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January 26, 2020

12/10/2019 7:30:00 AM
Public works committee supports Three Lakes sign request
Kayla Houp
Of The Lakeland Times

The Oneida County board's public works committee on Thursday approved a request from the town of Three Lakes for use of county property for the placement of a town sign.

The committee's motion to approve is contingent upon the sign complying with local sign ordinance.

The proposed sign is approximately 120 by 152 inches, or 10 by 12.5 feet.

"The bottom line is, there is a strip of land that the county owns, but it's one of those deals where the DOT dictates what you can do with it," Oneida County highway commissioner Bruce Stefonek said. "They want to put a Three Lakes sign up."

Committee member Ted Cushing raised the question as to whether the town had to comply with the county's sign ordinance and how big the sign could be.

"If that was for Hazelhurst, 4 by 8 (feet) is the biggest it can be," Cushing said.

"Well, they have to go get a permit," committee member Scott Holewinski said. "Whether it's this size or smaller, they'll find out."

Stefonek clarified that Three Lakes was asking for permission to place a sign on a state highway on property the highway department owned.

"They're getting permission from the DOT, they're getting permission from us," Stefonek said.

According to Stefonek, when he spoke to the corporation counsel's office, they didn't see an issue with the sign.

Stefonek added that the corporation counsel recommended taking a resolution to the county board to give Three Lakes a permit for $1 for 99 years.

"I would see what an off-premise sign permit would do for them, too," Holewinski advised. "It's an off-premise sign, and I don't remember the size and I don't know if there's an exception for a government entity."

Stefonek said planning and zoning had been working with the DOT and had gotten a "favorable response from them."

"We own the property," he said. "So now, because that is favorable, they're looking for permission to put the sign on our property," Stefonek said.

Holewinski made a motion to approve the request to move ahead with the placement of the sign in the county right-of-way on State Highway 45, as well as corporation counsel's recommendation of a $1 lease for 99 years.

The motion also included bringing the resolution back to the public works committee for approval before forwarding the resolution to the full board.

"They just have to get the permits," he said.

Fuel system update

Stefonek also informed the committee that the department's fuel system had broken down on Nov. 27 due to a card reader issue.

Holewinski asked if the trucks could be sent to Kwik Trip.

Stefonek said he was working with the sheriff's office to get cards to use at Kwik Trip in case of an emergency.

"You have to have a little credit-card type thing to give them," he explained, adding that the sheriff's office would facilitate it for the highway department.

"So, we'll be charging on their account and they'll be charging us back," Holewinski said.

Jensen asked if the department could have its own card with Kwik Trip and that it could be an option to pursue.

"It was explained to me, because they have more entities going in with them, they get a better price than if we go alone," Stefonek said.

In the meantime, Stefonek said an electrician has traced the issued with the card reader to bad wiring in the building.

He added that another card reader was on "its last leg" and that he was trying to get a part for it.

"No matter what we do, if we move it or whatever, all that equipment moves with it," Holewinski said.

Holewinski said he noticed there was money within the account for a new card reader and suggested looking into getting one.

"In the facility fuel system update from capital improvement and admin, and the project is still approved for consideration in January," committee chair Robb Jensen said.

Jensen said the project had been approved for consideration alongside other capital improvement projects.

"This is still a high priority. Cannot be put off. The question will be how we pay for it," Jensen said.

"He's gotta fix it. He can't take the chance that it's going to break down in a storm," Holewinski said.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at

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