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Village dissatisfied with former deputy's final plea sentence

Robby Jaeger

Spring Valley Village Board members discussed former Pierce County Sheriff's Office deputy Robby Joel Jaeger's court case during the board's Aug. 2 meeting.

Jaeger pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor theft in exchange for a deferred judgment on his first count, felony theft during his July 31 sentencing. He will receive two years probation for each of his misdemeanor counts, running concurrently. The felony would be re-filed if Jaeger is revoked from probation, commits new crimes or fails to pay restitution in the 60 days after the amount is determined.

Prosecutors alleged $8,407.50 was charged in unauthorized purchases on a Spring Valley Police Department's Cenex Station gas card in Jaeger's possession from the time Jaeger left his job with the Spring Valley Police to mid-August 2017. Jaeger had resigned from his latest position as Pierce County sheriff's deputy in late August 2017 with no reason given.

Spring Valley Police Chief John Dubois noticed the charges on a third card, which was later discovered to be a replacement. The original one was given back, one of two owned by the department, but charges continued on Jaeger's replacement, according to charges filed in Pierce County Circuit Court.

Jaeger is contesting a portion of the restitution but the details are unknown.

Village President Marsha Brunkhorst, along with Village Clerk Luann Emerson and trustees Mary Ducklow, Rich O'Connell, Dale Jacobson and Matt Huepfel, all present at the meeting, agreed full restitution is still wanted.

Emerson told the board that Judge James Duvall said at the sentencing Tuesday morning he hopes whichever judge presides over Jaeger's restitution hearing will take into consideration the 36-year-old's ability to pay the money he owes.

"I am not really that sympathetic to that point of view," Brunkhorst said Thursday night. "Because the taxpayers in this town paid the bill already. No one asked if they could afford to pay their taxes or have money go somewhere that wasn't supposed to be in the budget."

Emerson said she thought the village's residents would take the matter as seriously as the board did.

"It was a hardship for the village to not have that money to spend," Ducklow said.

St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes, who worked as special prosecutor on the case, is writing a letter that will outline the board's concern.

The board said it will be contacting Village Attorney Rory O'Sullivan to research the steps that could be taken to get what it feels is deserved.

The restitution hearing is set for 1 p.m. Sept. 25.

Approvals

• Block of South Second Street to South Third Street will be closed 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 18 for Nate Anderson's bike run; open containers permitted within.

• Liquor license was approved for Agent Heather Landin for Cedar Fen, LLC and new owner at Sneaker's Pub and Eatery, effective Aug. 20.

She said Spring Valley reminded her of her parents' place on Lake Superior south of Two Harbors.

"The town, the restaurant is amazing, it's like coming home," Landin said.

Two operators' licenses were approved for new employees at Sneaker's Pub and Eatery.

• A memorial bench was approved to be placed at the trout pond for Thomas William Sandve who passed away in Russia. The 19-year-old was son to Bill Sandve of the Collins-Spring Valley Masonic Lodge.

• The board approved Toni Pruitt as a new Library board trustee.

• Plans for St. John's Lutheran Church to paint the bike path fence for a project called God's Work, Our Hands was agreed upon. The fence will be painted the Sunday before Dam Days.

• North First Street to Akers Street will be closed Sept. 21-23 for Dam Days as they have been in the past.

• A resolution to vacate the eastern portion of Cleveland Street was tabled.

Public Works updates

• Isaac Steinmeyer, Project Engineer for Cedar Corporation in Menomonie, updated the board on the fourth well project that is underway.

• A pay request of $27,343.43 was approved for Mineral Services.

• Another $32,889.38 pay request was approved for the Skid Steer operator.

• Brunkhorst or Jacobson will approve a price that is being negotiated for the unforeseen cost of a bigger piping system that is needed to control water pumping out of the well to avoid erosion.

On Thursday, there was still 185 feet left of the total 800 feet to drill for the well.

The project has been "a little slower than expected, we've drilled 15 feet each day for awhile but were expecting 50-60 feet each day," Steinmeyer said.

• Utilities on Burro Lane are completed and currently working on laying gravel. An additional culvert will be necessary to compensate for the sewer line being closer to the channel than expected.

• Pember will move on to County Road B extension. Push, Inc. is halfway done with underground drilling for water main extension on County Road B.

• Vorlicek and Public Works Director Tim Howe proposed a storm pipe extension to be put in with the end wall. This could be accomplished with less than the 20 feet originally anticipated and five feet with finishing work. Price should not exceed $2,500 and will be funded from the street/ maintenance budget.

Police updates

• Four citations were issued this month.

• No offers for a new officer position were made after interviews were conducted.

• The department received a $300 grant from Allina Health for a bike safety program; Spring Valley schools received a school safety grant from the state.

• Preparations beginning for getting kids back to school and Dam Days.

• Another inquiry was received about a sidewalk on Van Buren, but the project would require a hefty cost for the village and an "undue burden on the property owners it affects," Emerson said.

Library updates

• Don Blegen will be featuring his historical video of Spring Valley containing footage of the years 1936-1940 on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. during Dam Days in the Village Hall.

• 45 new patrons have been added to the library system since the beginning of the year.

Clerk's updates

• The Lion's Club donated $1,000 to the Community Center.

• The village purchased a new optical-scan ballot reader for paper ballots at the up-front price of $1 in 2018 and $1 in 2019. The old unreliable machine will be recycled.

• Bill payers responded positively to the new full-size utility bill mailings versus the cards at the end of the second quarter. Emerson said she is considering eliminating the semi-annual newsletter to include a brief newsletter with the quarterly utility bills in full-size. Electronic billing will be researched.

• Emerson finished clerk's training and graduated from the Clerk's Institute on July 19. Next year she will take a year-long course to obtain Treasurer's certification.

President's updates

• Research on adding flags or banners to the light posts on McKay Avenue is being done by the Municipal Development to support the Cardinals and school district.

• The September meeting will be held Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. to accommodate absences.

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