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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Name Jillian Schutte To Peshtigo City Council

Issue Date: December 7, 2016

As of Tuesday, Dec. 6, Peshtigo City Council once again has a full compliment of Aldermen to conduct city business. Alderman Mike Behnke returned to active service on Monday, Nov. 21 after an absence of many months while recovering from a back injury. Then, at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6, Council approved Mayor Cathi Malke's appointment of Jillian Schutte as alderman for District One, to replace Richard Berth III, who resigned early last month.

By unanimous vote, Council rescinded action taken last month to change Parks and Recreation Director David Zahn from a salaried employee to hourly pay at $18 per hour, which amounted to a cut in pay. The change in status for Zahn came as a result of a new Federal Department of Labor rule that would have required overtime pay for all salaried personnel earning less than $47,600 a year.

The unanimous Council vote Tuesday night reinstates Zahn's salary of $43,000, but leaves him again ineligible for overtime pay when he works more than 40 hours per week. Council's action last month would have allowed him up to 206 hours of overtime to meet his former salary, but he would have had to obtain permission to work overtime from the mayor or Parks Committee chair in advance.

Before the vote Malke commented it was only fair to reverse last month's action, since it only came about because of the federal rule that is now gone, at least temporarily.

In a separate motion, Alderman Brigitte Schmidt specified that Zahn is to be reimbursed by the pay he lost for the two days the new hourly pay was in effect for the payroll that was just completed. Approval of that motion was also unanimous.

Zahn reported a Christmas Open House at the Peshtigo Municipal Building will be from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, with Santa to be there from 4 to 5 pm.

In response to concerns expressed by City Engineer George Cowell, aldermen informally agreed hours at the recycling center should be cut to once a month, since there is no provision for supervision there. Cowell said the unsupervised operation is not working out. Cowell had explained that residents can dispose of large furniture items by calling city hall and arranging for curbside pickup.

Council also approved a revised committee assignment list prepared by Malke, referred a request from Peshtigo School District to vacate Green Street and a portion of the adjacent alley to the Streets and Drainage Committee, and granted Field & Forest Products a $1,540 credit on their purchase of Lot 80 in the Pine View Industrial Park in return for vacating street right of way that had been on their deed.

After a fair amount of discussion a petition from Michael and Louise Bayer to have property they own detached from the city and attached instead to the Town of Peshtigo was referred to the Judicial Committee. The Bayer request for detachment drew interest from others who own property in the neighborhood, including John Bayer, Trig Rhude and Eugene Frank. Council was told Frank had filed a petition for detachment of his property on Tuesday morning. The properties in question are on the other side of the divided highway, and apparently are no longer directly accessible from the city. City Attorney David Spangenberg pointed out before any decision can be made or even really considered the Town of Peshtigo would have to be asked about accepting them. There also will need to be at least one public hearing. Spangenberg noted the city is under no obligation to approve the detachment.

Also by unanimous vote, council approved a Water and Sewer Committee recommendation to accept the bid of August Winter & Sons in the amount of $268,000 for sludge thickener modifications at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

First item of business for the evening was appointment of Schutte, whose family owns the Peshtigo Fitness Center. Her parents are Kevin and Patricia Schutte of Pound. Patricia Schutte is Pound clerk/treasurer and Kevin, currently public works director for Pound, was village president there for many years.

In her letter of interest, Jillian Schutte noted she is a graduate of Coleman High School and has been manager of the family owned business in the Industrial Park since 2005.

"Over the years of living in Peshtigo my interest of participating in the local government has increased," she wrote. "I enjoy living in Peshtigo and would like to participate in making future suggestions and decisions to make it an even better place to live and visit."

Malke said Schutte's was the only letter of interest she received after Berth resigned. She said Schutte had also applied when Berth was appointed, and was pleased that her interest has continued. Berth had been appointed to fill the vacancy left when Tim Colburn resigned. The term ends in April of 2018.

Malke said it will be particularly nice to have Schutte on the Council since her family owns a business in the Industrial Park.

With the change in Council membership, Malke had prepared a new list of committee assignments.

Appointments are, with chairmen listed first:

Finance and Claims: Tom Gryzwa, Mary Lock and Brigitte Schmidt;

Fire, Lighting and Building: Lock, Gryzwa, and Debbie Sievert;

License and Police: Behnke (temporary chairman), Sievert and Schutte;

Personnel: Gryzwa (temporary chairman), Schmidt and Behnke;

Parks and Recreation: Schmidt, Behnke, Sievert;

Streets and Drainage: Sievert, Behnke and Schutte, and

Judiciary: Lock, Schmidt and Schutte.

Behnke is also Council president.

Peshtigo School District Administrator Kim Eparvier was on hand to explain the school's request for vacating Green Street and the attached alley. He was accompanied by a Hoffman consultant who is working with the school district on plans for either remodeling and expanding the existing high school or building an entirely new one.

Eparvier explained the school board has not decided which route to take, but if the city is not willing to vacate Green Street, then adding to the existing building is probably not an option, so they wanted to know the answer to that question before spending more money on that choice. The city would only be asked to actually close Green Street and vacate the needed part of the alley should the board decide to go with remodeling and expanding, and if the taxpayers then subsequently approve the financing.

Malke and Schmidt were very concerned about traffic patterns, as was Police Chief Joseph FitzGerald. Malke also wondered how the businesses which use the alley off Green Street to set out garbage, etc. would be affected. Everyone agreed the school project could go forward even if the alley were not vacated. The Hoffman consultant said as to the alley, they generally try to maintain a drive all the way around any large school building they construct for emergency vehicle access, so the alley and street will be there in reality, but making them school property will give the needed setback space.

Gryzwa noted part of the school already encroaches on city property, and has done so for about 50 years.

FitzGerald is to meet with Eparvier and others to discuss traffic patterns, etc., and Lock said prior to the Judiciary Committee meeting they will look into effect that vacating the street and alley might have on adjoining property owners. Any abandonment would involve a public hearing so everyone involved could have a chance to express their opinion.

A bartender's license was approved for Ashley Nicole Polzin.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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