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Dayton raises highway budget

Town board delays resolution to dissolve of lake district

By Robert Cloud

Dayton citizens voted 22-7 to increase the town’s transportation budget at a special meeting Tuesday, June 16.

The budget added $136,109 to the town’s $940,000 transportation budget for 2015.

At the annual budget hearing last November, Dayton citizens voted to cut $345,000 from the town’s proposed $1.28 million transportation budget for this year.

Dave Armstrong, Dayton’s new town chairman, found that Dayton is on course to spend more than $1 million on transportation expenses for this year, leaving the town with a $136,000 deficit.

He presented figures indicating that Dayton spent $124,000 through April and is slated to spend an additional $792,000 between May and December in remaining commitments to bridge and road projects.

Armstrong said the former town board made the decision to award contracts on all three projects.

When asked if the $94,000 West Road project could be delayed, Armstrong said it could, but he would not recommend it.
“We would actually be losing out on a lot of grant money this year by delaying the project until next year,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong also noted that spreading the project out over two years would be inconvenient for the people who live there and unfair to contractors who have scheduled their crews and equipment for this summer.

Bob Ellis, who voted against the increase, said, “Now we’re being asked to validate the former board’s decision.”

Lake district resolution delayed
A resolution to dissolve the Little Hope Lake District was pulled from the agenda.

Armstrong said the town’s attorney had informed him that because the lake district had been formed by the town board, the town board had the authority to dissolve it.

“I was told that abolishing the lake district would be illegal,” Armstrong said, adding that the Little Hope Lake District may have to dissolve itself.

According to a handbook on lake districts prepared by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the issue of dissolving a lake district must be decided at the annual meeting by a two-thirds majority of the electors and property owners within the district.

However, Waupaca County sued the town of Dayton and former board members over the lake district’s legality.

According to the county’s suit, 51 percent of the landowners or owners of 51 percent of the land within the proposed district must first file a petition with the town clerk. The petition must then be presented to the county. No such petition was filed with the county.

The county’s case against the lake district is still pending.

A second suit brought by property owners living in the Little Hope area challenged the election of lake district commissioners during its first annual meeting in 2013. In that case, Judge Raymond Huber stayed the change of board officers and ordered that town board members continue to serve as lake district commissioners.

The second case is also still pending.

Armstrong said the cases would be dismissed if the town board dissolves the lake district.

Supervisor Jane Haasch said efforts to remediate the Crystal River shoreline where the Little Hope Mill Pond used to be cannot go forward until the lawsuits are settled.

Armstrong has asked the town’s attorney to further review whether the town board has the authority to dissolve the lake district.

“I don’t want to get it wrong,” Armstrong said.

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