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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City Officially Has Deed For Riverside Cemetery

Issue Date: December 6, 2018

The City of Peshtigo now officially owns the property on which Riverside Cemetery is located. At the monthly City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, City Attorney David Spangenberg explained the Town of Peshtigo has relinquished the ownership that was issued to them by The Peshtigo Lumber Company in 1865. He said he had spoken with the state, and there should be no problems with the ownership transfer as long as it is from municipality to municipality.

Mayor Cathi Malke advised that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel will be doing some flood plain risk management assessments in the city in the near future. She said there is no need to be concerned if their vehicles are seen in the city, and invited anyone with concerns to call City Hall.

Marinette County has made some changes to the Shoreland Wetland Zoning Ordinance, and Alderman Archer Leupp wondered what those changes are, who they will affect and who they will benefit. Malke suggested he put those questions to aldermen Mike Behnke and Jillian Schutte, who also serve as supervisors on Marinette County Board. They said mainly it is changes to clean up some wording and bring the county ordinance into compliance with state law.

During time for public comment former Alderman Richard Berth expressed disappointment with the city's Christmas decorations. "I'm not really impressed," he declared, adding that the city puts much work into summer beautification and he wondered what could be done about Christmas.

Malke said she too wishes they could put more into Christmas decorating, but even buying decorations for 15 to 20 light poles can easily cost $50,000, "I look at wish books all the time, and they're not cheap." She added they are open to suggesitons on how to raise money for more. The summer banners and decorative flower pots are sponsored by individuals, and she wondered if people would be willing to sponsor Christmas decorations. She and Alderman Mike Behnke said because of the religious connotations, it's hard to get grants for Christmas decorations from government agencies.

Malke said when she applied for the downtown beautification grant in connection with the Hwy. 41 by pass she had included $50,000 for Christmas lights and the state and the state had disallowed that use.

Alderman Brigitte Schmidt agreed she too would like to order more, but they are very expensive. She believed the city has some decorations that are not up yet, and she was right.

Public Works Director George Cowell said they still need to put up the holiday banners and are not finished with other decorating yet, but there were some new problems this year. A light pole that was knocked down in a traffic accident has been replaced, but it affected wires to three other poles, for which repairs are in progress. On French Street WPS replaced three old light poles with new ones that did not have brackets to hang the decorations, and one did not have an electric outlet drop to plug in a decoration. His crew had found and installed two spare brackets and will put them on the replacement poles so the decorations can be hung on them. He noted they have set up the decorated trees in Triangle Park and there are other decoations in Riverfront Park.

Action items at the meeting were all approved without dissent. Alderman Debbie Sievert was absent.

After an in-person presentation by Assessor Jerry Pillath Council approved the contract proposal he submitted for M&O Assessor Service for a contact for tax years 2019 through 2021 with a total cost to the city of $15,600 per year. At the meeting Pillath explained his proposal includes monitoring all major propety tax classifications for compliance and other services connected with assessing.

Pillath, who has been Peshtigo Assessor since 2009, explained by state law municipal assessments must be within 10 percent of full value every six years, and he monitors the city's compliance. Peshtigo's compliance numbers are very close to that 10 percent right now. The current residential percentage of 88.92 percent and commercial ratio of 86.9 percent exceed the 10 percent limit. If the numbers stay out of compliance for six years he will need to do a market adjustment of the tax roll. The state bases its values on the average of sales of similarly classed properties in the previous year, Pillath said.

The 2019 fee schedule was approved as previously proposed, and budget transfers and adjustments were approved as recommended by the Finance Committee.

Lease agreement for space occupied by Peshtigo Library was aproved. It again sets the annual fee at $7,800 a year, payable at $650 per month, with the city to furnish heat, lights, water and electric.

Agreements to continue leasing the properties on which Bundy Park and Berh Park are located from respective owners Kay Mercier and John D. and Lisa M. Berth in return for the city's paying the property taxes were both approved.

Also approved was renewal of the lease of the Peshtigo Fire Museum and Fire Cemetery to Peshtigo Historical Society from Jan. 1 of 2019 through Dec. 31 of 2022 for the total sum of $1, with the provision that they continue using the properties "to preserve the historical nature of the Peshtigo Fire, to support tourism, and to support the work of the Lessee (the Historical Society)."

Carry over of 40 hours of unused vacation time for Wastewater Treatment Operator Richard Sparks and 80 hours for Police Chief Richard Badgley were aproved as recommended by the Personnel Committee. Payout of any additional unused vacation time exceeding that was also approved. Malke expressed the city's appreciation to both for dedicating so much time to their city duties.

Clerk-Treasurer Tammy Kasal was allowed to carry over any unused 2018 vacation time and personal days to 2019.

Resignation of Amber Lemery from the City Fire Department was accepted. Malke noted that although she had been on the department for only three years she was an active member and will be sorely mised.

Operator licenses were approved for Joseph Sparks, Samantha Lovett and Joyce Gauthier.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Mayor Malke wished everyone a safe and happy holiday season.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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