MINOCQUA – Lending a helping hand to residents struggling with cleanup after last April’s severe wind storm has set the Minocqua public works budget on a path to bleed red ink, with the town board being asked to patch it by tapping the general fund or delaying some road work for a year.
Public Works Director Mark Pertile told supervisors Tuesday, Sept. 5 that hiring private contractors to assist in picking up downed trees and branches left from that storm, and others, will hit the $46,000 mark. That’s money originally allocated for crack sealing portions of Squirrel Lake Road. Sealing cracks in pavement is important to prevent further deterioration of roads. The town had budgeted $75,000 for the Squirrel Lake Road crack sealing project, but Pertile said he’s $16,500 short of needed funds. It appeared the board was leaning towards waiting another year to do the work, until Supervisor Billy Fried said he preferred that the town “keep on schedule” with the road work.
Town chairman Mark Hartzheim said there is sufficient money in the general fund account to handle the $16,500 shortage. The board was unanimous in tapping the general fund for that purpose. In other public works matters, Pertile presented a proposal to require contractors and others to obtain a permit before doing excavation work in the town’s rights-of-way. “We haven’t had any major problems,” Pertile allowed, but “it’s to protect ourselves.” Oftentimes, the town is unaware of contractors burying utility services across town property. The supervisors want a couple of weeks to study the proposal before acting on it, but they had no serious objections to it. Issues to be decided upon include permit fees and penalties for non-compliance. “I think you are right in being proactive,” remarked Fried to Pertile.
Also, the board gave a first reading of an ordinance adding portions of Fieldstone Drive, Hill Lake Road, Old Highway 70, and Lakeview Drive as year-round roads. In yet another utility issue, Hartzheim said Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) would soon update natural gas lines and equipment on the Island, as well as in Reubentown. Work on the Island will take place after Beef-A-Rama, which is Sept. 30 in downtown Minocqua. All work will be completed by mid-December, according to WPS. Picnic licenses for two civic groups planning to serve beer at Beef-A-Rama were approved. The permits are for the Lakeland Rotary Club and the Minocqua Lions Club. Final action was taken to allow all-terrain vehicles for local access only on portions of Sutton Road, Blue Lake Road and Camp Nine Road.
The board also approved an ordinance setting a 3-hour maximum limit to park watercraft and vehicles at all town-owned public piers, boat landings and public access points.