Plain Village board adjusting golf course management, rates

Nicole Aimone, Editor-in-Chief

The Plain Village Board voted to expand staffing and adjust rates for the municipal golf course at its March 10 regular meeting.

Following a closed session special meeting, prior to the regular meeting where the village discussed personnel details behind golf course staff , the board voted to contract with Nick Ruhland to take over the maintenance duties with the golf course that John Ruhland, village public works director, is currently performing.

“The individual won’t report to John, nor will John report to that individual,” said Village President Ray Ring. “They will work together harmoniously.”

While the village’s golf course committee did propose an outline of expectations and duties it would like to see Nick perform, the committee will be working to make a more concrete list and job description prior to March 29, which will be Nick’s starting date.

Nick’s contract will be a one-year term, with an annual salary of $4,000. The contract will be reevaluated in 2022.

The motions to create the position and contract with Nick passed unanimously, with Trustee and golf course committee chairman, Andrew Kraemer, absent, and trustee Brian Brey absent.

The village golf course committee decided to restructure annual rates to use the village-run course, by keeping rates the same but doing away with different rates for residents and non-residents.

Previously, non-residents paid a larger fee than village residents to use the course, with approximately half of yearly revenue coming from non-residents, said Ring.

In an effort to keep rates consistent throughout the village’s course and with other nearby courses, the committee decided to offer a single rate to use the golf course.

Golf course rates for 2021 include $250 for an individual, $315 for a married couple, $368 for a family and $90 for students, which includes tax.

“They talked about the golf rates and the issues with the last couple years, with not being able to play because of all the flooding and this year there’s going to be construction, so there will be a hole they won’t be able to use, so there was a big debate about how much to charge people to golf in the village of Plain,” said Ring.

Random inspections

The village public works department will start conducting random inspections of sump pumps to ensure the homeowners pump is not discharging into the village sewer, which is against village ordinances.

Homes with illegal sump pumps will be fined $250.

“We’re hoping we can kind of slow that issue down, because it’s not so much of an issue with the spring snow melt, it’s with the rain. When it rains, the [sewer] plant gets flooded out. The plant shouldn’t get flooded out,” said John Ruhland.

The village will be sending a notice to utility customers via the annual consumer confidence report to make them aware of the inspections and warn of the possible fine for illegal pumps.

Trustee Melissa Marx questioned whether the lowest fine was large enough for illegal pumps, or if residents would potentially rather pay the fine to avoid paying more money to address the issue.

“So if I’m a homeowner, and I have my sump pump hooked up wrong, and now I get a letter and now I have to correct it, how much is it going to cost me to do that? Is $250 enough?” questioned Marx. “If I can pay a $250 fine and keep doing it the way I’ve been doing it, fine, but if I have to pay $2,000 to switch it over, I’ll just pay the fine.”

Trustee Merry Lynn Riek raised concerns about issuing fines immediately, instead of issuing a warning, however Ruhland advised the notice given to utility customers would serve as the warning for illegal pumps.

“I’m not bucking doing this, I’m bucking for the benefit of the village, maybe spell it out a little bit,” said Riek.

Other actions or discussions taken up by the board include:

—Approving the acceptance of contractor bids for the Nachreiner Avenue restructuring project. The bid went to Gerke Excavating out of Tomah, who was the lowest bidder and came with a recommendation from Strand, the project engineers. The village chose this bid not only because it was the lowest, but because they are able to perform duties independently without having to subcontract.
—The village Fire and EMS will host its annual three-day festival in the village parks in July, following all applicable Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines and/or restrictions at the time.
—A first reading of an ordinance strengthening fi rearm and projectile ordinances, which state that no one except for police and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agents will be allowed to discharge firearms in village limits, and the throwing of missiles or projectiles will not be allowed at any person, animal or target.
—The village pool will open for the season on June 4, with regular hours to be determined.