MINUTES OF SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
TOWN OF Plymouth
June 4, 2013
Chairperson of the Meeting: Town Chairperson Larry Harding
Clerk of the Meeting: Town Clerk Susan Douglas
Others Present: 25 electors of the Town of Plymouth.
25 town residents were eligible to vote at this Special Town meeting at 7:10 pm and 23 town residents were eligible to vote at 8:20 pm.
Meeting called to order by Chairperson Harding at 7:10 p.m. at the Plymouth Town Hall, Hanover, Wisconsin.
1. Chairperson Harding thanked everyone for attending and stated the purpose of this Special Town Meeting was to consider the Feasibility Study Road Maintenance Proposal Options.
2. Bill Orchard moved, seconded by Bill Schweder to correct the minutes of May 15, 2012 Special Town Meeting to read “50 miles of roads” instead of “50 roads”. Motion carried on a voice vote.
3. Bill Orchard moved, seconded by Steve Reynolds to approve the corrected May 15, 2012 Special Town Meeting minutes. Motion approved on voice vote.
4. Steve Reynolds moved, seconded by Sean Snyder to approve the minutes of August 15, 2012 Special Town Meeting. Motion approved on voice vote
5. Lori Inman moved, seconded by Bill Orchard to use paper ballots for any voting by Town electors in regards to the Feasibility Study Road Maintenance Proposal. Motion carried on a voice vote.
6. Lori Inman, Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee studying road maintenance, stated the committee members were Steve Reynolds, Brian Schlarb, Ann Redmer, and Bill Redmer and explained their background. She stated the Committee was formed at the 2012 Annual Meeting with the purpose of determining if the Town could do its own road maintenance. She stated the committee members have attended Town Board Meetings and were aware of the issues. She reviewed the different options in the Feasibility Study.
Option A: Maintain current contract with Rock County
Option B: Replace Rock County as source of snowplowing and road maintenance and contract all work to outside sources with the exception of: replacing signage, filling potholes, removing woody vegetation from ditches and mowing roadsides.
Option C: Replace Rock County with Town of Plymouth’s own public works department which includes one part-time employee.
Option D: Replace Rock County with Town of Plymouth’s own public works department which includes one full-time employee.
Option E: Replace Rock County with Town of Plymouth’s own public works department which includes one part-time employee and selling Town of Plymouth farm land.
7. Lori Inman stated the County would not allow the Town to use them just for snowplowing. She stated Town Board members and other residents have complained about the quality of snowplowing in the Town of Center which is one of the Towns that left the County and outsourced the snowplowing..
8. Discussion was heard:
• Carl Miller asked if an actuary had looked at the figures to determine accuracy. Brian Schlarb and Lori Inman stated the Committee talked to people and obtained quotes from contractors but did not hire anyone to check all of the figures.
• Bill Schweder asked about the $25000 snow plowing fee in option B. Lori Inman stated it was the minimum base fee from Footville Rock & Lime for snowplowing. Once the $25000 was gone, you would be billed for what was done. Bill stated that Town of Center used Footville Rock & Lime and they budgeted $35,000 for last year but ended up spending double that amount which makes budgeting difficult. Bill stated $25,000 should not be used as a budget number because it is a minimum amount. Lori Inman stated that Option B may not be the best option in her opinion.
• Bill Schweder asked which option the committee most supported. Brian Schlarb stated the committee’s purpose was to research possibilities for reducing costs and not to come up with the answer. Bill stated the Town was already using Option A which may not be the best but in an average year none of the options would provide any more money for the Town. Bill stated he knew what the problem was but didn’t feel any of the options provided more money for maintaining the roads.
• Brad Inman stated residents needed to come to the meetings to be informed. He shared information discussed at past Town Board meetings such as turning the roads back to gravel, leaving the County for road maintenance and the costs of fixing roads.
• Willie Hoerler stated the committee did a nice job on the study. He stated you cannot budget 10 years out with variable costs. He stated anyone meeting the qualifications listed for the Town employee would require a higher wage. Willie stated having its own road maintenance employees was something the Town should not be in. He stated he doesn’t have the answer but was concerned about having Town employees.
• Dan Weiland asked what the yearly budget was for roads. Lori Inman stated it was $175,000 last year. Dan stated it was hard because the Town had less money each year.
• Brad Inman stated his intention was not to come tonight to vote to leave the county and wondered if that was what people were expecting tonight.
• Bill Schweder stated that leaving the County could not happen for at least a year. He asked for an explanation of what was included in the $84,000 summer maintenance amount and how it was determined what was done. Lori Inman stated it included items such as sign repair, litter pickup, pot hole filling and mowing. Bill explained when he served on the Board, the Board met with the County to determine how the money was to be spent. Bill asked if the County currently does work without Town approval.
• Larry Harding stated he researched how the County did the work over the past years. The County had always done what it determined was needed. He stated he trusted Jack Beggs to do what needed to be done in our Town. Larry stated the Board met with the County to plan maintenance work but unexpected things happen such as shoulders that wash out and problems with cave-ins by culverts.
• Bill Schweder asked what projects had been approved with the County and if the County would go over the budgeted amount. Bill Orchard stated this year the Board had not done any road projects with the County except for emergency work. The County was to provide an estimate of possible work for the Town Board’s consideration.
• John McGuire asked how much we would save over 10 years if we went on our own and everything went well. Steve Reynolds stated in his opinion it would be a wash as nothing was guaranteed but after 10 years the Town would own assets such as trucks, equipment, and possibly a building.
• Lori Inman stated it would take years to realize the savings with the assets.
• Willie Hoerler stated as a truck driver, it takes a dedicated professional to snow plow and work in the worst conditions. Snow plowing was hard on the equipment and you needed a good employee. He stated Plymouth could get more money by expanding the tax base with additional housing developments and businesses.
• Lori Inman stated snowplowing equipment would not be used every day of the year.
• Alice Weiland stated the proposal showed lots of capital gains and she questioned whether in ten years the same equipment would be used or would it be replaced. She asked attendees to consider what they do with their own cars and equipment after ten years.
• John McGuire stated we are going about it the wrong way. He stated we should fix the roads, snow plow, and do the maintenance needed. If more money was needed, then the Town should borrow the money and assess all taxpayers equally for the increased costs.
• Larry Harding stated the Town could borrow money and the payments would come out of the regular budget. He stated some towns were considering borrowing money to pay for road maintenance.
• Sue Douglas stated that residents of another town in Rock County approved borrowing money for the purpose of major renovations of roads at their annual meeting this year.
• Larry Harding stated there was 1 mile on Carver Rd that was crumbling. The County estimated $149,000 to do a 3” overlay and bring up the shoulders. He stated this was a perfect example of the costs that the Town faced in addition to regular road maintenance costs. He stated the committee was trying to find ways to save money so the Town had more to put toward such major projects.
• Carl Miller stated he would like an actuary to look at the committees’ figures. Larry Harding stated that would cost money that we do not have. Carl stated he doesn’t know what it would cost but he felt it would help us make a good decision. He suggested we ask the Town Lawyer.
• Bill Schweder asked if the Wisconsin Towns Association had someone or some information that would help us. Bill stated borrowing money for major projects such as paving 3 miles per year was a legitimate reason to borrow.
• Brad Inman stated borrowing money was to invest in things and not maintain roads. He stated he would guarantee that the price with the County would continue to go up.
• Sue Douglas stated that there appeared to be confusion with the term road maintenance. There was the regular road maintenance which the Committee’s proposal dealt with and there was major road maintenance such as repaving. The towns that borrow were doing so for the major road maintenance projects not the day to day maintenance such as pot hole filling and sign repair.
• Larry Harding stated $450,000 would be the estimated cost for repaving 3 miles and in ten years you would have completed 30 miles at a cost of almost half a million per year. He expressed concern for how much the residents could bear.
• Bill Schweder stated major projects were put out for bid so costs could be less than the County estimate.
• Brad Inman asked if the cost of repaving could be equally shared by all residents and Alice Weiland suggested using the number of taxpayers receiving charges for recycling as a starting point.
• Willie Hoerler stated the Village of Footville did not spend money on their portion of Old Hwy 11 when the Town did and Fortville’s section was horrible.
• Wayne Damrow stated that he was the assessor for other towns who do their own road maintenance and their roads were a mess. He stated that cold mix seemed to hold up the best on those roads and asked if it was done in our area.
• Larry Harding stated there were few companies in the business of paving roads.
• Larry Harding stated it was hard to determine budget costs as unexpected things come up.
• Dan Weiland stated the same problem would exist if the Town handled its own road maintenance.
• Lori Inman stated the County required that all 13 towns using the County for road maintenance must be in agreement with the County contract. The County will not individualize the contract by town.
• John McGuire stated even if you leave the County our taxes would continue to go to the County.
• Dan Weiland stated there should be a cost analysis on the Committee’s proposal.
• Bill Orchard stated he was against borrowing and he would not put the Town in debt. He stated Town residents did not approve raising the levy for road maintenance at a Special Town Meeting held last year.
8. Steve Reynolds moved, seconded by Carl Miller to advise the Town Board to research the cost of hiring a consulting firm or actuary to look at the figures in the Feasibility Study Road Maintenance Proposal. 23 electors were eligible to vote at 8:40 pm. Tippy Phillips and Sue Douglas tallied the votes.
Motion passed on a paper ballot vote of 15 ayes and 8 nays.
9. Steve Reynolds moved, seconded by Lori Inman to adjourn the Special Town Meeting. Motion carried on a voice vote.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm
Susan Douglas, Town Clerk