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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Peshtigo Hears Water Flow Concerns

Issue Date: March 17, 2021

The Town of Peshtigo Board meeting on Tuesday, March 16 began with an announcement from Clerk Clarence Coble as a reminder that the election is on Tuesday, April 6. Coble said, "Contrary to what everyone seems to think, we are open for in person voting at the Town hall for 13 hours from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Per requests, we have sent out over 250 absentee ballots so far, but people are encouraged to vote in person. It costs the town quite a bit to send out, but we are willing to send them out for those who can't come in person or don't feel comfortable doing so".

In other announcements, Supervisor Kayla Furton announced there will be the WDNR PFAS Listening Session #13 at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17 available via zoom with information on the WDNR website of how to attend. Furton added, "Also there is a copy of the statement the WDNR just released regarding the Tyco PFAS settlement for the areas that Tyco/JCI has been non compliant in. Also last week and the week before I was able to take part of meetings with Senator Baldwin, Congressman Gallagher and Senator Johnson's office as a part of the National Association of Towns to advocate for Town priorities and Federal bills".

Supervisor Kristin Edgar announced, "There were a few residents asking about the status of testing at the Heath Lane landfill and the results are expected early this week. The WDNR will work with their PFAS experts team and they will work with the board as a whole and once they get back to us I will contact Coble to set up a meeting so it can be gone over with the board as a whole along with the residents".

There were two bids for the Hale School Road repaving project, both coming in with the same specifications. Northeast Asphalt came in at $129,909.50 and Peshtigo Asphalt was at $155,548. The bid was awarded to the lowest bidder of Northeast Asphalt.

Treasurer Marsha Rettke discussed the Reconciliation report explaining what it is and why the town uses it. Rettke said, "It is a checks and balance system to verify that the Supervisors have reviewed the bills and there are some people that are not willing to sign. The policy has been for a long time that if someone does not sign, they don't get their check. This has been the policy for many many years".

Rettke questioned, "Those who are not signing, why are they not signing, do they not understand the process, Is there a question or what is the reasoning behind not signing, that is my concerns. I want everyone to understand this is something the auditors recommended. The board can look over the report and bills and if there are any questions they have time to ask before the meeting. I have provided supporting documentation when requested in the past".

Coble interjected saying, "Just to add to that, it was recommended by the auditor 10 years ago due to the fact the Clerk is also Deputy Treasurer and the Treasurer is also Deputy Clerk along with the close proximity of those offices and not being separated like a lot of businesses with a separate finance department. This is a check and balance system so the board can look at the end of the month with the whole months transactions in the report to see that is what actually happened and sign off on it. Basically what the supervisors are doing is checking the balances in the office that they are being done properly and doing your administrative duty as a board member and signing off that this is what took place this month.

Rettke added, "As treasurer, I don't want to be non-compliant in this because I am required to get the signatures on this. I give copies in advance and supporting documentation when asked, I don't know what else to do".

Conversation continued with opposition from Edgar and Furton in resistance about a negotiated bill that was paid at a different amount and not understanding that additional backup paperwork cannot be filed after signing. That was clarified that documentation can be attached in a file if the board agrees on it.

Rettke added, "I would like to see that if there is a problem the Supervisor comes to me and asks for documentation and clarification instead of holding their check and we can work together, figure it out and provide the proper documentation". Rettke also clarified that she did provide what she had from a prior request of a bill that was in question and she is always willing to provide whatever is asked for or needed to clarify any concerns.

Chairman Herman Pottratz announced the retirement of Attorney Dave Spangenberg as Town of Peshtigo Attorney. A letter of recognition and thank you will be sent to Spangenberg for appreciation of all of his hard work through the years as the town attorney.

The meeting then moved forward as to the discussion of finding a replacement Attorney with the onset of Spangenberg's retirement from town attorney. Furton advised a request for qualification was sent out to five different firms and there were some conflict of interest situations that some firms were unable to apply. We also received a few firms that reached out to us so I am extending the deadline for qualifications to be submitted so we have a wider pool to pull from. Two have applied so far that are interested in submitting and three more also showed interest in applying. A motion was made and approved that the new board will be making the decision of the new attorney after receiving more applicants.

Awards were presented to three persons that had a combined total of 93 years of service and are ending their tenure with the Town. Chairman Herman Pottratz, was recognized for his 24 years of service with two years as Supervisor on the Board and 22 years as Town Chairman; Dan Staudenmaier served as a Supervisor for 18 years and Ron Walters had a run of 51 years as Town Assessor. Walters commented, "It has been a pleasure working for the Town of Peshtigo. I got along well with the people and hopefully they got along with me. I don't remember the names of the people, but I DO remember their properties". The crowd showed their appreciation with rounds of applause for all three for their many years of service to the Town.

There was much discussion in regards to an ongoing dispute in regards to property of Tom Fetterly of which water is being diffused off of his property and backing up in other neighbors property and on Hale Road. Edgar commented, "I received a suggestion from Scott from the WDNR that the town can provide a transit to get a general idea for the four residents that are in dispute about the drainage issue. What that would do is to provide an olive branch that the town can provide to see where the problems are with the flow to try to help the situation". Furton added, "That would pinpoint what the town is responsible for and what the residents are responsible for and would provide some clarity".

Resident Mike Collins replied, "The issue is the natural flow of water that is being restricted by Fetterly and going into a culvert across Hale Road. I think the main problem is the culvert that has been buried under Fetterly's ground for 70 years. I have been there long enough to witness that the main culvert needs to be replaced".

Furton added, "I think we need more facts and more information. The WDNR has offered to help with future conversations, look at the data, the software mapping capabilities and dig into that more". After further heated discussions, a motion was made by Furton to check into the cost of the survey of the area. Edgar seconded the motion stating with four home owners that are fighting at least we get an expert opinion. The motion was approved and Furton will look into the cost of the survey

In his Fire Department report, Mike Folgert stated, "Last month was a slow month, we had four calls with one ice rescue, one control burn, one downed power line and a downed tree in the roadway". Folgert also added they took delivery of the last two of the air packs, a number of old fire fighting equipment items have been listed on the Wisconsin Surplus Auction site and if anyone is interested they can go on this site and bid for the items. There was one resignation of a female firefighter because with now working three jobs she doesnt have time anymore to make the commitment.

Folgert stressed residents need a burning permit that can be obtained through the WDNR online or via phone call. The information will be posted on the Town Facebook page. The permit is good for a year but residents will have to call every day they want to burn to verify what can be burned, when it can be burned and how much can be burned to see if they can burn that day or not.

Folgert also had the opportunity to testify in support of Bill 156 sponsored by Senator Cole and co-sponsored by Eric Winnberger. It is a clean sweep program that includes collection and disposal of PFAS throughout the state. We are also kicking off the project to upgrade and purchase a new water rescue boat with a 50 HP motor. We will be doing fundraiser events and other events to fund this and it wiill be at no cost to the taxpayers. The first fundraiser will be for a six gun raffle and the tickets will be available at the election or you can contact a Town Firefighter to purchase tickets as well as they are available at Springer Creek Lodge. Tickets will be $50 each with only 100 tickets being sold. The second raffle will be for an ATV with more details to be announced at a later date. The Department will also be working with the Marinette Fire Department to compliment rather than compete.

In his Roads report, Supervisor Jon Drees announced five contractors were contacted for bids for ditching projects with only one response. Road King bid the projects at $8,200 and was approved to move forward with that bid. In Buildings and Grounds, Coble announced the plumbing work has been repaired at the hall. Edgar reported the Recycling Center hours will now be open until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Bay Beach Recycling is willing to pick up TV's at the recycling center.

The next Board meeting with newly elected members will be held on Tuesday, April 20th. Coble announced he will not be able to attend that meeting due to family commitments and it will be the first board meeting he will miss in his 21 years of service.


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