The New Richmond City Council discussed a variety of topics during its Monday, June 10 regular board meeting, including the New Richmond Fire & Rescue district contract agreement, the Freedom Park Trail project, and the municipal management software.

NRF&R district contract agreement

During the meeting, the council heard from City Finance Director Rae Ann Ailts, who was speaking in place of Fire Chief Jim VanderWyst, regarding the New Richmond Fire & Rescue District Contract Agreement.

"After consulting with the city attorney, we will be doing a little bit of a revision of the agreement, which would be a first amendment to the existing contract. The major change that was discussed by the fire advisory board was in the termination language," Ailts said. "Right now there is not a notification process that is given to the advisory board to withdrawal. In that, there was a feeling that stronger language was needed with the recent withdrawal of the Town of Alden from the mutual aid agreement."

In the new language, jurisdictions would need to give a notice by June 1 of that year. Failure to give that notification would make the jurisdiction responsible for the entire budget for the calendar year, Ailts said. The current contract expires on Dec. 31, 2019, and the fire advisory board would like to discuss the five-year renewal process as part of the budgeting process for 2020. A second contract would be brought back to the board regarding the five-year contract at a later date.

Freedom Park Trail

The city council approved allocating $50,000 for the first phase of the Freedom Park Trail. Work on the Freedom Park Trail design and staking services provided by SEH, Inc. was completed this month, with phase one of the trail project expected to begin in July, at a cost of $23,900. The 652nd Engineering Reserve Unit (Hammond) would provide the labor needed to put down the sand and gravel base for the trail as part of their training.

Phase two of the project is expected to be completed in 2020 with the paving of the trail, which would cost between $80,000 and $100,000, according to Planning Director Noah Wiedenfeld. The recommendation also asked the council to consider adding a StoryWalk to the trail, which would highlight important moments in American history and honor the service of veterans. The StoryWalk is anticipated to cost $5,000. Phase two would be discussed again at a later date by the park board.

According to Wiedenfeld, the money for this project comes from the $150,000 capital improvement funds that the board set aside for Freedom Park improvements.

Municipal management software

The council approved a project management proposal provided by EO Johnson for the consultation services in an amount not to exceed $24,000. The company will consult with the city as it works to replace its financial software systems. EO Johnson will help the city select a vendor to provide the services the city needs to update its software. The selection of the vendor is planned to take place in October or November following several months of vetting potential companies. The cost of the assessment would be paid through capital projects as an expense of the municipal software project.

Public comment

During the public comment portion of the meeting, the board heard from a pair of residents with concerns about various topics within the community.

The first resident to stand up addressed the board about sewer lines that appear to be backed up along Marshall Road. The council said they will talk about priorities at its June work session, so Marshall Road would be fresh on their minds at that meeting.

The second resident represented Discount Smokes in New Richmond, and addressed the board about how they could ease the council's mind when it comes to CBD products and possibly rethinking their CBD ordinance. The board responded by saying the ordinance is an attempt to make things easier on the police department when it comes to which products are legal and which are illegal.

Other business

• Mayor Fred Horne read a portion of a proclamation recognizing the 120th anniversary of the 1899 Cyclone. The city will hold a short event at Cyclone Park on Wednesday, June 12, at 6 p.m. where the 117th tree (representing the 117 people who were killed in the cyclone) will be planted. The proclamation also announced that June 12, 2019, will be Cyclone Remembrance Day in the City of New Richmond.

• The council also approved several text amendments to the zoning ordinance, specifically to Chapter 121 of the City Code of Ordinances. The amendments regard decks, garages, fences and accessory structures.

• The council approved a certified survey map for Freedom Park that subdivided the property located at County Highway CC to create a new 4.39 acre lot with an access easement across the parent parcel to provide access to County Highway CC.

• The council approved the appointments of Dave Newman to the park board and Denise Whitaker to the housing authority during the meeting.

• The council approved the cable access agreement with WITC (from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) at the cost of $15,000 with an extra $4,000 earmarked for extra funding of the running of the cable access channel should it be needed.

• Public Works Director Jeremiah Wendt informed the city council that the city of New Richmond and SEH, Inc. were recently awarded a 2019 Engineering Excellence Award in the small project category for its North Fourth Street reconstruction project. The award was presented by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin (ACEC WI). The annual awards program recognizes and celebrates engineering achievements across the state that demonstrate the highest degree of skill and ingenuity.

• The city council approved the creation of an event plan to help with organization of events in New Richmond. The plan includes a checklist and various applications that may be needed for different events to be held in the community.