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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Peshtigo Recieves $325,500 Community Grant

Issue Date: March 17, 2022

Thanks in large part to some hard work by Supervisor Kristin Edgar, the Town of Peshtigo will be getting $325,500 from a 2022 Community Development Block Grant for Coronavirus (CDBG-CV). The money will be used for various projects to benefit the town and some of the organizations that serve its residents, including the fire department, rescue squad, and Food Pantry.

At its meeting on Tuesday, March 15 the town board approved the necessary resolutions tied to receiving the CDBG-CV money, including setting up a separate checking account with Peshtigo National Bank, since federal rules specify the grant money cannot be put into an interest-bearing account.

Edgar said the grant provides $9,000 for protective equipment and EMS related items for the Fire Department; $31,000 for sanitizing personal protective equipment and apparatus, also for the Fire Department; $500 for protective equipment for the Town Hall; $10,000 for online/virtual training equipment and a high tech Smartboard for the Fire Department; $50,000 for the Rescue Squad as a sub-grantee for purchase of a Lifepak Cardiac Monitor, a Lucas Chest Compression Device, and a handheld UV cleaning device; $150,000 for an air filtration and air quality system for the town hall and for voting; $20,000 to remodel the Town Hall office for COVID/safety, and $65,000 for Peshtigo Food Pantry needs as a sub-grantee.

Edgar noted many Town of Peshtigo residents are served by the Food Pantry, and the money is to help modify the food pantry's mode of distribution to allow delivery to clients who need to stay home because they are sick, have recently had contact with someone who is sick, or are a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Proposed items include 2-year lease on a vehicle for food distribution, plus new commercial fridges and freezers for increased demands due to COVID, and added funds for food purchases.

Town Chair Cindy Boyle thanked Edgar and her committee for the hard work they had put into the successful grant application.

In other business at the meeting, the board approved appointment of Dale Edlebeck to another 3-year term on the town's Fire Commission, and named Jim Meyer as a new member of the Commission for a 3-year term.

Meyer replaces Grace Penning, who is retiring after over 50 years of service to the town. For 34 of those years she was a member of the Fire Department, which included some years as assistant fire chief, and for 21 years she was a member of the Fire Commission. Penning was saluted by the board and Town Chair Cindy Boyle for her many years of service.

The board enthusiastically approved Bauer's proposal to hold a Shredding Day for the public from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 7. Cost of $325 will be paid through the Recycling budget. Bauer said they had done a survey and of 36 responses, 21 were in favor of having the town offer the service, which will allow town residents an opportunity to have documents destroyed. Boyle termed the service "an excellent idea," and said it was a good service to offer people. She urged the recycling people to give the shredding program ample publicity.

Supervisor Jon Drees announced his resignation effective Wednesday, March 16 because he is moving out of the town. He too was thanked by Boyle for his excellent service as a board member.

Boyle announced that Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has filed a lawsuit against Johnson Controls/Tyco for PFAS emissions, big news that she knew would please many town residents. Many of those residents are seeking compensation for PFAS contamination of their private water supplies, and the town board is seeking a good way to provide un-contaminated water to affected properties that includes possibly connecting to the City of Peshtigo water utility. Boyle urged property owners who are being pushed to annex to the City of Marinette to hold off.

The next Water Committee meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 7 at the Town Hall.

Treasurer Kelly Lossett presented the February financial report, and said she has finished work on the 2021 budget, which ended with a $5,072,73 surplus. Boyle thanked Lossett for doing an excellent job on the budget, and made a motion to transfer the surplus directly to the Fire Department's long term equipment account, which now has a balance of $37,792.

The board approved budget transfers as recommended by Lossett and also approved transfer of the 2021 surplus to the fire department's equipment account as recommended by Boyle.

Monthly report for the Fire Department was given by Assistant Chief Rich Seils in the absence of Chief Mike Folgert. Seils reminded everyone that Daylight Savings Time arrived early Sunday morning, so it is time to change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO2) detectors. He said two of their calls during a busy month had been for CO2 alarms, and in both cases the alarms had alerted residents to actual problems with CO2 emissions.

Seils said the Fire Department is actively seeking a replacement for a 30-year-old truck.

On Drees' recommendation the board agreed to accept Rolling Hill Road as a town road once it is constructed to meet town road standards. Drees commented it will serve a new subdivision off Keller Road that looks like it will be a good area to put up some new homes. He said the developers have completed specifications on width of the pavement, thickness of blacktop, etc.

Coble reminded the board that when Vernon Dumke first created the subdivision the town board had approved it to become a town road after it was built to meet town standards. He said by Marinette County rules, if the town has not agreed to accept the road before lots are sold, the lots must be surveyed from the center of the road, rather than the edge of the right of way, and with 22 lots being created, "that would be a mess."

Coble added that the Appeals Board had granted a variance for the paved portion of the road to be 18' rather than 20', but said it must be paved with asphalt rather than chip seal as requested by the developer. "This is to appease the county," Coble said in regard for the need for the board to take formal action in regard to accepting Rolling Hills Road. He added that the Town Board could not overrule the Appeals Board.

Boyle recommended that supervisors take a drive through the Rolling Hills development area. She said it has nice setbacks and will be a nice development.

The board also approved a bid from MSA to do a stormwater/drainage analysis on Schacht Road for $2,900. Boyle said she and Drees had looked at that area many times with an eye to resolving drainage issues. Drees said there is conflict there about where the water goes, and they need to know how to handle water in that low-lying area so it does not flow onto other people's property. He moved to accept the $2,900 bid, and approval was unanimous.

In her report on public projects, Edgar noted the board had previously approved spending up to $100 for plaques or signs to recognize Wendell Johnson and John LaCourt as donors of concrete benches for the Kowalski Walking Trail, but said the signs will cost $130. After discussion, the decision was that Edgar should look into getting a sign to be placed at the start of the trail to recognize not only these donors, but others who may contribute later. She is to contact at least two vendors, and if the cost is under $100 she is to go with the cheapest.

After some discussion the board put off a decision on repair or purchase of a new water softener for the town hall until its next special meeting to get more information about a warranty. Drees recommended a replacement, since the old softener is nine years old and with the hard water it is dealing with, the units do not last that long. Estimated cost of repairs quoted by Water Quality Specialists was $1,163.32, and Clerk Clarence Coble noted that was not a huge difference from the price quote for a new one. Coble recommended not waiting long, because the old softener is not working, and sinks are starting to get stained from the mineral content of the water.

In an update on the procurement policy, Edgar said the town will follow state laws for all bids and quotes, and said for example when selecting a firm to provide architect or engineering services, they will base their choice on expertise rather than cost. A summary of the policy is to be posted on the town's web site.

Boyle said she had the town's computer system checked by UES Computer Service because she was afraid it was reaching capacity. She said she had been advised by UES that they are far from capacity, but "it was mortifying" to learn that they were at high risk of losing data and important public records due to simple human error, because the town had no backup system. Cost of the backup protection is $36 a year each for the areas of clerk, treasurer and elections, or an annual total of only $108, "".so I think it' well worth it!"

The board agreed with her decision to to get the backup protection as soon as possible.

After the meeting adjourned Jenifer Friday presented Drees and Edgar with boxes of homemade cookies baked by Treasurer Lossett, for Drees the cookies were a farewell gift, and for Edgar they were a "thank you" for all the work she had done in putting together the CDBG-CV grant applications.

At special meetings on March 3 and March 10 the board had discussed contracting with Grant and Eisenhofer Legal Services for work on the PFAS/water quality issues, and then approved the contract at the March 10 meeting after extensive questions were answered by Attorney Reuter.

At the March 10 special meeting Karen Sylvester and Jennifer Friday were among those with questions for Reuter. Randy Monnette asked about annexation to the City of Marinette, and was assured that the annexation matter was not being initiated or supported by the town board.

At the March 3 meeting Sylvester objected to the number of closed sessions conducted by the board and was told that the board wishes there was not a need for them, but they are necessary "due to the obvious need to discuss water strategy where the responsible party cannot listen in." The board approved a rule that all meeting minutes must be completed within seven calendar days from the meeting. They also voted to discontinue training and supplemental hours and compensation for the clerk. Present and voting in favor were Bauer, Furton and Boyle. Edgar and Drees were absent.

The next town board meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 19. The evening will start with the Town Annual meeting, followed by the regular board meeting.


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