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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Okays Raises, Awards Town Audit Bid

Issue Date: March 22, 2017

At the regular monthly Peshtigo Town Board meeting on Tuesday, March 21, Chair Herman Pottratz announced that Jerry Pennings has asked to be removed from the Board of Appeals, and a replacement will be sought. He thanked Pennings for 13 years of service, and asked that an official thank you letter be sent to him from the town. "He did a good job while he was on there and rarely missed a meeting," Pottratz commented.

At the request of Clerk Clarence Coble Mary Carlson and Jacob T. Pichette were added to the list of election inspectors. Coble said they will receive the needed training. He said they talked with him after the last election and expressed strong interest in becoming poll workers. Coble said the town has a list of 27 approved poll workers, but many are snow birds. At the February election he had a hard time finding the required nine people to work.

Coble reminded everyone to vote for the candidates of their choice on Tuesday, April 4. There are ballot races for the positions of town chair, supervisor and the state superintendent of schools. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

On recommendation of the Personnel Committee, which is comprised of Supervisors Denise Wiedemeier and Dan Van Beek, the board unanimously approved raises for the Deputy Treasurer and Administrative Assistant. The Deputy Treasurer is to be paid $14 per hour, retroactive to her starting date, which means she will be getting some back pay. Administrative Assistant Nikkee Dionne will get a $1 per hour raise effective Tuesday, March 28.

A bit later in the meeting the board approved Dionne's attendance at the Clerk Institute in Green Bay from July 9 through 14. Cost is $472, plus hotel if needed. Pottratz said she wants to drive, and added he is pleased that she wants to attend. The class is put on by UWGB, and comes in four year sections. Coble and Treasurer Vilas Schroeder already have completed the training.

Schroeder presented financial reports for January and February, and announced he will be attending the Town Treasurer's Conference at Elkhart Lake on April 27 and 28 for sessions on changes in reporting laws.

Unger & Walters Accounting Firm of Marinette submitted the sole bid for doing the town's audit, and it was accepted without dissent. Price is not to exceed $6,500 unless there are unanticipated problems, in which case they will come back to the town board before adding to the cost. Work is slated to start in May and be done no later than July.

In accord with a request from residents of Leaf Road, Pottratz asked the board to approve a speed limit of 40 miles per hour there. He noted the speed limit on adjoining Shore Drive is 40 miles per hour, and there are a lot of walkers on Leaf Road. After some discussion the board agreed to set the speed limit at 45 mph instead. Supervisor Mark Monnette noted since the road is currently not posted and is not on the reduced speed list, the current speed limit is 55. Coble said they will need an ordinance amendment, which he will have ready for the next regular board meeting on Tuesday, April 18, immediately following the town's Annual Meeting. Coble said the ordinance will need to be published and signs posted on the road before the new speed goes into effect.

The board will hold a special meeting at noon Thursday, March 23, to decide on a proposal to add gravel to Leaf Road. Pottratz had received a proposal from Marinette County Highway Department to install a 4-inch of breaker run gravel and then a 2" lift of road gravel for a total cost of $13,700, complete with hauling, grading and compacting. Pottratz explained if the town can get the DNR to sign off on that road, Chuck LaCourt, the only private property owner it serves, has told him he would like to buy it for whatever the town has spent to fix it. Pottratz said the road basically goes only to the LaCourt property, and sometimes becomes impassable. The DNR owns property on each side of the road, but that property can be accessed via County BB, he said.

Monnette, who is the supervisor in charge of town road work, declared there was nothing else in particular to report except that "it's pothole season again."

Pottratz complimented Fire Chief Mike Folgert on a fine annual report, and commented that the department handled 84 calls in 2016, 30 of them for motor vehicle crashes and three for structure fires. "We do make house calls," Folgert jokingly replied.

After some discussion the board agreed to send a letter to the owner of a home at N2509 Shore Drive in response to a complaint Pottratz had received from a neighbor. Pottratz said the home remains unfinished after being under construction for seven or eight years, and termed it "an eyesore." He said Building Inspector Leo Krivickas last year had given the owner an extension on his building permit until the end of the year after being told he had legal problems, but it still is not complete. It is, however, now being assessed and taxed at the value it would have if it were completed.

Supervisor Dan Staudenmaier had photos of the house, and said the only problem appears to be that there is no siding on it.

Coble said it is within the Shoreland Zoning area, so there may be little the town can do.

Pottratz suggested the town should send the owner a letter advising him of the complaint and strongly urging him to finish the work. He said if that failed they might contact the town attorney.

To that, Wiedemeier asked what law would apply. She said the town could receive a complaint from someone who didn't like his neighbor's yellow siding, but there would be nothing the town could or should do about it.

"I don't feel it's a safety hazard," Wiedemeier added. "I think you're going into an area where you might not want to go....There's nothing legally we can do."

Pottratz agreed there should be no attorney involved on the town's part, and suggested if the neighbor was unhappy he could see an attorney.

Wiedemeier was clearly unhappy with the results of a recent meeting with a DNR representative at the town's recycling center. She said she, Van Beek and Coble had all been there on an extremely cold day for the discussion with the woman from the DNR, and they were very disappointed with some of the information provided. For one thing, Wiedemeier said the DNR representative told them their containers for light bulb disposal were all wrong, and their e-Cycling company told her later the containers are standard, used all over the state with no problems.

Also the DNR person had told them there are no longer grants for recycling, and Wiedemeier said she herself has gathered 18 pages of possible grants. She said the town was told the e-cycle program was mandatory, and now the DNR person said it is not, and is not promoted by the DNR, but it is definitely there, on the department's web site.

"We were all there, and we all heard the same things," Wiedemeier said. "We can't do any more for improvement at our site, and we're following all the rules," she added. "She clearly had the wrong idea of what a recycling center is like!"

After discussion the board agreed Wiedemeier should pursue a proposal to provide equipment for debit/credit card use at the recycling center and bring it back for next month's meeting. Asked if that would create a problem for him, Schroeder declared, "Whatever...we'll make it work." Coble suggested a separate bank account for easier tracking of funds and expenses related to the recycling center. He also said people at the town hall also often want to use their cards, and that option may also be investigated.

Wiedemeier said no matter what extra charge they might need to add because of the cards, their site charges are still far lower than those of anyone else.

In reports at the end of the meeting, Schroeder, who is a County Board Supervisor, said the Executive Committee of County Board would be meeting on Wednesday. Their agenda includes discussing the job description for the County Administrator, and then go into closed session to discuss options with Interim Administrator John Lefebvre. They also will discuss options connected with the City of Marinette's request that the county donate $1.5 million toward the cost of constructing their proposed new Civic Center. Schroeder said he feels it would be good for the community and therefore for the entire area, but added that the people up north do not agree. LeFebvre has now put out a proposal for the county to loan the money to the city at an interest rate low enough to save them the $1.5 million during the life of the loan.

Both those items will be discussed at an Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 22, and again by the board at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 28.

"Mr. LeFebvre seems to be running a tight ship," commented Schroeder.

"For the situation we're in, I think it's going quite well," Schroeder agreed. "He is coming up with some fresh ideas."


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