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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City of Peshtigo Approves 2022 Budget and Tax Levy

Issue Date: November 24, 2021

A Public Hearing was held Monday, Nov. 22 on the Proposed 2022 Budget for the City of Peshtigo. No one spoke for or abasing the proposed budget.

The budget and levy was later approved but not before comments were read from Alderperson Katie Berman with several questions in regards to the 2021-2022 wage schedules and accelerated wages of certain positions. She didn't agree with four employees that did not received the 3% like the rest of the employees received at negotiations. Berman proposed that the Deputy Clerk Treasurer be raised to a 2.75% increase and the Part-Time Deputy Clerk Treasurer to 2.70%.

Mayor Cathi Malke responded to Berman's comment stating, "I didn't know there were employees that only received 2% versus 3%. I had to step out of the room for a bit and this happened when I was out of the room. I agree they should have gotten 3% instead of 2%. The one person you are referring to, I do my homework, and that person did receive a 55% increase in pay within the past three years in pay. That is way over what everyone else has gotten in the last three years. I do agree though that we need to treat everyone equally. Also there were several other employees including the Fire Department as well as employees in other departments that received only the 2%. It is definitely something Finance and Personnel need to look at to justify for those employees. This occurred three weeks ago at the Finance meeting and since the budget was already posted in the paper, it will be rectified at the next Finance meeting. Also for the position of Lieutenant for the Police Department, that might need a second look for a larger adjustment, as he is second in command and his duties reflect that". Mayor Malke asked Finance to look into the Police Department pay scale for the next meeting.

Malke added, "I did speak up for Clerk Tammy Kasal and Parks and Rec Director Lori Tonn. I see what they both do on a daily basis and they are both doing an excellent job. Tonn is doing an outstanding job day in and day out and bringing a lot of things to this community".

Kasal added, Public Works is a 1 - 1 - 1 which ends up to be a 3% increase at the start of the the next year but it equals out to the as 2% when you split it up in thirds throughout the year and the 3% kicks in after January 1st.

Berman replied, "I would also like to ask the Council as a whole to meet and determine the protocol to schedule wage increases and releasing vacation times. Is it the Personnel committees responsibility for doing employee evaluations to determine wages and vacation"? Alderperson Debbie Sievert also commented, "As long as I have been an alderperson, Personnel has never determined wages and vacations. That is up to the department heads to review their own employees". Alderperson Bridgette Schmidt added, "If Personnel ever did do any evaluations, it was only because they didn't have a department head". Malke interjected, "If we want quality experienced employees, we need to offer them a wage and package to be competitive". Berman wanted to make sure that everything is clearly laid out and if the same Council members are not here in five years that we know what was negotiated for departments and employees. Public Works Director George Cowell added, "Mayor, each one is in the Employee Handbook. There is one for myself and the Clerk. Any different new ones should be in there too".

Berman also commented on the Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant asking why she was not able to review the grant before submitted. In talking with Mayor Malke, it was stated that the grant was approved at the most recent Council meeting and with the short time frame to submit the grant, it left a very short window to complete and submit if the city wants a chance to receive the grant. It is not a process where you have time to schedule meetings, it has to move forward in an expeditious manner. The Mayor has written several grants and many were approved and once it gets approved it is boots on the ground and dig in to get it done.

Berman then asked Malke "What is the city's match for the grants that you applied for"? Mayor responded, "There is no match, as I stated earlier in prior meetings. That is why this particular grant was so important to apply for, everything is covered at 100%. We are making improvements to the City at no expense to the tax payers. What you might be referring to is what is called "in-kind services'. Grants are awarded by a point system. An example would be if a grant applicant had to hire a firm to remove blacktop, but the City of Peshtigo has the capacity through Public Works to remove the blacktop, we can use that towards in-kind services and score points towards being awarded the grant".

Immediately following the Public Hearing, a Special Common Council meeting was held to approve Resolution 2021-07 to adopt the proposed 2022 budget and levy for the City of Peshtigo.

A motion was made with no discussion to approve the Teamsters Union Local 662 collective bargaining agreement for 2022 - 2023.

Also for discussion was granting of a UDAG loan to CRM Corporation and or John and Pamela Lee in the amount of $500,000 with interest at 125 basis points above the 10 year treasury yield as of five business days prior to closing for a 15 year term, contingent upon a pro-rata shared first position on machinery, equipment and one personal residence in Galesburg, Ill. and a pro-rata shared second position on one personal residence in Menominee, Mi. personal guarantees and upon satisfaction of all other loan requirements and procedures.

It was suggested by City Attorney David Spangenberg, since the loan was made out in the name of CRM Corp., to ask John Lee to fill out another application with the addition of wording of (and or any other entity acceptable). The new wording with addition would read "loan to CRM Corporation and/or John and Pamela Lee and/or any other entity acceptable". The change was then approved by Council.

The next Common Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 7.


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