Trent names new town board member

Dwane Erickson, right, reads the oath of office to become the new board member for the Town of Trent. Next to him are Rick Nord, board member, and Kimberly Nelson, finance officer.

A long-time Trent resident with previous community service has been appointed to the town board, filling a vacancy.
Dwane Erickson was sworn in last week at the Trent Town Board meeting to replace Jennifer Ahrendt, who resigned after pleading guilty in August to a felony conviction of exploitation of her grandmother. He will serve until April, the next board election, and can run for the position if he chooses.
Erickson was on the board several years ago and was chosen from a number of people who applied and were interviewed for the job, said Jonathan Damm, board president.
Damm, Erickson and board member Rich Nord will share the town’s duties instead of splitting them up as was done in the past, Damm said. “It’s just easier if we share everything,” he said.
In Erickson’s first meeting, the board discussed changing an outdated ordinance that required trees be trimmed to seven feet above roads and sidewalks. The new height will be 14 feet to allow for higher vehicles and campers, for example.
“This is just making a more current ordinance,” Damm said. “We’ll do everything we can to help people.”
Nord said, “There are certain spots in town that do need attention.”
Resident Matt Larson said he would be willing to be part of a group of people that help others trim their trees, if a group is organized.
While the change isn’t intended to be punitive, there is a fine between $5 and $100 for those who don’t comply. The new ordinance will take place in November.
The board also approved its 2020 budget of $95,250 up slightly from this year’s $90,008 budget.
Next year’s budget includes less money for the Trent pool, which the city doesn’t own but has supported. Next year, the pool will get $4,000 in city money, a divisive discussion for some town folks. Some have told Damm there should be no money going to the pool, while others have said the pool is an asset that offers recreation and brings people to town.
“I’m getting questioned by a ton of people in town why we’re spending so much money on the pool,” Damm said. The pool is managed by its own group, and Damm said he would hate to see it close. Yet, the city is trying to be fiscally responsible, he said. “Our job is to spend the city’s money where it covers all the bases.”
The next town meeting will be 5:30 p.m. Oct. 8. The board is changing the meeting from 6 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the future to accommodate Erickson’s night shift work.

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