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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Board Faces Major Decisions at Aug. 28 Meet

Issue Date: August 23, 2018

The 30 supervisors on Marinette County Board will be faced with at last four major decisions at their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

County Administrator John LeFebvre is recommending that current Emergency Government Director Eric Burmeister be selected as Highway Commissioner, effective immediately. Burmeister has filled this position on a temporary basis since the resignation of Rick Rickaby in May, in addition to handling his responsibilities as Emergency Government Director.

Naming Burmeister as Highway Commissioner was approved by the Infrastructure Committee at its meeting on Aug. 8. Voting in favor at that time were supervisors Gilbert Engel, Al Sauld, David Zahn, Bill Stankevich and committee Chair Al Mans. Supervisor Shirley Kaufman, the sixth committee member and former Highway Committee Chair, was absent.

LeFebvre explained he will seek a new person as Emergency Government Director. He also proposed turning the current meeting room at the building occupied by the Highway, Forestry and Parks Departments into Emergency Government offices, and because of this the committee reversed its decision to hold its future meetings there.

County Board also will be asked to approve making the Medical Examiner position full time. When the board agreed last year to eliminate the elected County Coroner post in favor of a hired medical examiner they were told it would be a part time post that could be done at approximately the same $30,000 a year cost as the part-time coroner position held for many years by George Smith of Wausaukee.

At the time LeFebvre had indicated he hoped Smith would be among applicants for the medical examiner post, but apparently that is now not expected, since LeFebvre suggested the person hired might be a registered nurse. He expressed doubt that qualified applicants would agree to fill the job on a part time basis. Whether the position is full time or part time, deputy medical examiners will still need to be available since one individual cannot be on call 24/7, 365 days a year.

LeFebvre told the Public Services Committee that he still does not believe there is enough work for a full time medical examiner, so he envisions other duties for the job, for example handling Teen Court duties, and working in family living education programs with the Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, the person could replace the currently vacant position of half time family living educator in the University Extension office.

Anticipated hiring date for the county's first-ever medical examiner would be January 2, 2019, one day before Smith's term as coroner ends.

Also recommended for County Board approval is addition of one full time patrol deputy position to the Marinette County Sheriff's Department, with that person to be designated as Recreation Officer. Approval of that position would be contingent on the Wisconsin DNR continuing to provide at least 50 percent reimbursement. If approved, that person too would start work on Jan. 2.

Discussions leading up to that recommendation from the Public Services and Administrative committees (formerly Law Enforcement and Personnel Committees) included that Oconto County already has two full time regulation patrol deputies in the Sheriff's Department and is seeking a third, and that new Marinette County deputy, in addition to patrolling ATV/UTV trails could enforce water regulations, hold educational programs at schools, and help the Forestry Patrol enforce laws in the County Forest, where there are ever increasing problems with recreational vehicles operating off designated trails and with illegal dumping. He would also report to Emergency calls as needed.

County Board is expected to approve a resolution asking the State of Wisconsin to continue funding two full time Assistant District Attorney positions for Marinette County.

The meeting on Aug. 28 will begin with time for public comments, followed by reports by Marketing and Tourism Director Melissa Ebsch, Facilities Director Marty Keyport, Assistant Finance Director Laura Mans (who has been filling in as Finance Director since the resignation of Pat Kass nearly two months ago), and Greg Cleereman, who serves as director of the Land Information Department and the UW Extension office.

LeFebvre is asking the board to approve appointment of Matt Hanson as the school district representative on the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, and Athelstane Town Treasurer Greg Reinhardt to the Zoning Board of Adjustment with Dunbar Town Chair Harry Sokel as first alternate.

Although the outcome will have minimal impact on Marinette County finances, the Administrative Committee is asking County Board to approve opting in on the Class Action lawsuit under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act in support of neighboring counties that have large amounts of Federal land. There is no cost involved in joining the lawsuit. The payments in lieu of taxes would total less than $300 a year for Marinette County if the suit is successful, but far more for Oconto, Florence and Forest counties.

On recommendation of the Infrastructure Committee, which has responsibility for Highway, Facilities Maintenance, Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation departments the board is being asked to approve a resolution approving part of County Highway V, from Nutt Road to Bear View Lane in the Town of Amberg as an ATV/UTV route.

The board will consider the 2019 user fee schedules as approved by various departments.

In response to a call from County Board Chair Mark Anderson and with support of the Administrative Committee the board will consider scheduling a special County Board meeting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 27, at a site that is still to be determined, to conduct a round table discussion with business representatives concerning community and economic development needs.

As recommended by the Infrastructure Committee, the board will considering entering an agreement with American Transmission Company (ATC) in which the utility company would pay the county $244,500 to acquire an easement along its existing transmission line in the towns of Athelstane, Goodman and Silver Cliff.

The board also will consider an agreement with Iron City Enterprises of Menominee for crushing approximately 6,100 tons of gravel at $3.25 per ton; an agreement with Graese Electric, Inc., of Crivitz for lighting at the UW-Marinette Fieldhouse parking lot on University Ave. in Marinette, and an agreement with the State of Wisconsin covering the delegation of Parent and Child Support collection activities, as recommended by the Health and Human Services Board. All three agreements would be subject to approval by Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison.

Both the Public Service Committee and the Administrative Committee are recommending purchase of seven 2019 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicles from Ewald Automotive Group at a cost of $30,080.50 each, and a total price of $212,663.50. Money would come from Contingency, and the purchase would be made this year of vehicles to be needed in 2019 because pending design changes in the vehicle will make the current model unavailable and require costly changes in equipment needed to convert them to Marinette County Sheriffs Department use.


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