Owen Council agrees to work being done at old city hall


The Owen Common Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 12. Under Public Opinion, Tim Swiggum said it was good to see work being done on the duplexes in Countryside Estates. He was also curious about what was being done about a stray animal ordinance to deal with the stray cats around town.
The closed session with the attorney was cancelled and will be on the next agenda. MuniCode will also be on the next agenda. Chief of Police Patrick Fehlman has still not gotten a response from the insurance company on whether they will help with the cost. He was also asked to get updated costs for MuniCode before the next meeting.
Clerk Tracy Rau put liquor licenses on the agenda to make the council aware that there are new forms this year. The old ones cannot be used. Alderperson Ken Martine asked what was happening with L.A.S.T. Ace. He was told they are not responding to the city.
Clerk Rau said that an attorney had asked to rent city hall to meet with a client. After some discussion, it was decided that it would be okay to do this, but only during business hours. The charge would be $25 per hour.
No action was taken to approve a Fireworks Permit for the new person who will be setting off fireworks at the Owen Junior Fair. Before he can be approved, he needs to provide proof of liability insurance. He will also be required to cover the blacktop west of the bridge where they will be lit to prevent damage and to clean up the area afterward.
Cindy Cardinal made some requests on behalf of the Owen-Withee Area Historical Society (OWAHS), all of which were approved. She informed the council that Dennis Looker will help straighten the flag pole at the old city hall/Owen-Withee Area History Center so that it can be used again. She also asked if public works could remove the poles that the old fire siren had been attached to. They are not needed. In addition, OWAHS would like to remove the old ramp from the front of the building and put in temporary steps until a new ramp can be built in the back of the building. The current ramp is not up to code. Once the new ramp is in place, the steps at the back of the building can be moved to the front. Some fundraising will be needed to pay for a new ramp, which will be made from treated planks. Mayor Jalling expressed a concern about removing the current ramp before a new one is installed, but since the current ramp isn’t really usable, that shouldn’t be an issue and a new ramp will be installed as soon as possible. An old bank safe has been donated to OWAHS but there were concerns as to whether the floor could hold the approximately 3,000 pound weight. After DPW Chad Smith and Brandon Wilson looked at it, they felt that the floor could be reinforced and jack posts put in place to hold the weight. OWAHS said they would pay for the materials but would like public works to do the reinforcing so that it was done correctly.
Under the Mayor’s Report, Scott Jalling congratulated the O-W basketball teams for their successful seasons. He and Clerk Rau also talked about the 2022 audit for which the city is being billed just over $75,000. The quoted price had been about $29,000. Rau said they normally pay a little over $50,000, but there were a lot of items that needed to be fixed. Part of that was due to a lot of staff turnover. The $8,000 cost of the single audit related to the FEMA grant will be reimbursed by the school district. It was decided that the auditors should attend a meeting to explain why the cost was so high. The insurance on the old city hall was also brought up. It is insured for more than the new city hall and it was felt that the insurance company should check it out to make sure the values were correct, although it was noted that replacement values were used in looking at what the buildings should be insured for.
DPW Chad Smith reported that they are done with cross connection inspections for the year. He has submitted the Water Withdraw Report for 2023. A new letter has been sent out regarding the lead and copper inventory and there are 73 households that still need to respond. He was able to purchase 40 iperl water meters from Stanley. This is enough so that all meters in the city can be switched to iperl. They rebuilt the chemical feed pumps at well 3 and the Booster Station. In the Sewer Department, the vac truck was checked over. They are getting some parts for it to make repairs. The generator was worked on and the UV lights and glass shields were cleaned. In the Streets Department, they are still trimming trees in the city right-of-way and ordered a new hot water heater for city hall. In Countryside Estates, the third duplex is going up and the foundation for the fourth duplex is in. Water and sewer were installed for the fifth duplex. A planning meeting needs to be scheduled to discuss the possible sale of another lot. In the Business Park, Metal Wholesale is installing equipment and hiring employees.