“WE’RE ALL IN” SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS – COVID19

The City of Black River Falls is assisting the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to make the new We’re All In grant initiative a success.  The program will provide $2,500 grants to 30,000 small businesses.  It is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet amid the COVID-19 pandemic while also encouraging them to adopt best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe.  Funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and announced by Governor Evers on May 18 We’re All In Announcement , the grants will help small businesses with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory.

The application period for this grant will open in mid-June – see details below!

The website with the program details is now live – see details below!

The WEDC has asked for the City’s help to make this program a success for our struggling small businesses.  One of the criteria for businesses to apply is to attach a short email or letter of acknowledgement from a community organization indicating the business was in operation in February 2020.  Acknowledgements can come from any of the following organizations listed below.

  • Chamber of commerce
  • Main Street director or Connect Communities coordinator
  • Local business improvement district
  • Neighborhood economic development association
  • Local economic development organization
  • County economic development organization
  • Municipality
  • County
  • Local bank, credit union or Community Development Financial Institution
  • Regional UW Small Business Development Center
  • US Export Assistance Center – Wisconsin
  • Regional Economic Development Organization
  • Regional Planning Commission

The We’re All In Small Business Grant program is designed to help small businesses get back on their feet as they re-emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and Safer at Home, while also encouraging adoption of best practices to keep employees, customers and communities safe.

Funded by the federal CARES Act, the We’re All In Small Business Grant will provide $2,500 to 30,000 Wisconsin small businesses to assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory.

To be eligible, businesses must:

  • Be a Wisconsin-based, for-profit business
  • Employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the owner
  • Earn greater than $0 but less than $1 million in annual revenues, and
  • Been in business in February 2020

The online grant application will be accessible for ONE WEEK ONLY from 8 a.m. Monday, June 15, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 21.

 More detailed information can be found at:

 https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/wai-small-business-grant/

 https://wedc.org/wai-small-business-grant-frequently-asked-questions/


CENSUS WORKERS NEEDED

The U.S. Census is still hiring for temporary positions for the 2020 Census in Jackson County!

The largest number of positions available are for census takers.

Must be at least 18 years of age.

Pay rates vary from $17 to $22/hour.

By working for the Census, you can help achieve the goal to ensure that everyone is counted. Those counts have a huge impact on our communities. The data influences decisions made about which roads are fixed, which schools are built and businesses opened, what medical services are offered, and more.

All interested parties are invited to visit the Census Bureau job site at 2020census.gov/jobs to apply. There are also descriptions and frequently asked questions on the website!


MUNICIPAL UTILITIES OFFICE TO RE-OPEN JUNE 1ST

The Black River Falls Municipal Utilities Office will be re-opening on Monday,  June 1, 2020.  Office Hours will be 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

We appreciate the patience and cooperation our customers have shown with our office being closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are reopening our office to customers, we all must continue to be aware of the need to continue social distancing. With that in mind, we will be limiting office access to two (2) customers at a time. We ask that you wear a mask if you have one and adhere to the instructions posted on the front door of the utility office.

NOTE: If you do not need to meet with a utility representative directly, we ask that you continue using the drop box at the utility office or one of the other payment options available to you. If you need to speak with a utility representative, feel free to contact us at (715) 284-9463.


CITY BUILDINGS REOPENING

On May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down most of Governor Tony Evers’ Safer At Home Order.  As the state and counties work to understand the impact of the ruling, the City of Black River Falls announces the following updates regarding public access to government facilities in the city.

Effective Monday, May 18, 2020, government buildings in the City of Black River Falls will be open and service schedules will be as follows:

City Hall:  Open 8:00am to 4:00pm beginning Monday, May 18, 2020.  We will close at 4:00pm to allow time for daily disinfecting of all hard surfaces.

Police Department Lobby Window:  Open 8:00am to 4:00pm beginning Monday, May 18, 2020 for vehicle registrations and other police department business.

Fire Department:  Open beginning Monday, May 18, 2020.

Public Library: Closed to the public.  Curbside pick-up and drop-off available Mondays 10a-2p, Wednesdays 3p-7p, and Fridays 10a-2p.

 Municipal Utilities:  Closed to the public until at least June 1, 2020.  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.  Offices may open at an earlier date if work load warrants the need for public access before June 1st.

 Public Safety Services: 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.

The efforts directed at infection control that our community has been practicing the last couple of months protected the health of our families, neighbors, and friends.  We realize the virus continues to be present and communicable so we ask all City residents, businesses, and guests to continue practicing good disease prevention strategies.

Updates will be provided on our Facebook page and on our website at: www.blackriverfalls.us.


CAREER OPPORTUNITY – FIRE CHIEF

The City of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, is accepting applications to fill the position of Fire Chief.  The Fire Chief is responsible for the administration, direction and coordination of the Black River Falls Fire Department which includes an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division.  The City of Black River Falls has a population of 3,622 and has signed a Rural Fire Agreement to provide fire services to the Rural Fire District consisting of eight (8) surrounding Townships.

The Department

The Fire Department has 6 full-time employees, 30-50 part-time emergency medical services employees, and 31 volunteer firefighters. Full-time staff includes the Fire Chief, the EMS Division Chief, and 4 Emergency Medical Technicians.  The volunteer firefighter staff includes 3 Assistant Chiefs, 3 Captains, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.

The city portion of the 2020 Operating Budget for the department is set at $115,693.00.  The 2020 Capital Budget for the department is set at $250,000.00 which includes $242,600 allocated for facility replacement.

The Position

The Fire Chief has administrative responsibility for effectively and efficiently planning, organizing, coordinating, directing, and managing operations, fleet maintenance, and all other activities of the Fire Department.

The Fire Chief is under the immediate supervision of the City Administrator, and subject to general direction from the Mayor, and Common Council.  A detailed position description is available at City Hall and on-line at blackriverfalls.us/forms.

The Chief is an exempt, non-represented employee. The normal work week is Monday through Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm.  The Fire Chief is also expected to attend the Committee of the Whole meeting held the third Wednesday of each month and other meetings as needed.  The position requires working varying hours as needed for fire department related business and activities.

The position’s annual salary is initially established by the City of Black River Falls Hiring Committee and then annually established by the Common Council.  The starting annual salary for the position will be $52,000 – $60,000 depending on qualifications.

An excellent benefit package including health insurance coverage and retirement benefits under the Wisconsin Retirement System accompanies this position. Additional benefits and optional insurances are available.

Required Education, Certifications, and Experience

The Fire Chief must have a high school diploma or equivalent, possess a valid Wisconsin driver’s license, hold current certification of Certified Firefighter I & II in the State of Wisconsin, be a certified fire inspector in the State of Wisconsin, be a certified Wisconsin Emergency Medical Technician or higher or be able to obtain EMT certification within one year of hire, and have extensive knowledge of the principles and practices of fire suppression, fire department administration, fire inspections and fire investigations.  Preference will be given to an individual with an Associate’s Degree or higher in fire science or related field, and/or additional training or certifications in fire services and management/supervisory skills.

The successful candidate should have at least 10 years of fire service experience with multiple years serving in a supervisory/department officer position.

The ideal candidate for this position should also have a track record focused on strong public service, human relations, leadership, managerial, and supervisory skills. This professional, supervisory position must be able to lead the department to full performance capability and achieve high morale. Qualified candidates should possess the skills for writing grant application submissions & organizing people, projects and schedules on an ongoing basis.

The Recruitment Process

Interested applicants MUST submit the following items to the address noted below:

  • A cover letter
  • A current resume, detailing qualifications for this position
  • At least 3 professional references

The application deadline is 4:30 P.M. on Friday, June 5, 2020.    The application review process will begin on June 9, 2020 and will remain open until the position is filled.

Application materials should be placed in a sealed envelope, addressed as follows, and either mailed or hand-delivered by the deadline noted above to:

City of Black River Falls
Attention: Hiring Committee
101 South Second Street
Black River Falls, WI 54615

Electronic submissions are acceptable and may be forwarded to city.admin@blackriverfalls.us.

Applicant names are subject to release pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes, unless confidentiality is requested in writing. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed for finalists.

The selected candidate will be subject to a background investigation, a physical examination, drug screen, and a psychological evaluation to determine fitness for duty.

Additional questions on this position or on application procedures may be directed to City Administrator via email at city.admin@blackriverfalls.us or by phone at (715) 284-2315.


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.