Economic Development and Planning Committee meeting
Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 1:30 p.m.
Assembly Room – Sawyer County Courthouse
Committee Members Attending: Ken Maki, Warren Johnson, Tom Duffy,
Others Attending: Linda Zillmer, Wendy Schroeder, Linda Clifford, John Saunders, Sheri Beckman, Sheldon Johnson, Sally Schrader,
Meeting called to order at 1:30 by Chairman Maki
Meeting agenda – Motion by Duffy, second by Johnson to approve the agenda as presented
Minutes of the meeting of March 8, 2011 - Motion by Duffy, second by Johnson to approve the minutes of March 8
Audience recognition – Linda Zillmer asked whether the county might look at the economic impact of county when they shut down school. For example: Stone Lake school. Discussion.
Hayward DNR Forestry Tree Nursery Update: Maki indicated he and Warren Johnson went to Madison the week before last to lobby for the nursery issue. Maki had heard that the decision had been made but the information has not been released. There should be more to report at the county board meeting. Johnson and Maki retained Capital Consultants to advise them and visited several parties to get support. He also shared a news release from Sen. Jauch (on file). He has little optimism regarding the decision on Hayward and the county must be prepared to take a bold step if the nursery is closed. Johnson contacted Bayfield and Douglas County for information. They are planning on purchasing their trees from Canada next year. One of the major nursery issues is competing with containerized stock. Area counties would have a market for up to two million containerized trees.
Alternative fuel options for County buildings, status update: Maki has met with Don Buerkley of PELCO and Pete Sanders to talk about the transit garage and use of pellets. Sanders seems receptive and would forward information to the architect. It is difficult to invest the capital for the unit and burn pellets at the current natural gas rates. Within a mile of the facility there is enough wood for fuel if it could be developed. Johnson recommends that we focus on the transit building at this time as it is being constructed..
Bicycle and pedestrian trail project. – Johnson provided a project update (on file). Motion by Duffy, seconded by Maki to recommend to finance and the county board that they authorize the consultants to proceed with the project design and engineering. Motion carried, Pearson no
Indianhead Community Action Agency report, including Community Development Block Grant housing rehabilitation project: Sally Schrader provided the Indianhead report on the housing loan fund (on file). They are continuing to take applications and have approximately $200,000 left for additional loans.
Northwest Regional Planning Commission report: Sheldon Johnson reported on behalf of NWRPC. – The Northwest Cleansweep program has been scheduled for July 18, Winter, Round Lake, and Sand Lake and July 30 in Hayward. Letters have gone out regarding the milk run for businesses. The all hazards mitigation funding is one of the top ranked projects being recommended and they are waiting to hear regarding funding. Johnson discussed transportation funding issues with Gary Gedhart. NWRPC submitted an application to department of commerce for regional planning grant. Awards are expected to be announced by April 15th. Johnson shared information from Northwest Wisconsin Business Development Corporation and the Northwest Regional Economic Development Fund indicating balances and new loans made (on file).
Sawyer County Economic Development Corporation report: Berard received a call from Scott Allen who was unable to attend the meeting due to a grant deadline. Allen indicated that he was working with a large employer (35-50) jobs to locate in Hayward and occupy an existing commercial building. The employer has currently narrowed his search to 3 communities and Hayward is still in the running. Allen worked with communities of Winter, Couderay, Sand Lake, and Hayward to submit grant applications for community planning. On April 7, the SCDC presented a State of the Economy address which was well attended. SCDC still has an application in to the Department of Commerce for a regional development grant and they are waiting to hear on funding.
Hayward Area Visitor and Convention Bureau report: Linda Clifford and Sherri Beckman provided and summarized a copy of the Hayward Lakes VCB Marketing Plan (on file). The plan is focused on promoting Hayward as a 4 season destination. Discussion on area tourism trends.
Monthly expense vouchers: None
Other matters for discussion only: Berard provided updates of the county unemployment rates and sales tax revenues year to date ( on file), Berard met last month with Diane Schobert from Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 will be administered by WHEDA. Berard has invited Schobert to share more details about the project at the May meeting.
Motion by Johnson to adjourn, Duffy second, meeting adjourned
Recorded by David Berard April 12, 2011