5/29/2013 12:49:00 PM Council votes in favor of shelter reservations
Reserving shelters in city parks and cost overruns on a street project concerned the City Council when it met in regular session Tuesday, May 28. Ellen Daniels, the city's new recreation coordinator, sought a new policy allowing shelters in city parks to be reserved. The shelters could be reserved under a sliding-scale fee, with no charge for groups affiliated with the city, and the highest charge for nonresidents wishing to reserve the largest shelter. That charge was $50. Most charges ranged from $10-$30. Shelters are currently on a first-come, first-served basis and there is no fee for use. Daniels said she receives numerous calls to reserve shelters, and that she now has seven parties awaiting a council decision, including two weddings. She said income from the fees, estimated at about $1,260 a year, could help pay for much needed repairs to the shelters. But some council members disagreed with a fee. "I don't agree with having additional fees and more layers of government," said Councilman Dan Lawler. Councilman Cory Schnacky said it was just another fee for services that should be paid for with tax dollars. Daniels said she didn't understand why the council would balk at raising money for needed park repairs, particularly when parks get children out of the house and out from in front of television screens. "We don't even have an ADA playground in this city right now," she said. She said that prevents some parents and grandparents from taking their children to city parks. Schnacky moved to approve a reservation system without fees. That motion passed 5-3.
Street costs too high The council also voted to cover a $60,000 cost overrun on the Marshall Street reconstruction project between Main Street and Wilson Avenue. The bids were higher than expected, with some of those higher costs attributed to storm sewer deterioration. Bids for the $428,000 project came in about $60,000 higher than expected. The project is funded with 80% federal and state funds, and 20% city funds, but the excessive costs must be borne by the city. The city had budgeted $78,000 for the project. The state handled the bid process. Rice Lake Utilities CEO Scott Reimer said the Utility was willing to donate $10,000 to help cover the shortage because of problems related to delaying the project until 2014. Utility work has already started on the street. The city will also use $30,000 earmarked earlier for improvements at the Moon Lake Soccer Park, and a contingency fund. The soccer park improvements included paving a parking area and installing an underground sprinkler system. In other business the council: Accepted the annual audit, which found no serious discrepancies. Approved hiring Associated Appraisal Consultants of Appleton as the city's assessor at a cost of $59,000 per year for 4 years. The city was considering contracting assessing when the city's full-time assessor quit earlier this year. Approved a closing of Barwise Street between Douglas and Stout streets on June 1 for a graduation party. Approved the sale of a fire tanker fire truck and extrication equipment. Approved a contract with 48 Seasons for concessions at the city's parks. The council will consider a policy of no carry-ins at a later date. The company is owned by Justin Fonfara, who was a previous City Council candidate. - - - -