Sex offenders may soon be housed at correctional institution

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They won’t work outside PDCCI fence

By Correne Martin

The Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution may soon house sex offenders among its inmates, according to information presented by Warden Tim Haines to the city council Tuesday night.

“A few months back, I was approached by the central office to have us lift the final restriction on the type of inmates housed at PDCCI. We’re at operating capacity right now, so there’s not a bus of sex offenders ready to come in,” Haines explained. “But this provides more flexibility for the Department of Corrections in terms of bed space. For Prairie du Chien, the more we can do for the department, the more viable we are for the department.”

Haines noted that, with this approved lift on limitations, it does not mean that PDCCI is becoming a sex offender treatment facility. “We focus on education, AODA (alcohol and other drug abuse) programming, domestic violence treatment and cognitive error correction.”

The correctional institution is a medium-security prison and, at this time, only houses about 60 percent medium-security inmates, which fluctuates weekly.

Once sex offenders arrive at the Prairie du Chien site, Haines said, they won’t be allowed to work outside the fence of the institution, “unless there was an extreme need (such as a flood), and even then, they’d be closely monitored by myself and the security officer.”

City Administrator Aaron Kramer pointed out that the council has no power to approve or disapprove of the change. “This is being brought to your attention in case your constituents would ask you a question,” he said.

Potential land sale
Following closed session discussion regarding the potential sale of city land, the council voted to hold a hearing of public need about 1) the block across from Hartig Drug, on Marquette Road, which is bordered on the north by Blackhawk Avenue and on the south by Wisconsin Avenue; and 2) the property at 208 South Marquette Road, the empty lot between the former Holiday Station and Hess Auto.

Streets for Antoine, Delagrave
As the North Gateway Business Park begins to take shape, the council was asked to approve the naming of two new streets within the park. City staff recommended the streets be named after Prairie du Chien’s two Olympic athletes and the council supported that notion. The streets will now be named Antoine Way after the 2014 men’s skeleton bronze medalist Matt Antoine and Delagrave Drive after the 2012 wheelchair rugby team bronze medalist Joe Delagrave.

Capital budget amended
In 2014, the council borrowed $1,510,111 to fund its capital projects for 2014 through 2016.

Kramer expects $577,828 left over after $820,604 is spent on fire department breathing apparatuses, the Hoffman Hall parking lot, maintenance at the Old Rock School (to keep it standing until a long-term plan is developed and financed), 2017 Marquette Road project design work, the North Main Street overlay and the North Ohio Street reconstruction. The latter two projects have come in under the expected budget and other department funds (water and wastewater) are funding a portion of the North Ohio Street project, which added considerably to the leftover.

Based on recommendations from city personnel, the council agreed to amend the capital budget and spend $349,145 of the excess funds on the following: a new dump truck ($120,000), the completion of converting city lights to LEDs ($39,419, recuperated in energy savings over three years), the Hoffman Hall parking lot ($5,000 additional funds), a new aquatic park roof ($42,000), mill and overlay for 9th Street between Wells and Parrish Streets ($100,000), electrical upgrades on St. Feriole Island ($3,000), five additional fire department air packs ($30,000), and repairs to street department buildings ($10,626).

Blackhawk/Beaumont intersection
Public Works Director Terry Meyer informed the council about the city’s plans for two street projects. First, the last week in April, a mill and overlay will be done on North Main Street and South 9th Street. In early May, the intersection of Blackhawk Avenue and Beaumont Road will receive attention.

“This intersection was done as part of the streetscape project in 2008. The blacktop is starting to settle below the colored crosswalk,” Meyer explained. “We want to remove the asphalt in the intersection. We’ll bring the staff in at midnight, remove the blacktop, secure the location and then Iverson Construction will come in that morning to get it all done that day. We want to complete this before the tourism season really gets going for the summer.”

Both of these projects will be weather dependent.

Other business
The council also:
•Entered into an agreement with the town of Prairie du Chien for the city to purchase the Meadow Lane lift station for $160,000, payable over five years, with no interest, from the wastewater treatment plan budget. Kramer noted that the cost of a new lift station would be roughly $250,000. “The original plans for the North Gateway Business Park call for a lift station because of the topography in that area,” he stated. “The township already has a building in that vicinity.” Meyer added that the building is way oversized for the current eight homes it serves. Rates are not expected to rise as a result of this purchase.

•Approved the purchase of a new sewer washer truck for $410,000, with a $110,00 trade-in credit on the current 2003 vehicle, from Elliott Equipment, of Grimes, Iowa. The truck will be obtained on a five-year lease to purchase, with the first payment due in 2016. Meyer said this truck is responsible for about 40 miles of sanitary sewer collection in the city and sees severe duty usage.

•Approved a request for proposals for a new city attorney(s) to replace Tom Peterson, who is retiring from his city duties at the end of July but may stay on in an advisory role during the transition. Staff would like to see the job divided into a more cost-efficient model of two positions: the city attorney and municipal court attorney. The RFP allows for a person in this role to reside out of state as long as they are licensed to practice in Wisconsin.

•Awarded a bid for a water leak survey to be conducted by Municipal Management Corp., of Madrid, Iowa, for $2,700.

•Awarded a bid for inspection of reservoirs to LiquiVision Technology, of Klamath Falls, Ore., for $5,000. This will involve the use of cameras and the reservoirs will not be shut down at any time during the inspection. Kramer said this must be done every seven years.

•Awarded a request for proposal for real estate work on the 2017 Marquette Road project to Corre, a Madison civil engineering firm. City Planner Garth Frable said this work will be less intensive than what was done for the 2014 project. This will involve mostly temporary easements and about five real estate acquisitions.

•Approved Mayor Dave Hemmer’s appointments to the revolving loan committee: Bob Standorf, city redevelopment authority chair; Bob McDonald, city economic development chair; Lori Bekkum, chamber representative; Ashley Christensen, business owner, Mist-ified; and Sheri Jackson, at-large member, Anchor Bank.

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