Middle Inlet Clerk Loves New Voting MachinesIssue Date: January 20, 2022
Middle Inlet Town Clerk Patricia Schutte told the Town Board at its monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 13. that effective Tuesday, Feb. 1 hours when she is available at the town office will go to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Current hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday and Thursday.
Schutte said she and Chief Election Inspector Naomi Blum had done a "mock voting thing" on the new voting machine and the conclusion was, "We love it...I think everyone will love it!" She said in the test runs they made mistakes on purpose, and the machine caught them.
She displayed a letter-size pre-printed paper ballot that every voter gets, whether voting in person or absentee. Voters mark the ballot, feed it into the machine, and see that it is recorded. If they have made an error, perhaps voted for two candidates for the same office, the machine will suggest they correct it, and offer an opportunity for them to do so.
The machines - Image Cast Evolution (ICE), made by Dominion, are not connected to the Internet, and will not be connected when ballots are being cast or counted, Schutte said. She said vote counting at the end of the night should go very quickly.
Schutte said 18 Wisconsin counties have been using these Dominion machines for quite a few years, and now all municipalities in Marinette County have them.
She repeated, "They're real quick, real easy, and we love "em!"
Certified survey maps were approved as presented with very little discussion. Town Chair Rich Wade explained the property divisions involve only private property, including Middle Inlet Wood Products, and the town has no objections. Supervisor Chuck Stanek was absent and excused. Wade said he had spoken with Stanek before the meeting and he had no objections, and Supervisor Don Van voted in favor, as did Wade.
Fire Chief Jon Kleuskens reported the department responded to two serious calls during the dense fog on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Middle Inlet firefighters assisted other police, fire and rescue units at the train derailment in Pound and at a traffic accident in which a woman lost her life on Smith Creek Road just across the Town of Stephenson line.
"It was so foggy that it was scary to be out there. You could hardly see from here to the wall," Kleuskens declared.
Kleuskens said they have been having problems with the tender, and may need to replace it before they are financially ready. "We've got a band-aid on it for now," Kleuskens said, "but it may not last through another barn fire." He said the fire department has some money set aside for equipment, but it may not be enough. He has been watching for used tenders offered for sale by other fire departments.
Wade reminded everyone that salt/sand mixture is available to residents in the containment area on Town Road 37, behind the fire station and next to the Town Hall.
He said all the town's road and street signs are installed except one, which would be done as soon as weather allowed. Snow plowing on town roads was going well, and extra sand was applied for colder weather, Wade said.
Whenever a holiday falls on Monday, garbage pickup is done the next day. However, the town's recycling center behind the fire station was open as usual on Saturday, Jan. 1 to eliminate confusion and as a service to property owners who might be leaving for the winter.
The town's garbage collection contract with GAD expired on Jan. 1, and action postponed last month was postponed again after considerable discussion at the Jan. 13 meeting. GAD (Great American Disposal) has been sold to a new company, GFL (Green For Life), and Steve Coron, a representative of that firm, was on hand to explain the new contract proposal.
Meanwhile, the winter schedule of every other week garbage pickup has been continuing on a month-to-month basis at the old contract price. Coron said that is fine for now, although he offered a new contract. He said GFL is big on automated service, and they offer an option of having dual garbage and recycling pickup. The route will be going to an automated cart system in two or three months, and carts will be provided.
Before the route in Middle Inlet goes automated, households will be provided with 95-gallon rolling carts, or smaller ones if preferred.
The price for weekly pickup has been too low, the board was told, and was almost doubled in the price quote for the new contract offer. "If you want to accept the contract as is, this is the price and I'm good with that," Coron stated, and added, "If you want to go out for bids, I understand." He said the price quoted was with the carts included.
There was discussion on where garbage will be hauled, and the price per ton for hauling and disposal, with MarOco suggested as one of the options rather than the landfill owned by GFL in Munising, Mich.
There were also comments that with covered carts, problems with birds and other critters tearing up garbage bags would be eliminated.
The discussion ended with agreement that the $3,132 price for every other week pickup will continue for now. and the issue was tabled until the board's February meeting. The town is to have copies of the new proposed contract enough in advance of the meeting that it can be reviewed by legal counsel.
In his report on problem properties, Wade said the issue with the Grebin property had gone to court and he is waiting to hear from legal counsel on what comes next.
During time for public comment before the meeting adjourned Coron suggested GFL could add recycling collection and possibly do it for less cost than what the town has now. He said they have a dual compactor truck that picks up recyclables and garbage on the same run, so they can do it at very little cost, since automated pickup means it can be done by a one-person crew rather than two.
"Last time we checked, you guys were three times as high," Wade told him.
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