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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Council Okays 3% Water Rate Increase

Issue Date: August 9, 2018

With obvious reluctance, Peshtigo City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 7 approved application to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for a Simplified Rate Case request for a three percent increase in water rates. The vote was four to one in favor, with Alderman John Berendt casting the sole opposing vote. Alderman Debbie Sievert was absent.

When the rate increase came up on the Council agenda Alderman Mike Behnke's motion for approval was followed by a long silence.

"If people aren't sure (about this) they should have asked before tonight's meeting," Mayor Cathi Malke commented when it became apparent that no one wanted to second the motion. She explained a rate increase is needed to keep the utility operating in the black, and said the Water and Sewer Committee had originally recommended only a one percent increase, but then learned they can only ask for three percent on a simplified rate case application to WPSC, "so we have to go for three percent or nothing."

Alderman Archer Leupp then hesitantly seconded Behnke's motion. The aye votes came in quietly from aldermen Brigitte Schmidt, Jillian Schutte, Behnke and Leupp.

With the three percent price increase, the average residential household quarterly water bill for 8,000 gallons will increase by $2.09, from $69.57 to $71.66, which equates to less than 70 cents per month. For a large residence using 18,000 gallons the increase will be $3.46 per quarter, from $115.97 to $119.46.

The Wall That Heals is coming through Peshtigo at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug 28, and Malke would like everyone in the city to line the streets to salute it. The wall is a replica of the monument in Washington, DC that commemorates the 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.

The wall will enter the harbor at Menominee, Mich. and then will move in solemn procession, with law enforcement escorts, through Marinette, Peshtigo (via Maple Street and Oconto Ave.), then to Coleman and Pound en route to Crivitz where it will be ceremonially on display with 24 hour honor guard from Thursday, Aug. 30 through Sunday, Sept. 2.

"I would like to invite the entire City of Peshtigo to line both sides of the route carrying and waving flags when The Wall That Heals travels through the city," Malke declared. "It is an honor and a privilege to recognize the 58,000 brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country during the Vietnam War. Please show our pride in these brave men and women. Get out and show your support that day!" She noted that the city gets many compliments on the "Hometown Hero" banners, and said this is another way of honoring the veterans.

In other action, Council approved Malke's appointment of Jim Finger as a Commissioner on the Peshtigo Housing Authority for a 5-year term; approved hiring Richard Brandon Jr. as a firefighter, and releasing Michael Chapman from employment with the city fire department, and approved setting interviews for the five police chief candidates selected by the Personnel Committee.

Council accepted an $860 grant from the M&M Community Foundation for new flower pots, and heard a report on behalf of the Foundation from Director Paula Gruszynski.

They also approved a recommendation to deny a request from Vicki Oldham for a cabin rental refund; approved hiring Barley Trucking and Excavating for the low bid of an estimated $489,109,92 for Emery Avenue reconstruction, and approved a list of bartender license applications as presented.

During time of Public comment at the start of the meeting Deputy Fred Popp, who is challenging incumbent Sheriff Jerry Sauve for that position in the primary election on Aug. 14,briefly addressed the council. He said he has been in law enforcement for 28 years, and while the current sheriff has done a good job he feels there is room for improvement. He would like to provide liaison officers in the schools, add to the canine corps to have a drug dog on duty during daytime hours when he believes drug traffic is highest, and improve community relations in general. He said he has a sister with a drug problem, so he is particularly eager to stem the drug traffic. Behnke said Peshtigo has long discussed possibly getting a canine officer, and Popp said he would support that.


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