The regular monthly meeting for the Jackson County Forestry & Parks Department was held at 8:30am on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at the Jackson County Courthouse. Those in attendance were: Ed Chamberlain, Jerry Schmidt, Dale Hoff, John Higgins, Tom Clark, James Zahasky, Dave Spaude, Jeremy Breheim and Ashley Stetzer.
The regular meeting was called to order at 8:30am by Chairman Ed Chamberlain
A motion was made by John Higgins to approve the minutes from the July meeting. The motion was seconded by Dale Hoff, all members voted in favor.
A motion to approve the bills for payment was made by John Higgins, seconded by Tom Clark. All members voted in favor.
Amanda Gunn was present at the meeting and gave an update on how busy Jackson County has been for the summer.
Zach Clausing was present from the WI-DNR. Areas of the Jackson County and Black River State Forest received damage during the wind storm on July 29.
Jim Hoffman and Dawn Jacobson attended the meeting to present the bike trail connector from Wazee lake county park to the city of Black River Falls. This grant project is being called the Silent Sport Connector and will follow the old rail-road grade that is already in place. The trail will be used for biking, hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The grant is available through the WI-DOT and is an 80/20 match. The total grant request will be 3.5 million dollars for 7.5 miles of paved trail. After discussion a motion was made by Tom Clark to approve the project and create a resolution that will commit the County to the project as the recipient, and provide funds in the amount of $350,000.00 towards the project. The motion was seconded by John Higgins, all members voted in favor.
Dave Spaude gave a Forestry update. Staff continues to treat invasive weeds. Also, some areas were damaged in the July 29 storm, specifically Manchester township. Foresters will assess the damage and speak with contractors about possible salvage sales.
Recently a landowner reached out regarding trees hanging over his buildings. Dave requested permission to discuss with corporation counsel. A motion was made by John Higgins to approve, the motion was seconded by Tom Clark, all members voted in favor.
The forestry department would like to solicit bids for power trenching. Currently there is one contractor that does this type of work but he is unsure if he can commit to the timeline outlined in the power trenching contract. Dave requested permission to spend no more than $15,000 for power trenching, this is a budgeted item. A motion to approve the request was made by Tom Clark, seconded by John Higgins, all members voted in favor.
Jeremy Breheim presented the parks report. Wazee Lake continues to be very busy. Water sampling continues every 2 weeks. Jeremy did work with Jackson County Public Health and put-up safe beach practice signs for visitors.
The Committee reviewed the Carbon Credit Resolution. The resolution outlines the project and where funds will be allocated. After discussion a motion was made by Dale Hoff to sign the resolution and put $500,000 in an account designated for Forestry. The motion as seconded by Jerry Schmidt, all members voted in favor.
Chris Repking, Forestry Tech, updated the Committee that the MACK truck is ready and will be picked up on Tuesday, August 8. The Dodge truck that was ordered through Gross Motors did not have the engine specified in the bid documents. Jim is working with Gross Motors on a refund for the difference in the engines.
A used groomer was found in Minocqua, WI. The groomer is 1 year old an after negotiations the seller would take $21,000.00 A motion to approve the groomer purchase pending inspection was made by John Higgins, seconded by Dale Hoff. All members voted in favor.
Jerry Schmidt requested parks look into going smoke free in 2024 on all park property. Jeremy Breheim presented findings from other parks and campgrounds. Currently Jackson County does have an ordinance banning smoking in all County buildings. After discussion a motion was made by John Higgins to leave the ordinance as is. The motion was seconded by Dale Hoff. Ed Chamberlain, Dale Hoff and John Higgins voted in favor of the motion. Jerry Schmidt and Tom Clark were in opposition to the motion, motion carried.
A motion to adjourn at 10:41am was made by John Higgins, the motion was seconded by Dale Hoff. All members voted in favor. The next meeting will be at the Jackson County Courthouse at 8:30am on August 29 to review the 2024 budget. The next regular meeting will be September 12, 2023 at 8:30am.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:41am
Next regular meeting date: September 12, 2023
Budget Meeting: August 29, 2023
These minutes will be approved at the September Meeting