January 16, 2024 Board Meeting

Town of Richmond
Board of Supervisor’s Meeting
January 16, 2024    7:00pm

Chairman Karbash called the meeting to order at 7:00pm. Present: Jeff Karbash, Supervisors Tom Kraus, Steven Wade. Absent: Dave Overbeek, Susan Miller, Treasurer Ann Seaver.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Motion to approve the agenda by Kraus, seconded by Wade, approved unanimously.

Motion to approve December 19, 2023 minutes by Kraus, seconded by Wade, approved unanimously.

Motion to approve December 26, 2023 minutes by Kraus, seconded by Wade, approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report
Motion to approve by Kraus, seconded by Wade, approved unanimously.

Board Reports
Karbash reports that due to the ground not being frozen, the field that was to be used for parking for the annual Radar Run at Turtle Lake may not be able to be used and he has been advised by Jeff Hufford that discussions are taking place with Sheriff’s dept. to see if parking can be done on Taylor Road.

Town resident Kim Alba questions whether the plan to park on Taylor Road presents the Town with a problem. She makes the analogy that Badger Bob’s Bar and Grill has been scrutinized for along the roadway parking and questions whether this would be the same dilemma and create a double standard.

Karbash points out this is why the Sheriff’s department is looking at this.

Karbash reports that the Town is involved in litigation with Margaret Pulera. She has filed an action in Federal Court to have a roadway replaced that was removed between County Line Road and County Highway M. She had previously tried this action at the County level and lost the case and has now filed this action in Federal Court. The Town of Richmond has insurance that will pay the cost of attorney’s fees up to a certain dollar limit. Town of Richmond’s counsel is filing a motion for sanctions against Ms. Pulera for frivolous filing to include payment of all costs.

Wade – on agenda

Kraus – on agenda

Accountant Services Agreement
Town resident David Alexander expresses his desire to see someone other that Pat Romanesco do our financial accounting.

Karbash explains that if we engage an accountant to do a full financial audit, we would get someone other than Mr. Romanesco to perform the independent audit.

Clerk Hayes advises the Board that the agreement before the Board contains a fee for services in the amount of $3,400 which is slightly less than the budgeted amount of $4,000 that Mr. Romanesco had indicated during the budgeting cycle.

Motion by Wade to approve the agreement, seconded by Kraus, approved unanimously.

Speed Limit Reduction
Request to reduce speed limit along the Lake Lorraine park from 25 to 10 miles per hour was received by Jennifer Beaver.
Karbash asks if Ms. Beaver is present and she was not.

Roadman McManaway advises that in order to reduce a speed limit lower than 25 miles per hour, the dept of transportation generally requires a study to be completed.

Following discussion and Town resident inputs, it was suggested that the most prudent approach would be to install removable speed bumps that can be removed in the winter months to facilitate plowing of the roads.

Motion by Wade to acquire and install removable speed bumps along with signage along Lake Lorraine Park, seconded by Kraus, approved unanimously.

Chairman Karbash reads a resolution that would allow the Town of Richmond signatories, (Chairman, Treasurer, Clerk) access to bank records from our financial institutions.

Motion by Wade to adopt the resolution, seconded by Kraus, approved unanimously.

Town resident Wayne Redenius asks if he could obtain permission from the Board to request bank statements.

Motion to approve by Kraus, second by Wade, approved unanimously.

Building Inspector
Karbash advises that Supervisor Overbeek has identified two individuals who have an interest in entering into a contract to provide building inspection services to the Township. Discussions are at the beginning stages and the terms of an agreement such as fee sharing percentages, liability worker’s compensation insurance, are not finalized.

Town resident Joe Staller asks what dollar amount the annual building Inspection fees generated. Clerk Hayes advises that in 2023, Municipal Zoning and Inspection Services reported generating approximately $22,000 in building and inspection fees.

Motion to table the discussion by Karbash, seconded by Wade, approved unanimously.

Turtle Lake culvert repair
Karbash reports the need to repair a culvert. Boss Enterprises have quoted that they are willing to do the work for $1,000 but want a release of liability in the event utility lines are disrupted or affected. If they have to provide the insurance for this, the quote to repair the culvert would be $7,000.

Town resident Kim Alba asks why this project needs to be done.
Roadman McManaway explains that the ditch and culvert require maintenance to include ditching to facilitate proper drainage.

Karbash motion to table this item to a later date, seconded by Wade, approved unanimously.

ARPA Funds Expenditures and Balances
Clerk Hayes reports that total expenditures of ARPA funds to date are $15,539.52 with a remaining balance of $183,539.28 that is currently invested in a CD at BMO Harris Bank at 5.25% that will mature on May 16, 2024. These funds are designated for road repair and maintenance and have been budgeted for full expenditure in 2024.

Public Comment
Town resident Joe Staller asks if the transition to a different website provider is completed. Clerk Hayes advises that the website is now live. The only remaining action is to install and test email notification software.

Town resident David Alexander asks how you get an item on the agenda. He contends that the Town of Richmond has not fixed the past list of people whose taxes were not handled properly by the Treasurer.

Karbash asks what hasn’t been fixed. Alexander alleges that there are upwards of 50 people on a list of tax entry errors.

Karbash explains that in 2022 there were a few tax entry errors pointed out by the County Treasurer in a letter to Chairman Karbash and these were addressed by the Town Board. A deputy Treasurer was appointed and handled the tax entries in 2023 and there have been no further errors brought to the attention of the Town Board. Karbash advises Alexander that the Board has no knowledge of a 50-person listing of tax errors.

Clerk Hayes advises that Alexander should produce the documents he refers to and we can place this as an agenda item on the next Town Board meeting.

Town resident Donna Stanton tells the Board that sometime within the last five years Treasurer Seaver lost their property tax check and never turned it in. Stanton received a letter from the County stating taxes weren’t paid and Treasurer Seaver found the check after this in her paperwork. Stanton tells the Board Treasurer Seaver assured her that any penalty would be taken care of. Stanton asks who is paying for these penalties?

Stanton goes on to say that this is happening “all over”’ and she even heard this in Whitewater and all over the County.

Karbash reiterates that the Board is aware of only the errors from 2021 that were noticed to the Board in 2022. He advises that there were penalties of approximately $1500. Since that time the Town Board has not been notified of any errors.

Stanton advises we are hearing about these errors all over the neighborhood and cities.

Karbash again reports that the Board has not been advised of any errors beyond what the Board has already reported on and taken action on.

Town resident Mike Bergman asks why Margaret Pulera is suing the Town.

Karbash explains that she is representing herself. Rock County was redoing the road and proposed to remove this small portion of road between County Line and Highway M. She though it would be unsafe.  She came to the Board and asked the Board to intervene on her behalf and we did. We drafted correspondence to Rock County asking them to keep our portion of the roadway intact. Rock County dug up and removed the roadway anyway. We went to see Rock County with our counsel asking what happened to our road. Rock County advised us they were following Dept of Transportation proposal to redo the road for safety. They advised us we needed to retire the roadway legally and we didn’t want to spend money doing this so Rock County said they would pay the fees and they sent us a letter of apology. Our Board felt this was the best resolution for this matter. In addition, if we were to go against the Department of Transportation safety guidelines, and put the roadway back in the way it was, what liability would the Town of Richmond have by going against Department of Transportation guidelines. We concluded that we should accept the reconfigured roadway and consider the matter closed. Ms. Pulera pursued litigation and lost at the County and the State level. Now she is pursuing this in federal court and our counsel is pursuing an action against Ms. Pulera for filing a frivolous suit, asking for a judgment that would make her responsible for paying all attorney’s fees and court costs.

Supervisor Kraus points out that the previous road configuration had a 45-degree angle when stopping at the stop sign. This was less safe than the Dept. of Transportation preferred 90-degree angle to provide optimum vision for any oncoming traffic.

Juniper and Hickory Road
It was pointed out by a resident that the intersection of Juniper and Hickory Roads has had significant stone wash out.
Karbash advises that he will have the Town Roadman investigate this and take the necessary action to repair.

February Board meeting
Clerk Hayes advises the Board that due to the February primary election being Tuesday February 20th, an alternate February Board meeting date is required.
The Board selects Tuesday February 27, 2024 as the next regular Town Board meeting date.

Payment of Bills
Motion to pay the bills by Kraus, seconded by Wade, approved unanimously.

Motion to Adjourn by Wade, seconded by Kraus, approved unanimously.

Meeting Adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Brian Hayes
Clerk, Town of Richmond