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Arena works on flood problems


August 10, 2017

There was a large crowd in attendance at the Arena board meeting in August, most of whom were concerned about what the village would do about the flooded streets in the village.  Like other communities in the area, Arena got too much water in the torrential rains the past few weeks.  Flood waters of a foot or two still blocked some streets and homeowner complications are still causing problems even though during the past week the rains had slowed down. The excess water continued to be a problem.

Village president Paul Pustina asked those residents wanting to speak during the public comments section, number five on the agenda, to wait for the water and sewer section number 17, which he wanted to move forward in consideration of the audience.  Some other changes were deemed necessary also, and the board responded with motions, seconds and approval.

Organizing of committees was the agenda item that came first.  Trustee Stephanie McCririe, one of two new trustees on the board, had some ideas for adding to parks, so it was offered and accepted that trustee Kate Reimann would change from the parks committee to the ordinance committee, and McCririe would be appointed to the parks committee.  All approved.  No other changes were made to the committees.

Declaration of Emergency Disaster, agenda item number nine, was next, as Pustina said the village was approved to work with Iowa County for getting a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for help with the water situation.  Arena might still file their own declaration but Iowa County will work with them in any case.  The declaration was accepted by a motion from trustee Jessica Voight, seconded by trustee Lauren Brown, and approved by the full board.

The Oak Street water issue was discussed next.  Pustina had pictures he put on the big screen and the audience took part in the discussion.  Pustina said the pictures will be put on a zip drive and given to Iowa County. Discussed were a retention pond, culvert, reversing the direction of water away from homes, and a retention pond between Oak Street and Willow Street, so all the water would drain into that.

Several people from the audience joined the conversation about the problems with questions and possible answers.

Water from basement sump pumps apparently added to the problem on High Street.  Streets had to be closed as a temporary issue. Kelly White asked Pustina if he knew how many homes in the village have drains in their basements.  Pustina said he didn’t know.  Discussion with the audience showed that there are drains in basements and in the street but they are too high and water just flows back.    

White came forward.  He said he had asked the village when he moved into his home to put a drain on his side of the street and they said it wasn’t necessary.  Now it is, and he asked the board who will need to pay for work to take care of the water.  Pustina said it would fall on the homeowners, adding the earlier possibility of a drain being installed was then, this is now. White had talked with a construction company who said the cost for them to solve the problem would be $500.  White felt the cost should not fall completely on him, but if he had to, he would pay to have it done.  Pustina said they would need to get written figures on the cost, the village could pay for it but would then charge homeowners reimbursement.  White said if he had to pay for it he would go ahead on his own to have it done.

Trustee Melissa Bandell felt the board should find a solution that would be mutually beneficial to both the village and to homeowners.  She hoped the village could help the homeowners.  Voight said they needed to get a firm quote before going on with anything, and Brown seconded that.  The rest of the board agreed to get a quote in writing.

Pustina suggested that to open the temporarily closed streets some homeowners might like to have the water reversed up on their land now to be used as needed in their gardens.  White said he would go along with that and would begin pumping.  Others joined in the discussion.

Bob Topp came forward to talk about some of the pictures on the overhead.  He pointed out his house and said the village had put the drain in on the street after he and his wife had moved in but they didn’t put it low enough or wide enough, as it’s only a four-inch pipe.  It doesn’t handle the water and so it backs up onto his yard from all directions.  It takes just 10 minutes for water to gather in that area and he said he would not pay to have the village correct the problem.  He said the same thing has happened every time they get too much rain, over and over again.  He has had to live with it. His wife asked if homeowners should apply to FEMA themselves. Pustina said he wasn’t sure about that.

Ben Thompson, Arena’s maintenance head, was at the meeting and responded to many of the suggestions.

The board went on to other agenda items.  There was no interest on the board to go into a discussion of the 2016 audit report, as it had been briefly discussed and okayed at the July meeting.

McCririe discussed her ideas for starting an archery range on the old landfill property.  She showed pictures of her ideas and how it would look on the big screen.  She feels they should use 3D targets, have hay bales behind some low targets to catch the arrows, and make it an interesting walk-around while shooting at the targets.  She will be looking for donations and would put up a plaque showing who has made donations.

Topp responded to her ideas, saying he has long been into archery and belongs to the Wisconsin Bow Hunters Association.  He is interested in helping to make the archery range a reality and stated he would be available to help with plans and the Bow Hunters Association might help sponsor it. He would also help to maintain it.  McCririe and the board appreciate the help.

Resolution 2017-02 regarding the Cardinal Hickory-Creek Transmission Line came before the board.  Pustina read it in its entirety.  It asks that many negatives be taken into account before the state would give permission to the company.  The motion was made by Voight, seconded by Brown and approved.

An emergency response committee was recognized as being a necessary and valuable tool.  Three board members, Reimann, Bandell and Voight, will join Ben Thompson and fire chief Shawn Thompson and two others on the committee.  It will include the township with plans that the township and village will work together.

Bandell moved and Voight seconded to approve the monthly invoices, the Visa bill and the June monthly financial statements.  The board agreed.

Brown motioned to get estimates not to exceed $30,000 for a used truck and equipment, possibly a used lift crane, for the water and sewer department.  Bandell seconded and the board approved.  The money would come out of the water and sewer department.

Possible checks will be needed on the water lines to the Arena Fire and EMS Station.  They have found about three inches of sand in the bottom of the fire truck tanks.  The village will check the hydrants and table the problem resolution to the next meeting.

James Wenzler was in the audience and spoke to the board regarding ATV, UTV and side-by-sides having an access route into and out of the village for the purpose of fueling up and purchasing grocery items.  They want access to Village Edge Road for this purpose.  Wenzler said they could contact the club through him or others.  Someone asked if this would be driving along the edge of the road and he replied that they want access on the road like cars have and would obey all traffic rules. Trustee Matthew Schroeder suggested he talk with police officer Lonnie Drinkall.

Schroeder also reported to the board about UW-Madison Community Design and Capstone Projects regarding things that could be done by the village with this company’s cooperation.  He cited the possibility of help with the archery project.  He said they want ideas the village wants done and they have architects that can design or develop the project.  Some general requirements are looking at a small negotiable grant to cover costs and a steering committee or citizen advisory group.

Kathy Jennings spoke to the board about estimates for road or street improvements with the MSA Company.  She had prepared a visual showing what streets would be worked on with or without curb and gutter, and focused on Sharon Street.  In the discussion it was mentioned that they could use some water and sewer budget, TIF, or a stewardship grant.  The board thanked her for giving them estimates of prices so the village can plan what they would like done.  She said she will waive a $500 fee.

Pustina had talked with the heads of fire and EMS, Courtney Norton and Shawn Thompson, who said they had plans to replace the ambulance and two fire trucks in the future.  They now have an offer of a combo ambulance with a firetruck for $350,000.  If they opt for the offer, it would save money in the long run. Pustina said the village is responsible for 25.24 percent of the costs.

The next regular board meeting will be on September 5.  The public is welcome to attend.


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