The Board recognizes the services of Don Stirling and appoints a new member


CRAWFORD COUNTY — The Crawford County Board of Directors passed a resolution at its Feb. 21 meeting recognizing the services of the late Supervisor Don Stirling.

At the same meeting, the Board confirmed the appointment of Gays Mills resident Craig Anderson to the remainder of Stirling’s tenure on the Board.

The resolution honoring Stirling’s services, passed by the Board, reads as follows:

The Crawford County Board of Supervisors held a Judicial Session this February 21, 2023 to honor Donald Lee Stirling.

WHEREAS Donald Lee Stirling, County Board Supervisor, passed away on January 1, 2023; And

WHEREAS Donald Lee Stirling was duly elected and sworn into the Crawford County Board of Supervisors District #10 on April 19, 2016; And

WHILE we are deeply saddened by the loss of this dedicated officer who served in Crawford County for six years and has chaired many different county committees including Agriculture and Fairness, Aging and Disability Resources, Health and Public Safety. Don took great pride in representing the Driftless Area and was very active in implementing broadband access for the entire district.

IT IS NOW RESOLVED, THEREFORE, that this Board commend the life and public service of Donald Lee Stirling as a worthy example of good citizenship; And

RESOLVE that the members of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors express their regret at the death of Donald Lee Stirling and offer their heartfelt condolences to the members of his family.

ARE ALSO RESOLVED that this resolution be set forth in detail in the minutes of this meeting and that a copy of Donald Lee Stirling’s family, duly certified with the signatures of the Crawford County Board of Supervisors, be provided.

District 10’s new supervisor, Craig Anderson, was sworn in by County Clerk Robin Fisher and introduced himself briefly to the board.

“I’ve lived in the Village of Gays Mills for 20 years, am a past president of the village and previously ran a real estate business there,” Anderson said. “I also owned the Hotel Fortney in Viroqua for 14 years, before that I lived in Minnesota where I worked as a social worker and urban planner.”

Tax-Defaulting Lands

Crawford County Treasurer Deanne Lutz asked the board to approve a list of tax delinquent properties that would be acquired by the county through a court proceeding and then sold to recover unpaid taxes on the properties.

Supervisor Mary Kuhn commented that the Gays Mills Meat Locker and Red Apple Inn properties had been added to the list and asked if they could be sold given their floodplain location.

Lutz replied that they could be sold under full disclosure and that the buyer would assume all responsibility for a property in the floodplain.

“It’s not worth acquiring the properties and trying to sell them if they’ll just get convicted,” Supervisor Gerald Krachey said. “The county will likely have to deal with the DNR on this.”

Supervisor Craig Anderson asked Lutz if the county failed to recover overdue taxes when the properties were auctioned off. Are the former owners still responsible for the unpaid taxes?

Lutz replied that this was not the case.

The board voted to approve the submitted list of tax delinquent properties.

Septic Compliance

Crawford County Conservation Director Dave Troester reported to the board of directors on the progress his department has made to bring all of the county’s septic systems into compliance with state law.

“The county board amended the ordinance regulating sewage treatment plants in 2018 to require all sewage treatment plants in the county to be inspected every three years,” Troester said. “In initiating the change, we gave all sewage treatment plant owners in the county until 2021 to receive the inspection and file a report.”

Troester said his department realized in the summer of 2021 that too many systems were still not compliant and extended the deadline to 2022. He said the department decided to tackle the problem in thirds spread over three years.

“In May 2022, we sent letters to 1,187 people with a deadline of August 31 to have their systems checked,” Troester said. “By the end of July we still hadn’t heard from 900 of these people so we sent another letter telling them they had to put themselves on a list with a tanker for an inspection or they would be fined a late fee of $100 plus charged court fees.”

After the deadline, we still had 150 who hadn’t reached out to us or contacted us, and we gave them another month to get on a pumper list before paying them a $100 late fee imposed.

“In the end, we sent subpoenas to 54 of the 1,187 people, with two court dates scheduled for February 2023,” Troester said. “Prior to this data, we have found that 23 are ‘in process’, 18 have been dismissed by the court and 13 have been ordered by the court to pay the late payment fee.”

Troester said another batch of 1,250 sewage treatment plant owners will go through the same process in 2023, and then the final batch in 2024.

“We’re trying to work with people,” Troester said. “That is our goal.”

In other shops

In other business, the Board has:

• Heard from a representative of Congressman Derrick Van Orden’s office that he would be announcing mobile office hours in his district in the next few weeks

• Passed a resolution urging the state of Wisconsin to revert to the 1969 formula for real estate transfer fees, which paid 50 percent of the fees to the state, as opposed to the 80 percent now required by WisStat 77.24

• Heard that five new defendants, including Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies, have been added to the opioid litigation settlement, which means more funds will be available from them and the county will have to sign documents to gain access to those funds receive.

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