The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Mercer gets look at library plans


December 21, 2019


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MERCER, Wis. — The Mercer Township Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted 4-0 to support a resolution for the Friends of the Mercer Public Library summer landscaping plans.

The action was not required but the supervisors wanted public record to show support for the work to create an outdoor reading space, concrete patio and garden area. Town supervisor Eric Snow was not present.

“The Friends of the Library are paying for the entire project and we are not asking for anything from the town,” said Teresa Schmidt, library director, who was present at the meeting for public presentation of the plans prior to a contractor search for the work scheduled for 2020.

“Basically, our goal is to provide a nice outdoor seating space,” Schmidt said. “In the past we have had picnic tables and benches but they deteriorated.”

The patio space structure will be designed for a future optional roof, she said. There will be replacement trees for the diseased trees removed by crews last year, she said. The entire space is designed to be low maintenance, she said.

A rain garden will be designed, constructed and planted by the Iron County Land and WaterConservation Department as a demonstration garden for learning, she said. One of four water catchment spouts currently being used for the flower garden will be diverted to the rain garden, she said.

The winter road maintenance ordinance was discussed after a rural resident requested that the town plow not leave snow at the driveway entrance.

Sendra said the ordinance states that township plows push snow to the side of the road which may subsequently cause it to accumulate in driveway entrances. It is the responsibility of the residents to remove the snow from those spaces, he said.

Jake Saarnio, the road crew foreman, said the plow drivers are very experienced.

“The major thing this year is that everybody pushing snow across the road leaves a bottleneck in the road,” Saarnio said.

There are complaints that plow drivers are knocking over mailboxes which is just not the case, he said. The plow blades are coming close to the mailboxes but it's actually the accumulation of snow pushed against the poles that causes a mailbox to break off if it’s not well attached or not maintained, he said.

“There has been a lot of snow so far this year,” Saarnio said.

The matter of $6,000 that had been set aside for purchase of gravel for the nonprofit Mercer Sno-Goers, but had gone unused was sent back to Sendra to look into how possible grant funds could be used in lieu of the township dollars. The Sno-Goers were concerned that the funds allocated last year might be redirected to other purposes.

The supervisors directed Sendra to contact Iron County regarding the matter of a solar powered snowmobile informational sign stating “Ride Safe, Ride Sober,” that was to be placed at the Mercer Area Chamber of Commerce. He is to find out where the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants the sign for the best visibility to the intended audience.

The supervisors approved a recommendation from the planning commission to amend the dwelling ordinance to require homes to have a minimum square footage of not less 500 feet in length and 22 feet in width. The township is now consistent with the county ordinance and also with amended language that does not allow mobile homes outside of mobile home parks.

The supervisors agreed to add the topic of starting a large item recycling center in Mercer on a future meeting agenda. The rationale was to create a place where residents could dispose of appliances or other large items that might otherwise be disposed of illegally.

During the public comment period a resident asked the township board to look into the process of discouraging owners of downtown businesses from allowing them sit unused for prolonged periods without being put up for sale and falling into disrepair.

Sendra asked the resident to present the addresses of what were considered to be problem properties to see if they are in violation of the blight ordinances.

The board 4-0 approved a city employee wage increase effective starting in April 2020. The raises were by position and not an across the board percentage increase, said Opal Roberts, town supervisor.

The town clerk will earn $46,843. The town treasurer will earn $11,000 hours.

The town chairman will earn $12,000. The town supervisors will earn $6,680.

The deputy clerk will earn $12 per hour. Election workers will earn $10 per hour. The recycling manager will earn $12.50 per hour.

The lead custodian will earn $14 per hour and the subordinate custodian will earn $13.50.

The garage foreman will earn $26 per hour and the senior crew will earn $25. The mechanic will earn $24 per hour. The crew III position will earn $21.50 per hour. The crew II position is $17.50. The Crew I position $17.35 per hour.

The board went into executive session to discuss an employee matter.

In other business, the town supervisors approved:

—Conditional use applications for tourist rooming houses at 3707N Popko Circle E, and 3434 N Tutts Road.

—A segregated account for room tax dollars for quarterly reports tracking of revenue and expenditures.

—An intergovernmental agreement with the Town of Oma for snow plowing of three roads as a cost and time-saving effort for both townships.

—Permission for the town clerk to pay utility, insurance and credit card bills when due prior to meetings.


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