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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Rob Wenzel Will Be New Middle Inlet Fire Chief

Issue Date: July 15, 2020

At its meeting on Thursday, July 9 Middle Inlet Town Board bade farewell to outgoing Clerk/Treasurer Virginia Hines, whose resignation became effective the following day, and welcomed former Village of Pound Clerk/Treasurer Patricia (Trish) Schutte. Schutte said she will hold office hours at the Middle Inlet Town Hall from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Those at the meeting learned that audit reports for 2018 and 2019 have not yet been completed, and were informed by Fire Chief Dan Johnson that he is retiring effective Saturday, Aug. 1, and will be tuning his position over to Assistant Chief Rob Wenzel.

The board scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13 on proposed adoption of an ordinance setting "no wake" hours on Lake Mary between the hours of 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. An identical ordinance is to be considered by the Wagner Town Board at its September meeting. Lake Mary/Lake Julia Lake Association President Wade Fronsee had spoken with Middle Inlet Town Chair Rich Wade in regard to establishing an ordinance that provides quiet time for fishing, canoeing, etc., as well as providing time for water and jet skiing, etc. Wade had told the Wagner town board that nearly 100 percent of the Lake Association members supported the 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. quiet hours.

A dozen members of the public were on hand for the meeting in addition to Wade, Supervisors Ron Wenzel and Don Van, and the incoming and the outgoing clerk/treasurers.

"We wish you the best of luck on your new adventure," Wade told Hines on behalf of the board. He expressed thanks for her services during the past year. In announcing her resignation, Hines had advised the board that she had sold her home in Middle Inlet and would be moving to central Wisconsin to return to her previous profession as a college professor.

Schutte was hired by the board at a special 9 a.m. meeting on Tuesday, June 23 for a term ending at midnight on April 16, 2021. She had been sworn in by Town Chair Rich Wade before that meeting adjourned. Both Hines and Schutte were present for the July 9 board meeting, which was the last for which Hines would serve as clerk.

The audits for 2018 and 2019 are being prepared by the firm Rennie & Johnson, LLC, and a report from Joel Rennie had been on the agenda for the Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 11 but the audit was not complete. At a subsequent board meeting Wade said there had been an error in the annual meeting and to meet technical requirements it would need to be re-done. There was talk of scheduling it for Tuesday, July 14 or Thursday, July 16, but so far no date has been set.

The audit report issue came up in response to a question from resident Carol Bausch during time for public comment. Bausch recalled that the 2018 audit report was not completed in time for presentation at the 2019 Annual Meeting, and the 2019 audit was not completed for the 2020 Annual Meeting.

She was concerned that now, with another new clerk taking over, gathering the needed information will become even more difficult. "It is the board's responsibility to be sure that we get an audit," DeBausch declared.

Hines confirmed that the town audits for 2018 and 2019 have not yet been completed, and said he refuses to begin work on the 2019 audit until he has completed 2018, and is waiting for "some vouchering" to be completed for 2018. Hines remarked that Middle Inlet is not the only municipality having problems with that accounting firm.

She said Auditor Joel Rennie had contacted her very recently with a request for more information from 2018, and she had provided them.

At a special meeting on June 23 Wade had announced that a re-do of the Annual Meeting would take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14 due to a technical error in scheduling the initial Annual Meeting on June 11. That now apparently will not happen. Wade commented there was no point in holding the Annual Meeting repeat until they have the audit reports in hand, and said he would contact Rennie the following day.

Hines presented a financial report listing combined town assets of $453,758.60. Vouchers totaling $26,015.49 were examined by the board and approved for payment.

Wade stated recent storms downed trees on Wayside, Camp 5 , and Lake Mary Roads. Cleanup had been done by NorthEast Tree Experts, and they also removed several leaning trees on other town roads.  Mowing has been completed.

Wade said work on culvert projects would begin the week of July 13 on Creek, Camp 5, XX, and Moonshine Hill Roads, and upon completion of those projects repairs will begin on Meyer and Quarry Roads. Improvements to Creek Road will start at a later date. Wade asked people to help the road work get done faster by staying off them as much as possible while work is underway.

Assistant Fire Chief Rob Wenzel reported that the department had four calls in the past month, including a MABAS call to a structure fire with Crivitz and four other departments, a major car fire on Hwy. 141, and two lift assists. "The guys did a great job," he commented.

At Wenzel's request the board approved purchase of a new floor gas meter, tentatively from AirGas for a price of $740. The unit is used used to test for four different gases that may be present during calls. Wenzel said the old unit is "junk," and added, "If something were to happen in your house now we have no way to test for it."

Supervisor Van stated that there were complaints about garbage pick-up on Wasko Lane. Wade said letters should be sent to two residents regarding leaving the garbage out on Sunday evenings without being in a garbage container, and suggested all town residents should be told not to put their garbage out on Sunday unless absolutely necessary. Supervisor Wenzel stated that things were good at the cemetery, and Hines reported she had sold six graves there in the past two weeks for a total of $2,400.

A bartender license was approved for Elaine Kanter, who works at I Don't Know Saloon.

During time for public comment Bill Clapp stated that there were large dogs roaming the neighborhood of Birch Hill Road and they are vicious. He said they have come to attack him on his own property, and declared he will sue if he gets mauled in his own back yard.

Clapp asked that the animal control ordinance requiring dogs to be kept on leashes be posted at the boat landing and elsewhere, and that dog owners be informed. The dog owners are reportedly weekend property owners.

Former Town Supervisor Roger Lieck commented that by ordinance all dogs in Middle Inlet must be on a leash.

Clapp said he had called Dog Catcher Gary Kuchta without results, and a call he had made about the problem last year to the Sheriff's Department resulted in deputies searching his home instead of dealing with the dog issue.

Wade said he will speak with Kuchta in regard to enforcing the dog control ordinance.

Rick Wykoski asked the town to place signs near the bridge on Maple Beach Road to prohibit parking there. He said vehicles are blocking traffic and would prevent emergency vehicles from getting through.

Jeff Ostriech stated there was an erosion problem on Birch Hill where the shoulder is washing away, and asked for trees to be removed from driveway entrances and the intersection to provide greater visibility. Chairperson Wade sought clarification regarding the erosion and stated that he would arrange for it to be corrected.

At a previous meeting there had been discussion on possibly starting meetings earlier than the 7:30 p.m. start time that is traditional in Middle Inlet. Lieck said people he had spoken with would like an earlier starting time. Wade said they could put that suggestion on the agenda for the August board meeting.

David Turkewitz had questions regarding the Aug. 11 election. He was advised there will be votes for county officials and congressional representatives. Voting in the clerk's office is possible by appointment, and Hines said she has mailed out 126 absentee ballots so far. There were 173 absentee ballots completed for the last election.

Former Town Clerk/Treasurer Charles Stanek sought information about the public hearing held on Tuesday, June 30 regarding a request from Laura Haskins for access to her currently land-locked property that includes a cabin built by her father. A member of the audience commented there is no such thing in Wisconsin as a landlocked property, and Stanek said eventually an easement would be condemned to provide access, but the person needing the access would have to pay the owner and build the access road.

Wade said the petitioner was trying to get the town to build the road. He explained she had not followed procedure, and after Town Attorney Kim Coggins advised her of her rights, her standing, and potential options which would be more practical, she withdrew her petition. Wade added Coggins said Haskins should be able to get to her property, since they have used the easement for 50 to 60 years, but ther will likely be an alternate way to get it done.

At the hearing Leon Koch made comment regarding the positive relationship with his neighbors, and the difficulty of being landlocked and possible access through his property,which he feared might be highly impractical.

After more advise, Haskins withdrew her petition with an understanding that she needed to comply with statute requirements, including notifications, and exhaust all options prior to re-petitioning.


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