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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City of Peshtigo Dumpster Site To Open Once A Month

Issue Date: December 21, 2016

Starting in January, the City of Peshtigo dumpster disposal site at the Public Works Department garage will be open only on the first Monday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon. The half day a month trial period will run through the first of May and then be looked at again.

Anyone wanting to bring items to the dumpster must first pay for disposal at City Hall. However, for an added $10 city residents can have large items such as couches, etc. picked up from the curb in front of their homes. Letters will be sent to city residents advising them of the new rules for disposal and special pickups.

Public Works Director George Cowell explained at the Streets and Drainage Committee meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15, as he had at the full council meeting two weeks earlier, that his budget has no funds for a person to man the site, and free help through the Experience Works program is no longer available. He said only an average of two and a half customers a day have been using the site on the one day a week it has been open.

Before voting to accept Cowell's recommendation committee members had some questions. Jillian Schutte, at her first meeting as the newly appointed alderman, wondered if they could use community service workers at the disposal site. Cowell said they need to be supervised at all times.

Committee Chair Debbie Sievert suggested Cowell could open the dumpster site if there is a special request.

Alderman Mike Behnke, back on duty after a long absence due to a back injury, agreed a special request provision would be good, particularly if someone is moving.

Cowell pointed out that landfills are not open on weekends in winter either, and said the Waste Management Landfill in Michigan charges $55 per ton for garbage from non-contracted haulers.

The committee spent some time discussing a request from Peshtigo School District to vacate Green Street and part of an adjacent alley but took no action.

Closing the street is needed in order for an option to remodel and expand the existing high school/middle school building which is one of the options being considered by the school board.

The school's request had been referred to the committee by the full City Council after discussion at its December meeting. Subsequently City Attorney David Spangenberg advised that the city cannot act on the request unless all affected property owners petition for the street closing.

It seems to be something of a Catch 22. Discussion indicated committee members did not want to go through the work needed to close the street unless the school intends to accept the remodeling option, and the school board does not want to go forward with the needed surveys, soil tests, etc. unless they know the city is willing to vacate the street.

It might be a moot question in any case. At the school board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, most board members informally declared they do not favor the remodeling option and probably would not vote to go ahead with that choice even if the city does agree to vacate Green Street. For what they have said is a small price difference they prefer to build a new school on the property purchased for that purpose last year.

When Superintendent Kim Eparvier came to the council in December some aldermen had concerns with safety aspects of closing Green Street, and wondered what effect it would have on traffic patterns. They had asked Eparvier to have that discussion with Police Chief Joe FitzGerald.

Eparvier said that on Wednesday morning he, High School Principal Chad Sodini, FitzGerald and Assistant Police Chief Jared Phillips had met onsite and shared a conference call with the Hoffman planner.

Sievert said the chief had a lot of concerns regarding traffic backup if Green Street is closed. As to closing the alley, she wondered if that is necessary, since a number of residents have garages that open onto it.

Eparvier felt they could go ahead with the remodeling even if the alley were not vacated.

There also was discussion on parking issues, and Eparvier said they might convert the current tennis courts to a parking lot.

He said losing the tennis courts would eliminate a program for students and be a loss to the community since many residents use them.

Alderman Mary Lock was very opposed to making the tennis courts into a parking lot. She said the city could replace the tennis courts at a new location, but little children would be crossing the driveway into the lot on their way to the elementary school, and she felt that could be very dangerous. Also little ones would be playing next to parked cars and that too can be dangerous when there is other traffic.

Eparvier said he too was concerned about walkers, particularly with high school students trying to get into the parking lot.

Behnke wondered if the school would help the city build the new tennis courts.

Sievert liked the school where it is, but she too is concerned about the traffic congestion in that area if Green Street is closed. However, she noted the electors had twice turned down a referendum to fund a brand new school. Two of the other current options involve building an entirely new structure on the other side of Trout Creek on property adjoining the elementary learning center campus.

Eparvier said he has been doing working to find innovative and creative ways to fund a new building at a lower assessment cost than the previous proposals.

Behnke felt the parking lot would not be bad on the tennis courts, because at least they are on the same side of the street.

It was decided that since the school wants Green Street vacated it is their responsibility to contact the other two property owners involved. One of the houses affected is currently for sale.

Cowell said if the city receives the petition council cannot act until they hold a public hearing. From a legal standpoint they will not have all the information they need to make the decision.

In other action, the committee authorized Cowell to seek quotes for purchase of a utility trailer and use part of the $40,000 equipment account balance. He predicts cost for the trailer he needs will be about $3,000 to $5,000.

Lock had received a complaint about a privately owned spruce tree blocking the view at the intersection of Stephenson and Pine streets.

Cowell said his garbage collection crew keeps an eye out for dangerous corners, etc., when they are picking up garbage. They regularly trim that tree, Cowell said, and they had gone out that morning to do some trimming. However, he said there is no problem with people in the driving lane being able to see the stop sign. There is a problem seeing around the corner from the parking lane.


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PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
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