GRANTSBURG—A Grantsburg resident displeased with the village board’s hands-off stance to his water-soaked property on south Pine Street has hired an attorney.
Last year, Frank Becvar, Jr., moved out of the house at 860 S. Pine Street where he grew up due to what he says are wet walls and mold issues in the home. He claims the yard is so wet it feels like “a bouncing bog” under the weight of his pickup truck.
Parts of the yard that are too wet to mow. He now lives with his parents on Grantsburg’s north side but wants to move back home.
Over the past 2-3 years, Becvar and his mother, Gladys, have become regular attendees and speakers at the village board meetings. There was speculation among some regular board meeting visitors that Village President Larry Ebersold eliminated the “Public Comments” time on the agenda a few months back to prevent the Becvars from addressing their complaint at every meeting.
The big question is what is causing the water to saturate Becvar’s lawn and what to do about it, but it’s not just at Becvar’s house. In many basements at neighboring homes along both sides of south Pine Street, high ground water causes sump pumps to run year-round.
Becvar has consulted with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Wisconsin DNR over their actions (and inactions) regarding changes in the natural waterway to the east of his property, both recently and 20 years ago. He is dissatisfied with their hands-off approach too.
Becvar’s attorney from Rodii, et. al, recently wrote a letter to the village board, requesting that they designate one village board member as their representative to meet with Becvar and his attorney to work on a new course of action.
Earlier this year, the board voted that they were done with the matter. When the letter from Becvar’s attorney arrived, Ebersold directed the village clerk to reply to the letter stating only that they had received it. They took no position on the attorney’s request for discussion and engagement.
After considerable discussion at Monday’s meeting, the board voted to forward the Becvar attorney’s letter to Grantsburg Village Attorney Weld Riley to advise the board on whether to act or stay out of it.
New board member
President Ebersold nominated Jared Woody of Grantsburg to fill the board to complete the final five months remaining in former trustee Scott DeRocker’s term. DeRocker moved from the village last summer and the position has remained vacant.
By ordinance, the village president nominates a replacement and the board accepts or rejects it. The board accepted Woody’s nomination on a 5-1 vote, with Trustee Goob Coy opposed.
Woody lives with his wife and children on North Russell Street and works as a road deputy for the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department after serving as jail administrator until recently. He has been with the department seven years and has worked 12 years in law enforcement. He also has experience as a village police officer in Thorp, Wis., a community about the size of Grantsburg.
Woody said his father served on the municipal board when he was growing up and has always wanted to serve on the board.
When his temporary term ends in April, Woody says he plans to seek election to a regular three-year term.
As Ben and Nicki Peterson of Four Cubs Farm move forward with their plans to purchase the former Lions Club building overlooking Memory Lake to house an office and a microbrewery, the village board was advised that it owns a small parcel of what was thought to be Lion’s Club property. The board voted to sell the 750 square feet it owns near the corner of West Madison Avenue and Olson Drive to the Petersons for $1 plus any fees or costs associated with the sale.
Alcohol beverage licenses
The board acted on two request for alcohol beverage licenses. One request came from NAMES OF OWNERS Dreamers Restaurant, seeking a 60-day provisional Class B license to re-open the restaurant primarily to hold the license open for a couple who is in process of purchasing the facility and begin operating it after the first of the year. The board voted to approve the license for selling wine, beer and hard liquor at the restaurant, as it has done previously.
The board also approved a Class C license for Gerald Ensign, new owner at of the Pizza Place. Ensign requested the wine and beer license to offer those beverages with the Italian food he will serve to dine-in patrons at the restaurant, to be called “Mia Mangia” (My Treats.) A dissenting vote on the license approval was cast by Diane Barton.
In other actions, the board:
•Accepted Nikki Olson’s resignation as manager of the Grantsburg Municipal Swimming Pool, a position she has held for the past HOW MANY years.
•Approved an application for a $162,000 in a general obligation loan from Bremer Bank to help replenish the village’s cash account after several recent village equipment purchases.
•Heard a report from Golf Course Operator John Addison that revenues for 2017 are up and expenses decreased at the village-owned golf course, and $9,000 in the course account as the golfing season came to a close. Addison said he planted 13 trees at the course this year and removed three that were diseased or dead.
•Approved the 2018 village budget of
•Approved John Addison spending up to $27,000 on the purchase of a used greens mower for the municipal golf course. He said the Toro mowers he prefers have a 30-year operational expectancy and that he still uses a 1991 model mower in golf course maintenance fleet.
•Approved a 60¢ per hour increase for every village employee except its newest one. That amount covers the anticipated two percent inflation and adds a total of $12,679 to the 2018 budget.
•Implemented a plan in which all village employees will receive regular performance evaluations.
•Approved a conditional use permit for Bergys Fitness and Foods, allowing them to convert the section at the front of the fitness center from a chiropractic practice area into a retail sales area for bulk foods and health foods.
•Approved of transfer of the village airports 2014 entitlement funds in the amount f $150,000 to the Shawano, Wis., airport as an interest-free loan. Grantsburg will be able to recall the loan if/when it approves a major airport project such as a new runway or adding an airplane fueling system.
•Approved moving delinquent amounts from Grantsburg water and sewer customers into the tax rolls. For the current year, the total of delinquent water and sewer accounts totals more than $25,000.
•Heard from Library Director Kristina Kelley-Johnson that three volunteers have come forward to continue the AARP tax preparation at the library during the tax season.
•Heard that 23 fire inspections due last month were all completed and that the village’s fire ISO (fire insurance) rating had improved from a five to a four (lower number better) and would possibly result in lower fire insurance premiums for residents within five miles of the Grantsburg Fire Station.