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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town Of Peshtigo Hires Consultant

Issue Date: March 21, 2019

The Town Of Peshtigo meeting on Tuesday, March 19 was well attended with barely an empty seat in the hall.

In public comment, Dave Swanson of River Bend Drive told the Board a new house was put up in his area with raised elevation landscaping and once this snow melts there is going to be drainage issues that might affect my property.

Jeff Budish...told the board they need to get an update on the sludge that was spread on the fields by the City of Marinette. He said, "No-one was notified of where these fields are and residents need to be made aware immediately. We couldn't even keep our windows open last summer from the smell of human waste. I am going to have my water tested and send the bill to Tyco. We are living in a toxic wasteland. Farmers plant their fields and are feeding their cows with the food from these fields and it is being transferred through milk and byproducts to all of our children and families. This needs to be addressed immediately! There are 72 different sites of this sludge, Do you have a plan?"

Denise Wiedemeier said, "I cannot speak to public comment but I will address this, you have my word on that".

No-one was present from Tyco to give an update, because Tyco Engineering Manager, Scott Wahl, being on vacation. However, Wiedemeier spoke of the Wednesday, March 13 Tyco update meeting at Embers. She started by thanking Supervisor Mark Monnette saying, "Mark has been a tremendous guide and with his knowledge and input of concerns and questions, he has brought a lot to the table".

She then stated her surprise by the announcement of the water ideas Tyco had to offer and wanted to clarify the Town has not agreed to anything. "We have heard what Johnson Controls (JCI) wants, what the DNR wants and what the City of Marinette wants, but still need to hear what the Town of Peshtigo wants and that makes me angry".

Wiedemeier then said "That is why we need an Environmental Consultant for the Town who can help us set up an advisory board, saying, I believe this is the best route for the people who live in our community".

Attorney, David Spangenberg, then spoke in reference to the Tyco update meeting of March 13, commenting, when Tyco announced they were providing water lines to the residents affected by the contamination, it didn't necessarily mean 'city water', there are other options they addressed of community water sources that could be constructed in the Town.

Spangenberg then continued saying, "We need environmental help from professionals as to what is best for Town residents, not what is best for the DNR, Tyco or the City of Marinette". He also said "Concerns were raised at the public meeting about the sludge issue. This is part of the problem the DNR and Tyco are concentrating on, but with the water being the easiest and most problematic at this point, that is why we haven't heard a lot about the sludge".

He added, "The DNR said they were going to post the information about the sludge on their website, but as of Tuesday, March 19, nothing has been posted on their site. I think it is important for residents to know about the issue and we will talk about it and hopefully get to the bottom of this".

Monnette was also curious as to where the sludge piles are. At the meeting the presenters danced around the issue a lot. At one time he was informed that there was no sludge spread on any of the Town of Peshtigo fields.

Town resident, Budish, responded saying "That is a lie, I live in the Town of Peshtigo and there is an area by my home that is a sludge dump. I am going to get my well tested and send the bill to JCI".

A question was asked by a resident if there is a list of where these sludge fields are and Monnette said. "Oh ya, Marinette knows where they are".

Wiedemeier then responded, "I feel like we are not being told a lot and with hiring an Environmental Consultant, it is hopeful they can do what we need to do".

Attorney Spangenberg then continued with the criteria used to select an Environmental Consultant, including, how long the firm was in business, experience in water installations, experience with situations like this, someone fairly local and a firm that has no conflict of interest by formerly working with JCI, Tyco, the DNR or Acadis in regards to the water issue.

The firm chosen is the Cedar Corporation out of Green Bay. They have been in business since 1975 and have offices in Green Bay, Madison, Cedarburg and Menomonie, Wi. They have worked with the City of Jackson, Wi for a gasoline spill and have also worked with the City of Peshtigo on a small project. The firm will work on a time and material basis.

The details of how the firm will be paid is being worked out with JCI - Tyco, however, the Town of Peshtigo will not have to pay for the services.

Town resident, Wendell Johnson, asked "Is there a joint effort with other attorneys"? Spangenberg responded, "I did talk with Attorney Jonathon Sbar of the City of Marinette, but their goal maybe different than ours and the interests are not totally aligned. Because of the nature of our situation, we would would want separate district representation".

At that point, Spangenberg introduced Dennis Steigenberger, Consulting Engineer for Cedar Corporation to speak on their behalf. Steigenberger said, their firm has worked with municipalities for a long time and worked with the City of Jackson and Freedom for their spills".

They have also pursued financing and grants, helped with the process with Wisconsin Public Service and were involved in functions of numerous towns, working with the staff and attorneys.

Wiedemeier said, "There is no doubt we need someone to represent the town for our citizens to have clean water and to reach a long term solution to get to where we need to be".

At the end of Steigenberger's presentation the Board discussed briefly and then approved to hire the Cedar Corporation as their Environmental Consultant.

There was a surprise visitor at the meeting to give an update of what is going on in the legal department at Marinette County Courthouse. District Attorney, DeShea Morrow introduced herself and stated she is visiting all the towns to give an update of what is going on in the District Attorney's office. She said, "Two new assistants have been hired in the last two years and we have made good progress in the backlog they had". She also let residents know if they have any questions about legal issues, they can either call or come to the office.

Wiedemeier brought up two issues that were discussed at the February meeting stating they were false statements. Below is the information from the February meeting:

Jim Wortner of Road King, addressed Wiedemeier stating "At the last meeting, you accused Herman Pottratz himself of changing the speed limit on Old Peshtigo Road without Board approval" Wortner provided information from the Sept. 17, 2013 meeting minutes stating that a motion was made by Dan Staudenmaier and seconded by Mark Monnette to change the speed limit on Old Peshtigo Road and was not changed by Pottratz himself.

The minutes state: 'Motion (Dan Staudenmaier/Mark Monnette) to change the speed limit on Old Peshtigo Road from its current posted speed to 35 miles per hour. This will delete Town of Peshtigo Code of Ordinances item 54-120 (1) d and change from 54-120 (2) Thirty Five Miles per Hour item C, to read Old Peshtigo Road from its intersection with Maple Street/ Business 41 Northeasterly to the Marinette City Limits. Motion carried with 4 yes votes'.

Wortner also stated, "You also accused at the last meeting, Pottratz himself of giving the speed sign unit to Marinette County without Board approval". Again, Wortner provided proof of meeting minutes from the December 17, 2013 meeting.

'The minutes state: 'Resolution #122013-1 Speed Sign: Motion (Dan Staudenmaier /Mark Monnette) to approve Resolution #122013-1 regarding donating Highway Speed Sign to Marinette County Sheriff Department. Motion carried with four yes votes'.

Wiedemeier disputed these, stating, "Even though these were both approved at the prior meetings, with no discussion of any improper action, she stated the proper procedures were not followed". According to Wiedemeier, the day after the meeting, the Town Chairperson should have checked the state statues to verify the proper process was followed.

She said, "Mainly for safety reasons, the board needs to follow the state statues. A survey on Old Peshtigo Road was done and it did not qualify for 35 MPH speed limit and the town now has to go through a long process to make that happen".

In regards to the digital speed limit sign being donated to the County, Wiedemeier said, "Don't get me wrong, the sign is in good hands, but we could be using that sign daily and it would be beneficial to the Town. It was not done correctly and it was a loss to the tax payers".

Monnette interjected saying, "The County recommended the donation because our roads are not wide enough to use the sign safely. The county said we could use the sign whenever we wanted to. For the most part, we only have about a foot or foot and a half shoulder on our roads and the sign is much wider than that". It could potentially be a dangerous situation.

Two bids were received for snowplowing from Cramer Excavating and Road King Excavating. Copies of the bids were made and distributed to the Board for review and will be addressed at the next meeting.

Approval was given for permission to use the Town parking lot as a rest point for the Leow Strong Bike Ride being held on Sunday, June 30, 2019. The board also authorized Vilas Schroeder and Kelsey Hagert to attend a treasurers conference in Oshkosh the weekend of May 1, 2 and 3. Hagert has been working side by side with Schroeder to learn the treasurer position.

In his Highway/ Road report, Holterman stated there are two road priorities that will be addressed as soon as the snow melts and frost is out of the ground. Those roads include Dahl Road and Riverbend Road that have crucial issues to be tackled with excess amounts of water run off and are likely to see many potholes. They hope to take action on these roads the end of March.

Wiedemeier addressed the crowd and said "If you see any issues with the roads, call the Town Hall and leave a message or let someone know and we will address the issues".

Supervisor Dan VanBeek reported the Recycling center is running smooth other than working with Waste Management going through invoices, however they already refunded overpayment money". He added, "Kieth Swallow, Town of Peshtigo employee is doing a great job this year with the Recycling Center".

Rich Seils, Town of Peshtigo Assistant Fire Chief announced the UTV is in and they are waiting for tracks to come in. They are still working on ordering a skid unit and that will be ordered when the department decides what they want.

Seils said, "There are a lot of trainings going on, there are two officers in Officer School, five firefighters in firefighter one training and five more trying to get into firefighter two classes and there was an ice rescue training with Marinette held on Tuesday, March 19. There were eight calls, with four vehicle crashes, 1 MABOS call in Grover/ Porterfield and an ambulance transfer due to the ambulance going into a ditch in a storm; one car fire and one alarm activation.

In other news, Wiedemeier said "We are looking into grants for walking trails", which sparked the interest of town resident Wendell Johnson.

Tuesday April 2 will be the date for the next election with the hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 16 with the Annual Board Meeting held prior to the regular monthly board meeting.


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