spaces.

_ The village board voted to interview four people interested in serving on the village utility commission on Wednesday, July 8. The candidates are to submit answers to interview questions before in the in-person interview.

_ Board members voted to have Doug Kaldunski join the Marathon City Fire Department.

_ A Kerber Rose audit of the village for 2019 showed that the village general fund balance increased from $798,089 to $851,589, an increase of $53,500. The accounting firm said the village’s needed fund balance is $657.654.

The firm reported a $127,008 net income in the Marathon City water utility, which represents a 5.8 percent rate of return on investment. The sewer utility, benefitting from a March 2019 rate hike, realized $177,759 in net income.