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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Approves $453,986 For Niagara Highway 141 Project

Issue Date: April 1, 2020

With Wisconsin's "Safer At Home" orders in place Marinette County Board did not hold its regular monthly meeting in March. Instead, the board's Executive Committee met, mainly by telephone conference call, to deal with county business for the month.

Social distancing protocols were carefully preserved. There was no provision for public comment except for a public hearing at the start of the meeting on a $453,986 Community Development Block Grant through the CLOSE program for the City of Niagara, which was approved later in the meeting. The grant will pay half the cost of sidewalk, lighting and some street improvements along the Hwy. 141 corridor through the city, with the city responsible for the other half of the cost along with some additional expenses. At the hearing there was no public comment, and LeFebvre said no written comments had been received. Plans for the improvements were drawn by Cedar Corp. and the project has already been bid out. LeFebvre said input he received from the public prior to the meeting was that the county's main community development needs include public works projects, mainly road improvements, and upgrades of broadband service.

Participating in person were County Board Chair Mark Anderson, Administrative Committee Chair Vilas Schroeder, County Administrator John LeFebvre, and Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison. Others physically present were Supervisor Rick Polzin of Marinette and three members of the news media.

Participating by telephone were Health and Human Services Chair Paul Gustafson, County Board Vice Chair Robert Holley, Public Services Chair Ken Keller, Infrastructure Chair Al Mans, and Development Chair Ted Sauve.

Conducting the meeting by phone worked fairly well, except for a brief interruption when connections were lost and the calls had to be placed again. Business was resumed in less than five minutes.

Since one or more members of the Executive Committee had participated in the respective committee meetings where recommendations were thoroughly discussed, Tuesday's meeting was brief, with little discussion and no negative votes on any of the issues.

Among major action items were increasing pay for County Constitutional Elected Officers - County Clerk, Register of Deeds and Treasurer - who will be elected in November for terms that will run from January of 2021 to 2024, and approval of spending $80,000 to purchase a 123-acre parcel adjacent to the wayside on Hwy. 41 between Marinette and Peshtigo from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. It is likely that a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Grant will reimburse the county for half of the purchase price.

A letter from the Town of Pound suggesting that Marinette County should become involved in its fight against placement of out of county 980 sex offenders in a state-leased residence on 7th road was referred by Anderson to a future meeting of the Executive Committee. Mattison reminded the committee that, on behalf of the county, she had intervened in the past on placement of these offenders to no avail, and assured them that she and Town Attorney Kim Coggins have continued to talk about this and have not ignored the problem.

Mattison added that the person referred to in the letter from Town of Pound Chair Jerry Heroux is already living there, and the latest placement "really relates to what judges in other counties see as the law."

Anderson said nonetheless he would refer the issue to the Executive Committee and will stay in contact with Heroux.

It was Anderson's last meeting as County Board Chair. He is not seeking re-election, and his current term will end after the Spring election on Tuesday, April 7. Schroeder also is not seeking re-election, so it was the final meeting for both unless there is need for a committee meeting before their replacements are seated on the board. Both Anderson and Schroeder said farewells and received thanks for their service and leadership. During his time on the board Schroeder has also served terms as County Board Chair.

Before the meeting adjourned Anderson said if the coronavirus pandemic restrictions are still in place when it comes time for the April reorganizational meeting and rules require that it be attended in person they are considering holding it in the Theatre on the Bay on the Marinette Campus of UW-Green Bay so that social distancing can be observed.

LeFebvre expressed thanks to a number of businesses, schools and other organizations that have contributed needed items to Marinette County for use in combatting spread of the the coronavirus. Items, including gloves, goggles, coveralls, surgical and isolation gowns, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and surgical masks, came from Coleman, Crivitz, Wausaukee and Marinette School districts, NWTC Nursing Department, Peshtigo Office of WDNR, Samuel Pressure Vessel Group, Sherwin Williams No. 3937, Plutchak Crane and Northern Coatings.

The committee, acting in lieu of County Board, approved rule changes requiring roll call votes on County Board resolutions, ordinances, study recommendations and proclamations; assigning review of legislative matters to the committee with jurisdiction on the specific issues, and providing for action by the full board only on departmental spending and agreements that bind the county if the amounts total $25,000 or greater, up mainly from $15,000.

Among other actions at the meeting, the Executive Committee, by unanimous vote:

*Approved changing some employees of the Health and Human Services Department from 35-hour per week salaried positions to 40-hour per week hourly positions as recommended by Health and Human Services Director Robin Elsner and the Health and Human Services committee.

*Approved transfer of tax deed property Parcel #010-00642.003 to the Town of Dunbar with the Town of Dunbar to prepare deed, pay recording costs, and to pay all taxes due and all costs associated with the transfer for a total of $3,313.42.

*Approved purchase of a used 2016 Kenworth semi-tractor from Wisconsin Kenworth, including trade in for $5,000, for a total cost of $64,219.50.

*Approved purchase of a new 2020 detachable gooseneck lowboy trailer from Aring Equipment, including $10,000 for trade in, for a total cost of $54,800.


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PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
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