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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Board Affirms Decision To Help Buy Ice Rescue Boat

Issue Date: October 28, 2021

After nearly an hour of long, hard debate at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26 Marinette County Board, by a narrow 14 to 13 vote margin, reaffirmed its decision to provide $43,900 to help the City of Marinette buy an air boat that will be housed at the city's fire station and used for water rescue.

The meeting had started with the annual Budget Hearing, at which Finance Director Laura Mans presented a budget summary. No members of the public spoke for or against the budget, and it was adopted as presented, with the property tax rate of $3.885 per $1,000, and a debt levy rate of 12 cents per $1,000, down from 25 cents last year.

At the start of the meeting Supervisor Connie Seefeldt introduced Karin Adams, the new library director.

Fair Board President Mario Ruiz and Secretary Lisa Witak reported the Marinette County Fair was very successful this year, and introduced Isabella Peterson, the 2021 4-H Queen.

Appointment of Matt Draheim as School District Representative to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee was approved.

After long discussion, the board approved a change in the way applications for county roads to become routes on the county's system of ATV/UTV trails. Applications will need to be submitted no later than Dec. 31 each year to be included in the routes for the coming year. Decisions will be made by March 31, and trail routes will be marked by the time the season opens on May 1. Several supervisors, including Tricia Grebin and Bonnie Popp, were concerned about detrimental effect the new process might have on businesses established after the annual Dec. 31 application deadline. Consensus finally was to try out the new system for a year, and vote in favor of the Dec. 31 application deadline was 25 to 2, with Popp and Grebin opposed. supervisors Penny Chaikowski, Jillian Schutte and Ted Sauve were absent.

By far, the most contentious issue was contribution of the money to help the City of Marinette pay for the airboat. Motion to reconsider the decision made in September to transfer the $43,900 funding was made by Supervisor Roger Allen and seconded by Clancy Whiting and approved, 17 to 10. Opposed to reconsidering were Supervisors Tom Buelteman,

Chris Gromala, Tom Gromala, Stan Gruszynski, Bob Hoyer, Ken Keller, Tom Mandli, Al Mans, Rick Polzin and Gail Wanek.

Allen said he had brought the issue back for reconsideration after learning the city will be paying an extra $500 from ARPA funds to each city employee who agets a Covid shot.

Guarisco said the issue was not addressed at the Budget Hearing because the county will pay its share with money ARPA funds, not local property tax payer dollars. Arguments from some supervisors during the discussion were that the county ARPA funds could be used for other projects, and in fact some will go to provide the new cross country bike trail near Goodman Park.

According to LeFebvre city officials had told him they could not use ARPA funds, but he felt they could, if they correctly calculated revenues lost due to Covid.

Regardless, many supervisors from outlying areas maintained that the board should be fair to the entire county, and when other cities, towns and villages come in with requests for funds, the county would have set a precedent and should cooperate.

Supervisors in favor of sharing the cost said the airboat, which is designed to deal with partly frozen conditions in early spring and late fall, when most accidents occur, will save lives anywhere in the county that it is needed, and make the attempted rescues far safer for law enforcement and fire fighters who work on the vessel.

Supervisor Stan Gruszynski represents Porterfield, but said many of his constituents use the waters of Green Bay for fishing and boating, and they surely would be helped by the airboat.

Supervisor Ginger Deschane commented the Village of Crivitz is in the process of buying a rescue boat to help in case of accidents involving the many residents and visitors who travel from Brooks Park down the Peshtigo River, and asked if the county would help with that purchase. She agreed the airboat probably would be brought to Crivitz if needed, but the travel time involved meant it would be a recovery attempt, not a rescue.

There was a suggestion that the Village of Coleman needs a new fire truck, and perhaps the county should help pay for it.

Finally, vote was 14 to 13 in favor of contributing the money for the City of Marinette purchase. Voting no were supervisors Roger Allen, Glenn Broderick, Ginger Deschane, Tricia Grebin, John Guarisco, Robert Holley, Shirley Kaufman, George Kloppenburg, Don Pazynski, Bonnie Popp, Al Sauld, Connie Seefeldt, and Clancy Whiting. The money is to be paid to the city when the boat is delivered.




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