Pound Finds Unauthorized Dumping Of Septic WastesIssue Date: March 11, 2020
Following a closed session during its monthly board meeting on Monday, March 9, Pound Village Board unanimously approved a motion made by Trustee David Navis and seconded by Trustee Mary Meyer to turn over monies that were collected from illegal septic dumping into the Pound Lift Station ultimately treated by the Coleman Wastewater Treatment Plant in the amount of $3,996.94.
They also approved motion, made by Navis and seconded by Trustee Mike Rogodzinski to hire the village attorney (William J. Vande Castle) to review and help revise a proposed public statement on the 2016-2017 Village of Pound septic issue.
On Tuesday, March 10 Vande Castle advised a news release titled "Unauthorized Septic Waste Dumping In The Village," which states:
"In January, 2020, it came to the attention of the Village Board that in 2016 through 2017 that there had been unauthorized dumping of waste into the Village of Pound lift station that has resulted in potential additional treatment costs and expenses due to the Village of Coleman. These activities involved the unauthorized dumping of septic sludge at the Village of Pound lift station contrary to the Wastewater Treatment Services Contract between the Village of Pound and the Village of Coleman.
"In addition to the additional costs to the Village of Pound resulting from the unauthorized dumping, the concentrated septic sludge hindered greatly the bacteria process by which the sewer system works. This has in turn lead to the potential for significant additional costs due to the Village of Coleman under the Wastewater Treatment Services Contract. Those additional costs are still being evaluated and determined.
"The Village's investigation in to the unauthorized waste dumping remains under investigation along with consideration of potential civil and criminal penalties for the violators. We would like to thank the Village of Coleman for their on-going assistance in our investigation; for their graciousness in dealing with this situation; and, for their willingness to forego enforcement of the penalty provisions in the Wastewater Services Contract.
"Therefore, we the board of the Village of Pound have resolved to give the monies collected from these septic haulers and the rest of the cost that should have been paid for cleanup in the amount of $3,996.94 to Coleman Water and Sewer utilities. We further resolve that we will renew our diligence to be certain that a situation such as this does not occur again." the press release concluded.
Kevin Schutte, the former Village of Pound Public Works Director and Utility Manager was discharged by the board at its meeting on January 13. Since then water and sewer utility responsibilities have been temporarily handled by Aaron Patefield, who is operator in charge of the Village of Coleman water and sewer utilities.
Before going into closed session the board voted to have Patefield included in the closed session portion of the meeting.
After that portion of the meeting was concluded, Trustee John Homontowski was excused, and the board went into a second closed session, this time to consider an employee vacation. On returning again to open session they approved without dissent a motion to approve a vacation policy which states after 90 work days the employee will acquire one week of paid vacation, totaling one week per year, and then be renewed each year on the hire date anniversary.
Earlier in the meeting Village President Terry Earley had welcomed Scott Fuelle as the village's new Public Works/Utility Administrator and introduced him and his wife, Ann. Earley noted that this was Fuelle's first day as a Pound village employee.
In his utility report Patefield had stated that Fuelle's training had begun that day and was going well. His plan is to get the new employee up and running and trained as quickly as possible to operate independently. In the meantime, he will keep signing the official reports until Fuelle gets the DNR certificates required to be the official operator. Fuelle also will be trained to do hazardous materials reports on chlorine kept at the Pound facility.
Others present for the meeting were Clerk/Treasurer Diane Patz, Kevin Schutte, Del Hannon, Atty. Randall Phillips, Jennifer Baker, Sandra Lepinski, Sondra Gretzon and a representative of the press.
Dennis and Sandra Lepinski have been working with the board for several months to get the permits and permissions needed to develop a manufactured and mobile home park in the village. Discussion was held regarding Phase 1, which involved getting sewer and water to the planned area. After some expressions of concern over regulating age and condition of mobile or manufactured homes which will be moved into the facility, the board approved a motion authorizing the Lepinskis to proceed with Phase 1, which involves getting sewer and water to the proposed mobil home park, with notations that there already are regulations covering some of the issues of concern, and there may be future changes on the type of mobile homes that can be brought there.
During time for public comment at the start of the meeting Gretzon asked when the street light near her home at Maple and Colburn will be replaced. Earley noted the new public works employee had just stated working that day and promised they will take care of the light as soon as possible.
Schutte then took the floor with a number of questions, and started by asking if Zeitler (apparently for weighing garbage trucks at the feed mill, ) had been paid for scale use last year. Earley said they had received no bill, and added that since Schutte has been gone no one has weighed there, they go directly to the landfill. Schutte asked why they do that, since it costs $5 to weigh at Zeitler's and $12 at the landfill in addition to the longer trip there. The individual who has been filling in for public works responsibilities said usually there is too much garbage to combine Pound and Beaver's loads, so they take the village trash directly to the landfill, "We just get rid of it and then we're done." He said this eliminated need to run to Coleman. and then still need two trips to the landfill. Schutte said the slips for weighing at Zeitler's were in the garbage truck.
He then asked if the village would fix the grass that had been damaged when snow was plowed away from fire hydrants this winter. Meyer assured him that would be taken care of.
Next Schutte asked what internal controls the board had put in place. Navis told him they had done all that they could do, and asked Schutte what he felt they should do. He said lack of internal controls is always a concern when there is only one person working in an office, as is the case in Pound, "and this board, right now, is all there is. We just need to pay more attention."
"We trusted people, and that was our mistake," Meyer commented.
Earley advised Schutte his three minutes for public comment had been used up, and suggested if he feels he will need more time at a future meeting, he should notify them and have the issue put on the agenda.
Rogodzinski presented the fire department report. There had been just one deposit, for $20, plus interest on savings. There was no door broken off anything, as had been previously reported. The department had four calls in January. A training class had been cancelled due to lack of enrollment, and they will try to send people in fall and early winter of 2020. There was training on air packs, "to get hands on and get people familiar with the equipment." Tom Prue had applied for grants, mainly for pagers.
Schutte said he had a donation from the Marinette County Tavern League, which is donating $200 to each fire department in the county. He then presented Rogodzinski with a $200 check for the department and Patz snapped a photo of the event.
Earley presented the Public Works report and said village services are continuing pretty much as usual, and reminded residents to be sure their garbage is on the curb before 9 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Patefield presented the utility report and commented that changes in the amount of wastewater flow are variable with the weather, due to clean water infiltrating into the system. They still need five more residences with older style plumbing to use for DNR calibrations.
Patefield had met with Lepinski in regard to water and sewer lines to the mobile home park and they had decided to go with 6-inch sewer laterals and 3/4-inch water laterals to each lot. The authorization the board gave later in the meeting to go forward with the park will now permit them to put the laterals in.
By unanimous vote the board approved a permit for a sign Brian Ermis wants to put on his shop by the R-Store.
With Navis and Homontowski opposed the board approved an operator's license for Alexandria Broderick, who is 18, to work at the R-Store. Meyer, Rogodzinski and Earley voted in favor.
After some discussion the board agreed to take no action on a proposal from Lane Tank to repair an overflow discharge pipe for the water tower for $1,200. Homontowski had commented that was a lot of money to cut off a pipe and weld on a new elbow, and Navis had asked if they would be allowed another month to get more estimates. Patefield said the DNR is making them get the repair done, but agreed they might be allowed more time to get additional quotes. Patefield noted Crivitz is going to have some work done on its water tower, and he felt they might get a better price if the two jobs are coordinated. The contractor hired must by insured and DNR certified..
There was discussion on a drop in interest rates being paid by ADM on money market and CD accounts. Navis noted that account is in Pewaukee and wondered why Pound has no CDs in local banks. Patz said some of their Money market accounts are, but if they don't have at least $20,000 they get no interest at all. At Rogodzinsk's request Patz said she will research rates at banks in this area, but will make no transfers without board approval. No formal action was taken.
After a brief discussion the board adopted the Marinette County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan. To be eligible for state and federal assistance from FEMA in case of a disaster, the village must either have a plan of its own in place, or be formally part of the county plan. Before the vote, Navis asked if anyone on the board had actually read the plan, and they had not. However, Emergency Planning Administrator Kathy Frank had advised the plan is the same as the one they adopted in 2014. Patz said she had attended a two to three hour meeting on the plan. Patefield said the county has adopted it, and Coleman and Crivitz are among villages that have already adopted it.
Next the board addressed some ordinance violations on a property at 4004 Business 141 in the village. This had been an issue at the board's February meeting, when neighbors complained about junk vehicles there and a mobile home that had been moved on to the property without the permit required by village ordinance. The property reportedly had been sold by Kevin Schutte on land contract to Jennifer Baker and Scott Marks and a business had previously been located there.
Earley said he had viewed the property and subsequently notice was served that there were some violations that needed to be cleared up before any construction could begin, including removal of the mobile home and junked, unlicensed vehicles. Earley said if the property owners do not take action and get things done, the village will have them towed away at the owners' expense.
Atty. Phillips identified himself as "a passive investor" who was there on behalf of Baker and Marks, and had just gotten notice of the meeting on Friday. He said Baker and Marks are a mature couple who were looking for a place to start a small business and had selected the site in Pound. He repairs and restores vehicles, particularly vintage vehicles, projects that can take up to a year or two each. He said they envisioned the mobile home as a component of a building they plan to construct. As to the junk vehicles, he mentioned several issues he had seen on a brief tour of the village, including junk vehicles, a fishing shanty on a front lawn, and a trailer that seemed to be permanently in a church parking lot.
Phillips said he is a passive investor, not an owner, and he specializes in helping people who are near retirement age and want to start a small business. He said if they cannot have the auto restoration business there they perhaps can repurpose the building for other uses.
Navis commented vehicle restoration is a wonderful thing, and no one would want to stop them from that, but the owners should have gotten permits before they moved things in, not after. He added the person who sold them the property knew full well what the ordinances were, he had been village president when they were passed. He added if they put up a privacy fence hiding the vehicles from view they would be legal and not have to be moved, and suggested they might apply for an extension of time and then build a fence, but the mobile home would likely need to be moved.
Earley said the ordinance is against junk yards, and there are 18 old vehicles there. He felt nobody could restore that many.
Phillips said they intend to put up a fence, but need to get the property lines surveyed first, which is hard to do in winter. As to the mobile home, it was a case of get it out today or lose it, so they took it.
"So there wasn't much planning done," Meyer commented.
Navis pointed out the village's mobile home ordinance is pretty specific, and by Wisconsin state law, no one can have a mobile home more than 20 years old without a special state permit. "I think we can figure this out, but they need to take the right steps," Navis commented.
Homontowski commented the mobile home should have been moved right after the last meeting. He said now with the thawing ground rutting will be a big problem.
Phillips said the property owners had to wait until they got the formal notice, and now they can start responding to the specific items mentioned in the letter.
Rogodzinski noted there is already a privacy fence more than six feet high on the back property line. Meyer agreed they would need to get the property lines surveyed before they could do the fence.
Phillips said they will respond with a letter to Patz on clearing up the issues. Navis advised him they should not bring anything else in until these problems are cleaned up. The board took no further formal action.
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