Dam concerns bring sign work

April 11, 2019

The Public Safety and Welfare Committee agreed to review signage warning citizens for trespassing around the upper and lower dam during its meeting Wednesday.

City Engineer Jaynellen Holloway shared concerns that were forwarded to the engineering department by the dam operator about two incidents where youths trespassed. One person climbed over the fence and walked out in front of the tainter gate during a thin ice condition by the dam and another person crossed over from Tivoli Island into the dam area and was stranded by the dam, according to the minutes submitted by Chairman Tim Raether.

There were requests to fortify or modify the fencing in and around the lower dam and electric plant and to add additional fencing around the area where the issue occurred by the upper dam.

The engineering department, Street Superintendent Randy Franks and Assistant Street Superintendent Jay Haberkorn discussed both issues. After discussion with the committee, it was decided to focus on signs to notify of dangerous current and/or drowning consequences for violation of trespassing ordinance.

“Once identified, engineering will work with the street department to post signage in visible locations for proper warning,” Raether said.

The committee discussed a request from a Lake Mills resident and representative of the Quad County Runners ATV/UTV club to allow ATVs/UTVs to operate in the city’s rights of way.

″(The Lake Mills resident) stated that many townships and municipalities across Wisconsin are now allowing these vehicles usage on roads and streets under their control,” Raether said.

He added that recent changes in the state now allow counties, towns, cities or villages to enact an ordinance to allow ATVs/UTVs usage. Raether said the resident pointed out that some townships and cities in Dodge and Jefferson counties now allow these vehicles on their rights of way.

Raether said police Chief Robert Kaminski expressed concerns with licensing requirements for operation of these vehicles and violations given under ATV/UTV operation does not reflect against a driver’s license record. Other concerns were brought up and the committee agreed to have the city attorney, police and engineering departments review this request. The tourism committee and the Main Street Program would be notified as well for their thoughts.

The committee reviewed a request for an additional streetlight on Gateway Drive near Airport Road. This was an agenda item in January where the committee agreed to get a quote from We Energies. The installation of the streetlight would cost $3,985.76.

Raether said the committee was reminded that this item was not budgeted for this year. The committee recommended forwarding this to the Watertown Common Council’s Finance Committee to consider accommodating the 2019 budget to allow the installation of the streetlight.