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Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Bloomer, Wisconsin
JULY 28, 2010

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof a public hearing of the Common Council of the City of Bloomer was held on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. to hear comments for notice of complete application for and a proposed miscellaneous structure on Como Creek as it enters Lake Como.  No one spoke during the hearing.  The hearing was closed at 6:01 p.m.

Pursuant to due call and notice thereof a regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Bloomer was called to order on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 6:01 p.m. at City Hall – Mayor Summerfield presiding.   Roll call was taken:  Mayor Summerfield, Alderpersons Meinen, Hofmann, Steinmetz, Koehler, Clerk Stoik and Attorney Thiel.

All present gave pledge to the flag.

Alderperson Hofmann made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting (July 14, 2010) as presented.  Alderperson Koehler seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

Alderperson Steinmetz made a motion to approve all claims against the City & Utilities as presented.  Alderperson Meinen seconded the motion and all present voted aye.  The claims were in the amounts listed below:

Checks Numbered: 53700 - 53829
General Fund $ 100,211.45
Electric Fund $ 230,937.26
Water Fund $ 2,614.44
Sewer Fund $ 1,252.91
Payroll $ 72,417.96
TOTAL $ 407,434.02


Mayor Summerfield stated that he had a prepared statement he would like to read. This may answer some of the questions to this point.

                                                                PRESS RELEASE

Five weeks ago Preferred Sands contacted City Hall regarding purchasing property in the Industrial Park.  City Hall referred Preferred Sands to Maureen Carlson regarding its desire to buy 50 acres of land with rail access in or around the City.  Maureen Carlson is the person hired by the City to market City industrial park land.  Maureen then contacted me. 

 I met with the owners of the potential buyer, Preferred Sands, and was told the nature of their business, which is  the processing of sand purchased from local land owners for use in the oil industry  The very first hurdle I put to them was that an extremely dust intolerant business (Bloomer Plastics) is located in the north industrial park.

After talking with them about all of the needs they require regarding water, sewer, electric needs, etc., they put together a letter of intent to purchase 50 acres in the Iron Horse industrial park for $750,000.  The council met in CLOSED SESSION on July 14, 2010, to initially discuss with Preferred the nature of their operation, after which the Council continued to meet in Closed Session to preliminarily discuss development of negotiating strategy.

They presently have a facility that is currently operating outside Genoa, Nebraska.  After the council discussed its interest in bargaining with Preferred, I personally set up a meeting with the neighboring businesses to inform them of this potential neighbor.  This was not a meeting of the Common Council.  Furthermore, at the July 14 council meeting it was discussed whether the Common Council should travel to Genoa, Nebraska, to view the existing plant in operation to assist it in developing an approach to Preferred’s proposed land purchase from the City.  The next day I was contacted by Neil Lundgren, telling me he and a few people were going to fly out to the plant in Genoa, unannounced, and inviting me along.  Following the City’s Attorney’s advice, I did not go along; however, I did ask Neil if he would share his findings with the council when he returned.

On Wednesday, July 21, 2010, Neil informed me that he had made the trip, and I set up another CLOSED SESSION meeting with Neil and the council for Friday July 23, 2010, for the purpose of identifying topics for possible negotiations with Preferred.  Neil and another industrial plant owner met with us to go over their concerns about this new plant.

The council will need to make a decision tonight.  “Whether or not to engage in further negotiations toward or to enter into a land sale option agreement with Preferred Sands under which it would continue to investigate the feasibility of this company locating in Bloomer.”  Before it would be prepared to commit to selling land to Preferred, the City also needs to investigate infrastructure needs and other operational concerns.  The operation of this sand plant is relatively simple in theory.  Wet sand (sand right out of the ground) is trucked in from the excavation site and put into a pile.  The sand is then loaded into the plant where it is separated and dried.  Once the sand hits the first process, it is entirely enclosed all the way through the processing, loading onto rail cars, until delivery at some far away destination.  The only time there is sand in the open is when it is in the stockpile.  Steps are continually taken to ensure this stockpiled sand is not airborne.

I will lay out the pros and the cons as far as I see them.  Understand that most of this is economic, and please do not think that I would jeopardize either health or environment for economic reasons.

The pros:  

$18 million investment into the Iron Horse Industrial Park.  If this were assessed at 50%, which is relatively normal for industrial purposes, this would mean about $150,000 a year in property taxes to help pay the TIF.  (Presently, the TIF is falling about $200,000 short each year).

Forty (40) jobs with a $2 million annual payroll and benefits.

Additional jobs for truck drivers, earthmovers, etc., in the community.

A boost to the railroad as they would expect to send up to 40 railcars per week.

Ancillary business increases with fuel purchases, repairs, maintenance, etc.

Sale of the property will potentially facilitate a hazardous chemical cleanup on property formerly owned by the Bloomer Co-Op Feeds.

Relatively quiet operation.  The noisiest sound should be the backup alarms on the trucks.

Would be a significant user of utilities.  The more companies use, the less often rates need to be raised to residential customers.

The cons: 

Sand that is stockpiled that may cause dust issues.  (Berms would be added to protect neighbors from dust, sight, and sound.) 

Land excavating has already begun on the Sam La Gesse property, located a few miles west of the city in the Town of Cooks Valley.  This is being trucked to a plant in Woodbury, Minnesota, that should begin operation in September.  This means whether we have a plant in Bloomer or not, the excavating is still going to happen.

As with any industry that would come into our industrial parks, they need to comply with all local, state, and federal rules, via a permitting process.  With the City owning the land on which the plant is proposed to be located we have much better control over its operations.  Again, remember that if this land were owned privately, they could begin this project without any variances or conditional uses, because they meet all of the existing City zoning rules.

If we go on to the next step beyond signing an option agreement to sell the land, that will be to negotiate a developers agreement.  We need to be sure that we can supply adequate utilities.  We also need to be sure that if the taxes generated by the plant wouldn't cash flow our TIF obligations, the company would need to pay an annual fee in lieu of taxes until the TIF is paid off, etc.  The City also needs to determine what, if any, operational controls should be established to ensure that the sand plant will be a good neighbor.  If the Common Council agrees to sign an option agreement for sale of the property, I will recommend to it that it hold community-wide informational sessions at which citizen input can be solicited before the Council sits down to develop strategy for a Developer’s Agreement. 

The job of elected alderpersons includes exactly this type of involvement.  This first begins with the Mayor.  As information is brought to me regarding a prospective company to locate in Bloomer, I go through quite a check list to see if it is at all feasible.  If information that is gathered seems warranted that we could handle the company along with meeting all our ordinances, zoning, etc., it then gets put before the council with all the information I have.  The Council then decides whether or not to take official action and decides how to proceed.  If, during those negotiations, things do not come together that both parties feel mutually beneficial, it is my intent that at any time either side may “walk away.”  This is where we are today.

Tonight’s proposed closed session of the Common Council is for the purpose of deciding upon development of strategy to respond to Preferred’s proposal to locate its plant in the Iron Horse Industrial Park.  It may result in a decision of the Common Council to terminate discussions with Preferred, or it may result in communication to Preferred of the City’s bargaining position with which Preferred may agree, may possibly counter, or may cause it to walk away from a potential purchase of land from the City.

Dr. Timothy Peterson, 2200 8th Avenue requested the Council to reconsider the proposal for a sand plant in Bloomer.  He would like them to consider the health issues associated with silica sand.  They can cause damage to your lungs.  He feels winds will cause problems for everyone in Bloomer.  He spoke about how hard citizens fought this in Chippewa Falls.  He feels it is an enormous decision and that the people should be able to vote on the issue.  Fourteen years ago – the issue of fluoridation of the city waters was brought to the Council.  This issue was put to referendum to allow the citizens to decide.  He wants the Council to not make any formal agreements tonight, let the people decide. 

Dr. Albert Wankel, 2109 Regal Court agreed with what Dr. Peterson said.  He feels it’s not appropriate because of the close proximity to the schools.  He also feels the adjoining business should be considered, because there could be a loss with other businesses left.  He feels they should be extremely careful. Evaluate all the information.  Bring to a referendum to the citizens.

Bill Hable, 721 21st Avenue has worked as an engineer in the frac sand business.  He feels the mining isn’t the problem; the processing is what causes the mess.  He feels all the processing should be done at the mining site, not in the City. 

Bill Brunstad, Sales Engineer at Bloomer Plastics, Inc. spoke about the processes they use at Bloomer Plastics.  He stressed the importance of a dust free environment for their production.  They have three different production lines.  If dust gets into their product they jeopardize the quality. They currently do over 9 million in sales each year and have been in Bloomer for over 40 years. 

Dave Reischel, 1920 Chippewa Road stated that he had been watching the controversy in Chippewa Falls.  He cautioned the Council not to consider the promises of jobs.  When it first started in Chippewa Falls, they promised many jobs and now it was far from what was promised. 

Dr. Ron Peterson, 2104 9th Avenue stated that 10 years ago, the City held a referendum regarding the replacement of the dam.  DNR and Trouts Unlimited were favoring the permanent removal of the dam.  All of the facts were put before the citizens of Bloomer in a referendum and the people voted to save the dam.  He feels the people have not been informed.  He asked for all the information to come out.

Darold Schuster, 340 Burton Court questioned the number of employees at Bloomer Plastics.  It was determined they currently have 60.  He stated he had been a driving force to get Bloomer Plastics to come to Bloomer 40 years ago.  He convinced them to look at Bloomer.  He wants the Council to consider the existing businesses we have in Bloomer.

Pat Flynn, 1733 Jackson Street spoke about the need to protect Bloomer Plastics from the sand.  But he urged the Council to continue with investigation to see if the sand company could meet the regulations.  He travels much and stated that Iowa has a wide diversity of businesses in the state.  He thinks they should keep an open mind and solve issues.

Ann Peterson, 2200 8th Avenue stated that there are many citizens in Bloomer with respiratory and heart problems.  She feels a sand plant will be bad for these citizens and cause problems for them.  Please consider all of the ramifications.  She advised the Council to have a referendum.  Don’t sign anything tonight. 

Mayor Summerfield explained what process was currently in negotiations.  He stressed it was up to the Council to consider due diligence when reviewing the Letter of Intent.

Alderperson Koehler made a motion to approve informing the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources it is the intent of the City to proceed with the installation of a miscellaneous structure on Como Creek as described on an application submitted by Bloomer Lake Association.  Alderperson Steinmetz seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

The Common Council then reconsidered the denial of an operators license for Stephanie Farrington at the July 14, 2010 meeting.  Police Chief Carr explained the past convictions Ms. Farrington had received.  She also does not have a valid drivers license and has been convicted of driving after revocation.  He stated he had a problem with issuing the license to her.  He feels drugs and taverns are a bad mix.  Stephanie Farrington stated for the record that she no longer uses drugs.  She recently lost one of her part time jobs and needs to keep the job she has in Bloomer.  She no longer has a car and gets a ride to Bloomer from New Auburn when she works.  She also feels that she is under the guidelines set by the City.  Alderperson Koehler questioned when she works in Bloomer. She stated on Saturdays & Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Chief Carr recommended that if the Council were to issue the license, that at the end of her shift, she could go the Police Station and submit a PVT test. He also recommends that she agrees to no drinking at work.  Alderperson Meinen made a motion to approve issuing an operators license to Stephanie Farrington with the stipulation that she not drink on her shift and that she does a PVT test at the Police Station after her shift.  Alderperson Koehler seconded the motion and all present voted aye. Doug Conrad was present and he stated she was a good bartender.

Alderperson Meinen made a motion to approve an extension of a Class “B” Combination Beer & Liquor licensed premises, street use permit and live music & dancing license for Z-Bro, LLC – Harm’s Way on August 27, 2010 to August 29, 2010 as approved by Police Chief Carr.  Alderperson Steinmetz seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

Alderperson Koehler made a motion to approve repairs to Engine #1 & #2 for the Fire Department.  Alderperson Steinmetz seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

Alderperson Hofmann made a motion to approve repairs to the roof of the City Shop and Fire Station for $3,000 as recommended by Michael Meindel, Street, Water & Sewer Administrator. Alderperson Meinen seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

No action was taken to appoint a member to the Planning Commission.  Mayor Summerfield is looking for a citizen to fill the position.

Alderperson Koehler made a motion to approve Sue Stoik to attend the Treasurers Conference in Cable on September 22-24, 2010.  Alderperson Steinmetz seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

Alderperson Steinmetz made a motion to approve a temporary Class “B” Picnic license for Bloomer Firefighters on September 18, 2010 at the 9th Avenue Fairgrounds beer tent as approved by Police Chief Carr.  Alderperson Meinen seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

Alderperson Koehler made a motion to approve applications for licenses to serve fermented malt beverages & intoxicating liquors for the following listed below as approved by Police Chief Carr.  Alderperson Meinen seconded the motion and all present voted aye.
Eric J. Prill
Sadie A. LaGesse
Jade A. Downey
Lori A. Rubenzer


Police Chief Carr reported on plans to staff the fair for the upcoming weekend.  Willi’s RV donated the use of a camper trailer for them to use for a command center.  He also has been asked to be on the Advisory Board for West Central Regional Task Force.

Michael Meindel, Street, Water & Sewer Administrator – no comments.

Peter Paulson, Electric Administrator reported that the company was in the process of repainting the floor at the shop.


Alderperson Koehler – no comments.

Alderperson Steinmetz – no comments.

Alderperson Hofmann – no comments.

Alderperson Meinen stated that he feels that anything concerning the sand plant should go to a referendum at the November election.


Mayor Summerfield questioned if someone would be in charge of the Christmas Party this year.  Alderperson Koehler & Steinmetz volunteered to be co-chairs.

Attorney Thiel stated for the record the following:  Section 19.85(1) (e), Wis. Stats., authorizes the Common Council to adjourn into closed session “whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session” to discuss and deliberate, as in this instance, the possible sale of City-owned property.  What is before the Common Council tonight does not involve “competition”.  The City is not in competition with any other municipality seeking to sell land to Preferred Sands.  Instead, the focus of this proposed closed session is solely upon the development of bargaining strategy – to determine whether the Common Council wishes to proceed to enter into an option agreement to sell land to Preferred and, if so, subject to what terms and conditions.  It is because the matter of potentially selling land to Preferred is not as simple as deciding whether or not to sell and at what price, that this closed session is warranted, for if the Common Council met to develop strategy in open session, Preferred could sit in on the meeting, much as could any other interested person (department heads).  For the reason that in the process of formulating its bargaining strategy the Common Council does not wish to reveal itself to the proposed purchaser and compromise its bargaining position, the closed session will enable it to logically and in an orderly manner determine to either drop negotiations or to continue them and, if so, upon what basis, the closed session is deemed to be of importance.  Although representatives of Preferred may be invited into a portion of the closed session, if they are, it will be only for the purpose of soliciting information from them relevant to development of bargaining strategy by the Common Council and after such information is provided; its representatives will be asked to leave the Council chambers.  The City Attorney will attend the closed session to provide advice and counsel as to strategy development.  Additionally, members of City staff will be present to answer questions of the Common Council to assist it in the process.

Alderperson Steinmetz made a motion to go into closed session under Wis. Stats. 19.85 (1) (e) as read by Mayor Summerfield. Alderperson Hofmann seconded the motion and a roll call was taken:  Alderperson Meinen, aye; Hofmann, aye; Steinmetz, aye; Koehler, aye.

Alderperson Meinen made a motion to come out of closed session and report on action taken.  Alderperson Koehler seconded the motion and all present voted aye.  Mayor Summerfield stated that in the closed session, there were two items for consideration.  The item “discussion and action regarding a previous development contract” was not discussed in closed session. 

Alderperson Meinen made a motion to end negotiations with Preferred Sands for sale of industrial park lands.  Alderperson Koehler seconded the motion. Roll call vote:  Alderperson Meinen, aye; Hofmann, aye; Steinmetz, aye; Koehler, aye.

Alderperson Hofmann made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Alderperson Koehler seconded the motion and all present voted aye.

Sue A. Stoik, CMC/WCMC
City Clerk

  City of Bloomer
1503 Main Street
Bloomer, WI 54724
Phone: 715-568-3032
Email Us: sstoik@ci.bloomer.wi.us
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