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Rushford Village Mayor Schwanke resigns; city recaps plans moving forward

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, May 16th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Government

To the surprise of many, Rushford Village Mayor Dale Schwanke resigned his post as mayor, effective June 3, following a decision to relocate to northern Wisconsin. Until that date, Schwanke and the council are reviewing current goals and plans. “We have things to take a look at and see how you want to proceed moving forward,” noted Schwanke at the May 13 meeting.

Once Schwanke officially steps down, mayor pro-tem Gordon Johnson will step up to the role. The council vacancy will be filled by council appointment. It has been noted that interested persons should send a letter of interest to the city for review.

Several projects are up in the air for the city, with or without Schwanke’s exit. While the city had made strides forward in a street evaluation and maintenance plans, a recent petition shot down the city’s hopes of a 10-year street maintenance plan. Due to the petition, the city must put the project on the back burner for the period of one-year.

“I have a feeling that some of them didn’t have a clue what they were signing,” noted Johnson of the petition. “Only one on the petition had been to any of the meetings. I think it’s like playing telephone. Someone tells someone a story and by the time it gets back to you, it’s not the same story. I’m really disappointed in the whole process. If we really want services and want to have roads, who is going to pay for it? We haven’t looked at these things just to make people pay.”

There is funding in the current budget for the city to do some of the maintenance that was deemed necessary by the road condition study, but what will be a priority remains to be determined. Included in discussion was Aspen Road and Toof Lane, which includes bridge work mandated by the county and potential sealcoating on some roads. Cost estimates are still to be seen.

Other city Maintenance/Public Works projects will also have to take a backseat with restricted funding. A punchlist created by Public Works Director Bob Thieret is being revised. It was suggested the list be itemized by first, second, and third priority, as well as those having potential funding sources elsewhere noted. The projects will come before the council at the next meeting for review.

The council will meet Tuesday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. for a scheduled road tour. The council meeting will follow at 7 p.m., at city hall.

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