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Darlington committees discuss increasing fees
Pool repaired but overflows when filling, water tower emptied
Community Brief

By Brian Lund

DARLINGTON — The Darlington City Council, Water & Sewer Committee and Plan Commission had meetings on Tuesday, June 4.

Sewer and Water Meeting

The Sewer and Water Committee discussed implementing an increase in labs fees at the sewer plant to test for suspended solids and bio-chemical oxygen demand and to add testing for phosphorus.

“The fees that we charge for doing lab work have never been increased as long as I’ve been here. With sending out our labs, this will help pay part of the shipping,” Director of Public Works Director, Jeff McCarthy said. “With the DNR putting such tight guidelines on us, I think we need to know what’s coming into our plant. We are required to get the phosphorus at 0.1 parts per million and Mexican Cheese is sending us 6 parts per million. We need to put a limit on them with our ordinance as well.”

A motion was made and approved to increase the lab fee schedule. Suspended solids will go from $9 to $11, Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand from $18 to $20 and Phosphorous from nil to $23. Three test a week are sent in to LV Labs.

●  The 2023 compliance maintenance annual report that is filed with the DNR was approved.

“The only problem we had was influent loading. It’s the loading from the industries,” McCarthy said. “Mexican Cheese put their new treatment plant in the beginning of the year — it depends of the day. One day it will be cleaner, one day — not do much. I think they are so overloaded right now. I talked to Hector (CEO of Mexican Cheese) he said two plants closed in California and Mexican Cheese has picked up some of that market. So they’re making a lot more cheese.”

Mayor Mike McDermott was told that they added three more silos and will be going from 190 workers to 250 within the next year.

Alder Joe Boll asked if they fine them by the day when they are over.

“All the city have is a surcharge. Anything over that 250 milligrams per liter, about $50-$60 per day,” McCarthy answered. “Shullsburg has a fine at $1,000 a day, if they’re twice their limit. I think that would get their attention.”

To change the fees or implement a fine system would need to be done by the city’s ordinance committee.

The committee also approved a compliance maintenance resolution, which will go to the council next. The resolution is telling the DNR that the city has approved the yearly compliance report and are dealing with the high influent loadings associated with the only bad rating on the report.

Alder Steve Pickett asked if the council could tour the wastewater treatment plant, and was told it would be looked into.

Plan Commission

Two items were on the agenda concerning proposed façade painting and signage request. Neither requester was present.

Karina Alejandra Corona Ruiz’s building — Mi Casita Authentic Mexican Restaurant (former Town House) at 232 Main Street requested having a new paint scheme on the front. The commission approved the request.

A request from Francisco Navarro, owner of Giant’s Drywall & Painting, to be located at 413 Main Street, asked and presented a mock up of new signage.

Commission members Fritz Hanniwall and Dave Roelli stated that they would be okay with the sign across the top, but the big signs in the windows seemed over the top. The commission had many questions with no information. It was also noted that it didn’t fit in with the tone of Main Street. The Commission denied the request. Francisco will be contacted by the city and the concerns of the commission will be shared.

In other business:

●  Board of Review met briefly to elect a Chairperson — McDermott elected and a Vice-Chairperson — Steve Pickett elected. Also verified that one person on the board has met the mandatory training requirements (McDermott).

●  Raising of the Kendall house on 526 E. Cornelia Street can be torn down at any time. As a courtesy the city will give the owner a month to get personal items (including two cars) out of the property. There has been no response from the owner (Glenn Kendall) to date.

●  The new addition to the campgrounds has sewer, water and electric installed. Finishing up the gravel and waiting for Alliant to charge the lines.

●  Approved the Compliance Maintenance Report and Resolution 2024-05 that were previously approved at the Water & Sewer Committee.

●  Approved renewals of Alcohol Beverage License applications. The license will run from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.

●  Approved May 2024 vouchers in the amount of $1,216,026.

●  The swimming pool was filled on Monday, June 3 at night. Normally it takes two or three days to fill. McCarthy got a low level alarm for the north water tower at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4, when city officials went to check they found the pool was overflowing with water and the water tower was empty. The piping that fills the pool was repaired on Saturday and could be the cause for the fast fill up.