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Bellevue approves speed board purchase

By Heather Graves

BELLEVUE – Officers in Bellevue will soon have an additional tool to help them tackle the speeding problem the village has been dealing with the last few months.

Trustees unanimously approved the purchase of a second portable speed board at their Aug. 28 meeting.

Directed Enforcement Officer Trevor Bilg said the department has been receiving increased speeding complaints, especially on Bellevue Street, Ontario Road, Townhall Road, Bower Creek Road and Guns Road.

“We put it down on Bower Creek for over a week – the speeds were insane,” Bilg said. “We had 80 mph, 83 mph, 70 mph in a 35 mph zone. We knew the time frames because of the board and we flooded it for three, four days and we were writing nine, 10 tickets an hour just in that area. Residents were actually coming out of homes and thanking us.”

Bilg said the department proposed the purchase of two speed boards for a total of $10,800 as part of the 2019 budget discussions. But at that time, the board only approved the purchase of one.

“The board said let’s go with one and then see how it goes,” Bilg said.

Bilg said the increased issues the village has been having with speeders prompted the department to ask trustees to purchase the second board funded by leftover 2019 law enforcement capital funds.

“It’s a great tool for us,” Bilg said.

The board approved the purchase of the Speed Alert 18 model for a cost of $5,745, which includes a message display option.

This will allow officers to flash a slow down message along with the speed, but it can also be used to display warning notices, such as road closures due to flooding, construction projects downed trees/power lines, etc.

By the way, smile for the camera. The speed boards have the capacity to take pictures of vehicles.

Storage shed being razed

It’s the end of the road for the village’s storage facility at Shaha Memorial Park.

The village board voted unanimously to raze the building following reports from staff about unsafe conditions.

Village Administrator Diane Wessel said she toured the facility, located at 3833 Eaton Road, in preparation for the 2020-24 Capital Improvement Plan and became aware of the severity of the building’s problems.

“I observed several areas that concerned me regarding staff safety and unsecured access,” Wessel said.

Following an inspection by the village’s building inspections department, Wessel directed staff not to enter the building.

Due to risk of wall, floor and roof failure, toxic black mold growth in exposed insulation, health issues associated with exposure to animal droppings, unsecured access to the public and other hazards present in the structure, the village can no longer utilize this site for storage of equipment, Wessel said.

While some of the issues have been present for awhile, Wessel said the excessively wet weather and excessive winds from recent storms has further exacerbated issues.

“It went bad quick,” Village Board President Steve Soukup said.

The board approved two different requests from staff.

First, it authorized the use of building and grounds capital reserve funds to demolish the 2,200-square-foot structure.

Because of the need to first abate the black mold, the cost of this project is not yet known.

The second was to amend the 2019 budget to include a monthly cost of approximately $500 to lease a commercial space for storage of equipment – valued at $113,350 – currently stored at the Shaha location.

“We haven’t found a rental that is big enough yet,” Wessel said. “If we can’t find something big enough, we would need to store some stuff outside.”

Attendance policy for boards and commissions

Trustees also adopted a new attendance policy for all their boards and commissions.

The policy will take effect beginning in 2020, and includes the Ethics Board, Fire Commission, Park Commission, Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, as well as any other board/committee/commissions created hereafter.

Wessel said not having a policy has caused issues for the village.

Most recently, two of the previous three Plan Commission meetings had to be canceled due to a lack of a quorum.

Wessel said it’s usually a last-minute cancellation.

“We don’t know that they aren’t coming until the meeting starts,” Wessel said.

Under the new policy, any member of a board/commission/committee who is absent for three consecutive regular meetings, or who attends fewer than 75 percent of the meetings held in a 12-month period will be removed from the board/commission/committee.

Community Development Director Andrew Vissers said implementing an attendance policy would help ensure business proceeds in a timely manner and help reduce the frustrations expressed by petitioners as a result of the cancellations.

Jared Heyn, assistant to the Administrator, reached out to other communities through the Wisconsin City/County Managers Association’s Peer Assistance Resource Center to help draft the policy.

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