THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Kristen Edgar's Letter to the Editor
Issue Date: June 9, 2022
I would like to clarify some misinformation that was presented at the Special Town of Peshtigo Board Meeting on Thursday, June 2nd regarding ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. When it was announced the ARPA funds did not necessarily cover Town projects such as public service and roads. At the time of the award in April 2021 there were only interim rules to get municipalities planning and moving forward right away on much needed projects. The final rules for usage were announced in January 2022 at which time all board members were made aware. There had previously been several requests from the Fire Department, Fire Commission and residents-at-large for an agenda item to discuss designating ARPA funds for a new Fire Engine. With the new rule change this was now a possibility. Also with the new rule change the Town Chair mentioned the potential use for PFAS expenses. After seeing 2 topics on the June 2nd agenda for ARPA funds, neither of which was a new Fire Engine, a fellow resident decided to do a petition. This was discussed during the public comment portion of the June 2nd meeting at which time it was stated by the Board that the item had not made it to the agenda due to a recent rule change. I want to be clear ?? these rule changes were known in January 2022. I encourage residents to sign the resident petition requesting funding for a new Fire Engine to replace 30-year-old Fire Engine 205 with a commitment of $200,000 of the more than $420,000 ARPA funds to be placed as an agenda item for the next regularly scheduled Board Meeting on June 21st. Maintaining and replacing equipment is essential to the safety of not only the Town but also the firefighters who serve. Committing $200,000 to the purchase of a Fire Engine would essentially match current existing funds and serve Town residents for the next 30 years. It would leave more than half the amount for other projects including PFAS and roads. This item has NOT made it to the agenda over the past 5 months even with the acquired knowledge that ARPA funds could be used for a new Fire Engine and residents now can do something about it by showing their support by signing the petition. This petition might be the push needed to do what is right. Resident requests are supposed to make it to the agenda by the Town Chair when sent in writing - it should NOT be this difficult. The Town Board cannot even consider or discuss these funds for a new Fire Engine unless it is listed on the agenda. I'm sure most would agree the Fire Department deserves to see it on the agenda for at a minimum a discussion. Residents also deserve honesty as well as to why it never made it to the agenda when PFAS signage and a road consultant contract made it with no issue.
Thank you to those who are willing to take the time to sign the petition to at least get the topic on the agenda for board consideration. I have no doubt the residents' voices will make something that should have occurred months ago finally happen. It is disappointing to hear the excuses given for not doing something so important for our community. Please consider signing online at https://tinyurl.com/ye4zt35m.