Central WI Couple Sues Taylor County

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

A Rib Lake couple wants Taylor County to pay them $50,000.

Jerry and Naomi Miller were forced to sell their property to the county in 2007 to accommodate a Taylor County Airport expansion project.

But in the end, the Millers say they were sold short.

For the last decade, Taylor County has been positioning itself to expand the general aviation airport.

In 2007, the airport committee's plans to extend the 9-27 runway were put into motion. Neighbors weren't too pleased.

"I had no intentions of selling the farm," Jerry Miller said. "I was fine there."

Several Apple Avenue property owners were forced to sell parts of their land but it was only the Millers who had to sell their entire property including a dairy farm and brand new house.

The Millers received $535,000 in the deal but scrambled to find suitable land for their dairy farm and grass crop. They settled in Missouri but found feed costs had gone from $25,000 yearly in Medford to $50,000 in Missouri.

Jerry Miller said his family needed more land to grow grass and in order to make ends meet.

"I loved the Missouri farm, I loved it, the grass was really growing good on the land that we had it was just that I needed more land to really make it work," he said.

But he couldn't make it work and they moved back to Taylor County, this time settling in Rib Lake.

"Even though it was not how I intended it to be. This was my option that worked."

As part of the original relocation deal, the Millers say they were entitled to $50,000 in a business replacement payment. They say their livelihood depended on it but when they requested the money the county denied it.

That's why they went ahead with the lawsuit. The Millers say it isn't about the money, but what they believe is right.

"For us to settle for less, it just feels like it's just money and it doesn't matter if it was right or wrong," Miller said.

Bill Thiel, an attorney representing Taylor County says the county does not owe the Millers anything. He's asking a judge to dismiss the case.

As it stands, it's heading for a jury trial in May.

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