News
To work from home or not: Balancing with customer service

DNR warns village about chloride levels

By Sarah Nigbor

ELLSWORTH – A request for Village of __________ _____ _____ ___ _________ ________ from home one day per week turned into a passionate debate for the village board at its May 2 meeting. The debate centered on _____________________________________________ projects while balancing that with customer service needs.

Village Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer Nicole Stewart explained that during the Safer at Home order during the pandemic, village _____ _____________ __________ ______ _______ while working from home and that many municipalities are moving toward that structure. She asked the board permission to allow vil- _________________________________________ per week in order to have the ability to focus uninterrupted on long-term projects that require deeper concentration. The request is ___________ ___ ____ ____ _____ ________________ ________ ____ ____ _______ _____ __________ ____ tion, which would be required to be in the ___________________ Stewart said their phone system sends _____________________________________________ if calls are missed, messages allow for people to be called right back. Also, Fisher and Stewart would not work from home at the same time or during busy times of the month. _________________________________________ Stewart’s request was met with mixed reactions. Village President Becky Beissel said she’s been there when someone comes in but ____________________________________________ is on the phone.

“As a municipality, we’re here to serve the community,” Beissel said. “I’m concerned __________________ Trustee Mindy Anderson questioned what would happen if a customer came in to talk _____________________________________________ She also asked how many people walk in per day, which Stewart said varies depending on the time of month.

Trustee Scott Feuerhelm said he understands the productivity angle of the request, to be able to get required reports done unbothered in a reasonable amount of time, but suggested trying it on a trial basis. Trustee Dale Hines thought an every-other-week schedule might be feasible. His concern is ______________________________________________ ________________________________________ satisfaction,” Hines said. “I don’t want to ______________________________________________ so much to train people.”

“We’re here to serve the public, and I know there’s interruptions all the time, but ____________________________________________ tered Trustee Andew Borner.

Trustees Tony Hines and Lance Austin were not present. Beissel said job performance evaluations are necessary before such a decision is made, which did not sit well with Stewart.

“How come that only comes up when it ______ ___ ___ _______ ________ ______ _______ single time.”

Village attorney Lars Loberg jumped in and suggested the request be addressed in the employee handbook, which is in the middle of revisions. That way the expectations would be in writing and enforceable. Stewart ________________________________________ termittently during inclement weather or due to COVID over the past two years. There has been no set schedule.

Hines suggested waiting to vote on the re- ___________________________________________ – ____________________________________________ is hired. The board agreed to table the issue.

“The language must be spelled out, to be consistent,” Loberg said. “What if there’s an employment dispute, how do you enforce it?”

Chloride levels

The village received a letter from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources “placing it on notice” of chloride levels in its water supply; the village is currently non-compliant although no enforcement action will be taken at this time.

The village’s DNR discharge permit allows for 400 mg/l of chlorides from the wastewater plant to Isabelle Creek. That number is “through the roof” Public Works Director Brad Vick said at 4,200 mg/l in some places. The village, at the DNR’s request, sampled places that may have high chloride levels, such as the Pierce County Highway Department. The chloride levels there ranged from 393 mg/l to 4,200 mg/l.

Vick said the high levels are occurring after inclement weather events, when trucks have to be out plowing. Then when the vehicles are washed, the chloride levels in the wastewater discharge rise dramatically. The DNR is suggesting the Highway Department _______________________________________________ to resolve the problem.

Vick also noted salt applied to the road sinks into the cracks on Highway 10, possibly elevating levels that way as well.

Trustees voted to send a letter to the High- ____________________________________________ _______________________________________________ by the DNR.

______________

The board awarded the Kinne Street water main project to low bidder Pemberton Companies in the amount of $215,635.05. The ____________________________________________ The board gave Vick permission to move forward with securing slurry seal bids for vil- ________________________________________________ sealing in that no loose stones are applied.

The board authorized Cedar Corp. to perform an asbestos and hazardous materials inspection at 245 N. Broadway St. with the _____________________________________ Upon recommendation from the Plan Commission, the board approved a conditional use permit for Gayle Knight (N4640 ___

th St., town of Trimbelle) to allow a second unattached garage. The garage will replace an existing one.

The board also approved a site and architectural design plan for a new warehouse building at Western WI Ag Supply (411 E. Business Way).

Vick received word that the Highway 10/ Main Street project should be completed by the end of the month.

May 10, 2022