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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tempers Flair At Marinette Public Works Committee

Issue Date: August 26, 2020

City of Marinette Board of Public Works Committee meeting was held on Tuesday, Aug. 18, followed by the Personnel and Licensing Committee meeting.

The Board of Public Works started with discussion in regards to the flooding in and near Red Arrow Park in Menekaunee. Alderman Ken Keller gave a brief summary of the high water levels from 1986 forward. Keller ended with I think we should get the proper permit and continue pumping as needed in various locations. The permit would take about a week and have a further update on this next week and see how things are going.

Alderman Walter Hitt agreed with Keller's assessment and a motion was made by Treasurer Jackie Miller and unanimously approved to have the Waste Water Department pump the water as needed with proper permits. Keller added, "The total spent last month for pumping of the water was $1,960 for July 28 through July 31 and just over 3 million gallons of water was pumped".

As Keller was about to move the meeting froward, Menekaunee resident Kathy Korchak, in well deserved frustration, strongly stated, "Hold it, hold it, don't we get to talk? Don't we get to say a response? This is a public meeting, why can we not talk? This is regarding our area, this is supposed to be an open meeting isn't it"? Mayor Steve Genisot replied, " The comment section was during the previous Council meeting and it was referred to the Board of Public Works Committee. The Committee discussed it and made a decision to monitor and pump as needed. This will not be a long term solution but a temporary measure. We will continue to pump and it will get referred back to Ccouncil if need be".

Korchak continued, "We talked to Mr. Nygren and he is willing to help, why do you not want to get help? Why are you not helping this area? Mr. Nygren came and looked at our area and he said he would be willing to help if the city came up with a permanent plan? Why are you not willing to do that? Why are you passing the buck? I want to know why you are not willing to get help"? Genisot calmly replied, This is not a permanent plan this is a temporary measure as Korchak again echoed, Why are you not willing to get help? When is it going to be a permanent plan"? Genisot replied, It takes time, its not going to happen overnight, this is not a time for public comment. The committee is taking action and they need proper permitting from DNR to even continue at this point. The Committee decided on a temporary measure and here will be further discussion as a permanent measure".

Korchak then replied, "You know what, it is going to be too late then, because the grants and funding will be gone! Why not take advantage of it now, I don't understand that at all, you have someone willing to help the city to get grants and funding and your passing it off with a temporary fix! That doesn't make sense. We asked them to pump our roads which is city property".

Genisot again repeated "These things take time, we have to get the proper permits and it doesn't happen overnight. The committee has taken temporary action and will continue to pump and the committee is trying to work on this. A permanent solution is going to take longer. I understand there is frustration".

Kathy's husband Frank Korchak then stated, "We will give them one more month and that is it"! Kathy Korchak replied as they left the meeting, "No I am not giving them that long Everything is lost"!

During all this, Keller refused to open the meeting under public comment and threatened several times to call the police, which accelerated the Korchak's frustration.

Mayor Steve Genisot remained calm, cool and collected as residents rightfully showed their frustration with high water flooding issues they felt were not taken care of properly by the city. Some residents lost apple trees, plants, gardens, flowers and the inability to access their property, along with water fowl using their flooded yards as swimming pools.

In other action, a sump pump ordinance was amended to clarify the connection of sump pumps in the City of Marinette. All sump pumps shall discharge into a storm sewer lateral where such is available or can be made available if, in the opinion of the Director of Public Works or Building Inspector, the sump pump discharge creates a nuisance. The discharge will be considered a nuisance in situations including, but not limited to discharge creating icing problems on a city street or sidewalk, damaging a city street or sidewalk, creating ponds of standing water or flowing over adjoining property. If such a nuisance is created, the building inspector or his/her designee shall require the owner of the property to connect the sump pump discharge to the lateral.

Any person violating any of the provisions may be subject to a penalty along with the costs of prosecution. Each day a violation continues or occurs shall constitute a separate offense. The penalty set forth shall not preclude the city from maintaining any appropriate action to prevent, remove or resolve a violation of this ordinance.

Failure to connect to the storm sewer system is contrary to the minimum health standards of the city and fails to assure preservation of public health, comfort and safety of the residents of the City of Marinette.

Alderman Jason Flatt raised a concern stating, "With an ordinance already in place in Chapter 16, why are we dealing with this now in Chapter seven? Does this only apply to new construction or existing construction as well? It gets confusing if the same or similar ordinance is in two different areas. We need to rely on the City Attorney's help to see which ordinance it properly belongs in".

A motion was then made and approved to blend and consolidate Chapter seven in with the existing Chapter 16 ordinance.

Director of Public Works Brian Miller provided a hand-out in reference to street lights along Marinette Ave., Hall Ave. and the Interstate Bridge that was previously discusses at the July 21 Board of Public Works meeting. In a power point at the July meeting, Miller showed the corrosion on some of the street light poles that is caused by road salt being sprayed up from vehicles passing by.

After further review, it was determined that 16 light poles require replacement and the remaining 53 poles will require scraping and repainting. The cost of a new pole is $3,000 with an added cost of $4,000 to remove existing pole, remove the arm and light fixture from the pole, reassemble and attach the arm and light fixture on the new pole and install the new pole onto the concrete base. This brings the cost to replace each pole to $7,000 for a total cost for replacement of new poles to approximately $112,000. The repair of the remaining 53 poles will cost approximately $20,000.

Miller added, The new aluminum poles could be purchased from the 2020 capital budget of $48,000. Both the installation cost of $64,000 and the repair cost of $20,000 could be budgeted in the 2021 capital budget. Replacement, repair and budgeting of the poles was the approved as per proposed.

Three bids were received for an HVAC preventative maintenance contract including Automated Comfort Controls Inc. of Appleton for $6,850; Energy Control and Design Inc. also from Appleton for $7,200, who is the current contractor and Mechanical Technologies Inc of Green Bay being the highest bidder at $16,978.

Miller suggested to not accept the lowest bid in this situation but to accept the bid from the current contractor of Energy Control and Design. Miller added, "They have been contracted with us for several years and been able to keep us running. It is a delicate situation with the equipment being older and they have been very responsive and reliable when we needed them". Finance Director Jackie Miller supported Public Works Director Millers decision stating, "Based on their reliability and support, I would make a motion to accept the bid from Energy Control and Design. The motion was then approved.

The Personnel and License Committee then followed the Public Works meeting with approval of 13 Operator License with one stipulation for fines to be paid in full before receiving a license.


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