Tuesday 12 December 2017
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Chilton Noise Ordinance Update Passes By Slim Majority

Last Tuesday night the Chilton Common Council was asked to vote on ordinance 1137 amending the city noise ordinance. It was explained that the current ordinance ruled unenforceable after being taken to court by an establishment who received a citation after repeated violations in the early hours of the morning.

Chilton legal counsel Derek McDermott stated that the main difference was the amended version of the ordinance banned noise that would “unreasonably” annoy or disturb another. McDermott stated that while the addition of the term unreasonably seems unimportant, it applies a legal framework known as a reasonable person standard.  According to constitutional law he said this applies a discrimination more objective than a responding officer’s personal interpretation.

Council member Mark Willems asked if the decibel value brought up at the public safety committee meeting would be included. He stated that he had brought the issue from a resident in his ward and had told the resident that it was being worked on.  Willems asked why he had not been informed of the immediate action on the ordinance prior to the meeting.

“I had been under the impression this had been tabled,” he said.

Council member Kathy Schmitzer stated the vote on the ordinance had been properly posted in the agenda.

Council member Greg Kubichka asked why the ordinance did not have times listed.

Director of public works Todd Schwarz stated that industrial machinery is often rated at certain levels and businesses may need to know city requirements before installation in the city.

Mayor Rick Jaeckels stated that decibel levels had been left out of the final language as it opened up loopholes regarding distance and proper calibration. Times had not been included to allow law enforcement discretion. He told Willems that he had only contacted other members of the committee prior to the meeting out of necessity and had not contacted Willems due to quorum rules.

“With this change, in my opinion, we’re taking care of commercial and residential currently,” Jaeckels said.

Jaekels stated that the city would continue to work on the industrial solution but for the time being had a history of working with local industries, citing work with Kaytee to alleviate recent noise concerns.

“We’re not going to come down on a local business in town as long as they’re taking action,” Jaeckels said.

“There is a difference between temporary and permanent,” McDermott said.

Willems stated that he was against applying a temporary solution to the issue due to the costs involved and the impression on residents.

The council vote was split 3-3 on the amendment.  Council members Ron Gruett, Schmitzer and Dan Hilton voted for: Greg Kubichka, Clayton Thornber and Willems voted against.  Jaeckels broke the tie, voting to approve the amendment.

Public Safety

Gruett informed the council that Chief Craig Plehn had been recommended by the public safety committee to replace the outgoing emergency management director.  Gruett stated that municipalities largely have combined this position with law enforcement, ideally a police chief due to obvious synergies.  He said that on average $2,000 yearly was allotted due to extra duties. The council left this determination to the mayor.

The 2017 squad car decals will be done by JB signs of New Holstein.  Gruett stated they were waiting on a $4,000 DOT grant to order the cage and other equipment.

The search for the seventh officer is ongoing. Plehn had told the public safety committee that while they may choose one of the interviewed candidates, the department would like the opportunity to conduct additional interviews for the seventh officer.

The common council approved an update on policy regarding storage of VFW rifles.  To limit access to the firearms a single key will now be stored in the city hall office. Those needing to store or retrieve the firearms can do so during office hours.

The common council also approved a recommendation from the public safety committee that a two car garage area at city hall will be reserved solely for police use.  Chilton Police Department cited chain of evidence needs, and liability of impounded vehicals that would be best served by the heated and locked area. Plehn has stated that the department has received a $25000 grant to install cameras in the two vehical area and eveidence area of the garage.  The city car currently parked in that location will be stored outside on a full time basis.

Public Works

Schwarz reported that the roof replacement at the wastewater plant had been halted after it was found that all wooden roof beams had been soaked and were rotted.  A revised maintenance estimate came to approximately $25,000 he said, only $10,000 less than replacement.  They will be looking to alternatives Schwarz said, possibly extending the existing metal building 25 feet.

Schwarz stated that since the city hadn’t had a water treatment permit since June 2015, he’d spent two hours in a conference call with the DNR. Schwarz stated that the representative asked if Chilton could move to reverse osmosis treatment to reduce the chemicals introduced, but it would increase costs in the city by 3.7 percent, significantly more than the 2 percent maximum guideline. They had also suggested using the chlorine wash for de-icing afterwards, but that would require extraction as the final product is too dilute and would also be out of the city’s budget. The city was given a target limit of 670 ppm chlorine, schwarz said. This was down from 700 ppm chlorine due to EPA recommendations.  However the city water is currently only at 480 ppm chlorine, well below this figure.

Schwarz stated that one of the city’s water softeners is currently down, waiting on a custom machined timing cog, but the process continues to run efficiently.

The council approved the quote for the wastewater plant furnace from Ken’s Electric and approved a recommended deal to allow Austin Management Services to store snow in a four stall area in lot 35 in return for clearing snow in the lot.

Jaeckels reported the passing of former Chilton Mayor Matt Schuh.

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