Attending Lake Mills City Council meetings will soon become a bit more user friendly after the council voted 5-0 to purchase a TriCaster 2 Elite. The total cost for the purchase and installation of the switcher will be $51,193.

City manager Steve Wilke said the system would allow the meeting to integrate people who attend in-person and virtually. The council members would no longer have to use the headphones, microphones and laptops necessary to operate the current 8x8 technology system.

“I don’t want to have to go through the problems that we’re having on a regular basis,” Wilke said.

The new switch will allow remote participants to attend the meeting through Zoom and not the service currently being used.

The technology upgrade will be funded by the COVID-19 relief funds as it falls within eligible municipal expenses.

The city manager said the switch upgrade is one he mentioned “first out of the box. I think it’s important for us to hold quality meetings.”

The city already has a tech switcher, but the new one will be an upgraded version, the city manager said. This allows for a trade-in of the initial piece of technology with the new switcher compatible with the current equipment.

“Where you tend to run into problems in technology is trying to match equipment,” Wilke said.

According to a memo from the city manager to the council, he noted the city should look at embracing a future of combining the benefits of in-person and virtual meetings. Wilke wrote the benefits of offering a hybrid model are reduced travel, lower cost of space needs and flexibility.

“The features (of the system) should consider audio fallback, user roles, camera and microphone control, enhanced data protection, and compliance and accessibility.”

Country Campers issued CUP

Todd Oberg, owner of Fathead’s County Campers, came before the Lake Mills Planning Commission at a special Aug. 31 meeting to request a conditional use permit (CUP) to allow the storage and servicing of non-motorized trailers at a site on CP Avenue; this would be a second site for the business. The commission recommended the council approve the CUP to allow such services on the property.

The council unanimously approved the CUP.

Brian Krenz of the city planner’s office said the key conditions for the site include storage of the trailers be on an impervious surface, screening the outdoor storage, and not having trailers serviced outside.

Oberg, who was at the council meeting, said he has not been able to move forward with purchasing the property, which had an accepted offer in June, until he obtained a CUP.

Other council action:

• Approved selling a total of $1,865,000 of general obligation corporate purposed bonds . The sale from the bonds will be used to fund sewerage projects ($115,000), street improvement projects ($1,650,000) and water system projects ($100,000). The council also approved selling $715,000 in sewerage system and light and water utility mortgage revenue bonds.

• Approved borrowing $432,800 for capital expenses purchased in 2021. These items had already been purchased using fund balance. The council also approved borrowing $400,000 for the Jefferson Street reconstruction and $300,000 for economic development assistance for Topel’s Holdings LLC. All of these funds will be borrowed through Greenwoods State Bank.

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