Owen Council gets information on public works’ efforts to comply with Lead and Copper Inventory required by DNR


The Owen Common Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 27. There were no comments from the public.
There was some clarification on the street light issue that was brought up at the previous meeting. Mayor Scott Jalling said that Michelle Krahn didn’t want a street light by her house, but wants a light at the intersection of County D and 10th. There is a pole there but no light. DPW Chad Smith said he could talk to Xcel about putting a light on the pole. He said that Countryside Estates was designed not to have street lights. Smith had checked on the addition of a street light and the cost for a pole and a light was $4,378. There are currently 104 non-metered street lights in Owen.
Director of Public Works Chad Smith reported that they have 33 of 40 cross connection inspections done for the year. They have been working on the lead and copper inventory that the DNR wants completed by October. There are 463 meters, with 220 residents/businesses responding to a survey that was sent out. They will have to begin reaching out to people to get the information needed on all water services. They began testing generators to make sure they were in working order, one needs repair. Smith asked the council to approve moving $6,484.41 from the 2023 tower painting budget to the 2024 project to paint the inside of the water tower. This was approved by the council. In regard to sewer, they did their second PFAS test, but haven’t gotten results yet. Smith expects the payment to the DNR for phosphorus discharge into the Black River to be around $8,000 this year. Smith said he would like to do some select cutting of trees on city owned property next winter and he will have some loggers look at the woods owned by the city. They have also been trimming some trees in the city right-of-ways. They hauled in some recycled steel and got $1,036 that was put into a savings account to possibly be used to replace the furnace at the shop. There is still an issue with semis trying to cross the high bridge. Public works installed two new boards, but it is only a temporary fix as the bridge is settling, but the road isn’t and eventually won’t be able to be used.
There was no new discussion on MuniCode as Chief of Police Patrick Fehlman hasn’t gotten a response from the city’s insurance as to whether they would be willing to share the cost.
Alderperson Bob Wilczek, DPW Chad Smith and Chief of Police Patrick Fehlman will work on a stray animal plan. It was agreed that the city should get some sort of kennel. It would have to go in city hall for the clerks to have access. The possibility of putting it at the Fire Hall was also discussed. Wilczek also mentioned that if the police garage were redone, they could possibly put the kennel there with a portion of it inside the building so dogs could get out of the weather, but also having a portion of the kennel outside. It will be discussed again once there is a proposed plan.
Under the Mayor’s Report, Jalling said he had met with officials from Metal Wholesale and they want to work with the community. Sheila Nyberg had contacted him about Owen’s listing in the Clark County Visitor’s Guide. The dog park was also brought up. Wilczek said he would like to have a Parks meeting on that and the Trail Grant. They need to mark out the park and get a length so they know how much fencing they can afford. Denny Looker is willing to help. Wilczek said they would also like to add culverts and tires for the dogs. Jalling said he signed the agreement loaning the old Red Arrow Fire Siren to the Owen-Withee Area Historical Society. The attorney who has been handling the lawsuits against the city would like to attend the next meeting to talk about council conduct.
The council went into closed session for about 20 minutes to discuss the settlement with Tom Jirschele and Andrea Mahnke. When they came into open, it was announced that is what they discussed and they approved the settlement.
Under Disbursements, Clerk Tracy Rau said that since the O-W Police Committee is no longer meeting every month, she would like the Council to approve the disbursements for the police.
Liquor licenses and ordinances will be put on the next meeting agenda.