BRODHEAD – City utility customers will be seeing a 4 percent rate hike on their February bills, according to Water and Light Superintendent Jeff Peterson.

Peterson reported on the rate increased before City Council in their regular meeting Monday, Dec. 14. The Public Service Commission approved the increase, the first since 2001, in their most recent public hearing, Peterson said.

Customers will receive notices of the rate hike with their February utility bills.

In other department news, painting of the city’s new water tower is expected to begin April 1 and take about 60 days. Peterson told city council members bids were under estimate, and the cost will run about $500,000.

In other city council news and action last week:

Alderman Troy Nyman informed the council that water leaks in city hall have been repaired.

City Park and Recreation staff are set to begin taking park reservations at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4, according to director Wade Boegli. .

Department of Natural Resources staff have approved “option A” for repairing the dam along the mill race between Decatur Lake and the Sugar River, according to city public works director Rich Vogel.

The repair is $8,000 less than other options, yet the DNR has advised the city that the dam may need repair in a shorter amount of time by this alternative.

The city could thus save $8,000 now but may have problems sooner and at a higher cost. Vogel stated this extra expense is not presently budgeted and needs to be financed. Both bids are with the same company.

After discussing the options, city council voted to approve the full repair of the dam at a cost of $41,785.

In related news, Brodhead has received five bids for the Covered Bridge footings in the Pearl Island corridor development, Vogel told the council.

The bid from Janke General Contractors for $101,490 was the recommended bid from the Pearl Island Recreational Corridor committee. Funds for the project are coming from Pearl Island – not city funding, Vogel said. The council approved the Janke bid.

November public library numbers show a 3.8 percent increase in visits over last year to 3,709, and a 3.8 percent increase from last year to 5,272 items checked out of the library, according to library director Nikki Busch, in her report to the city.

Circulation is up 5 percent from last year at this time, 177 E-Books, and the library issued eight new library cards, Busch said. The library added 195 items in November.

Public use of library rooms showed the VFW room was used 10 times, the small study room, 26 times, the program room, 16 times, and the library’s history room, 3 times. This use was in addition to library specific programs, Busch told the council.

Upcoming movie night will feature Hotel Transylvania II on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at 6 p.m.

Busch also announced her resignation from the Brodhead Memorial Library to take a position as Oregon’s Public Library Director . Her last day with the Brodhead Memorial Library is Dec. 23.

Mayor Pinnow and the Council thanked Busch for her service to the city.
Mayor Pinnow announced that the joint economic development committee meeting will be held Jan. 25, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

Economic Development will host the city and other agencies, and Mike Johnson from Green County Development Commission will facilitate.

Communication, comprehensive planning and the ATV trail will be discussed.
In his report to city council last week, Chief Chris Hughes presented operator license applications for Donna Saylor and Emily Colden, and the council approved them.

Attorney Mark Schroeder reported that proposed preliminary CSM from Kuhn North America included a Utility Easement Agreement. Kuhn requested the city allow it to combine several parcels into four larger parcels.

City plan commission members recommends council approve these contingent upon meeting concerns addressed with them by the Schroeder. The city approved the action.

Attorney Schroeder also reported to the city last week that a preliminary extraterritorial CSM from Carol Maveus was reviewed. She requested permission to divide one large lot into two lots.

Schroeder told council that this complies with the city’s comprehensive plan. Plan commission recommended approval contingent upon the City Engineers approval.

The city council approved the request.

Alderman John Bernstein updated the council on changes to the city’s personnel manual that will be addressed at the next meeting in January.

City clerk T. Withee told council that Keri Miller was been hired as the new Deputy Clerk-Treasurer. Miller began working for the city this week on Monday, Dec. 21.

Mike Post from Safebuilt made a presentation to city council last week on Building Inspection Services, formerly Independent Inspections, provides to municipalities.

Safebuilt only charges by the work that is being done on a 90-to-10-percent basis, not an hourly basis.

The contracting firm can also offer a designated number of hours per week as a code enforcement officer. Safebuilt works with each community it serves to help residents and property owners to comply with city ordinances and permitting for construction via warnings, follow up and possible fines.

Post told the city it can start providing building inspection services to Brodhead the week of Jan. 4, 2016 and have a transition team to help with the process. He presented a contract to City Attorney Schroeder.

Public Works and Water & Light will contact Safebuilt if they notice work being done without permits under this contractual arrangement.

After reviewing the Safetbuilt contract in closed session and also discussing a police union temporary agreement in closed session, city council returned to open session in last week’s meeting.

City council members then voted to proceed with initial negotiations with Safebuilt to contract for building inspection services and to also negotiate for temporary services until a contract is entered into. S

Also, in last week’s meeting Mayor Pinnow stated that candidates for upcoming election are at large and anyone in the city can run for any alder district.

If someone presently on city council is not going to run for office they must file a form of Non-Candidacy. The deadline to file is Monday, Dec. 28 at 5 p.m.

Mayor Pinnow announced that he has decided to seek re-election.

Council members voted to cancel their second regular monthly meeting in December. The city also had a discussion regarding a possible joint Municipal Court with the Town of Decatur.

Attorney Schroeder advised that statute allows this via intergovernmental agreement. There may be some financial and public safety ramifications by entering into an agreement, though, he said.

Chief Hughes stated that there would be an impact on the police department, but it may help streamline the process. He recommended the person requesting this address the council to explain the rationale behind the request.

City council members will take part in a strategic planning meeting Monday, Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

There will be a presentation regarding the possibility of holding joint municipal court with the Town of Decatur, review of attendance policy and status of council members, a Green County United request to present a possible referendum question, discussion regarding changing committee structure and downsizing committee numbers and police union negotiations.