After the resignation of the former chairman, Doug Schmidt in January, some changes were made in the current Osceola town board - and more have followed. With Mike Wallis as current chairman, Brandon Whittaker as supervisor and Warren Johnson as interim supervisor, the board discussed potential changes to the plan commission, ethics committee and the upcoming spring election.
Among the changes under the current board members is the intended temporary dissolving of the Planning Commission. Whittaker proposed this item in hopes that former issues with the planning commission could be evaluated during its hiatus, and that decisions could be made after the incoming board is seated after the spring election.
“I just want to be clear that I am not against the planning commission,” Whittaker said, “What I want to do is abolish it … evaluate all of the duties and then recreate the planning commission and be sure that everyone knows what their duties are...whether it’s this board, or the new five person board we can restart it after we discuss job duties, how many members, who is going to be on it, etc.”
“If it’s for three or four months, that’s a doable process,” said Johnson. “More people should think about how their plan commissions operate and work.” With that, Whittaker motioned to do away with the planning commission until there is a new board after the spring election. After a second from Johnson, Wallis followed with some discussion.
“I just want to emphasize that the planning commission is needed for the consideration of all plats,” he said. “We cannot do that without one. Our subdivision ordinance would be ineffective. It’s needed for the town to have a say in the location, acceptance or operation of any road.” Despite Wallis listing other potential issues, the motion passed with a 2-1 vote in favor of dissolving the plan commission.
When discussing future agenda items, Whittaker also requested that the potential dissolving of the ethics committee be placed on the agenda for the March board meeting. Whittaker stated the same general ideas as was discussed and acted upon for the planning commission to be placed on the ethics committee until a new board is elected.
The board is also in the process of seeking out a new town attorney after the retirement of their previous attorney. While Whittaker recommended that Adam Jarchow be appointed, the board decided to bid out the position in hopes of finding the best attorney for the town.
Though the agenda had a swearing in of a new town clerk, the board is still looking for a new clerk after circumstances changed for their planned hire. Anyone interested in the position can contact the Osceola Office and Public Works 715-755-3060
After a letter from the board was sent to Polk County Supervisors in support of a multi-use Stower Trail, the county has requested clarification from the town. This item is intended for next month’s agenda.
Also on next month’s agenda is the Jake brake issue in the town. According to Whittaker further clarification is necessary before making any final decisions on the issue.