Board approves Red Wagon's help with new plant

The town board, in last weeks’ meeting, approved a letter of intent from Red Wagon Energy to put in a solar canopy at the waste water treatment facility. According to the letter, Red Wagon Energy will do all the construction and will also operate and maintain the canopy at no cost to the town. The canopy will be about 50’ by 100’ and will be located near the facility.

“It should provide approximately 30 percent of the energy needed for the waste water treatment plant,” said Brian Morrison, with Red Wagon Energy.

In audience participation, Will Stone spoke about new businesses in town. “If someone has the courage to come here ... they need to be encouraged.”

Regina Roberts also spoke to the board during audience participation. She had photos to hand out to all the board members of the “round building in the park”. She informed the board that it had been missing a board “for quite a while”. She said there were cigarette butts, beer bottles, graffiti on the walls and a rusty nail. “This is where our kids like to go and I think it should be addressed,” she said. Roberts also said concerning the complaints about the “Exclesior plant by Chip (Tuthill) — he should recuse himself from any further discussions.”

Tom Yennerell, town administrator, addressed the comments, saying, “We are aware of the issue about the round building.” He went on to say that boards “can be nailed up there, but we all know they come down.” Marshal Bill Knauer said that “we try to check the building every evening, but we can’t keep a 24-hour watch on it.”

City attorney David Liberman addressed the situation with Chip Tuthill and whether there is a conflict of interest. “Everybody has a past, but it is only a conflict of interest if the person in question has a financial interest in the issue. In that case, it would need to be disclosed and they would not vote on it.”

The letter that Tuthill wrote as a letter to the editor about the new waste water treatment plant was addressed by Mayor Rachael Simbeck.“The waste water treatment plant is a project that we’ve been working on and we shouldn’t go against it.” Yennerell felt that Tuthill’s letter “undermined the board.”

The board authorized a new taller flag pole to be installed at town hall along with a light to illuminate it, and appointed members to the Board of Adjustment, which had not been used since 2008.

An executive session was on the agenda, and a motion was made to go into the session. However, before the board could go, the motion was withdrawn because of discussion about public comments. Some members of the board felt that comments were appropriate because the town residents needed to be heard. Other members felt that the town administrator’s job was not for public comment.

Two different motions were made and votes were taken to go into executive session, both of which were ties broken by the mayor, who voted aye. Attorney Liberman said that in the case of an executive session, there had to be a 2/3 majority for it to be authorized. The board didn’t know whether to postpone the issue. Yennerell requested that the session not be postponed and, in the interest of moving forward, he said he didn’t mind the public comments.

Bobbi Black, in the audience, said, “I’m here to express my concern in these tough economic times … for anyone to ask for additional funds when there’s other things that need to be done in our town.”

The next vote on the executive session was passed unanimously. Trustee Todd Kearns said, “I’m officially not okay with this.” The executive session lasted over an hour and there was no action taken when the board reconvened.