Legal issues took center stage at the Bainbridge Town Council meeting, forcing the board to further postpone a contentious ATV ordinance in the absence of legal council.
Laurie Hardwick, the former town attorney, stepped down during board's final meeting of 2007. Though her position has yet to be filled the board plans to interview candidates and make a decision before they reconvene in February.
In the absence of legal council, the board tabled Ordinance 2008-1 in order to have a new attorney make adjustments to the language. Changes to the ordinance will be geared at avoiding confusion regarding the use of ATV's on highways both inside and outside of the town of Bainbridge and setting higher fines for violating the ordinance. Currently, fines for a town ordinance violation are set at $50. After much discussion, the council resolved to set fines at $250 for the first ATV ordinance violation and $500 for each additional violation. A new version of the ordinance will be presented for 1st reading at a future council meeting.
In other business:
* The council elected Richard Cope as the new council president and Naomi Barker as vice president. New Bainbridge Town Council member Bonnie Osborn was appointed to the town's planning commission, replacing Michael Smith who took over a citizen spot on the planning commission after finishing his term on the town council.
* The council adopted ordinance 2008-2, which was a language change to commercial electrical rates and charges.
* The park board reported that their five year plan had been submitted to the DNR for approval.
* Utility Superintendent Jim Nelson reported that there had been a few water leaks in the town of Bainbridge, but all were fixed without major incident. He also reported that pipes had frozen and burst in a local barn eventually leaking 45,000 gallons of water over a three-day period. Nelson was also commended for notifying a seasonal resident that his furnace was out after reading the resident's gas meter. His notification prevented the resident's pipes from freezing and causing possible damage when the water was turned on in the spring.
* Town Marshall Ronnie Fenwick submitted his end of the year report to the board. Fenwick also reported that he will be able to return to active duty, after undergoing heart surgery, by Feb. 1. He will have some activity restrictions, including a ban on heavy lifting, until March 1.
* Clerk-Treasurer Jason Hartman reported that he is scouting possible locations for a recycling center and will report back on the issue if a future meeting. He will also work to refine a possible job description for a future part-time town employee and present it to the council at a future council meeting. A salary for that potential employee was factored into the 2008 budget.
* A copy of all ordinances for the town of Bainbridge are now available at www.townofbain bridge.com.