Clerk says revisions needed to clean up sloppy wording in quarry rules
Members of the Town of Saukville’s Quarry Committee came to the realization last fall that the ordinance used to regulate local quarries needs updating.
However, committee chairman Tom Ravn told the Town Board last week that members of the panel do not endorse the changes crafted by Town Clerk Naomi Bruecker in revising the nonmetallic mining ordinance.
Ravn said the committee simply wanted new fees incorporated into the ordinance.
“I don’t understand why the ordinance has been rewritten based on the town clerk’s point of view,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is we do not want a new ordinance. There is no money in our budget for it. This is going to require time and money and is unnecessary.”
Bruecker said she made no substantive changes in the ordinance but thinks the committee members were offended that she made changes without their permission.
She said she simply reformatted it to match other town ordinances, eliminated an inaccurate table of contents and cleaned up some of the wording while largely replicating the existing ordinance verbatim.
“State statutes say the clerk is responsible for maintaining all town records,” Bruecker said in justifying the proposed revisions.
“I think I changed a few words but they were mainly cosmetic. I felt I was doing the town a service. I am the legal custodian of town records.”
She noted the quarry ordinance was last updated six years ago and included a number of grammatical errors.
In reading the existing ordinance, Bruecker said several sections were garbled.
“It appeared as though someone lost their place and then began typing again from another section,” she said when asked to explain the editorial changes she made.
Bruecker said she highlighted the altered language in a draft version previously presented to the committee.
The clerk said she was especially committed to cleaning up the ordinance language, because the town expects to eventually post all of its ordinances online. The town is reportedly only one of four in the state that do not have their ordinances posted electronically.
“Imagine posting ordinances that are done in different formats with poor grammar and misused words,” Bruecker said.
“This reflects poorly on our town as a whole.”
Ravn said the quarry ordinance needs to parallel specific sections of the state code, and compliance is tightly regulated by the Department of Natural Resources.
“Nothing says the clerk should reformat ordinances unless directed to by the elected officials,” he said.
“This is going to cause us confusion. It is, frankly, not an easy read.”
Faced with such divergent opinions, town supervisors tabled taking action on the ordinance changes.