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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Anderson Again Heads Marinette County Board

Issue Date: April 19, 2018

By unanimous vote at its bi-annual reorganizational meeting on Tuesday, April 17, Marinette County Board returned Supervisor Mark Anderson for his second two-year term as Board Chair. On a spit vote they elected Supervisor Robert Holley as Vice Chair.

At the start of the meeting, all 29 supervisors present were sworn in for new two year terms on office by Judge James Morrison. Supervisor Josh Anderson was absent and excused and will take his oath at another time. New supervisors Chris Gromala, Jillian Schutte, Gail Wanek, Bonnie Popp, Robert Hoyer and John Guarisco took their seats on the board for the first time. For Guarisco this is a return to the board, as he had previously served several terms as supervisor before district lines were redrawn. All 30 supervisors, including the 24 incumbents returning to office, were elected for two year terms in balloting on Tuesday, April 3. Gromala and Schutte were write-in candidates.

As the first order of business after being sworn in, supervisors were asked to adopt revisions to the board's rules of procedure as recommended by the Executive Committee a month ago. Vilas Schroeder, outgoing board vice chair, moved to amend the proposed change to state that committee chairs and vice chairs will be elected by paper ballot by majority vote of committee members at their first meeting. Since each standing committee under the new rule will have six members four votes will be needed to become chair. All 29 supervisors present voted in favor of the amendment, and then in favor of the entire new set of rules.

Moving on to election of board officers, Robert Holley nominated Anderson, stating he believes he deserves another two years as chair. There were no other nominations and voice vote for Anderson was unanimous.

County Clerk Kathy Brandt chaired the meeting until Anderson resumed his position after the vote. He thanked the board for giving him another two years as chair. He said during the prior two years he had opportunities to attend numerous meetings, in the state and in this area and repeated a sentiment he has expressed many times, "Growth has to be our Number One priority!" He has proposed adding $100,000 to the budget for growth, and said Marinette County Association for Business and Industry (MCABI) is preparing to come to the board in June with a proposal for economic development. "We also need community growth," Anderson declared. He said business people have been telling him they have problems hiring personnel because potential employees do not want to live in Marinette County. Housing is one of the community development needs they are working to fill.

He mentioned the aging demographics of the county, and slow rate of growth in the local economy and expressed hope everyone on County Board will support efforts to change that, and the funding to support those efforts.

Anderson then called for nominations for board vice chair. Schroeder, the incumbent vice chair, had previously said he was not seeking another term. Supervisor David Zahn nominated Supervisor Mike Behnke and Supervisor Ted Sauve nominated Holley.

Sauve said Holley "...brings the right mixture of experience, high level of interest and innovation for this important position and I feel confident he would provide the leadership and compassion in the administration of Marinette County government."

Voting, by secret paper ballot,resulted in 22 votes for Holley and seven for Behnke. Holley thanked everyone for their support and promised to "do the best job that I can."

Anderson then named supervisors Ken Keller, Marinette; Al Sauld, Town and City of Niagara; Bill Stankevich, Goodman, Silver Cliff and Athelstane; Schroeder, Town of Peshtigo, and Clancy Whiting of Beecher plus himself and Holley to serve as the Committee on Committees for this reorganization.

County Board took a break while they met for about half an hour to determine committee assignments. Supervisors had previously been asked to fill out questionnaires related to which assignments they would prefer.

Under new rules the entire committee structure was revamped. In the past, there were nine standing committees, each with five members, plus the Executive Committee, which included standing committee chairs plus the board chair and vice chair. Under the new rules there are five standing committees, each with six members, plus an Executive Committee that includes the five committee chairs plus the board chair and vice chair. Except for the Executive Committee, each supervisor serves on only one standing committee. Committee meetings will be held at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the first and second Tuesdays and Thursdays following the first full weekend of each month and will elect chairs and vice chairs at their first meetings.

Anderson said all supervisors are welcome to attend meetings of committees they do not serve on, and all are invited to provide input and ideas on county issues to himself, LeFebvre, or the various committee chairs.

Committee assignments are:

Administrative: Mark Anderson, Tricia Grebin, Guarisco, Don Pazynski, Rick Polzin, Schroeder; Development: Penny Chaikowski, Holley, Tom Mandli, Popp, Sauve and Whiting;

Human Services: Behnke, Paul Gustafson, Hoyer, Tom Mailand, Schutte, Wanek; Infrastructure: Gilbert Engel, Shirley Kaufman, Al Mans, Al Sauld, Stankevich, Zahn; and

Public Services: Josh Anderson, Glenn Broderick, Ginger Deschane, Gromala, Keller and George Kloppenburg.

All assignments were approved without dissent as presented, as were appointments by Administrator John LeFebvre of Michael Mead to represent the county on the MCABI Board of Directors; Linda Schultz to serve as consumer advocate and Rose O'Hara as at large member on the Aging and Disability Resource Center Board, and Shirley Prudhomme as member at large and Shelley Lindner as Marinette Chamber of Commerce representatives on the Marinette County Tourism Alliance.

At the start of the meeting a half dozen residents of the Hwy. 180 area of the Town of Porterfield expressed strong opposition to proposed development of a gravel pit (non metallic mine) by Biehl Construction within 300 feet of a heavily populated residential area and within 900 feet of the Menominee River.

The plan calls for excavating to a depth of 20 feet and then creating a man-made lake there.

LeFebvre explained later in the meeting that the county's only authority in siting of the quarry was in regard to approving its reclamation plan, and location of the pit itself could be regulated somewhat by town zoning ordinances, but the Town of Porterfield has none.

On Monday, April 9, the Land Information Committee had held a public hearing on the proposed gravel quarry. There, and again at County Board, numerous residents expressed concerns over impact on property values, dust, noise, runoff, effect on groundwater, blasting, monitoring, and possible arsenic. Eric Bulin commented that noise is monitored daily, and groundwater and air quality are also monitored regularly. Neighbors expressing concern at the public hearing included August Beres, Ken Vista,, Richard Boettcher, James Dzurick, Jr., Alexander Dzurick, Lynn and Jerry Lowis, Diane Woods and Peter Sterath.

After discussions on limited county authority, the Land Information Committee voted four to three to accept the reclamation plan. Voting in favor were Mary Noll and supervisors Penny Chaikowski, Clancy Whiting and Fred Meintz. Supervisors Ted Sauve, Gilbert Engel and Robert Holley were opposed.

In another mine-related issue, there is to be a public hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 8 in the County Board room of the courthouse on a proposed amendment to Marinette County ordinances that would place an 18-month moratorium on permitting and or development of any metallic mine in Marinette County. During this 18-month period the Land Information Director would be instructed to work with county citizens to develop a proposed ordinance to regulate metallic mines. LeFebvre explained a recent change in state law removed most of the previously stringent regulations against metallic mines in Wisconsin. LeFebvre doubted the county could even zone out a metallic mine. He said there are bout 80 permitted quarries - non-metallic mines - operating in the county.

During discussion on mines, metallic and non-metallic, Supervisor Sauld commented, "I really felt sorry for those people this morning - maybe they'll think about this the next time they vote."

LeFebvre said local ordinances can deal with how close mines can be situated to residences, businesses, etc, and can regulate things like noise, dust and traffic.

LeFebvre reported that the City of Marinette has hired Melissa Ebsch, a lifelong area resident, as its new Tourism and Marketing Director and under contract with the city, she will be serving as county tourism director as well. She started work on Monday, April 16.

LeFebvre said half of the $420,00 grant requested by Packerland for its partnership with Marinette County and the Town of Dunbar for improvements in broadband Internet service has been approved. With $210,000 of federal funding approved and local shares assured, work is to start during the first quarter of 2019.

In other action at Tuesday's meeting, Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison gave a brief orientation session for supervisors in regard to her position. She said Wisconsin and Marinette County are by law gender neutral, "and I would ask you to respect that." She said this is law, not her opinion, and admonished supervisors to be cordial to each other, even when they disagree.

Matt Dombush, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for the UW-Green Bay, gave an update on the "Project Coastal" UW merger plans, which will eventually create a combined university with several campuses on the Green Bay shoreline, including the campus in Marinette.

Over objections of some supervisors, sections on a number of county roads were approved for ATV/UTV use during daylight as recommended by the Highway Department and a safety committee including Sheriff's officers. The approval came after a promise of extra surveillance by the Sheriff's Department, and the trails will not be opened until they are properly signed. if there are safety issues, use will be pulled immediately.


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