Bridge and road repair, pole ordinance topics for Sherman

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

SHERMAN — Business for the Town Board began Tuesday, May 3, with a public hearing.

Before the board was a request from Michael Daggett for a conditional use permit to build a new single-family home on land zoned A-1 (agricultural land preservation).

Under Sherman’s zoning ordinance, such a permit is required for any new home on land zoned A-1, which is considered farmland preservation land.

Town Chairman William Goehring asked if there were any comments for the public hearing. There were none and the hearing was closed in under a minute, after which the board’s regular meeting convened.

Goehring’s only question with Daggett’s request was whether an old, unoccupied building on the property was going to be torn down in a reasonable amount of time. In the audience, Daggett said that plans were to raze the building by next year. “It’s totally gutted on the inside,” he said.

Supervisor Kris Klein asked if a requirement that the building be demolished could be made part of the conditional use permit. Daggett said he’d have no problem with that. The permit was unanimously approved, with the requirement that the old building be razed by June 1, 2017.

Bridge and Road Repairs

In mid-2015, the town applied for funds from the Local Bridge program. Recently, the town heard that funds would become available to assist Sherman in upgrading three bridges in the town over the next two years.

Goehring said he’d thought the two bridges on Creek Road were obvious candidates. But funds are assigned based on a bridge’s sufficiency rating and the rating of the eastern bridge on Creek Road was apparently not low enough. So the funds offered were for two bridges on Silver Creek- Cascade Road, and the west-most bridge on Creek Road.

Through the program, most of the repair costs will be covered by federal and state funds and a smaller proportion by county bridge aid. As a result, Sherman will be responsible for only 10 percent. Goehring thought the town should not pass up that opportunity.

Under the county bridge aid program, 10 percent of the cost is levied against other towns in the county. The remaining 10 percent is the responsibility of the town where the bridge is located.

Supervisor Patricia Horne asked exactly how much the town’s share would be to upgrade the bridges. Goehring thought it was $135,000 as stated in a letter, and that the town would be responsible for that amount in 2019. But board members thought the numbers in the letter did not add up and that amount was questioned.

Horne further asked whether money required to upgrade Abbott Drive in the next year or two, combined with the funds required for the bridges, would be too great a burden for the town.

Goehring pointed out how the town would lose by not taking advantage of the bridge program, and Horne replied, “Oh, I totally understand. I’m just looking at, if we’re adding the two of them together, we’re talking about a serious amount of money in a few years.”

The board approved taking the steps required to accept the Local Bridge program funds. Klein abstained from voting.

The town had been waiting to hear whether TRIP discretionary funds would become available to rebuild a section of Abbott Drive. Goehring said he’d finally heard that the funds will become available, covering 48.5 percent of the project’s cost.

“We would be eligible for $724,778.72,” Goehring said. Some of that would go to the town of Scott, because the project is being planned jointly by the two towns.

Prevailing wage will come to an end by the end of 2016, so the project will not start until 2017. It was estimated by the county that the project could cost as much as 30 percent less without prevailing wage.

Goehring said the funds would be a reimbursement, so “Unfortunately, we have to borrow the money up-front, but we should be reimbursed within two months after we submit the bills.”

Goehring plans to attend the next town of Scott meeting to discuss the project with them. Clerk/Treasurer Rhonda Klatt said arranging to borrow money for the project will take several months.

Asked how much the town would borrow, Goehring estimated it at $500,000 (after reimbursement), minus the amount saved by the sunset of prevailing wage. “We have to firm up the figures,” he said.

“We don’t have the exact numbers right now,” agreed Klatt.

Communications Poles

Goehring told the board that, because of a change in legislation, “a company is now notifying various municipalities that they’re going to put poles in the right of way, because they have this right. And if a town or village doesn’t have some type of ordinance that somewhat controls that, they can just come in and put the pole in.”

Goehring said the Wisconsin Towns Association has recommended that each municipality address this with an ordinance.

Klatt said the village of Random Lake informed clerks in the area of this situation. A company plans to erect 120-foot poles that are 50 inches wide at the base in public right-of-ways.

Klatt said, “Unless the municipality has something in the code or ordinance specific to right-of-ways, the company can go ahead with construction.” Klatt said if an application for erecting such poles is received, the town has 60 days to respond.

Klatt said an ordinance written by Ed Ritger for Random Lake can likely be tweaked for use by the town of Sherman. She said a version for Sherman could be ready for discussion and possible action at the June meeting.

Klein asked what the poles would be used for. Klatt was not certain, but thought they might be intended for cell phone or internet communication. “The company that notified Random Lake was not very specific,” Goehring said.

Other Town Business

The town has received complaints of trucks parked on Lynn Road at points where visibility is limited. Supervisor Robert Boehlke said he’s talked with those involved, and asked that signage be improved.

Each board member signed a letter of appreciation addressed to Darla Jean Krauss for her many years of dedicated work at the library.

The board voted unanimously to set Saturday, Oct. 22 as a day when the transfer station will accept brush and tree waste.

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