LAKE MILLS — The Town of Lake Mills Board of Supervisors will speak with its attorney after receiving a counter-offer from Daybreak Foods Thursday for the funds earmarked for reconstructing Crossman Road.
The money is in exchange for the privilege to put up an over-the-road feed conveyor.
During a meeting last week, Daybreak offered the board $250,000, the amount the board was seeking, with the stipulation that if the town would refund the money were it ever to say the conveyor needed to come down.
The refund stipulation is included “in the event the privilege would ever be revoked,” said Rick Roedl, capital projects manager at Daybreak Foods. “We would be looking for a full refund of any of the money we provide to be given the privilege. It’s a give-and-take relationship and we feel to be able to do something with the road is good for the community. Traffic will increase and, if we don’t do this conveyor, traffic will increase even more.”
Daybreak officials say they want to install the conveyor for safety.
“It works to our advantage because it reduces the cost of our operation, but it also keeps (Daybreak truck) traffic off the road and environmentally, it’s much better and it’s just a better approach, using technology to do a better thing,” Roedl said.
The conveyor helps with biosecurity on the site, he pointed out.
“The conveyor keeps the feed mill site substantially away from the layer houses and the pullet houses,” Roedl said.
“The only issue I see right now is the state can demand it to be taken down,” Jim Heinz, supervisor said of the conveyer. “If the state demanded it, would the town still be responsible to pay the $250,000?”
Roedl said that. were the state to demand that the conveyor be taken down, Daybreak would not hold the Town responsible.
“We would need to insert something that would release that pressure,” town Chairperson Hope Oostdik said. “If we’ve already spent the $250,000 to repair the road, where are we going to get the $250,000?”
Roedl said Daybreak isn’t looking for a guarantee.
“We are looking for a reciprocal act in this process,” he said.
He said that if Daybreak was not maintaining the conveyor or broke some kind of law, the town would not be expected to pay Daybreak.
“If we don’t do that properly, this wouldn’t apply,” he said.
Town Clerk Robin Untz said the language in the resolution would need to reflect that.
“What if you change the terminology to ‘if it is required to be moved without a reason,’ if the new board comes in and just says they don’t want it there,” asked Supervisor Dave Schroeder.
Mike Hellekson, who lives near Daybreak Foods, suggested the board consider and scale to the period of time the company is paying for the privilege of having the conveyor there.
“There is still going to be truck traffic, more truck traffic (if the conveyor is taken down),” said Dan Weger. “I don’t understand why anyone would hold the conveyor approval over Daybreak paying for the road. Daybreak should pay for the road because it is Daybreak, at the end of the day, that is using that road for their purpose. We are using IT for our purpose and we are paying for it. We shouldn’t have to pay for Daybreak.”
“I think scheduling this over a 20-year period is a good suggestion,” Heinz said. “You do have use of it. On year five, it’s not really worth $250,000 anymore.”
There also is the possibility the Town could get the 90/10 grant through the state, it was noted.
“If you get that, good for you,” Roedl said. “We wouldn’t expect anything back.”
The grant the town is looking at applying for has $75 million available, but it covers a lot of options other than just roadwork.
“I think we need to have our attorney and engineer take a look at this and I’m going to go forward on pursuing the MLS grant,” Oostdik said.
Roedl said the life of Daybreak’s conveyor and new buildings is 50 years.
“That would be our goal too: build that road for 50 years,” Oostdik said.
Meanwhile, community members in attendance indicated they are not satisfied with the progress Daybreak has made in the issues they say have ruined their summer.
“No one from the board has ever come out to our property to experience the disasters we’ve been experiencing,” Hellekson said. “We’ve been fighting the (fan) noise issues.”
Hellekson said that in his neighbor’s yard, the noise decibel reading is over 100 and in his yard, it’s 65.
“You are putting these contingencies in; why can’t we address the noise problem? This is a very real issue for the neighbors. Address it. Make them fulfill their promises,” he told the board.
Weger said, “We’ve had our summer ruined by those fans pointed directly at our house. We get no response from Daybreak or the board.”
He continued, “I see dollar signs in your eyes for the road. You are going to sell your soul, my soul for that conveyor, and that’s BS. No one is listening to the people in the community.”
Board members said Daybreak has addressed the issues of the feathers and noise.
“We, at the last board meeting, read into the record the noise and acoustical evaluation that was done,” Oostdik said. “In that letter, it was addressed: the noise level was 45 decibels. I don’t know where you are getting your decibel levels from.”
Hellekson and Weger indicated that they did not agree that the noise levels are within a normal standard.
The board will discuss the conveyor privilege at its next meeting, set Oct. 6.