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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Stephenson Electors Advise Doing No Major Road Work In 2022

Issue Date: April 27, 2022

The high price of road improvements and finding ways to pay for them occupied much of the discussion at the Town of Stephenson Annual Meeting on Tuesday, April 19. The discussion included approval of a motion advising the town board to do no major road projects in 2022 due to the high cost of asphalt.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Mike Kudick at 7 p.m., with 17 persons in attendance, of whom 15 were residents of the town and qualified electors. Two additional electors arrived later, bringing the total of eligible voters present to 17.

The meeting included a report by Town Chair Mike Kudick on road work completed in 2021 and the "wish list" of roads the town board would like to improve in 2022.

There was discussion on the possibility of doing basically no road improvement projects in 2022 in view of the suddenly inflated cost of road construction materials. There also were questions about the possibility of the town getting grants to help pay for road improvements.

For some years town officials and numerous property owners and other residents have been concerned about roads falling into disrepair due to lack of money to do all the work they feel needs to be done to keep them from disintegrating.

At the 2021 Annual Meeting electors had asked the town board to hold a referendum asking voters to allow the town's property tax levy to exceed state levy limits for one year to pay for some additional road work. The referendum went to the polls in April, but was defeated by a margin of 194 votes in favor and 482 opposed.

Near the end of this year's annual meeting town resident Dale Rogers asked about the possibility of having another referendum, and suggested simplifying the verbiage so people could understand it. He felt they should give more explanation in laymen's terms because most people didn't understand it.

There also were concerns that the amount of money requested in the referendum was way too low because roadwork prices are so high.

Supervisor Andrew Rogers explained that verbiage on the referendum has to comply with State Statutes, and the State determines the amount the referendum can request. He stated the referendum can be to increase taxes for one year or it could authorize an on-going tax in excess of state levy limits, which specify that property tax levy growth cannot exceed the growth in assessed value. You cannot choose any other option.

Someone asked if the referendum could be done again, and Town Attorney Kim Coggins commented that it can be, but he said a lot of time goes into setting this up, and he felt they should let the dust settle for a year before trying it again.

Kudick agreed that it could make a difference if they wait for a bit to see what the economy brings, and no action was taken in regard to scheduling another referendum.

Road projects completed for 2021 included: Pre-wedge, overlay, and chip seal on Parkway Road from High Falls Road to Thunder Mountain Road, $279,700; Airport Road from the corner to Left Foot Lake Road, $84,500; Airport Road from Left Foot Lake Road to White Birch Road, $103,700; Newton Lake Road, between the lakes, $12,700; Devils Lake Road north of Starzer Road for 600 feet, $12,000; Hideaway Lane from County W to the end, $82,200;

Also completed was pre-wedging on Newton Lake Road, between Moonshine Hill Road and Molly 4 Road, for $25,000; widen, flatten, remove debris, and add a lift on Acorn Lane for$25,000; and replace culverts on Parkway Road, $5,000.

Kudick also read the "wish list" of projects the town would like to get done in 2022. Some of it was work left over from 2021

The partial wish list of roads the board would like to get done in 2022 included a listing of work left over from last year. Kudick noted specific roads have not yet been chosen, and said work would be done in accord with what the budget allows once the bids come in.

On the wish list were pre-wedge, overlay, and chip seal on Airport Road from White Birch Road to Devils Lake Road; Newton Lake Road from County X to Molly Four; Deer Lake Road from Eagle Road to the town line, and High Falls Road from Newton Lake Road to Deer Lake Road; Overlay and chip seal on Louisa Road from the village limits north to the newly sealed portion of the road, and St. Paul Road from Noquebay Road to County W.

A bit later in the meeting Darrell Pentico made a motion that no major road projects be done in 2022 because of the cost of asphalt, with only maintenance to be done. Dave Bentzler seconded the motion. Attorney Coggins informed everyone that the motion would be only advisory. Mike Stueck asked if there were any grants available. Chairman Kudick stated there were funds available but he wasn't sure about any grants. The vote was seven in favor and three opposed, so the motion carried.

A motion was made by Jon Kleuskens to approve sale of land to the Village, Dave Bentzler seconded and the vote was 16 in favor and none opposed. Attorney Coggins stated that there is a right of reverter on the deed which would need to be considered.

A motion to have spring Clean-up Week from Monday, May 30 through Sunday, June 12 was approved with 16 votes in favor and none opposed.

Gail Freitag made a motion that the elected officials get a 5 percent raise, a second was offered by Dale Rogers, and a show of hands vote showed seven in favor and one opposed, so the motion carried.

Dave Bentzler had some concerns about recycling. Chairman Kudick stated we cannot determine what other entities do. Darrell Pentico commented that if they are having problems with recycling, maybe the town should look into purchasing its own truck and containers. Kudick stated that is being looked at.

Copies of the order of business, minutes of the April 20, 2021 Annual Meeting, the November 8, 2021 Elector's meeting , Treasurer's financial report, road work for 2021, and proposed road work for 2022 were available for every one present, and Kudick reminded those attending that only qualified voters who are town residents are allowed to vote.

A motion made by Darrell Pentico to accept the order of business was approved without dissent, as were motions to approve minutes of the April 20, 2021 Annual Meeting; financial report for 2021; budget hearing minutes of November 9, 2021, and postponing the budget portion of this year's annual meeting until Monday, November 7.

The evening for Town Board members had begun with very brief special meeting at 6:30 p.m., with Chairman Kudick, Supervisors Jeff Franzmeier, Jeff Lieuwen, and Jim Stradal, and Clerk Elaine Olson in attendance along with 9 others. Supervisor Andrew Rogers was absent.

Chairman Kudick explained that the Board had been asked to send a request to Marinette County to open County Road A from County Road X to Nelson Road for ATV / UTV use. Supervisor Stradal made a motion to send that request to Marinette County. Supervisor Lieuwen seconded the motion. Supervisor Stradal will fill out the paperwork and get it to the proper county officials.

The request to open that section of County X to the recreational vehicles had been brought to the Town Board by Rocky Guns at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 13. His request was made during time for public comment and was not on the agenda for action, so the special meeting was scheduled later.

Present for the April 13 meeting were Kudick, Franzmeier, Lieuwen, Rogers, Stradl, Clerk Olson, Treasurer Mary Jane Kempka, Coggins, and 13 others.

Treasurer Kempka's financial reports were approved as read, and bills were approved for payment.

Under correspondence, Clerk Olson stated she had received an e-mail from TJ Prop LLC and from the Village of Crivitz. Both had been forwarded to Kudick and were to be looked at on a later date.

Department reports were given by Fire Chief Jim Stradal, Public Works and Recycling Director Craig Baeten, Canine by Animal Control Officer Mike Stueck, and for the Building Inspector by Chairman Kudick, and Water Patrol by Clerk Olson. The Code Enforcer was not present.

On behalf of Rob Kamps Surveying, Jeff Lieuwen presented a survey map for Dan Slaby for a lot with ingress and egress to County Road W, and it was approved, with Lieuwen abstaining.

A proposal from Jim's Sheet Metal to provide two Modine Heaters and install them at the new Public Safety Building in Crivitz for of $6,200 was approved.

Also approved was a motion by Stradal to hire Tyler Brombeck as a fire fighter for the Town of Stephenson Fire Department, of which Stradl is chief.

After some discussion, Supervisor Franzmeier made a motion that the price for Class B Combination liquor licenses return to $250.00 per year. Supervisor Stradal seconded and the motion was approved. Cost of the licenses had been reduced after the start of the COVID pandemic due to problems related to the mandated closings and other restrictions that were causing severe problems for business owners in the town, particularly those who held liquor licenses.

Operators licenses, to expire June 30, 2024, were approved for Danielle Kroll and Bryan VanDeVen without dissent.

During time for public comment Clerk Olson advised that the Annual meeting would be at 7 p.m. on April 19, not at 8 p.m. She also congratulated Supervisors Lieuwen and Rogers for giving the Town new two year terms as Supervisors, and Rocky Guns asked that the Town request the County to open County Road A from County X north to Nelson Road for ATV/UTV use.


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