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Monroe City Council: Jan. 27, 2014
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MONROE - In a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21, the City of Monroe Common Council:

• Approved $1.482 million to pay bills.

• Granted miscellaneous licenses.

• Granted a temporary class "B" beer license to Monroe Theatre Guild for Feb. 28 and March 1.

• Approved setting the annual salary for Public Works Director Colin Simpson at Grade 22, step 1, $68,600, effective Dec. 23, 2013.

• Unanimously approved a partial restatement of the Walmart development agreement regarding traffic control on West 6th Avenue.

• Voted 8-1 to authorize the purchase of two lightweight fire engines-pumpers, at a total cost of $753,000. The pumpers will be funded with $200,000 from the fire department's capital account and a seven-year loan from Talmer Bank and Trust at 2 percent interest. Annual payments will be about $85,500. The pumpers replace 24- and 22-year-old trucks. The trucks have been part of the department's capital equipment plan, which has been provided as part of the department's annual budget request since 2007. Alderman Michael Boyce voted against.

• Approved change order No. 7 for the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade construction project. The change order encompasses nine single change orders requests, which had been pre-authorized by the Board of Public Works. This order adds $111,000 to the cost of the original $24.8 million project. Previous change orders total $335,000.

• Approved ending additional compensation of $3.50 per hours for the WWTP Lead Operator due to the elimination of extra duties, effective Feb. 2.

Alderman Louis Armstrong announced that Minhas Craft Brewery had resumed brewing operations Monday, Jan. 20. The brewery had been undergoing cleanup and restorations following a fire Nov. 21.

Alderman Charles Schuringa encouraged the city and council members to move forward with its now 5-year-old proposed plan to extend 30th Street to connect Wisconsin 69 and the high school. He said the road would become a main thoughfare; coax traffic out of the neighborhoods; entice businesses and home owners to build in that part of the city; and enhance the tax base.

City Administrator Phil Rath asked council members to finish reviewing the council orientation draft manual and make their suggestions.

Video recordings of the council session will be available online more quickly, about an hour after adjournment.

MONROE - At a meeting Monday, Jan. 20, the City of Monroe Board of Public Works:

• Approved bills from Fehr-Graham and Associates for $2,760 for closure and final work with the 8th Street underground tank and AECom for $1.12 million for work on the wastewater treatment plant upgrade. The 8th Street underground leaky tank has cost the city a total of about $60,000 from discovery until closure.

• Accepted bids for tree removal and trimming. Only Whitney Tree Service, Monroe, submitted a bid, for a two-year contract. Costs are based on the diameter size of the trees and stumps being removed and hourly rates for labor. The board voted to sign a two-year contract with Whitney Tree Service.

• Discussed a change order request from AECom regarding an underground, hot airline pipe that encroached on the placement of a building. Public Works Director Colin Simpson said he directed AECom to adjust the building location at their own expense, because the location of the pipe was clearly noticeable prior to their drafting documents for the building. Relocating the pipe would have cost the city $120,000. Simpson said he was also reviewing other requests.

• Voted unanimously to eliminate the annual $45 charge for a deduct meter, used to credit sewer bills for water not being disposed to the sanitary sewer system. Property owner who want to continue with water deduct meters will be required to replace their old units with new, automatic reading units.

MONROE - At a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21, the City of Monroe Finance and Taxation Committee:

• Discussed the interest of citizens who wish to create Friends of the Senior Center group, which will act as a conduit for donations and fund-raising profits to future projects at the center.

• Briefly reviewed the 2012 audit. The city was advised to keep bank reconciliations up to date, which had delayed finalizing the audit, and to update bank accounts with signature cards with current employees. The water utilities are doing well, but two Tax Increment Districts are in the red. The large surplus of funds for the year, anticipated by some alders, did not manifest. The 2013 audit should be ready on time this year, with cash reconciliations already well underway.

- Tere Dunlap