Council tables decision for legal gap coverage
By Lori C. Adler, Reporter
The Rhinelander City Council met Monday and spent a good deal of time discussing Mayor Chris Frederickson’s proposal for legal counsel coverage after city attorney Carrie Miljevich’s contract term ends, should it be needed. The proposal sparked debate among council members.
The mayor presented an expanded contract of services with von Briesen & Roper, a legal services company with a large pool of lawyers and with whom the city already has a business relationship. The contract would provide interim municipality legal services should there be a gap between when Miljevich‘s term ends in approximately 50 days and a new city attorney would begin. Though a motion to approve was voiced, a few council members expressed concerns over the clarity of the contract. Alderperson Dawn Rog questioned the exact nature of services already provided by von Briesen. There was also discussion about the $275 per hour cost of the services (versus the $140 per hour for services von Briesen already provides) and where that would fit into the city’s budget. In general, however, issues centered mainly around the contract not listing a date as to when the additional services would be needed and the scope of the services to be provided. After much discussion, the original motion to approve was rescinded, and a new motion to table the topic was made. The mayor agreed to request an updated contract from von Briesen addressing the date and scope issues and present a new document for approval at a future meeting.
Golf Course improvements
The council considered several improvements to Northwood Golf Course. Four bids for replacement of the heating and cooling system were received, and the contract was awarded to Dahlquist Heating and Cooling of Rhinelander. Other upgrades include 10 new golf carts from Meyer Yamaha of Ishpeming, Mich. Twenty old carts would be traded in to keep costs down. The golf course would also like to purchase a new beverage cart, which would have a larger capacity than their current one and could provide more revenue. However, the cost for the beverage cart, which will also come from Meyer Yamaha, was not included in the golf cart quote so the council requested a separate quote be obtained and presented at a future meeting.
In addition to these improvements, a new fairway mower requested. The money has been placed in the budget and then removed for other expenditures annually since 2016; the mower, which is 17 years old, has yet to be replaced. Since a new mower will cost approximately $60,000, and funding this is not possible with the current budget, the golf course would like to purchase a used mower, costing approximately $15,500. Though the mower is a 2008 model, it is estimated to last 5-10 years. The carts will be financed, and those monthly costs, along with the other upgrades, are expected to be absorbed by the golf course’s operating budget. The council approved all these improvements.
DRI request for landscape maintenance services
Downtown Rhinelander, Inc., put a request into the city to aid in the maintenance and watering of the flower beds, trees and over 130 hanging baskets in the downtown area at a cost of $6,000.
Public Works Director Tim Kingman said his staff could handle the additional labor and any additional equipment needed could be absorbed in his budget. The council approved this request by DRI with labor and expenditures coming from Public Works.