VILLAGE OF BALDWIN
REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES
April 8, 2020 – 6:00pm
The Village of Baldwin Board of Trustees opened their regular board meeting on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. As there is a state-wide quarantine in place by the governor, this meeting was held using GoToMeeting and was open and available to the public through video or phone. The only person on site at the Municipal Building was Admin/Clerk-Treasurer Tracy Carlson. President Willy Zevenbergen called the meeting to order at 6:00pm.
Roll call was taken by Village Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer Tracy Carlson – Present (remotely): President Willy Zevenbergen, Trustees Matt Knegendorf, Duane Russett, Lance Van Damme and Chad Wernlund. Doug Newton was absent.
Others present on the call: Attorney Paul Mahler, Public Works Director John Traxler, Police Chief Darren Krueger, EMS Chief Tom Boyer, Jason Schulte, Lloyd and Joanne Doornink, Robb Paulson, Jason Prosser, Brad Boldt and Dick Krumm.
Van Damme moved to approve all items on the consent agenda. Seconded by Knegendorf. Items approved include:
• Checks written - #37454 - #37552, voided check - #37426; payroll vouchers #23519-23628, online/”manual” checks for payroll taxes, HSA contributions, deferred comp/Roth IRA, payment systems network and WRS
• Financial reports for March, 2020
• Minutes from the Regular Board Meeting – March 11, 2020
• Minutes from a Special Board Meeting – March 25, 2020
• Municipal Court Report – March, 2020
Zevenbergen called for public comments three times. None were heard.
Planning Commission Items
At the recommendation of the Planning Commission, Knegendorf moved to approve the site plan and CSM submitted by UpNorth Investments, LLC (Subway – 630 Baldwin Plaza Dr). Seconded by Russett. Motion carried. A utility extension agreement will be created and filed which will provide expansion of utilities to neighboring properties should the need ever exist.
At the recommendation of the Planning Commission, Van Damme moved to approve the site plan submitted by Western WI Health for a new ambulance garage and canopy. Seconded by Wernlund. Motion carried.
Van Damme moved to award the bid for the 9th Ave. (Lokhorst St to Summit St) project to Albrightson Excavating in the amount of $207,907.25. Seconded by Russett. Motion carried.
Lloyd and Joanne Doornink (710 Park St.) had filed a claim against the village in the amount of $32,999.77 for alleged damage caused by a sewer back-up in their basement. The claim was submitted to the village’s insurance company and was denied as the village is immune from liability under Wisconsin Statute 893.80 (4). Russett moved to formally disallow the claim. Motion failed due to lack of second. After some discussion, Knegendorf moved to pay the invoice submitted by the Doornink’s from Done Right Carpet and Restoration in the amount of $13,214.60. Motion failed due to lack of second. After further discussion, Russett again moved to formally deny the claim. Seconded by Wernlund. Motion carried 4-1 with Van Damme opposed.
Jason Prosser (1370 8th Ave.) had filed a claim against the village in the amount of $1,000.00 for reimbursement of his insurance deductible which he owes due to his claim with his personal insurance company for alleged damage caused by a sewer-back up. Prosser’s insurance company covered his personal claim. The claim against the village was submitted to the village’s insurance company and was denied as the village is immune from liability under Wisconsin Statute 893.80 (4). Russett moved to formally deny the claim. Seconded by Wernlund. Motion carried 4-1 with Van Damme opposed.
Carlson reported that the application period has ended for the Director of Public Works position. Because of the quarantine, Carlson requested clarification on how to proceed with interviews (hold them remotely or postpone them until the quarantine is lifted). The board instructed that the process and timeline should continue. Interviews can be held remotely, if necessary. The Personnel Committee will review the applications and interviews will be scheduled.
Village Engineer – Erik Henningsgard (SEH) – Submitted written report.
Public Works – Traxler reported that the crew has been divided into two groups and are working every other week. Summer hour schedule has not been implemented and won’t be until the quarantine is lifted.
Police Department – Krueger reported there were 98 calls for service in March, 2020. Because of the quarantine, personal contact with the public has been limited. The officers are available for calls as needed. Part-time officer training has been put on hold due to the quarantine.
EMS – Boyer reported that there were 129 calls in March 2020 as compared to 150 calls in March 2019. There were 26 transfers in March. Boyer also reported that the service continues to be well equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) in the event it is needed for any suspected COVID-19 patients or transfers.
Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer’s Report – Tracy Carlson
The organizational meeting will be held at the regular May meeting.
The municipal building is closed to the public (except for Election Day).
Carlson reported on the election held on April 7. Because of the various court orders and issues surrounding this election, ballots will not be counted until after 4:00pm on Monday, April 13. The results of the election will be known at that time.
There were 1030 ballots cast which surpasses the total from April, 2016 (last Presidential Primary Election). Of the 1030 ballots cast, 345 were from voters who came to the polling place and 681 were absentee ballots that were returned, and hand processed. (As a reference, 325 absentee ballots were issued and processed for the Nov, 2016 Presidential Election). This was an extremely stressful and hectic election cycle for staff. Carlson reported that she struggled to find poll workers willing to work, the workload in the office was pushed to it’s limits due to the hiring of a brand new, inexperienced deputy clerk just prior to the election and the huge influx of absentee ballot requests received. The absentee ballot requests were the highest they had ever been (760 requests total) and it was a huge challenge for staff to get them processed and mailed in a timely manner, not to mention completing everyday tasks that are required. Carlson thanked the poll workers who were willing to work, and she thanked her staff. Carlson also thanked the voters for their patience and understanding as the election was anything but normal.
After Carlson’s report, the board berated Police Chief Krueger and Administrator Carlson for not taking time away from the office for themselves and staff and for not arranging remote access to work from home. Krueger and Carlson attempted to explain to the board that because the Village is a public entity, there are certain things that simply cannot and should not be done remotely. Files, election processing, absentee ballot request processing, payroll information, water/sewer payments, police reports, police files etc. should not leave the building. Carlson and her staff were not able to work remotely during the weeks leading up to the election on April 7 due to the huge demand for absentee ballots to be sent out. The special election being held on May 12, will require staff to continue to work on-site to respond to absentee ballot requests (received by mail, email and in-person). Training is also continuing with the new deputy clerk, which makes the workload even greater for Carlson. The board instructed Krueger and Carlson to work with IT consultants and find a way to work remotely. Carlson reminded the board that there is only one laptop computer in her office, which would prevent all of her staff from working at home at the same time. She also expressed that processing absentee ballot requests cannot occur at home due to the need for three different printers and an office computer needing to be connected to the WI voter database securely to process and mail the ballots. Carlson is to reduce staffing hours. Krueger is only to report to his office on an extremely limited basis. Krueger expressed that he disagrees with the directive as he feels that if his officers are expected to be on the front-line, he should be there with them. The board directed Krueger to, again, only report to the office on an extremely limited basis.
Being there no further business, Zevenbergen adjourned the closed session meeting at 7:31pm.
Willard Zevenbergen Tracy Carlson
Village President Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer