Greenville residents call for supervisor to step down amid environmental issues

Greenville residents are calling on Mike Woods, a town supervisor, to step down amid environmental issues with land he farms on. (WLUK)

GREENVILLE, Wis. (WLUK) -- Residents in Greenville are upset and worried that they might have to foot the bill for what county and state officials are calling unauthorized dredging.

Residents filled the town's annual meeting Tuesday, putting the blame on Greenville Town Supervisor Mike Woods.

“You are not to be trusted,” said Jean Goffard of Greenville. “You're not to be believed. You're not worthy of being on Greenville's town board.”

The land Woods farms is just west of Highway 76, north of Lions Park. Environmental experts say the land includes a karst, which impacts well water for nearby residents. A karst is a geological feature that forms through the dissolving of soluble rocks like limestone.

“It could be like an underground cave of some sort or underground pocket,” Richard Carlson, the attorney for Greenville, explained in trying to define a karst.

Carlson says town officials were made aware of work Woods was going to do to try to resolve sedimentation problems caused by a contractor.

“The town believed Mr. Woods had all the necessary permits,” said Carlson. “It had nothing to do with the karst. It had nothing to do with contamination.”

According to the county and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Woods didn't have the permits and dredged the karst, possibly beyond repair. Carlson says the DNR is now threatening heavy fines if corrective action isn't taken.

“We were taken to the woodshed, maybe rightfully so in some aspects, for not being more diligent in terms of what we were getting into,” said Carlson of a meeting town officials had with the DNR.

A temporary stabilization mat has been put in place while the town comes up with a permanent remediation plan. It's unclear how much that plan might cost and who will pay for how much.

Residents made it clear they don't want to foot the bill, and some say they'd like someone independent from the town board making decisions on the issue.

“I suspect and you probably do as well from what you've heard that they're going to think you're protecting your own,” said Dennis Luebke, a resident.

“As mad and upset as you people are, I'm feeling the same emotions,” said Andy Peters, a town supervisor.

As for Woods, he declined to talk with residents about his involvement.

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