City appointments OK’d

November 22, 2018

Randy Franks was appointed to the street department superintendent position and Peter Hartz was appointed to the water systems manager position during the Watertown Common Council meeting Tuesday night. Franks took over as interim superintendent after former street Superintendent Rick Schultz retired in July. Hartz filled the water systems manager position after Kevin Freber left the department to take a similar position in Oconomowoc in March.

“Congratulations gentlemen, welcome aboard,” Mayor John David said.

Only one person spoke at the public hearing held by the council for a planned unit development, general development plan and project implementation plan, allowing Rock River Gymnastics to move into a building at 426 S. Montgomery St.

Rock River Gymnastics is moving to this facility, shared with Building Products Inc., after issues with flooding at its original location on Wakoka Street.

William Baker had concerns with the gymnastics hours of operation and of traffic.

David said he could not answer that at that time.

“These comments will go back to the plan commission and then those types of issues will be addressed,” David said.

David asked Baker to send him his questions over email so David could give him an answer after the commission discusses it.

Lori Holland, owner of Rock River Gymnastics, responded to Baker’s concerns. She said the hours of operation will be in the evening and as for traffic, she said they probably would get about 30 to 50 cars coming in and out of the facility.

The council approved two ordinances on their second readings regarding parking restrictions. One ordinance calls for prohibition of parking on North Second Street in the area of Cady Street north to the bridge, and the second one prohibits parking on a section of Hospital Drive.

The aldermen approved three change orders for projects in the city.

One change order is $35,000 for a pipe lining project. This change order addresses a pipe lining that failed in the South Third Street area.

Visu-Sewer, the current lining contractor, requested an extension to complete the contract due to the wet weather from this past summer and fall.

Another change order is for a local road improvement project on West Street. More paving materials were needed than were called for in the contract, requiring an additional $65,587 in costs. The total cost of the project is now $458,705.

The last change order is a seal coating project, which was larger than contracted. The completed work costs more than what was budgeted and the resolution is asking for an additional $10,576.

The common council approved a contract with LifeQuest Services for EMS billing for the Watertown Fire Department.

Alderman Rick Tortomasi said this was not the lowest bid given to the Watertown Finance Committee, but it was the preferred company chosen by the fire department.

“It will be monitored yearly,” Tortomasi said. “We have a 30-day out if this thing goes south on us and we don’t save money. We can go back to doing in-house billing.

The common council approved a number of other resolutions, which include the purchase of a minivan for the transit system; an application for an operating grant from the Department of Transportation for a shared-ride taxi service; an approval to enter into an option year contract with Passenger Transit, Inc. for shared-ride taxi service; a lease for shared-ride taxi vehicles; and to apply for a capital grant to fund fleet purchases for shared-ride taxi service.

The council also approved an amendment for the Class A malt and liquor license for Pick ‘n Save, 624 S. Church St. The store allows customers to order groceries that employees would gather and then deliver to the customer’s car in the parking lot. Pick ’n Save is asking to have the sale of alcohol included in these purchases.

There was a brief update with the Watertown Public Library by library Director Peg Checkai and Tortomasi.

Checkai said the library will be open Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and it will have its own Black Friday sales and deals. She also mentioned some events happening soon such as searching for the Elf on the Shelf and collecting mittens, scarves and hats to be donated to the Watertown Family Aid. The Watertown Friends of the Library open house will be Dec. 4.

Tortomasi gave a summary of the library fundraising project for its expansion.

“This year, the council confirmed the commitment for the $4.3 million for the library,” Tortomasi said. “The commitment required the project to have at least $1.5 million in funds available by the end of 2019 for that $4.3 million to be bonded.”

He said the library was able to attain that with the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation giving a $1.5 million cash grant that will be available in 2019. In addition, the health foundation has offered the community a $1 million dollar-for-dollar challenge grant that begins when the library has raised its first $1.5 million from private sources.

“To date, those private organizations, companies and private individuals have pledged over $1 million,” Tortomasi said, ”$1.5 million will be attainable in 2019.”

The public fundraising campaign, coupled with the city’s financial commitment, will make the $9 million-$10 million project feasible.

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