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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Marinette County Offers Three Fall Color Tours

Issue Date: September 30, 2021

The Fall Color Tour offered through the Marinette County Department of Development and Tourism last year proved so popular that this year department director Jennifer Short and her staff have developed two more tours and prepared the maps to go with them. County Administrator John LeFebvre told County Board at its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21 that kickoff for this year's fall color tour program would be on Saturday, Sept. 25, and will run through Sunday, Oct. 24. Maps and step by step driving directions are available on-line at therealnorth.com, and at local businesses throughout the county. There is no cost for any of the tours except an annual park sticker or the $5 park pass that admits the vehicle to all Marinette County Parks for the day, LeFebvre said.

Farthest north is the "Experience All Things Autumn" tour, a 28 mile route beginning at Riverside Park in the City of Niagara.  The tour includes a one mile hike on the Riverside Trail system along the beautiful Menominee River. As the tour descends south, there's a chance to stop for pictures at the Niagara bluffs and the photo booth at Long Slide County Park, and hike the natural shore of the Pemebonwon River to see the many waterfalls and rapids.

A 70-mile "Wine, Cheese and Wildlife Tour" begins at Hwy. 141 and County M in Coleman, with chances to stop and shop along the way for cheeses, wines and more. Motorists driving south will get to admire a rustic canopied road, watch for wildlife in hardwood lined fields and hike the Prairie Trail at Harmony Arboretum before driving the Green Bay shoreline to conclude the tour in the City of Marinette.

The "WaterFall Tour," a scenic 65-mile route that was developed last year, begins at Dave's Falls, just off Hwy. 141 near Amberg, heads west to Strong Falls at Goodman Park and south down scenic Rustic Road 32 to McClintock Rapids. The tour continues south to Thunder Mountain Overlook, a County Park where guests can hike the trails and take pictures with harvest décor arranged throughout the park. Final stop on this tour is nearby Veteran's Falls.

In addition to the county parks, the 141 Overlook is included near the start of the route between Wausaukee and Amberg.  Those who follow the scenic routes will have opportunities to hike trails, enjoy waterfalls up close and explore the mature hardwood beauty of each park, according to the county web site.

In addition to announcing the Fall Color Tour program, LeFebvre told the board that retention and recruitment of employees will be a great challenge for the county in the year ahead, and asked supervisors , "If you know anyone interested in working for county government, send them our way."

He reported briefly on a webinar on the $200 million that Wisconsin will have available for ARPA grants, and said one of the messages he got was that the state wants a quick turnaround on the funds, and wants the grant money to be used to leverage other money.

He said he plans to send his final version of the proposed budget to supervisors in about the first week of October, but is still waiting for some amounts from the state so he can include actual numbers instead of plugging in amounts received last year. The budget hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct.26. The property tax rate will be down 31 cents per $1,000 from last year, "and that's a good thing," LeFebvre commented. He said everyone should see a smaller property tax bill this year unless their property was reassessed during the year.

Total levy increase is limited to the $143,097 amount of new growth for the year, which allows only a .86 percent levy increase. Of the 31 cent tax rate decrease, 18 cents is from a drop in the levy for general county expenses, and 13 cents is due to only needing that amount for debt retirement, rather than the 25 cents per $1,000 needed in prior years. County long-term debt is getting close to being paid off. There was $4 million of debt paid off last year. The proposed budget includes $10.5 million for capital expenditures.

LeFebvre said Marinette County has a much lower property tax rate than Oconto and Shawano counties, but increases in equalized value of those two counties are much higher than the increase for Marinette County.


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