By Mary Ann Inman, REPORTER

 Village President, Connie Tracy called the meeting to order on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. Board Trustees present were: Ron Torkilson, Art Bushue, Dennis Nielson, Jeanette Troha, Sonja Capes, and Dina Knibbs. Acting Administrator/Police Chief Dave Hooker was present. DPW Director Roger Johnson was absent. Village Engineer, Treasurer/Clerk Pam Franseen, Library Director Mary Bieber and other citizens were present. After opening procedures, School District Administrator Jim Brewer and Business Manager Dan McCrea spoke on the Nov. 8, recurring referendum for District Operating Costs noting that School District taxes will not go up. He credited the School Board with diligent management by reducing costs associated with health insurance, supplies and staffing, including 4.75 full-time employees. The combined efforts were needed to close a projected $1.1 million budget deficit for the 2016-2017 school year. Brewer and McCrea cited decreasing enrollment at about one percent annually as problematic. That decrease is spread over twelve grades disallowing staff reductions. There are many positive comparisons including PBIS, lower than average truancy rates, higher than average performing arts and sports participation, and other curriculum (like two foreign languages) and other extra curriculum activities.

Teacher retention has been difficult. Clinton’s teacher departure rate is about five percent above the state average.  The referendum will give the District opportunities to retain good teachers. Brewer added somewhere down the road the District will need to address the aged building infrastructures (including repairs at the high school). He invited the public to tour all three facilities during scheduled tours or by appointment. What if the referendum fails? Further cuts may result in reductions in staff that will increase classroom sizes, programming, courses, and materials, technology infrastructure, student access to technology, extra-curricular activities, and ability to retain and recruit effective classroom teachers. Administrator Brewer concluded by thanking the Board and constituents for listening, and asking people to come out and vote.

President Tracy announced Jeanette Troha will Chair the Finance Committee and the Park Board is reviewing the budget. Art Bushue noted 22 trees were planted, and DPW will be positioned to take on forestry responsibilities by Jan. 1, 2017. Sonja Capes reported that the Library Board is working on policy, obtaining a carpet cleaning quote, and planning a teen Halloween party. Capes also suggested that – if the Village budget had “wiggle room” – that the general fund carryover be credited to the Library. No action resulted.

Clerk/Treasurer Franseen passed around a sign-up sheet asking Board members to volunteer for two hours during the election. Liquor licenses were approved for Renee Behm (Clinton Foods) and Randy Schneider (Rock’n Rogers).

The farmland lease extension to Gary Hahn was approved with the review extended to two years verses annually. It was noted that he takes good care of the property.

Scott Cernek explained circumstances regarding the past purchase of five acres of land from the Village intended to be used as a Harvest Hills Church site. Later, site development was determined to be cost prohibitive. The original contract stated the Village could buy the property back at eighty percent of the original cost. Cernek requested one hundred percent return. No action was taken. Acting Administrator Hooker complimented department heads for their involvement in the budget process. He stated the process has been more transparent than in the past.

The Fire Department has requested an additional $48,000 for built-in sleeping quarters and raising the on- call EMS weekend hourly rate from $2 to $7 per hour. The Village’s portion is $20,000. Township and Village negations are in process.

Hooker discussed building in capital outlay expenditures for big ticket items like vehicles and facility repairs. A request has been submitted to reinstate the past cemetery upkeep fund at $1,500. The seasonal handicap portable restrooms at Herb Reffue Park are estimated to be $1,300. However, the most glaring expenditure item is the necessary repairs to the Village Hall, built in 1913. The building needs tuck repair, roof repair, and asbestos removal in order to replace the carpeting. Minimum repairs are estimated at $175,000. The budget allows $715,000 for street repair. The Village Engineer stated upkeep is essential to avoid major repairs later. Crack repair and sealing are necessary. Property tax assessment is estimated at $20,000. The Village can levy $701,000. The proposed budget has a $340,000 shortage at this point. The shared taxes revenue from the State is down $8,554. Library Rock County revenue aid is down $5,731. The County aid formula is based on the circulation ratio of village and Township check outs of the previous year. Circulation ratios are up this year.

There were no invoices to approve. The meeting adjourned and went into closed session.