For several months there has been visible tension between the Coon Valley Village Board and several community members attending the monthly village board meetings.
Rick Stegen, a member of the Coon Valley Industrial Park Board and the former village board president, said he is frustrated with the continual tabling of agenda items. He said after the October meeting that delays, especially in regards to ongoing industrial land development purchases, was frustrating for committee members and the people looking to move forward with business deals.
For example, Stegen said a lot of preparation was put into a contract with the owners of Mt. Borah (Jackson Holdings, who changed its name to Ardent Trails, LLC) in regards to the sale of an additional 7.32 acres of vacant land in the Coon Valley Industrial Park where the current business is located. The land was sold with a price tag of $3,000 per acre and requires the land owners to begin development on the property within one year of purchase.
For the past three months the village board tabled the development agreement after some board members questioned verbiage in the contract, even though it had already been approved by the Coon Valley Industrial Park Board and reviewed by legal counsel.
At the October meeting Stegen said he felt the village board tabled the development contract after being influenced by comments from Attorney Phillip Addis who attended the board meeting on a separate agenda item. Stegen said Addis had no right to comment on the development agreement and that the village board should be adhering to advice from its own legal counsel, Attorney Patrick Houlihan, whose services they already pay for. The final contract with Mt. Borah was approved during a special meeting later in October.
The village of Coon Valley is toying with the idea of replacing current Attorney Patrick Houlihan of La Crosse. Houlihan has been with the Coon Valley for years and charges $125 per hour.
Attorney Phillip Addis attended the October meeting to promote his past and present experience as a municipal attorney. Addis charges $145 per hour for his services.
Addis currently represents the Coon Creek Fire Association so in the event an issue developed between the village of Coon Valley and the Coon Creek Fire Association he would need to recuse himself to avoid a conflict of interest. He suggested working for the village on an “as needed basis” retainer contract
The village tabled the agenda item until they have time to research other comparable attorney fees.
In other business:
The village board approved its portion of the Coon Creek Fire Commission 2018 budget at a cost of $31,679. The amount is slightly less than in 2017 ($32,327).
The senior citizen picnic in the Coon Valley Village Hall will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11. Seniors planning to attend should contact the village office at (608) 452-3168 to get registered. There is also a signup sheet on the village office counter.
The village retained the services of Mike Schedivy of Coon Valley to cut down boulevard ash trees at a cost of $50 per hour, with village employees cutting up the downed trees into firewood and cleaning up the debris.
The next village board meeting is scheduled in the Coon Valley Village Hall meeting room at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Nov. 14.