PUBLIC NOTICE – OPEN BOOK AND BOARD OF REVIEW

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN pursuant to s. 70.45, Wis. Stats., the assessment roll for the 2020 assessment year will be open for examination starting May 28, 2020. Due to COVID-19, OPEN BOOK sessions will be conducted by phone. If you would like to set up a phone appointment, please contact Bowmar Appraisal, Inc. at (715) 835-1141 during regular business hours (M-F, 8:30-4:30) no later than 3 days prior to the Board of Review. The 2020 assessment roll, instructional information, and objection forms will be made available. These documents will assist with scheduling a hearing before the Board of Review. Keep in mind that objection forms must be filed with the clerk of the Board of Review at least 48 hours before the Board of Review is conducted unless the Board of Review chooses to waive this requirement.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the BOARD OF REVIEW for the City of Black River Falls of Jackson County shall be held on June 4, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at City Hall located at 101 S. Second Street in Black River Falls, WI.  Please be advised of the following requirements to appear before the Board of Review and procedural requirements if appearing before the Board:

No person shall be allowed to appear before the Board of Review, to testify to the Board by telephone or to contest the amount of any assessment of real or personal property if the person has refused a reasonable written request by certified mail of the Assessor to view such property.

After the first meeting of the Board of Review and before the Board’s final adjournment, no person who is scheduled to appear before the Board of Review may contact, or provide information to, a member of the Board about the person’s objection except at a session of the Board.

No person may appear before the Board of Review, testify to the Board by telephone or contest the amount of assessment unless, at least 48 hours before the first meeting of the Board or at least 48 hours before the objection is heard if the objection is allowed because the person has been granted a waiver of the 48 hour notice of an intent to file a written objection by appearing before the Board during the first two hours of the meeting and showing good cause for failure to meet the 48 hour notice requirement and files a written objection, that the person provides to the Clerk of the Board of Review notice as to whether the person will ask for removal of any Board members and, if so, which member will be removed and the person’s reasonable estimate of the length of time that the hearing will take.

When appearing before the Board, the person shall specify, in writing, the person’s estimate of the value of the land and of the improvements that are the subject of the person’s objection and specify the information that the person used to arrive at that estimate.

The Board shall hear upon oath, by telephone, all ill or disabled persons who present to the Board a letter from a physician, surgeon or osteopath that confirms their illness or disability. No other persons may testify by telephone.

Anyone wishing to file an objection must contact the City Clerk to complete and submit the required objection form supplied by the Town, prior to appearing before the Board of Review.

This Notice is hereby posted at the following locations in the City on the 24th day of April 2020:

  1. Front Door – City Hall
  2. Jackson County Court House
  3. U.S. Post Office

FIRE CHIEF TO RETIRE MAY 15, 2020

From: Steve Schreiber, Fire Chief
April 21, 2020

Several months ago, I advised that I would be retiring as the Black River Falls Fire Chief in 2020. After 40 years of working in emergency services of some form, (1st Responder, Volunteer Firefighter, Emergency Medical Technician, Police Officer, Ambulance Service Director and Fire Chief), I will be retiring as Fire Chief on May 15, 2020 from the City of Black River Falls and Black River Rural Fire Department. I have served 33 years and 7 months as a full-time public employee.

It all started back in the spring of 1980 when I joined the Alma Center Volunteer Fire Department right out of high school. In the fall of 1982 I became a medical 1st Responder and for a few years I was the only one with the 1st Responder training in the Alma Center Area. In 1986 along with Bruce and Sally Cormican we became the founding members of the Alma Center 1st Responders. I attended “District One Technical College” in Eau Claire and completed the associate degree program in police science. It was October 1986 that I became a certified law enforcement officer upon completing the 320 hour Wisconsin Training and Standards Recruit Course. I started full time in 1987 as a police officer for the City of Black River Falls. In 1991 I accepted a position at the fire department as the Emergency Medical Services Director, which I held for 14 years. During this time I also served on the fire department as a firefighter, captain and assistant chief. In 2003 I was hired as the Fire Chief.

I never thought this day would come, and still finding it very hard to believe that it has. I am excited about my impending retirement, but the decision is bittersweet, as well. Aside from my immediate family, I cannot think of a family I am happier and more proud to have been a part of which, is our nation’s fire service family! It has been an amazing journey with some very sad memories, but many more great memories.

I must to express my “Thanks” to the Black River Falls area community for their outstanding support over the years of both myself and the department. Without the community support shown over the years the department would not have the trained department members or equipment needed to respond in a time of need.

Take care and be fire safe!

Sincerely,

Chief Steve Schreiber


GOVERNMENT BUILDING CLOSURES & MODIFIED SERVICE SCHEDULES AS OF 4/7/2020

COVID-19 continues to be top of mind and the City of Black River Falls, like other individuals and businesses, wants to ensure we are doing our due diligence to take precautions and do everything possible to flatten the curve and minimize its impact.

Therefore, certain government buildings will be closed and service schedules modified as follows:

Elections:  Polls are open today, Tuesday, April 7, 2020 from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.  Results will not be announced until after 5:00 pm on April 13th to allow for absentee ballots to be returned.  Absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 7th and received by April 13th to be counted.

City Hall:  Closed to the public beginning Wednesday, April 8, 2020 until further notice except for meetings of the governing body or its committees.  The city administrative offices will be staffed with one employee Monday through Friday from 8:00am-Noon and 1:00pm-4:30pm.  We will be available by phone at 715-284-2315 or by email.  Emails and phone numbers for specific departments are available at the bottom of the home page on our website at www.blackriverfalls.us.

Police Department Lobby Window:  Closed to the public until further notice.  Administrative offices will be staffed from 8:00 am to Noon Monday through Friday.  Administrative staff will be available by phone at 715-284-9155 or by email.  Emails and phone numbers for specific departments are available at the bottom of the home page on our website at www.blackriverfalls.us.

Fire Department:  Closed to the public until further notice.  Administrative offices will be staffed so we will be available by phone at 715-284-2656 or by email.  Emails and phone numbers for specific departments are available at the bottom of the home page on our website at www.blackriverfalls.us.

Public Library: Closed to the public until further notice.

Municipal Utilities:  Closed to the public until further notice.  Customers can continue to pay their bills by check using the US mail or the drop box located by our lobby door at 119 N. Water Street.  Offices will be staffed so we will be available by phone at 715-284-9463 or by email.  Emails and phone numbers for specific departments are available at the bottom of the home page on our website at www.blackriverfalls.us.

 Public Safety Services: While some responses may be modified, Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services will continue to be staffed and respond to service calls.

 Garbage & Recycling:  The City will continue to collect garbage and recycling as regularly scheduled. While staff members will be taking extra precautions on these routes, residents are asked to put all garbage in a garbage receptacle to reduce the exposure to our employees. Receptacles must be standard type garbage containers, must be made of metal or plastic, must be watertight, must have a tight-fitting cover, must be equipped with handles or bail, and must have a capacity of not more than 32 gallons and weigh no more than 50 pounds. Receptacles must be kept clean and in a sanitary condition at all times. Paper bags, 5-gallon pails or 55-gallon steel or cardboard barrels or drums are not allowed for garbage containers.

 Shared Ride Taxi:  Running 6am-10pm daily

At this time, it is our intention to maintain all essential city functions with our employees continuing in their normal capacity while working remotely or within the facilities closed to the public.

We recognize that this is an unprecedented and unique situation and appreciate the public’s flexibility and support.  We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed to ensure the safety of our employees and the public.


COURTS RULE ELECTION TO HAPPEN APRIL 7TH / ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN OR POSTMARKED BY APRIL 7TH

First, the Wisconsin Supreme Court enjoined the Governor’s Executive Order which had postponed the election, meaning that in-person voting will occur at the polls.  County and municipal clerks and election inspectors should continue their election preparations.

Second, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling changing the part of Judge Conley’s decision which stated that ballots would be counted if received by April 13 regardless of any postmark or if they were hand-delivered after April 7.  The Supreme Court ruled that ballots are to be counted only if they are hand-delivered by 8 p.m. or if they are mailed with a postmark on or before April 7 and are received by 4 p.m. on April 13.

Third, the Eastern District of Wisconsin federal court issued a ruling which denied a separate request to postpone the election.

The effect of these decisions is as follows:

1)    Voting is to occur at polling places on Election Day, April 7.  Absent any subsequent court order, voting at polling places shall continue as planned even if a municipality receives an order from a public health official to terminate all in-person voting.  If any such order is received, the municipal clerk must immediately contact the Elections Commission and the County Clerk to discuss next steps.  While municipal clerks have authority to consolidate polling places, and polling places may be moved on Election Day in the event of an emergency, Wisconsin Statutes require that municipalities conduct voting in at least one polling place.  Wis. Stats. §§ 5.15, 7.37.

2)    Ballots that are hand-delivered after 8 p.m. or that are postmarked after April 7 are not counted.  Ballots with a postmark on or before April 7 and received by 4 p.m. on April 13 are counted.

3)    The U.S. Supreme Court decision also did not alter the provision in Judge Conley’s amended order which prohibits the reporting of results until April 13.  In order to ensure consistent compliance with that order, the number of ballots will be counted on Election Night but votes will not be counted until April 13.

 


ELECTION UPDATE 04.06.2020 2PM

The Governor just issued an executive order delaying in-person voting for the April 7, 2020 election until June 9.  While the Governor has called for moving the election, we can be certain there will be very fast-moving litigation. Therefore, we continue making preparation in earnest for tomorrow. If the election is moved to June 9th we will adjust accordingly, but all we can do today is prepare for tomorrow. As additional details come to our attention, we will share them with you.

Tony Evers, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, issued an executive order as follows:

  1. Suspend in-person voting for April 7, 2020, until June 9, 2020, unless the Legislature passes and the Governor approves a different date for in-person voting. In the interim, registered Wisconsin voters may continue to request absentee ballots until 5:00 p.m. on the fifth day immediately preceding the new in-person election date, consistent with Wis. Stat. § 6.86(1)(b); clerks shall continue to provide absentee ballots within one business day of the time each elector’s request is received, consistent with Wis. Stat. § 7.15(1)(cm); and eligible voters may continue to cast mail-in absentee ballots as long as they are returned so that they are delivered to the polling place no later than 8 p.m. on the new election date, consistent with Wis. Stat.§ 6.87(6). All ballots already cast in the 2020 Spring election will remain valid, will be tallied in conjunction with in-person voting on the new date, and will be included in all relevant canvasses for the Spring 2020 election.
  2. Require the convening of a special session of the Legislature at the Capitol in the City of Madison, to commence at 2:00 p.m. on April 7, 2020, solely to consider and act upon legislation to set a new in-person voting date for the 2020 Spring election.
  3. Provide that, given the necessary delay in the Spring 2020 election, those individuals currently serving in an office to be filled based upon the results of the Spring 2020 election ballot are authorized to continue fulfilling the duties of those offices, and exercising the privileges of those offices, until three business days after county, municipal, and school district clerks issue certificates of election, pursuant to Wis. Stat. §§ 7.53(4), 7.60(6), and 120.06(10), once the deadline to file a petition for recount and appeal of recount has passed. On the third business day after issuance of the certificate of election for any given office on the Spring 2020 election ballot, the term of the newly elected official in that office shall begin. Notwithstanding the delayed beginning of the term for such offices, the terms of all such offices shall expire as if the Spring 2020 election occurred as initially scheduled and all terms of office began as would be anticipated under such circumstances.

ELECTION UPDATE (04.03.2020)

Judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin federal court has issued an order related to absentee ballots for next week’s Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary.  The Court ordered the following:

  1. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail, fax, email or online is extended to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020. Voters should go to www.myvote.wi.gov before 5:00 pm today to request an absentee ballot.

 

  1. The deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots is extended to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2020.  The Court specifically did not add a requirement for a postmarked-by deadline as long as the ballot is returned by the new deadline.

 

  1. A witness signature on the absentee ballot certificate envelope is not required if the absentee voter provides a written affirmation or other statement that they were unable to safely obtain a witness certification despite reasonable attempts to do so, provided the ballot is otherwise valid.

Judge Conley’s decision was issued in a set of three federal lawsuits which were consolidated and which requested various remedies related to the Spring Election.  The decision did not grant other requests such as postponing the election date or suspending and photo ID requirements for mail-in absentee voters.

Polls will be open at City Hall, 101 South Second Street in the City of Black River Falls from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, April 7th for in person voting.  Extra precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers.  Social distancing practices will be adhered to with a 6 foot spacing between voters while in line and between voting booths.

 


FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR BLACK RIVER FALLS UTILITY CUSTOMERS

Concerned About Paying Your Utility Bill?

Funding available for Black River Falls Utility customers in need.

Black River Falls Municipal Utilities urges electric customers concerned about being able to pay their bill to apply for Energy Assistance before the May 15, 2020 deadline. Funding is available to help income-qualified residential customers pay their electric bills, including those whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Customers are encouraged to apply by contacting Jackson County Health and Human Services Energy Assistance at (715) 284-4301. More information is available at homeenergyplus.wi.gov.

“The current health emergency has resulted in a lot of job loss, and we want to be there for our customers in these difficult times,” said Casey Engebretson, BRFMU General Manager. “By sharing this information, we hope to alleviate some of the financial stress in the community. We live and work in Black River Falls, too, and we want to know our neighbors are getting the help they need.”

In Wisconsin, energy assistance eligibility requirements were adjusted to more efficiently assist families impacted by COVID-19 and are now based on the household’s previous month of income, rather than the former requirement of the previous three-month’s income. Energy Assistance provides bill pay support for heating costs, electric costs, and energy crises.

Small business owners and private non-profits are encouraged to visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website at sba.gov. The recently passed CARES Act includes options that may be beneficial to small businesses and private non-profits to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. These options include the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Grants, and Small Business Debt Relief Programs.

Contact:
Casey Engebretson, BRFMU General Manager
(715) 284-9463