Chairman Darrel Fehr called the meeting to order on March 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm. The supervisors present were David Clements and Matt Borofka. Other officers present were: Victoria Trinko-clerk and Judith A. Prince-treasurer. See attached attendance sheet.
Recitation of Pledge of Allegiance by delegation present.
Certification of proper posting for the scheduled town board meeting: The notice for the March town board meeting was duly posted on March 9, 2016 in the 3 designated places within the Town of Cooks Valley.
Public Comment: Matt Hartman announced he is running for office on the Chippewa County board for District 3 on April 5, 2016. He has lived in Chippewa County all his life and worked for the Chippewa County Highway Dept. until last year. He is running for the county board to increase transparency. He feels there are too many secret and closed sessions with limited information given to the county board. He thanked the board for their attention and encouraged residents to vote in the April 5, 2016 Spring Election. Judy Prince reported she has been contacted about the big pot holes in need of repair on 55th Street by Linda McCluskey’s residence.
Darrel Fehr made a motion to move item 10 to item 5. David Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Presentation by Seth Ebal-Chippewa County Land Conservation: Dan Masterpole, Director of the Land Conservation office, made a presentation concerning the silica sand mining in Cooks Valley. Western Chippewa County/Cooks Valley has the LaGesse Mine, Buchner mine, Rogge mine, Dennis Schindler mine and PurFrac mine that are permitted or have applied for a permit. Sand in this area is the best quality silica sand and is desirable even with the cost of transportation. As this industry is dependent upon market demand, the county is anticipating a lull in the operations. All except Chippewa Sands shut down early in the summer of 2015. All the mines, except EOG [Dennis Schindler mine], have high capacity wells. All have well monitoring networks to record the level of ground water and also monitor ground water flow. In water chemistry testing, EOG is doing extensive testing with Preferred testing polyacrylymide only. Chippewa Sands does no monitoring as their water storage ponds are lined. Preferred Sands keeps all the water within the mine so there is no water discharge. Chippewa Sands has had minor water discharge off the disturbed areas but mostly off the bluff. EOG had to upgrade their pond water retention due to the water discharge into 18 Mile Creek. The mines are using rain water as washing water so they are using less water than expected, in a shorter period of time. Mount Simon is a level of deep sandstone into which the high capacity wells are drilled. The monitoring wells are in the Tunnel City level where the ground level water is located and residential wells are located. There was discussion of the merits of locating the monitoring well levels are in the Tunnel City level rather than the Mount Simon level where the high capacity wells are located. The water chemistry composition in the Tunnel City is being monitored. Companies report the monitoring with the county filing the chemical testing and keeping a data base. UW-RF is working with Superior Silica on a reclamation demonstration site to reclaim the top soil in regard to machine costs and the type of planting. The demonstration site was seeded to a pasture in 2014 and in 2015 it was planted into a prairie. There was a comparison of the composition of the soil in the sand mines demonstration plots and the composition of the soil in the mine that has not been disturbed. The county is tabulating the cost of having the land contoured and reclaimed as mines have not been putting the soil back but mostly mining. The county now needs to recalculate the cost of reclamation in terms of recontouring and insurance and demand a higher bond amount for reclamation. Question: what if the mines don’t agree with it? Dan Masterpole stated they have to agree with it. Preferred Sands cancelled the mine on STH 64 due to financing so Dan Masterpole felt sand mines are keeping their financial costs manageable. There was successful prairie planting. The pasture seeding was a marginal success and reseeding had to be done. It takes additional shifts and equipment to do the synchronized movement of soil and accomplishment of contouring plus reseeding to complete reclamation. The county and mine companies in conjunction with UW-RF realized the need to do the reclamation in plots of 2-3 acres rather than larger plots. The county would like to begin working with Chippewa Sands in the next 3 years on reclamation and transfer the information garnered from Superior Silica’s experimentation on planting to the other mines for success in reclamation. PurFrac has filed a reclamation plan application and the public hearing is scheduled for April 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Chippewa County Courthouse. Approximately 800 acres is included in the reclamation application permit with drainage to the east and west. The plan is to do mining in sections with reclamation to wildlife areas and pasture. PurFrac took into account the Albertville mine comments and are using best practices for their mine. There will be a presentation sponsored by Chippewa County at the Bloomer Middle school on April 20, 2016, with an open house on 5:00 and the presentation 7:00 pm on the silica sand mine operations, wells and monitoring. Wisconsin Geologic and Natural History Survey have completed the model for contours and well location with water monitoring. This summer they will be upgrading the testing in conjunction with UW-Stevens Point of domestic wells. USGS sensors are placed on a well with sonar into the well and automating ground water level as a new measure of monitoring ground water level.
Approval of the February 8, 2016 regular monthly town board meeting minutes: Darrel Fehr made a motion to approve and place on file the February 8, 2016 regular monthly town board meeting minutes with a change in the financial report. Matt Borofka seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Reading by the Treasurer of the February financial report: The ending check book balance was $163,481.19 as of February 29, 2016. The total cash assets for the Town of Cooks Valley were $329,893.74. Checks for fire suppression and insurance refund will be deposited by the town treasurer.
Reading and approval of the February bills: David Clements made a motion to approve payment of the February bills. Matt Borofka seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Building permits: There were no requests for building permits.
Discussion and possible action pertaining to the plan commission: no action taken.
Discussion and possible approval of operator license application. Darrel Fehr made a motion to approve Ryan Lang’s operators license application for the Bloomer Rod & Club. Matt Borofka seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Chairman’s report: – Fire Dept. no fire or ambulance calls for the Town of Cooks Valley. Chippewa County recycling has again contacted the Town of Cooks Valley concerning the cleaning of ditches with reimbursement from the county. Darrel Fehr contacted the Bloomer Wrestling Club and the ATV club. Both clubs are interested in the ditch cleaning project. Mine roads: Darrel Fehr submitted the air monitoring report from Dr. Crispin Pierce. This report will be posted on the Town of Cooks Valley website. Kevin Zwiefelhofer is pursuing the problem of calcium deposits in his well and will be consulting with EOG.
Dissemination of Information-Clerk’s report: The Town of Cooks Valley had 79 voters at the February primary election for an 18.6% voter turnout. This percentage was above the state level of 15.2 %. A Spring Election will take place on April 5, 2016. This election will include voting for presidential preference, Supreme Court justice, county board, school districts, and referendum. Exercise your right to vote so a select few are not choosing your officials. A photo ID will be required before the issuance of a ballot. Absentee voting/ballots are available upon request. Please contact the town clerk if you are unable to vote on Election Day and would like an absentee ballot.
Future agenda items and business:
Pledge of allegiance, Discussion and possible action on budget categories, Building permits, on concerns pertaining to the Plan commission, Chairman’s report, Dissemination of information, future agenda items and business. Next regular board meeting will be April 11, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. Future meetings in April: EOG permit review, road review, annual meeting-April 19, 2016
Adjourn: Darrel Fehr made a motion to adjourn at 9:09 pm. David Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Typed: March 19, 2016 Respectfully Submitted,
Approved: April 11, 2016 Victoria Trinko-town clerk