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Referendum in Johnson Creek

November 2, 2018 GMT

Editor, Daily Times:

In a few days we will be going to the polls to vote on some very important issues concerning the future of our state in addition to local issues. I would like to address a referendum in the village of Johnson Creek that village board President John Swisher opposes. The important thing to understand is that it is a nonbinding advisory question. This means if everyone votes yes, it would still be up to the village board to consider and determine where, and even if, the routes would be within the village. Village board President Swisher talks about the safety of ATVs/UTVs on roads but doesn’t tell you that there are many communities and townships in the state that have already approved thousands of miles of trails on roads for ATV/UTV use, especially with two recent changes in Wisconsin state law:

-- 2017 Wisconsin Act 87 enacted Nov. 30, 2017, allows a town, village or city to authorize the operation of ATVs/UTVs on roads within their territorial boundaries that have posted speed limits of 35 mph or less regardless of which municipality has jurisdiction on that road.

-- 2017 Wisconsin Act 193 enacted April 3, 2018, allows a town, village, city or county to place a sign on each road that crosses its boundary alerting motorists that all roads under the municipality’s jurisdiction have been designated as ATV routes.

The village board can add ordinances above and beyond these state laws for the village. I’m asking for your “yes” vote so this nonbinding advisory question gives the village board the opportunity to meet with club members and village residents to come to a resolution.

The village of Johnson Creek is very fortunate to have three very community-orientated ATV dealerships, which from my perspective, the Jefferson 1/2 Mile ATV Club is asking to obtain access to. These businesses donated items for the Jefferson 1/2 Mile ATV Club to give away to community members at the Johnson Creek Fireman’s Festival.

Village board President Swisher’s remarks about the cost to village taxpayers for signage costing thousands of dollars are false. When I was at the village advisory council meeting it was brought up about possible funding available or that the Jefferson 1/2 Mile ATV Club would be willing to pay for the expenses of signage. Additionally, at the advisory council meeting the board voted 5 to 2 to go ahead with having the ordinances drawn up. A vote of 5 to 2 is not a split vote.

In addition to reminding people to safely share the roads with ATVs/UTVs, I would like to thank all the landowners of the Jefferson 1/2 Mile ATV Club for the opportunity to ride the trails and enjoy the many southern counties/communities, including Jefferson County, you will find ATVs/UTVs. Let’s work together to safely enjoy all that our beautiful state has to offer.

As a business owner, chamber member and retired volunteer firefighter of 35 years of the Johnson Creek community and lifelong resident, I am asking you to please consider voting yes.

John Kleinsteiber

Johnson Creek