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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Adult Activities Coordinator May Be Hired For Peshtigo

Issue Date: May 29, 2019

If the full Peshtigo City Council gives its blessings at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 4, on Wednesday, June 5 the city's Parks and Recreation Department will have a new part-time coordinator of activities setting up programs for people of all ages, but mainly adults, at the Drees Community Center.

Funding to hire Linda Campbell for about 10 hours a week as Coordinator of Activities was approved by the City of Peshtigo Finance Committee on Tuesday, May 28. The position had already been discussed and approved by the Parks and Recreation Committee, and hiring Campbell to fill the job was approved by the Personnel Committee, so Funding was the final step before going to the full council and becoming a reality.

Present for the Finance and Claims Committee meeting were alderpersons Archer Leupp, Mike Behnke and Chair Debbie Sievert, all members of the committee, along with Alderperson Jillian Schutte, Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Kasal, Parks and Recreation Director Dave Zahn, and Public Works Director George Cowell. Leupp and Sievert are new committee members following the recent Council reorganization.

There were several questions concerning vouchers that were reviewed and approved for payment at the start of the meeting. Leupp was advised a payment of $282,000 to the Wisconsin Environmental Fund was for the quarterly payment on the Clean Water Fund loan for the city utility.

Monthly reports show all loans of the Revolving Loan Fund and UDAG Loan Fund are current except that for Faucett Forest Products, which was foreclosed and shows a $41,111 outstanding balance that is due for review in six months according to terms of a repayment agreement.

The RLF fund has $221,341 in current loans and a cash balance of $336,429. The UDAG Fund has $2,271,739 in loan balances and a cash/CD balance of $1,296,219.

The committee spent a considerable amount of time discussing proposals for the new activities coordinator position that Campbell will fill. Campbell said she was employed by Northland Lutheran in Marinette as activities coordinator for 22 years and was director of Northland Terrace Estates and Homes before retiring and moving to Peshtigo.

She had prepared a proposal for the new job, which includes pay of $10 per hour for a minimum of 8 to 10 hours a week. She proposes musical programs, speakers, arts and crafts programs like embroidery, bus tours (but not to interfere with the monthly trips organized by Carol Belonga of the Meals for the Elderly program), plus parties and social gatherings for adults. She would make up a monthly calendar of events, make arrangements for instructors and presenters, and more. She inquired about the possibility of acquiring a large screen TV for tapes videos that she would provide.

Under the proposal participants would pay the cost of supplies and instructors for the arts and crafts and other programs, but Zahn felt covering the costs for the coordinator and the community center itself would make the price so high that no one would take part.

Zahn had asked the committee to approve $2,900 to $3,100 additional to fund the position for the remainder of the year, and said there is no way he can take the money from anywhere else in his budget.

After discussion the committee agreed the activities program would be good for the community and satisfy a need identified by those who responded to the recent community survey and approved taking $3,100 from the general fund to cover the cost.

"If Council approves on June 4, you start work on June 5," Zahn told Campbell. He had told the committee his budget was very close, and had no money to fund the new program.

In other business at the meeting, the committee authorized going forward with buying a "bander" to help put up brackets and holders for Hometown Hero banners, as well as buying the additional arms and brackets to put up at a cost of $175.

Zahn said there are 28 new participants in the program, so they need 14 additional sets of brackets and arms to display the double-sided flags on the 14 additional poles. Zahn said the cost is about $149 for each additional pole, for a total of $2,256.

Zahn said he continues to get more inquiries from people who want banners to honor their people who either were or are in the military, and they will need more poles next year for the new banners. He noted the program is becoming more and more widely known.

Cowell noted there is about $6,000 in the banners account and suggested using that, but Zahn said the reserve fund is set aside to pay for the 5 years of putting the flags up and taking them down that is included in the purchase price. DPW does the work involved, but time spent on that program takes away from other jobs, Cowell noted.

Later in the meeting Cowell advised the committee the overtime budget for for the year for his department is already overspent by $162 due to the time they spent on snow and ice removal since January, and there will likely be plowing and sanding needed yet in November and December.

Schutte asked if he could cut back on things like street sweeping, and Cowell said generally that is not done on overtime hours. He said they sometimes even postpone snow pile removal from downtown street corners until January to prevent more overtime in December.

Eventually the committee authorized use of $2,256 from the General Fund to put for the brackets, arms and strapping tool, and authorized Zahn to go ahead and order them.

Council at its June 4 meeting also will be asked to approve adding as $60 fee Zoning Use Permit fee when use of a business or residential property changes. Cowell said the ordinance currently calls for a permit review but the fee schedule made no provision for it.

The next Finance Committee meeting is set for 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18.


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