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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Pound Parade Dec. 9, Special Meet Dec. 11

The Pound Village Board meeting on Monday, Dec. 4 included brief discussion on the Christmas Parade and community celebration to follow starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. Clerk/Treasurer Patricia Schutte urged everyone attending to bring a non-perishable item for the food pantry, and noted that "In Memory" Christmas ornaments will again be hung from the ceiling of the Community Center. They can be purchased from any Pound business for a $1 donation each. Proceeds will be donated to any church in the village that puts a float in the parade of lights.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa will be in the parade and at the Chili Dump social to follow, and the FAA will again be offering Christmas tree and wreaths. So far there are 20 parade entries.

Discussion of a request from Public Works Director Kevin Schutte and Clerk/Treasurer Patricia Schutte for either a pay raise or insurance coverage occupied most of the discussion at the meeting, and ended with scheduling of a special board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11 to continue the discussion.

Meanwhile, board members indicated they will try to collect more information on comparable pay elsewhere, and options for providing health insurance coverage for municipal employees, perhaps through Wisconsin League of Municipalities, the State of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Counties Association.

Clerk/Treasurer Schutte told the board that in preparing the village budget for 2018 she had included provisions for a 10 percent raise for her husband and a 5 percent raise for herself. She said his current pay is $20.40 per hour, and he had not received any raise since he started in the position five years ago. She has been in her post with the village for 14 years, and her current hourly rate is $15.38 per hour. The public works post pays $21.75 per hour in Coleman, $22 in Suring, and $16 in Wausaukee. Lena pay was listed as salary. Both are covered by the Wisconsin Retirement Plan, through which they pay half and the village pays half, and the state sets the rules. Board members are also in the Wisconsin Retirement Plan.

They have been providing their own health insurance, and their current policy term ends on Sunday, Dec. 24. Window for applying through the "Affordable Health Care" marketplace is Friday, Dec. 15. She said the lowest price policy she found in the "marketplace" at www.gov would cost $2,700 per month and has a high deductible, while a better policy would cost over $3,600 a month for the couple. She said the state has health insurance that would cost $1,200 per month.

Clerk Schutte said the village might come under the small group plan coverage, but they cannot because they are married.

Everyone in the discussion felt the Obama Care insurance quotes seemed "ridiculously high," and Village President Earley commented there is a very high deductible as well.

She had prepared a comparison listing wages and benefits for similar positions in Coleman, Lena, Wausaukee and Suring. Coleman pays 70 percent of health insurance premiums, Suring pays 88 percent, and Wausaukee pays $400 per month. Pound pays nothing.

Kevin Schutte said they are the only full time village employees in the whole area that do not have health insurance as a benefit. He was far more interested in that than a pay raise, while several board members indicated preference for giving the raise and letting the Schuttes continue providing their own insurance. Trustee Mary Meyer was absent. Present were trustees John Homontowski, Jerry Rogge, and David Navis and Village President Earley.

Clerk/Treasurer Schutte told them this is the time to consider their own pay for their coming two year terms. After very brief discussion. She asked if they were okay where they are, and said she had put no money in the budget for that.

"The way times are going, let's just leave our pay where it is," Navis suggested, and the others agreed.

The board approved Clerk Schutte's appointment of Tanya Race as chief election inspector with Kevin Schutte as alternate chief; Jillian Schutte and Terri Kuntz for 2-year terms on the elections board with Tanya Race as alternate. Individuals named by the municipal clerk as election workers do not need to be residents of the municipality. Clerk Schutte said she is a firm believer in multiple people knowing how to do the same job. She said by law Kevin cannot volunteer, but will be paid his regular wage since he is a full time village employee.

Kevin Schutte wanted village residents informed that it is technically illegal for them to blow or otherwise place their leaves out into the street. They are supposed to rake and bag the leaves and bring them to the recycling center for disposal.

He suggested if the village someday bought a street sweeper he would be able to pick up leaves from curbsides.

"And then we can increase taxes," Navis commented.

Schutte had requests for street lights in connection with the Walker Street project and will get more price information for the board's January meeting. He suggested putting conduit for the lines into the roads now, and then buying the light fixtures and getting then connected when they do Alma to Business 141. He predicted it would cost about $8,000 to run the wires for one block. Schutte said if the village condemns the old Podoski house it will cost about $10,000 to have it torn down. He said the owner has done nothing about the house and it is for sale, but did clean the yard and cut the grass.


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