The Lake Tomahawk Town Board held a regular Town Board Meeting on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 7:00 P.M. at the Raymond F. Sloan Community Center. All notices were posted to the open meeting law and the media was notified.
Present: Chairman George DeMet, Supervisors Catherine Parker and Matthew Michalsen, Treasurer Mike Lynch and Clerk Nancy Schneider. Chairman DeMet read the Agenda of the regular Town Meeting of August 10, 2016. DeMet called the meeting to order and led the people in the Pledge of Allegiance.
DeMet started the meeting by congratulating Michalsen on his recent win.
Motion by Michalsen, seconded by Parker to approve the Agenda of the regular Town Board Meeting of August 10, 2016. Motion carried, all Ayes. Parker made a Motion to approve the Minutes of the Special Town Board Meeting of July 7, 2016, the Regular Board Meeting of July 13, 2016 and the Board of Review Meeting of July 13, 2016; seconded by Michalsen. Motion carried, all Ayes.
Approve the payment of Bills and Vouchers: The Clerk asked the Board to approve ACH, EFT & EFTPS payments, Check #’s 16402 to 16443 and payroll checks 3810 to 3837 for a Total of $46,945.77. DeMet pointed out that Check 16441 in the amount of $1,528.22 was voided. DeMet then made a motion to approve the payment of Bills and Vouchers as read by the Clerk. Motion seconded by Parker. Motion carried, all Ayes.
Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer Lynch reported that during the Month of July the Town had income of $38,879 which included $35,051 from the State for shared Revenues and Quarterly Highway Aid. The Town collected $2,053 in room taxes, out of which we paid the Chamber $1,502.
The Parks took in $2,465 in launch permits and fees and concession rentals. Expenses for the Month totaled $55,194.00. The Road Dept. expenses were $28,408.00, including $17,712 in wages and benefits. The Town also paid the Lions Club $5,000 for the annual 4th of July Parade. DeMet made a motion to approve the Treasurer’s report, seconded by Parker. Motion carried, all Ayes.
Chairman/Supervisors’ Reports on Committees and Commissions: Parker indicated that she didn’t have anything, however, there will be a bunch of meetings in September to prepare for the Budget Year ahead.
Michalsen indicated he would talk a little bit about Web Site, Parks, and Lake Associations and he would talk a little bit about the Wisconsin Towns Association meeting that they attended last month in Pine Lake. Web Site Committee, they are in the process of compiling photos for web site different categories. It’s still a process in work, and people have indicated that they are able to get around the web site easier. There are still difficulties with the Calendar in not putting all the events in. I am sure we are working with the Minocqua Commerce on this. Another thing, tourists seem to like the web site and praise the info booth workers. There have been some studies done on tourism; it’s improving. On average they spend $67.00 a day in our area and it’s a very important part of our economy.
Parks: We are going to explore Art in the Park and possibly, Music in the Park. Other towns in the area do this and we would get more people in town, to support the businesses, younger and older.
I spoke with a young lady about Art in the Park. She is part of a business incubator in Eagle River. She has been booked constantly; she not only goes around to parks, but she also goes to Taverns and Restaurants. We are looking for new playground equipment and possible new projects and we would like the peoples’ input in that as well. Moving forward, people have liked the new handicapped accessible, wheel chair accessible fishing pier down at the boat landing. We praise Tom and the Parks Committee for all their work on this.
Snowshoe Baseball: Weather has been great, attendance has been great and the Clubs in the area have been making money, so that is good.
Lake Associations: Tomahawk Lake Assoc. had their annual meeting on the July 2nd and Horsehead Lake will be having their annual meeting on the 20th of August. A few things within the State Legislature, brought to you by our assemblyman and state senator. I have been on this endeavor and I have learned quite a bit. Many of the lake associations are upset about the shoreline zoning issues that have been pushed through and I have been speaking with a lot of DNR, Wildlife Biologists, Fish Biologists and if they were funded more correctly, they could work together within the lake associations and there is an actual shoreline zoning initiative put forth by multitude lakes in our area and spearheaded by John Richter of the Plum Lake Association and there are just a few things that I want to read.
Within this 2015/16 Shoreline Status Report, what we had last summer local control, a lake classification system based on the size of the lake, lakes are protected by data driven, uncontroversial regulations and a setback minimum on lake frontage, all aspects of regulations of local zoning operations went through towns and counties. Town and County Boards are upset with that and Matt is hearing a lot from frustrated citizens as well. What we are losing with that is putting the water quality at jeopardy to where if water quality goes down property assessments go down, the ability to dredge within lakes, our fisheries will be affected by that, clarity of the water. How properties get assessed is by the clarity of the water. The more the development, it is detrimental to ground water and the closer you get to the lake the more you have high, expensive wells. The more you dredge you change the habitat of it, lack of funding for the DNR, these shoreline zoning issues are hurting the lake associations and the character of the northwoods. Look into the last assembly/senate budget hearing for more information.
DeMet added that this Saturday, 8/13/16 is the last Parks Committee Children’s’ Special Projects event. This will be at 10:00 and the Northwoods Wildlife Center is putting on a program called Turtles and Reptiles.
Bob Williams asked Matt if he was going to make the next web site meeting in September as they had to table the budget review because Matt wasn’t at the last meeting and they didn’t have the data. Matt said he would have the information as soon as possible or by the next meeting and he would be there.
County Representative: Bob Metropulos said it has been slow. The department heads are working on their 2017 budgets and they have already received some preliminary numbers from some departments. They are also required to turn in a priority list of importance of various divisions in their department. Bob said he had nothing new to report other than what you read in the paper. Some of it he cannot talk about. They have been in closed sessions for a couple of items.
By May, with Matt’s comments here, on NR115, Bob was county supervisor at that time also. Bob didn’t want to mention any names but one representative said we have to give the property rights back to the property owner. Bob has always said zoning creates property rights, what’s good for you as a neighbor may not be good for me and vice versa. If someone wants to put a junk yard next to my property, I really have no control unless we have zoning. It’s really getting to the case, I believe, that the State wants to control and even get rid of town government. We have no control over our lakes. I would be very cautious and if this man gets on, you have your work cut out for you. Bob offered Matt, his congratulations.
Bob asked if anyone had any questions, and Doris Vyvyan said she thought it was illegal to dredge in front of someone’s property.
Matt said one bill would have allowed lake property owners to dredge lake bottoms in front of their homes, remove spawning habitat, allow removal of up to 30 cubic yards a year for in-land lakes and 100 cubic yards a year on the great Lakes. This is property owned by the people of the State of Wisconsin. The destruction would have been immediate and irreparable. This is what counties have fought against and Matt believes that they have gotten it reduced.
Bob asked if there were any Vets present. There is a resolution coming in from the State and what they want to do is regionalized the Veterans’ Service Offices. In other words, they could have one in Wausau that would serve the whole northern section, one down in Fond du Lac that would service four different sections. This is ridiculous; they are having enough problems now, keeping up with matters. Waiting lists are long, trips are long and they are going to get a lot longer if that goes through. We are just waiting now to see what happens. Bob happen to be on the the Social Services, VA Committee, and Tammy Walters is just working her fanny off. We are losing control. Doris Vyvyan said that she thought the Veterans should be able to use any Medical Facility that they choose. They should not have to go hundreds of miles for medical treatment.
Public Comment: Doris Vyvyan wanted to ask if there was extra cost to put the referendum deal on the ballot. DeMet said that yes, there would be a cost, but it is not a big deal and it would not be a significant amount of money. Doris also asked if DeMet was going to discontinue the “Correspondence” part of the Agenda. DeMet said No, he just forgot to put it on.
Bob Chrobak introduced himself and his neighbor, Karl Olson. They live on Elm Road on Little Carr Lake. They are concerned about Elm road, not just the paved portion that starts at D, but where the paving stops, we have unpaved portion and then we have a paved portion to the end of the road, where a private homeowner paved his portion. In between there are pot holes, tremendous draining problems near Karl’s property, and we are trying to get some conformity through the entire road. DeMet said he spent some time on this problem last year. It appears that there is about 160 Ft. that is in question. The bad news is that it is not on the list of roads to be fixed this year. It is something that will be addressed, but it probably won’t happen this year. Karl has been maintaining the unpaved portion, every time there is rain, he may have to pull rocks, grade the road, all at his own expense and it is not fair.
There are basically 5 taxpayers on this road that have to drive through puddles. DeMet said he understood and it is on the radar. Someone asked how they picked what roads they will work on and DeMet said that North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning go around from year to year and rate the roads. The Town uses that information plus what our Road Crew has to say about the different roads as they are out there all the time. The Board will also make occasional road surveys themselves, which is sometime later on the Agenda that we will be talking about. What we do is put all of it together and see what needs work most and what we have money for. Chrobak asked about the culvert on D that needs work and what was happening there. DeMet indicated that the County would be taking care of it, as it’s their road. The work probably won’t begin until after Labor Day and the entire Culvert will be replaced.
Resolution 2016-2 Supporting an Amendment to the constitution of the United States to provide that corporations are not persons: As an explanation for those that don’t know, it you know about the Supreme Court decision, commonly referred to as Citizens United, which rolled back restrictions on the amount of money that can be spent on elections, there is a movement among the states and 17 states have passed the resolution. 75 towns in Wisconsin have already passed the resolution and 15 towns plus Lake Tomahawk will have the referendum on the ballot this fall. It’s a grass roots effort to get big money out of politics is what it boils down to. So we propose to have a referendum on the November ballot to allow the citizens of the Town of Lake Tomahawk to weigh in on that. We have a resolution that the Town Board has passed and this will get forwarded to our State and Federal representatives and legislators and see if they will do their job to overturn this. Parker said it is more fair and we will be posting the resolution as well as ballots initiatives. Parker then went on to read Resolution No. 02-2016. (The entire Resolution No. 02-2016 appears in the Minutes of July 13, 2016.) Parker moved that the Town adopt this Resolution, seconded by DeMet. Motion carried, all ayes.
November Ballot Referendum Question: Parker indicated that the following is what we want to have on the Ballot of November 8, 2016. “Shall the Town of Lake Tomahawk, adopt the following resolution? Resolved, that “We the People” of the Town of Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin, seek to reclaim democracy from the expansion of corporate personhood rights and the corrupting influence of unregulated political contributions and spending. We stand with communities across Wisconsin and the country to support passage of an amendment to the United States Constitution stating:
1. Only human beings are endowed with constitutional rights – not corporations, unions, nonprofits or other artificial entities and
2. Money is not speech and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting speech.” There will be a box for Yes or No. So it’s up to everyone in the Town of Lake Tomahawk to have their say. DeMet said back in June, they made a motion to put the referendum question on the ballot. Parker said the language was slightly different. DeMet then made a motion to adopt the new referendum question that Parker read on the November 8th Ballot. Seconded by Parker. Motion carried, all Ayes.
Institute a 3 year road plan: DeMet put this on to see how the Board wanted to handle this. One of the reasons why he wants to get this done is because we may be eligible for Trip money. This normally is on a 6 year cycle, but last time around, some of the Towns did not apply for Trip and we may be eligible again in the next two year cycle. In order to apply for Trip funds, you have to have a road Plan. Parker indicated that she like the idea of a 3 year Road Plan and that they review it on a yearly basis. Some roads worsen by natural conditions and others come to our attention that need even more attention. So we can alter them every year, but we have a more future plan, taking care of our roads and maintaining them ahead of time because replacing them is 100 times more expensive. Michalsen added, if we have the funds. Parker said we usually don’t have the funds to replace roads. DeMet asked the board members if they would like to get together and do a road tour for later this fall and go over all of the roads. Parker and Michalsen agreed that this was a good idea and the board will set up a date.
Bike Trail Development: As you know from last month’s meeting, we were finally approved to use the Highway 47 corridor right of way to establish a bike trail connection to the State Trail at Indian Mounds. Yesterday, I received our first donation from Oneida County walking & biking trail council in the amount of $1,500. DeMet thought it was time to set up a fund as we don’t have any money budgeted. The first thing that we should do is get some signage up. We can put a sign up at Indian Mounds indicating Lake Tomahawk this way. The signs can’t have advertising, but it can have directions. We should think about putting a line item in the budget for next year so we can get serious about this. Parker made a motion to add a line item to the 2017 budget to cover the bike trail. Seconded by Michalsen. Motion carried, all Ayes. DeMet mentioned that our friends at Wisconsin Valley Improvement are already on board with this and they have already mowed the trail.
Future Agenda Items: DeMet mentioned the road review and he also asked if Parker or Michalsen are available, they will be meeting with the Insurance Representative regarding the Health Insurance Plan for the Town Crew, which is coming due. That would be on the 16th of August at 10:00 A.M. DeMet said he and Nancy would be there and if Parker and Michalsen were there, he would have to post it. Parker and Michalsen, both said they would be there.
Correspondence: DeMet forgot about Correspondence, but Parker questioned whether or not anyone had responded to the email question regarding trash. DeMet indicated that he had responded to Wollenberg, the original person who asked the question. He did not respond to the second email. DeMet asked if there was anything else. Michalsen said, that being at the county fairs and speaking to some of them and setting it up, some people brought up budget expenditures and town funds to help fund the county fairs. If all the towns got together and budgeted a small amount it would help out greatly. DeMet said that we can talk about that at budget time.
Adjournment: DeMet made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Parker. Motion carried, all Ayes. Meeting adjourned at 7:40 P.M.
Nancy J. Schneider, Clerk