/ Articles / Woodruff Town Board considers teleconference procedure for future meetings

Woodruff Town Board considers teleconference procedure for future meetings

April 19, 2020 by Kayla Houp

In response to concerns over the spread othe novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many governing bodies on the county, town, and committee levels are taking to teleconferencing to conduct business in efforts to maintain social distancing and limit public gatherings.

The Woodruff Town Board on Tuesday considered how to move forward with potentially using teleconferencing for future meetings. 

Town chair Mike Timmons brought up a couple options for the town to potentially pursue, including Zoom and Team, but expressed a concern on how to control public input and comment in a town board atmosphere online.

Town supervisor Corky Sheppard said in his experiences with Zoom at his company, the host of the meeting retained the ability to mute speakers at their discretion.

“It’s something we could look into, it’s a possibility,” Sheppard said.

“Hopefully, we don’t have to use it, but it’s a tool in our toolbox, if we would,” Timmons said.

Timmons clarified the teleconferencing would primarily be considered for things like approving liquor licenses and permits, rather than agenda items warranting more in-depth discussion.

“Anything that we have any debate or any discussion, I think this is the only way we can have it fairly, is in person, but it’s something that we should proceed with trying to do,” Timmons said.

While Timmons said he wasn’t looking for a motion, he wanted a recommendation from the board to move forward with pursuing teleconferencing option.

“I do think it’s a great idea to have this as a backup plan, with whatever we decide to use, I think that getting that procedure down ... just to know that’s an option would be good,” town supervisor Andrea Reuland said.

“We’ll move forward and do an investigation into costs and et cetera,” Timmons said.

Other items

The board Tuesday also:

• Approved a motion to postpone the town’s annual meeting for 30 days.

“If things go well tomorrow in the State Senate, what we do here tonight will concrete this that, if we agree, we can postpone that meeting,” Timmons said. “... If they vote something down tomorrow, three to four people will have to be here next Tuesday night to call to order and do the same thing, to postpone it.”

Timmons said if the legislation passes, the town’s annual meeting could be postponed with town board approval

• Approved a motion for an agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for an all-terrain vehicle crossing at Gehrke Rd. 

“All this is, is to apply for the grant to hook to the trail that the Wisconsin DOT owns, that we have the right to use and we’ve granted that right to the ATV Club, and they want to have a crossing at Gehrke Rd.,” Timmons explained. 

Timmons said once the grant was approved by WisDOT, the cost would go to the Lakeland ATV Club, who would produce the crossing.

• Approved a motion to pursue a quote from Great Escape Technologies, Inc. out of Manitowish Waters for security cameras for the town fire department and road department building in the amount of $8,840.20.

“How much did we budget for this?” Sheppard asked.

“I wanna say it was just shy of $8,000,” Timmons said. “We’re gonna be a hair over. (It was either) $7,000 or $8,000.”

While the cost exceeds what was budgeted, Timmons said he was “sure they could find it.”

• Heard an update from town road chief Mike Pockat regarding town road weight limits, the majority of which are expected to be lifted Monday, April 20. Pockat also provided updates regarding the town brush site and roadwork bids.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]

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