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W’bago has issue with campground

By Staff | May 13, 2012

The Winnebago City Council discussed the progress of the campground project at the meeting held May 7.

The current hang-up preventing forward motion on this project is the need for a storm shelter at the campground.

A cement building with nothing in it would cost $37,586. Any water or electricity expense would be added on top of that initial cost.

“It has been suggested to look into the feasibility of putting a campground near West City Park,”?City Administrator Austin Bleess says.

The committee felt that the area near West City Park would be more convenient for a campground since the park is equipped with the utilities.

“There we already have a storm shelter, bathrooms and showers,”?Bleess adds. “It would also be closer to the pool and playground equipment.”

In the meantime the utility committee suggests putting up a fence along the property line of the land the city had purchased. That land includes the old trailer park and the southern piece of the block near the park.

“The fence would cost about $3,500 to go along the property line,” Bleess adds.

The fence would be a six foot tall wooden security fence. It would run along the south side of the property and the north side of the old trailer park.

Since there hasn’t been progress with the campgrounds, it was also requested that people be able to camp on that property on June 23.

“With Brew Fest coming up in June, a lot of people would like a place to camp so they don’t have to worry about driving back home afterwards,”?Bleess says.

Tent camping would be allowed in West City Park near the East Shelter and any RV camping would be in the city-owned tractor pull lot.

“Would there be any registration required of people camping there?”?council member Stacy Huntington-Scofield asks.

Bleess didn’t think that would be necessary for a one night event. As far as security for the campers go, the police department will be on duty that night.

“We’ll have police there that day but we may not have enough to watch the campgrounds specifically,”?Police Chief Bob Toland says.

Council members thought security for camping would be fine if they possibly have an event worker there to man just the campground area.

Bleess asked for separate motions, one for the fence and one to allow camping on June 23. Both motions were approved by the council.

In other business;

The council also talked about some matters that were discussed by the Winnebago Emergency Services Committee.

One of those topics was the wages for ambulance inter-facility transfer trips.

The average transfer takes nearly six hours and is usually around 130 miles.

The amount of time it takes can cut into a person’s regular work or sleep schedule. So, it is requested that the council raise transfer wages to $20 per hour.

“The city would make $1,560 for a transfer,”?Bleess says. “So even after raising the wages the city would still be coming out ahead.”

Council member Rick Johnson supports this idea.

“I think it’s a matter of keeping the employees happy,” he says. “That’s not much to ask.”

The rest of the council was in favor as well, and the motion passed. The wage was changed to $20 per hour retroactive to Jan. 1.

JM?Manufacturing recently had a 3-inch service line break causing a use of 388,900 gallons of water.

They asked the council that their bill be cut in half due to the fact that only part of the water actually went down the drain.

Their total bill was $7,167.87 and council members didn’t think they should forgive the bill, but would allow a credit to their utility bill if they reopen the plant within a year and maintain 25 jobs for at least three years.

“We are doing it this way because we have not forgiven a bill for as long as I can remember,” council member Scott Robertson says. “Maybe this arrangement can help stimulate and maintain some jobs in the area.”

The council agreed and will not forgive JM Manufacturing’s current utility bill unless the stipulations are met.

The wages for this summer’s pool staff was also discussed by the council.

They agreed to raise the pool managers rate to $10.19 an hour, lifeguard to $7.40 an hour and lifeguard/WSI to $7.80.