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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Town Board Hears Agenda Requests

Issue Date: September 16, 2020

The Town of Peshtigo meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15 started with requests to add items to the October agenda.

Supervisor Kayla Furton made a motion to add two agenda items in reference to the PFAS water contamination, including a reimbursement agreement and legal expenses related to the contamination. The second request was to add the capability of virtual meetings to be held for the water issues. Both agenda items were approved to be put on the October meeting agenda.

Supervisor Kristin Edgar also wanted to add two items to the October agenda. Edgar made a motion to add action items for Town email addresses for any Board member that wants one and also to set a date for a financial audit.

Town Clerk Clarence Coble commented, "We don't need to add either item item to the October agenda, Treasurer Marcia Rettke is going to talk about both of these in the Announcements portion of the agenda and advise of an update and progress she has made".

The announcements portion of the meeting included several items of discussion including a comment from Chairman Herman Pottratz advising that he received a phone call from Kyle Burton of the DNR advising him they did a study on deer for PFAS contamination in deer from around the Tyco Firefighting Test Center and it was found that some deer were contaminated. The results showed that the only part of the deer that was contaminated was the liver. The balance of the deer is ok to consume, but the liver portion of the deer should be thrown out and not eaten.

Resident Chuck Boyle contested that comment and told Pottratz to check that out and advised the press to follow up with the DNR because he doesn't believe that statement is accurate.

In response to Boyles comment, this is the statement issued by the DNR on Tuesday, Sept. 15: "In February 2020, the DNR conducted a study on PFAS levels in deer at the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center in Marinette, located at 2700 Industrial Parkway, Marinette. Twenty deer were harvested and measured for PFAS levels in muscle (venison), heart and liver tissues. PFAS levels in muscle (venison) and heart tissue were either very low or not detected, but high PFAS levels were found in deer liver tissues. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Department of Natural Resources has issued an advisory against the consumption of liver from deer with the advisory area. For those who eat venison from deer harvested within the five-mile advisory area, which includes Marinette, Peshtigo and some surrounding communities, the muscle (venison) and heart of white-tailed deer are not likely to result in significant PFAS exposure, according to our findings. Therefore, a PFAS-based consumption advisory is not warranted for muscles or hearts of deer from this location.Our findings do suggest that eating liver from deer in this area is likely to result in significant PFAS exposure. The liver filters chemicals from the blood, and some chemicals, like PFAS, can accumulate in the liver over time."

Coble then gave an update on the Fall election stating, "In office voting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and Thursday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In office absentee voting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 27 and Thursday, Oct 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and also Saturday, Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to noon. An announcement will be put in the paper advising of these hours.

Rettke then gave updates on the status of the email situation, "I met with QVS and they gave us a quote of $970 which includes the annual license, the 365 plan and the servicing for setup. After that, the annual fee will be $470 which provides more storage and safer storage. Unfortunately the Tech will be gone for a week and a half so it will take a little while yet". Edgar then asked if they will be able to back the information up and Rettke replied, yes, it will be backed up to the Cloud and that is why it is much safer.

A brief update in reference to a new Town website was then given by Rettke. She received quotes from a couple different businesses and the cost will be between $800 and $1,200 to change over the website.

In reference to the audit, Rettke stated Kerber and Rose will meet with her on Thursday, Oct. 1 to start the audit. There are many documents that need to be pulled from within the office before they can start. Kerber and Rose will be in the office for one day and the rest will be done offsite.

Edgar then asked, "When was the last audit, because we have to do it every year per state law"? Rettke replied "It was in 2018 for the 2017 year. Coble responded, "Only if you have a change in treasurers. If you have a state law that says different, get a copy to us".

In the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Cindy Boyle commented, "I would like to remark on agenda items eight and nine in reference to the POET System and Reverse Osmosis System. Just for the record, I would like to note that I as an individual and as a member of the Citizens Advisory Commission, up to recently, we were able to give a monthly report at this meeting, we do not support either of those two options as a permanent long term water solution and I would just like that stated for the record".

Also in public comment, resident Bob Hawker addressed Pottratz, "Number one, I have a couple of observations, you don't wear a mask and I find that troubling and number two, you do but its below your nose and thats not in accordance with state law (as he spoke to Supervisor Jon Drees) and number three, I have noticed a bunch of acrimony amongst Board members and I find that somewhat troubling".

Boyle then commented, "I don't see any revenue on the budget report for the recycling center. I was wondering if that could be placed on the report so people can see what kind of revenue we are generating. And when is a good time to come in and look at the financials"? Rettke replied, "If you contact me, we can set up a time when it is a good for you to come in". Further in the meeting, it was mentioned that the recycling center is budgeted as a loss. If we raise rates and budget as an income, everything will end up in the ditches. A suggestion was made to raise the rate on larger items, but it would still never generate enough money to make it as a profitable entity.

Once again, the cleanup of of the building on Hwy 64, formerly A to Z was discussed. Edgar asked Town Attorney David Spangenberg to give an update on the progress. Spangenberg stated, "I talked to the owner and he asked for additional time. He has made some progress and has gotten quotes for removal and clean up of the remaining balance. I encouraged him to do that. He will continue to try to clean it up". Pottratz responded, "The main thing is to get it cleaned up and I don't think it will be that expensive". A motion was then made for the Town to secure quotes and discuss at the October meeting.

There was a discussion in regards to the POET system (Point of Entry System) versus Reverse Osmosis water treatment systems. The POET is not a long term water solution and is only a temporary option. The Reverse Osmosis system can possibly be used for long term use but it is not the preferred choice. A motion was made by Furton to remove the POET system as an option for a long term water solution. Citizens can still choose what they want for a solution but don't want to make it a long term option for the Town as a whole. The motion was passed four to one to remove the poet System as a long term solution.

Drees reported on the status of road work to be done on Hale Road , Pond Road and Spitzmacher Road. Edgar asked if the Town received a quote for any of the roads and Drees responded, "We did get a quote from Marinette County for $22,000 but there is only $20,000 left in the budget. There is a big hole on Pond Road that needs a couple loads of gravel. We talked about doing Hale Road next year and this year maintaining the road with gravel here and there and do a complete fix in 2021". Drees suggesed to go ahead with fixing Pond Road but table any action on Hale and Spitzmacher roads and add to the October agenda for further discussion.

Other than road repair, the restrooms at the Town Hall need repair and updating. Pottratz gave an update stating part of the repairs were done but the rest is falling apart and will cost several thousand dollars to repair. A motion was made and approved to secure quotes, place ads in both local papers and add to the October agenda for results of quotes and further discussion.

There was much discussion pertaining to the Recycling Center. Concerns were brought up by resident Cindy Bauer about who is accountable for the center? who keeps ledgers? who can give receipts? There is no accountability. After further discussion it was decided to discuss further with the manager of the center and come up with a solution for receipts.

Various suggestions were given including having a section for items that can be up-cycled or repurposed, re-arrange stations for better flow, provide receipts for larger items, review what the Town is charging for recycling of items and better signage both at the entrance and throughout the center.

Glenn Herman, Owner of Greenway Broker Recycling offered to help and advise solutions for the Recycling Center. He has setup scrap yards all over the midwest. Herman praised Coble and Town employee Keith Shallow for their great guidance about the center. I would be glad to donate signs for the Center and direct you how to rearrange the design of the center and where to put various recycling stations.

The Board decided to have Greenway Recycling to put information together and discuss at the October meeting.

The Town has received ATV/UTV complaints on town roads. Pottratz said he hasn't gotten any complaints. People need to control their speed and be courteous of others. Drees commented that he thinks it is an isolated case since there weren't any complaints up to this point.

In his Fire Department report, Chief Mike Folgert announced there were 9 calls including one barn fire assist on Little River Road, one house fire on Bagley Road, two alarm activations, one carbon monoxide call and a bunch of minor incident calls. Under maintenance and testing we completed our annual pump testing on both of our engines and both passed. We had a service call for a transmission sensor solenoid that went bad and that was taken care of in house. We flushed dry hydrants, received new cascade cylinders that were ordered under capital budget, are still waiting on new airpacks, had one birthday parade for a town resident and helped co-ordinate the 911 memorial walk honoring the 343 firefighters that lost their lives, which brought in a tremendous amount of friends and family. I have been working with a task force with the Wisconsin State Firefighters Association on PFAS working with the DNR and WISPAC on rule compliances, looking at new rules, how departments can get rid of PFAS and looking at cost sharing and financing.

The annual budget meeting will be held Thursday Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. and the next regular Board Meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. Attorney Spangenberg also requested a closed Board meeting to be setup to review the legals on the contamination issues. The board chose Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. for that meeting.


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