The speed limit on Viking Drive in Reedsburg may decrease.
The city is proposing lowering the speed limit on Viking Drive between East Main Street and Huntington Park Drive to 25 miles per hour and reducing Huntington Park Drive and Eighth Street to 30 miles per hour. After Eighth Street, the speed would increase to 35 miles per hour.
At its Jan. 13 meeting, the common council unanimously approved setting a public hearing for Feb. 10 for members of the public to share their views on the item and for the council to take possible final action. Alderperson at Large Brandt Werner was absent.
Public Works Director/City Engineer Steve Zibell said the progression would be similar to speed limits driving east on Main Street. The idea of lowering the speed limit is to reduce the impact of traffic crashes on the street, he said.
The public works department discussed possibly lowering the speed limit of Viking Drive at its November meeting but took no action on the item to look into it further. Zibell said the committee conducted two speed studies and found Viking Drive has the highest volume of traffic and the highest accident rate in Reedsburg.
Zibell said the city wanted to look at lowering the speed limit or reducing the amount of traffic with the potential movie theater coming sometime this year and Huntington Park Apartments first building scheduled to open this spring. The public works committee discussed possibly restricting the driveways and configurations to the different businesses along Viking Drive, but decided that would be difficult to enforce after talking with the city attorney and the Department of Transportation.
“This is the easiest thing to do right now without spending a lot of money,” Zibell said. “It’s basically just switching out some signs.”
Third District Alderperson Calvin Craker said he didn’t want to lower the speed limit but he understands the reason for it.
“The city has to be diligent and do something,” Craker said. “We can spend a lot of money and put in roundabouts or do a boulevard there or something like that, but this is a first step. Citizens need to get on board and be responsible.”
Municipal flood grant
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The council unanimously approved authorizing the city administrator and city planner to apply for the Municipal Flood Grant from the Department of Natural Resources. The grant will pay for most of the 12.5% the city is required to pay for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for home buyouts, said Brian Duvalle, city planner/building inspector.
The council approved to submit the application last year to help with the estimated $3.6 million in flood damage, with FEMA and the state picking up 75% and 12.5% of the costs, respectively.
Eighteen structures were ruled substantially damaged, meaning costs to fix a structure exceed 50% of its value, from the 2018 floods and eligible for buyouts.
Municipal judge pay raise
The council unanimously approved to increase in the monthly wage for the municipal court judge from $700 to $1,033. City Administrator Tim Becker said the wage will become effective after the spring 2020 election. The new salary was based off of surveying pay rates from other municipal courts around the state with similar caseloads, Becker said.
The current judge is Sandra Cardo Gorsuch, who is running unopposed to retain her position as municipal judge for Reedsburg and the Town of La Valle.
The council also unanimously approved a job description for an administrative assistant for the Reedsburg Police Department. Police Chief Patrick Cummings said the duties of the position will be in lieu of the communications supervisor, who will retire later this year. Supervisory duties transfer to a police supervisor, Cummings said. Job duties include general office duties, such as record keeping and clerical support, as well as assisting dispatch and communicating information for police, fire, EMS and citizens, according to the job description.
The council unanimously approved amending the city personnel manual to prohibit electronic smoking devices, or vaping, in city buildings, facilities and vehicles. The city approved banning vaping in public places and city buildings last fall. The council also approved adding Veterans Day as a recognized holiday for all general employees to recognize all active and honorably discharged veterans to the city personnel manual. Recognizing Veterans Day as a holiday was approved in the recent collective bargaining agreement with the police department, Becker said.
The council unanimously approved to transfer $37,000 from the capital improvement plan parks improvement fund to capital equipment plan police equipment to purchase a new police vehicle to replace a 2013 squad car totaled in a Dec. 13 crash.
The council unanimously approved to set a public hearing to rezone a property on 8th Street from R-2 residential, to R-3 residential for multi-family. The building currently contains a three unit apartment building and the owner is looking to add a fourth.
The council unanimously approved to set a public hearing for Feb. 10 to amend an ordinance regarding the time for its regular meetings. The proposed ordinance changes the meeting time from 7 p.m. to “at a time designated by the Common Council” on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The change is to allow flexibility, Becker said.
Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.