Oak Creek Oak Creek Town Board members say they want to get serious about enforcing land-use and town codes and about citing residents who don't comply.
At their meeting Thursday night, board members penalized Oak Creek resident Tony Morgan for violating the town's land-use codes by moving a new trailer home onto the lot where his old trailer home sat without approval from the Oak Creek Planning Commission or Town Board.
Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman told the board that action had to be taken because Morgan's neighbors were complaining about the violation.
"He didn't talk to us. He didn't talk to the building department. He didn't do anything," she said. "Then we start getting the inevitable calls from people asking us, 'What's he doing?'"
Morgan acknowledged the mistake but said he had didn't have many options because the new trailer was free and needed to be moved quickly.
"My old trailer was falling apart. It wasn't safe for my family. I was just trying to give my family a better home," he said.
Although Rodeman said she understood Morgan's rationale, she also said he would have to obtain permits to continue work.
The board passed a motion fining Morgan $50 and told him he would have to stop work on the trailer until he received building permits from the town and county. Morgan also has to notify his neighbors and give them an opportunity to voice their concerns to the Town Board. Although the town requires that residents remove the axel and tongue from the trailer, the board gave Morgan five years to do so because he agreed to skirt the trailer and construct a fence that would hide the view.
Morgan could have faced a $1,000-a-day fine for time he wasn't in compliance with town codes and spent up to 90 days in jail for the violation, Rodeman said. "It's as backward as the day is long, but we'll get through it," Rodeman said.
The Town Board also discussed how to crack down on residents whose lawns were overgrown and how to deal with two cottage-industry businesses that are not in compliance with town codes. The board agreed to begin enforcing the town's policies more consistently.
In other business:
The Town Board approved changing new town employee Vivian Johnson's hire date to June 2005 to allow her to accrue paid sick time, paid time off and paid vacation.
Judy Meyer, the town's code enforcement officer, announced her resignation. "It wasn't the right fit for me. It was fun while it lasted," she said. Police Chief Linda Koile said she would not hire a replacement for Meyer because of budget shortages. Koile and police officer Chris Tritz will share Meyer's duties.
Members approved increasing the town's water and sewer tap fees to $5,000.
Members tabled deciding how to bill three Oak Creek residents whose electric bills increased significantly in March. The Town Board will look into the residents' meters and meter boxes and research what may have caused the sharp increase before deciding whether the town should pay the bills or whether the residents should be responsible for them.
Members agreed to increase the Oak Creek Fire Protection District's rental of the town's office space and barn on Main Street from $1 a year to $500 a month. Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup said he would have to consult with his board of directors to see whether they would agree to the increased charge.