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Village Pay Plan Presented at Board Meeting

CROSS PLAINS–Taking a “first stab” at creating a village employee compensation plan that offers a competitive starting wage and a progressive wage scale received an initial airing Monday before the village board.

Like other employers, the village has found competing for new hires increasingly expensive as job seekers know it’s a sellers’ market these days. Even job candidates without work experience ask for pay at the top of the scale and the maximum amount of vacation.

That also increases the financial pressure on the village to keep its continuing employees who don’t want their wages eclipsed by the newly hired.

The proposed pay plan increases base wages by 30 percent from year two to year 18 of an employee’s tenure, which Village President Jay Lengfeld called, “very generous.”

“It seems like a longevity increase, which most are half of that,” he said.

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CP Library Director, Police Lieutenant Retire

CROSS PLAINS–Cross Plains’ library director and police lieutenant are retiring after decades of service to the village.

Pamela Bosben’s association with the library extends 46 years to when she was a high school library page working under then director Rosemary Garfoot, for whom the library later would be named.

After high school, Bosben became assistant director and succeeded Garfoot in 1991 when the latter became ill.

For the next 32 years, Bosben ensured that the library gave access to materials in a variety of formats to meet the educational, recreational and informational needs of the patrons, according to the resolution of recognition Village Administrator Brian Mooney read during the May 22 village board meeting.

She encouraged promotion of the library as a “living laboratory” for learning and boosted the collection of environmental and ecological materials to teach future generations about resource conservation.

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CP Pool Consultants Hired, Wellness Center Discussed

CROSS PLAINS–The Village Board hired consultants to determine the cost to repair or replace the Cross Plains outdoor swimming pool, after a thorough debate Monday on the scope of task.

Village President Jay Lengfeld contended that it was “too early” to pay anyone to estimate the cost of a new pool before knowing the price of renovating the existing pool.

“I just think we’re pushing it. If it costs $250,000 or $300,000 to fix the pool, would we need a new one?” he asked.

It’s also rushing a project for which there is no plan in place to fund or is included in the current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is the village’s blueprint for major projects, he added.

Replacing the 54-year-old pool had been included in the CIP as a $5 million item slated for 2026, but it was removed when the board approved revisions to the CIP last September.

“I have no say on what goes in (the CIP),” Lengfeld said.

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County to Vote on Jail Consolidation Project

DANE COUNTY–The Dane County Supervisors are poised to vote on the construction of a new Dane County Jail at their meeting on April 20.

The board will vote on resolutions that would approve additional funding for the project without a referendum or additional taxes to residents. 2022 RES-287 would allow the board to funnel leftover funds from the Terminal 19 Modernization project ($3,359,1130) and the CNG Trailer project ($6,598,000) into the jail budget. 2023 RES-13 would increase the budget amount by $13.5 million for general obligation bonds.

In a memo to the board on March 27, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi urged supervisors to vote for the resolutions to get construction started on the project which the board has discussed since the 1990s. At that time the board heard plans for adding on to the existing jail. Since then, little has been done to update the facility, making for sometimes unsafe conditions for residents and staff.

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Job Market Woes Hit Cross Plains

CROSS PLAINS–Like most public and private sector employers, the Village of Cross Plains is dealing with an increasingly costly and tight labor market.

Replacing a program coordinator in the Parks and Recreational Department drew few applicants, including one with little job experience but insisted getting paid at the top of the salary range and five weeks’ vacation.

“I don’t even get five weeks’ vacation, and I’ve been here 16 years,” Mike Axon, Parks and Recreation director, told the village board last month.

The board told him to widen the candidate search area to include Illinois in hopes of getting an applicant who will work for what the village pays.

Village President Jay Lengfeld acknowledged that it’s a buyers’ market for job candidates as municipal positions can go unfilled or have become more expensive to staff.

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America’s Best Restaurants Films at Vessel Cafe In Cross Plains

CROSS PLAINS–A popular Cross Plains eatery hosted a film crew on March 22 when America’s Best Restaurants (ABR) stopped by to feature The Vessel Café. 

Owners Shaun and Krystal Williams applied to be on the show, which is streamed on the ABR website, and said they expect the segment to be released in about 6-8 weeks. 

The restaurant features breakfast and lunch items as well as baked goods and opened in 2021. 

“When we meet with them for our first interview, we were very nervous to see if we would be chosen and when we told them our history and where we got our recipes from, I think we sealed the deal!” said the Williams’.

The show filmed from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and residents from the community came out to show their support for the restaurant, filling the space to enjoy a pastry or breakfast at the family run business.

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Village Looks at Transportation Utility Fee

CROSS PLAINS–Looking for a method to raise more revenue without it affecting the levy limit, the Cross Plains Village Board wants to further study establishing a transportation utility fee (TUF).

Some board members appeared to favor a TUF over a wheel tax for its potential to raise more money and involve every property owner not just residents who own vehicles.

Finance Director Bobbi Zauner said at Monday’s board meeting that the idea of a TUF comes from the perspective that streets should be funded by users like a water or sewer utility.

Regardless of the method chosen, residents would pay but Village President Jay Lengfeld said that a TUF would be fairer because it captures revenue from schools, churches and other tax-exempt property owners.

“Those not paying property taxes would pay for roads to some extent,” he said.

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Unopposed Elections and Dane County Referendum Questions on Ballots

Unopposed Elections and Dane County Referendum Questions on Ballots

By Michelle Phillips

Several of the towns and villages in the Times-Tribune readership area will have candidates running unopposed in the upcoming Spring Election, April 4. 

In addition, two Dance County referendum questions will be included on the ballot. 

The questions read as follows:

Dane County Redistricting Referendum

Question #1: Should the Wisconsin Constitution be amended to require a nonpartisan system for redistricting legislative and congressional districts in the state?

Dane County Right to Privacy Referendum

Question #2: Should the Wisconsin Legislature adopt an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution creating a new right to privacy that would protect rights such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and interracial marriage?

Two judicial seats are up for grabs, and both candidates are running unopposed. 

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Disturbance Closes Town Hall but Doesn't Warrant Injunction

MADISON–A Dane County judge Friday refused to grant the Town of Middleton an injunction against a resident who caused town hall to close for two days after he harassed staff about snow plowing.

Town hall closed on Jan. 18 and 19, after Samuel A. Roessler, 42, yelled profanities at Town Treasurer Megan Hughes and Town Clerk Barbara Roesslein about damage made to his lawn by a snowplow driver.

“He repeatedly told (Hughes) that he was tired of the f-ing snowplow plowing snow into his year and f-ing destroying his yard,” Town Attorney Eileen Brownlee wrote in a petition for an injunction.

Hughes testified Friday that Roessler was “swearing every other word,” during their encounter. She also said that Roessler refused her requests to “calm down,” and continued to “pace and swear…I was intimidated by this.”

When Roessler also refused Hughes request to leave, she went downstairs to the Dane County Sheriff’s West Precinct office to summon help.

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CP Police Busier Than Ever

CROSS PLAINS–The Cross Plains Police Department continues to set new records for service calls, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Police Chief Tony Ruesga Jr. told the village board Monday.

For instance, checking on property while the owner is on vacation, jumped from 328 in 2019 to 585 last year; checking on business properties also increased from 59 to 109 in the same time period, according to department statistics.

“A lot of it has to do with our proactive law enforcement,” and more effective community policing, said Ruesga, who became the village’s police chief in 2020.

Other increases are due to a change in enforcement emphasis. In 2019, only two cases of open or unlocked doors were recorded and that has since increased to 77.

“That’s just a matter of not checking,” he said.

Requests for information also leaped from 14 in 2019 to 185 last year, another sign that the department is providing more service in general.


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