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‘An oversight or miscommunication’

October 18, 2019 by Brian Jopek

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the Minocqua Town Board was a light one, but not without addressing what was apparently an oversight. 

The town board approved the construction of a 14x18-foot storage shed on town property next to the rear fire station just off of U.S. Highway 51. 

“This is something the fire department anticipated using for some of their LP tanks and things like that that shouldn’t be stored inside,” town chairman Mark Hartzheim said. “Seasonal things.”

He said much of the material had been donated by various contractors and suppliers with the fire department using roughly $2,000 of its own to finish the project.

“Not taxpayer or budgeted funds to do that work,” Hartzheim said. “But, to put ... that type of a structure (storage) on town property, it does require approval of the town board at a regular meeting.”

As for location, public works director Mark Pertile said if it works for the fire department, “I guess I don’t have a problem with it.”

“You really won’t see it from the highway, which is probably a positive,” he said. “We told them don’t put it where we put snow. It works.”

After the meeting, Pertile was asked about a time frame for completion.

“As soon as possible,” he said, adding there had already been some work done and material onsite.

Wednesday, Hartzheim acknowledged the town “became aware” the fire department would like to have a storage shed on the property. 

“I thought it was going to be a very, very small utility shed, like something you’d grab off the lot at Fleet Farm or some place,” he said. “Just a little, inconsequential thing and I thought, ‘OK, great.’”

Later, Hartzheim said Pertile informed him a fairly sizeable space had been cleared for the shed and it was at that point, Andy Petrowski, then still the town’s fire chief, was asked about it.

“As soon as we became aware it was a 14x18-foot shed, that’s when I said ‘OK, if that’s what this is, that’s not what I understood,’” he said. “It’s not anybody’s fault.”

Hartzheim said Petrowski was simply unaware town board approval was needed. 

“He did share earlier everything was going to be done at their cost and he didn’t think the town board would need to approve it,” he said. “Once I knew the size of the shed — it’s a fairly significant size shed — I let him know I think it’s going to be OK, but we do need to put it on a town board agenda because something this nature needs the approval from the town board.”

Hartzheim said it was at that point, work on the shed stopped until it could be officially approved.

“It was initially kind of an oversight or miscommunication,” he said. “Certainly no intent on anyone’s part to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.” 

Pertile said if the weather cooperates, he believes the intent is to have the storage shed finished in the next week. 

Other matters

The town board also:

• Approved a request from the Minocqua Forest Riders snowmobile club to use a small portion of Bo-Di-Lac Drive to connect Squirrel Lake Trail to trail J.

• Heard the first readings of two amendments, the first to officially establish a 35 mile an hour speed zone for north and south Bo-Di-Lac Roads and the second to change boat launch fees from $3 to $5 daily and from $25 to $40 for an annual fee. 

Hartzheim was in favor of keeping the penalty for not paying fees at $25. The amended ordinance draft had it at $40. 

He got the support of supervisors Billy Fried and Sue Heil for a $25 penalty, which will be reflected in the new draft ordinance amendment prior to its approval at the town board’s next regular meeting. 

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at [email protected]

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