Town Moves Ahead on Boundary Mediation

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By: 
Kevin Murphy

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–The Middleton Town Board took another step last week in seeking a mediated boundary plan with the City of Middleton.

In June, the board passed a resolution informing the state Department of Administration (DOA) that it wanted to work with the city on a cooperative boundary plan. That gave the city 60 days to pass a similar resolution but the time period lapsed last month without the city acting on it.

On Sept. 8, the board passed a resolution asking the DOA to mediate a cooperative plan with the city.

The DOA will contact the two municipalities to see if they will begin mediation of a boundary plan, but neither party is obligated to join, attorney Michael Lawton told the board.

If the city doesn’t participate, the town can delay any annexations for up to 270 days, Lawton said.

“There’s some incentive for them to participate in mediation but we’ll see,” he said.

At issue is the cross-country training facility proposed to be built on land owned by Dan Erdmann that’s in the town. The undeveloped acreage is accessible from Schwartz Road, a dead end road that intersects US 14 west of Pleasant View Rd.

The town has objected to having to maintain the road if the city annexes the Erdman property. 

Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar told a reporter last month that the city has had a boundary agreement with the town since 1994 and has updated it since then.

“I don’t see why we need a boundary agreement; we already have one,” he said in a phone interview.

Town Chair Cynthia Richson said there is no agreement between the town and city that addresses the issues that have arisen in the past several years and there needs to be agreement which reflects that.

The town has updated its state required Comprehensive Plan and the city is in the process of updating theirs which means negotiations for a cooperative plan could begin.

Although the state Supreme Court last week halted the mailing of absentee ballots until it decides if a Green Party presidential candidate must be added to the ballot, the town is arranging to have a drop box at town hall to accept ballots from early voters.

The town will use some of the $5,368 in federal funding under the Coronavirus Relief Law to have a secured drop box that meets federal election requirements, said Town Deputy Clerk Barbara Roesslein. 

The box will have to be under constant video surveillance and locations including the front of town hall or the Sheriff’s Precinct office in the back are under consideration.

The board also discussed reorganizing staff duties in the wake of former Town Administrator/Clerk Greg DiMiceli’s resignation last month.

While Meghan Hughes was named of town treasurer/personnel manager, the board decided not to look for a town administrator just yet.

Hughes’ position isn’t, “a substitute for a town administrator but it’s a good position that covers a lot of ground and includes town treasurer and some financial duties,” attorney Brian Goodman told the board.

The town staffing gap analysis Board Supervisor Denise Schmidt mentioned at a prior meeting is what the board is “parsing through, now,” Richson said.

The job description of town administrator is what Hughes is currently performing along with Rod Zubella, the town’s engineer.

“We’re down 20 percent,” in terms of office staff, Public Work Committee Chair Dave Wagner said. “That’s going to be felt sometime.”

“That’s where the gap analysis will be helpful,” Board Supervisor Richard Oberle added.

The board approved a $37,114 bid to Joe Daniels Construction, Co. for repairs to the Capitol View Road bridge. Work is expected to begin soon and be completed this fall, Roesslein said. The cost is to be shared with the city of Middleton.

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