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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tempers Flare At Special Peshtigo Town Meeting

Issue Date: February 3, 2021

Town of Peshtigo held a special meeting on Thursday, Jan 28 for the main purpose to discuss the Tyco water supply for Town residents.

Chairman Herman Pottratz started with, "Tyco/Johnson Control Inc. (JCI) just settled a class action law suit with Town residents that were affected by PFAS and it looks like its pretty good, I don't think anyone has any complaints on that". Supervisor Kayla Furton responded with, "So the settlement has nothing to do with Township business and I vote to table this until we meet with the Environmental Attorneys at Von Briesen law firm, like the Board voted at the last January session." Supervisor Kristin Edgar echoed, "I do think we should follow through with what we voted for at the last meeting and we voted for meeting with Von Briesen so why aren't we following that and meeting with them?" Pottratz responded, "We have an agenda here to go by and that is what we are going to go by today. No, we are not going to get off track here". Furton interjected, "This is exactly applicable and I made a motion that we table the decision pending until we meet with Von Briesen like we voted as a Board before". Pottratz reacted with the pounding of the gavel and stated, "Thats enough"! Furton interjected, "Herman, just because I disagree with you does not mean I am out of order." The motion was overturned with three nays and two ayes.

Supervisor Jon Drees then spoke saying, "All we want to do here is request water from the City of Marinette, it is only a request and the details can be worked out later with the environmental attorneys". Furton replied, "Thats what Tyco tells us, but we need to hear from legal representation that does not have their own profit at heart. Senior Program Mangager Scott Wahl of Tyco/JCI, called each of us and told us their respective action"...(Again Pottratz pounded the gravel to continue the meeting stating you are not running this meeting) and Furton continued with, "Herman I am not running this meeting, I am here to represent the residents. You are taking directive from Tyco and that is not right. Our township and our residents have been contaminated, their homes, their properties, their children and we are taking from direction from a company that did that to us? This is not right! We need experts to provide us information, the five of us are not experts and we should not be making a decision for the entire town".

Drees replied, "The DNR told us the best path to action is a municipal water source and the closest one is the City of Marinette, all we want to do is ask the City of Marinette to consider us and that's it". Edgar interjected, "I agree with Drees, Marinette water makes sense it is the closest but if we need to do formal negotiations with the City of Marinette, we will need legal council. You are both right, but if you want to do a motion that binds the two that we are going to do a formal act, but everything should be done with environmental attorneys and then meet with them to discuss and finalize". Drees agreed that the attorneys would be the ones to iron out all the details. The second motion was then passed to discuss the details with Marinette with the assistance and presence of Von Briesen attorneys.

Pottratz continued, Marinette is the DNR's choice and Tyco's choice and the hold up seems to be they didn't have an answer from Marinette and actually the water doesn't not have to come from Marinette. The water can be furnished by Tyco, they own enough land in the Town of Peshtigo and also along the roadway where this water line will go. You would get Marinette water from Marinette through Tyco.

After further discussion and looking at a map that was provided by Tyco of the water source, the map shows dead end loops. Edgar stated, "This is a terrible map, there are dead end loops everywhere". The board and audience was questionable and unsure that Tyco could provide the water in bulk through the City of Marinette without the Town having to be involved. Edgar asked for a response from Tyco personnel that were present at the meeting for an explanation of the water source map and there was no response. Pottratz said, "The Town doesn't have to be involved, it doesn't have to go through the taxpayers, they have a settlement".

Resident Cindy Boyle interjected, "The settlement has absolutely nothing to do with the permanent water solution, you need to read the settlement because you are speaking inaccurately". Pottratz replied, "I read the settlement," and Boyle responded with,"Did you? then tell me how it works".

Furton then stated, "We have already been in communication with the City of Marinette and at last meeting we decided on follow up communication with Marinette and then outside of the circle, Tyco inserts what they want to happen next. I get your point Jon, but we are already in communication with Marinette. Why do we need to follow Tyco's directive for an additional line of communication? Edgar stated, "I would feel comfortable that we make a motion to write a formal letter asking for water from Marinette and also investigate water provided by Tyco through the City of Marinette that is written, drafted and approved by Von Briesen followed by board review with any necessary changes until final approval".

Pottratz again reiterated that this water can come through Tyco, they are going to be paying for it and it will accomplish the same thing by running it through Tyco and leaving the town out of it and keep the water going. Drees met Pottratz with opposition saying, "I don't think they can legally do that". Pottratz claimed that it can be legally done.

Edgar and Drees stepped forward to work together with Von Briesen for drafting of a letter.

In another agenda item, was concern of an email written to Wahl of Tyco by Furton, stating Attorney Dave Spangenberg was no longer representing the Town of Peshtigo as their lawyer. There was some inaccuracy with that email with Spangenberg referencing in a closed meeting that he would wrap up some issues that were still hanging out there with the exception of the water issues and the Board didn't make a motion to accept his resignation but for him to continue to help the Town with existing issues until the town can secure a replacement attorney.

Another item discussed was placing items in Personnel files and also written comments about bills and minutes being put into files after approval without knowledge of the full board. Items were being placed in both files after the Board had approved the bills, minutes or personnel issues. Proper protocol is if there is a dispute with a bill or personnel issue, then the item gets pulled from the specific meeting and not approved and to be discussed with the appropriate party and brought to the next meeting for approval so the full board is aware of what is being put in files and to discuss before being put in the files.


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