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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Athelstane Action Taken at Annual Meeting

Issue Date: May 2, 2019

Athelstane Chairman Kelly Barnes presided at the Town of Athelstane Annual Meeting to order at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 16 in the Town Hall. There were 20 electors and one non elector in attendance.

Minutes of the 2018 Annual Meeting were presented. Barnes reported the Board of Audit was conducted to audit the books of the clerk and treasurer for the period ending Dec. 31, 2018 and all money, checks and receipts were accounted for.

Barnes reported on the 2018 town activities including approved purchase of a 2019 Kenworth T470 single axle dump truck, replaced the 2009 Ford pickup with a 2018 Dodge pickup, created an Animal Control Officer and abolished the Municipal Court

Road construction in 2018 included Flom Road -- grind, reshape and gravel, Perch Lake Road -- crack seal 2.5 miles, Mathis Road -- crack seal mile, Smiley Road -- crack seal 1 mile, Benson Lake Road -- crack seal mile, Newton Lake Road -- crack seal 1 mile, and Deer Lake Road -- crack seal 2 miles.

Russ Westcott was concerned about the expense to the town for the upkeep of Northway Drive, which was formally County A. He asked if there was any possibility of the county taking it back under their jurisdiction. On motion of Leon Loose to ask the board to persue the possibility of the county taking back the portion of County A now known as Northway Drive with 20 voted yes and no negatives.

Loose asked if advisory signs could be put on Firelane Road for dust control. Harry Tesch mentioned there were problems this past winter with people plowing their driveway snow across the town roads, which is against state law. On motion of Harry Tesch to have the board consider passing an ordinance to cite and fine the people in violation. This would be difficult to enforce, but it can be enforced by the sheriff's department. Vote was 16 yes and two no.

Greg Reinhardt made a plea for more compassion and understanding for residents' special situations that come up with more flexibility.

There was discussion on combining the offices of clerk and treasurer to save the town money. If combined, there would need to be an outside audit at a cost of between $2,000 and $10,000. On motion of Patti Wickesberg to ask the board to get information on combining the offices of clerk and treasurer. Votes were eight yes and nine no. Motion died for lack of support.

Tesch asked the new supervisor, Denis DeJardin, what his plans are for the town. He said he wants everyone to know who he is and where he is at. He wants to blacktop the roads and not turn them into gravel because people have a right to have their windows open int he summer. He wants to have better roads and get more money to do it, maybe from the sate.

There was discussion on blacktopping costs. Scott Durian mentioned that four years ago it cost $50,000 for a mile of blacktop. Last year the cost was $130,000 for one mile. Barnes stated he received information that the cost will be even higher this year for one mile. One possibility is to get more money for roads to raise the tax levy and the electors could do this at the annual meeting. There was no further discussion on increasing the tax levy.

Bob Lom asked how it is determined which roads are to be blacktopped. In 2017 there was a 5-year road plan determined by the town board. Every year the town board does an annual road tour to see what needs to be done and then looks at the money available to do it. There is also a pavement rating done on the roads every year.

Gary Welsch asked if a full reassessment of the town could be done to see if all buldings and improvements are accounted for and maybe it would be a source of more income. Barnes explained that if the value of town was increased, the tax rate would be decreased which would not generate any more revenue. The only way to increase the property taxes is to increase the tax levy.

There being no further business, Barnes requested a motion to adjourn the 2019 annual meeting. On motion of Welsch to adjourn the 2019 annual meeting at 7:35 p.m. Second of motion was Leon Loose. Vote was unanimous at 20.


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