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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Construction Delay Due to Historical Survey

Many people have wondered why there seemed to be a lull in completing the construction work in downtown Peshtigo. The streetlights are not yet in, the new sidewalks have not been completed, the trees have not been planted, and the driveways, curbs and gutters have not been poured. The reason was explained at the Tuesday, Oct. 2 Peshtigo City Council meeting.

Mark Schuster from construction consultant Robert E. Lee and Associates explained that hold-up was because the state had to conduct an historical survey on two properties which may have had historical value. Surveys of this nature are usually funded by the Wisconsin Historical Society and include in-depth examination of a building’s history and historical significance. Results from such a survey sometimes reveal sites that could qualify for the National Register of Historic Places and subsequent grants and tax breaks for the owners.

No results have been released from the Historical Survey, but according to Schuster, the process has held up the downtown reconstruction project by about seven months.

Schuster went on to explain that he received notification earlier in the day that the state has finally given approval for the project to be “let,” that is, for the bidding process on the project to begin. He explained that bids have to be advertised for three weeks, with the bid opening and awarding to take place on Oct. 25. Work could then start as early as the second week of November.

Schuster further explained that, depending upon the weather, the first area of concentration will be the streetlights, critical sidewalks and some of the other concrete work. The rest of the work, like curb/gutter, trees, benches/planters, remaining sidewalks and driveways, etc., will then be held off until next spring.

After the Tuesday Council meeting, Peshtigo City Engineer George Cowell explained that he felt the work to erect the streetlights should be able to be completed before the weather gets too cold, i.e. before the middle of December. This would be vitally important since the bridge is now to be officially opened to traffic on Oct. 12.

The discussion of the streetlights led into an agenda item about a letter received by Mayor Al Krizenesky from the Peshtigo Gun Club, expressing an interest in acquiring nine old street light poles from the City. Cowell explained that the city would like to keep a couple of spare poles, but would have between 12 and 15 available. The Gun Club letter asked if they could be made available for the scrap price.

Krizenesky favored doing something for the Gun Club because of all the things the organization does for the community. Alderman Fred Meintz did not disagree, but did suggest that perhaps the correct path to pursue would be to put the spare poles out for bids so that the process would be fair. Alderman Mary Lock favored tabling the matter and sending it back to the Streets and Drainage Committee, which is what the Council finally did.

A Street Use Permit from the Peshtigo Elementary Student Council was approved. The Student Council plans a Fun-Run/Walk on Saturday, Nov. 3 to promote wellness and family/community involvement.

The Council also approved Trick or Treating Hours for Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Following a Public Hearing prior to the meeting, the Council approved amending the Zoning Ordinance for a plot of land with the street address of 981 McGraw Street, changing its classification from R-1 Family Residential and I-1 General Industrial to all I-1 General Industrial. There were no public comments on the ordinance change.

Upon recommendation of the License and Police Committee, one Operator’s Licenses was approved, that for Heidi Fox, who will work generally at The Store.

Upon recommendation of the Personnel Committee, the Council approved 1) giving the Director of Public Works a safety shoe allowance of $150, with the same terms as the union contract; 2) the Salary and Wage Schedule for 2013, which generally includes an across-the-board two percent wage increase for non-elected positions; and 3) accepted the resignation of Jason Lemire from the Fire Department since he has taken a full-time position with the City of Marinette Fire Department.

Upon recommendation of the Finance and Claims Committee, the Council approved to take $350 from the Mayor’s Publications/subscriptions/dues/education fund to cover the costs of the Bridge Monument dedication.

A second recommendation brought forth much discussion, and that was to transfer the $500,331 loan balance from the TIF account to the City account designated for Street Equipment Outlay. Krizenesky spoke out against this earmarking recommendation, preferring that the funds be left available for things like possibly balancing the city budget, and as a reserve should the TIF account run out of money before the program sunsets in 2018.

Meintz favored earmarking the money for future equipment for the very reason he didn’t want the city to spend the money on balancing the budget and not have it for future equipment. Referencing a prior battle at a City Council meeting, Meintz also addressed the mayor, “You didn’t have any problem taking money from the city for the dredging project.”

In the end, the Council voted in favor of the recommendation as presented with a 5-0 vote. Alderman Mike Behnke was absent from the meeting.

Upon recommendation of the UDAG/WDF Committee, the Council approved 1) accepting the Shane Walters proposal of paying $50 per month on his loan, if it comes from Social Security, and keeping the judgment as is against Mrs. Walters; 2) the H & H Transportation option of them paying off their entire principal balance in the amount of $22,397.88 within 90 days, with the city forgiving all interest and penalties outstanding; 3) authorizing the City Attorney to negotiate with the County’s Corporation Counsel to get the Oestrich property for back taxes only, or to seek Council approval to pay the back taxes, plus interest to prevent the tax foreclosure; 4) the Marth Peshtigo Pellet Company interest rate on their WDF Loan be reduced to three percent; 5) to reduce the present interest rate from six percent to three percent for Kravis, Inc. on their UDAG loan, with the contingency the loan be extended to make up the past due interest; 6) to invest $1.0 million for UDAG Funds in a 12 month CD.

Upon recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Council approved accepting the proposal from Peshtigo Youth Baseball, Inc., to operate the 13 to 15 year old Babe Ruth Program which formerly was done by the Park and Rec Department.

The Streets and Drainage Committee suggested and the Council approved contract payments to RelyCo, Inc. for work on the Industrial Park Storm Water Management Project, to DeGroot Construction for work on the Utility and Street Reconstruction project (including a change order for contract time extension), and to Iron Works for Phase 1 and Phase 2 for the Peshtigo River Dredging project. The Council also approved applications for a Forestry Grant, as well as approval for the Jurisdictional Transfer non-participating items to be paid by the city, with the revision of the Flowage Draw Down ($2800) coming out of the total of $14,165.

The Water and Sewer Committee recommended and the Council approved acceptance of a Focus on Energy Project Incentive Agreement and the accompanying grant of $61,926.44. This money will be applied to the upgrades being made to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Council also approved contract payments to Elmstar Electric and Oudenhoven Construction for the continuing work on the Treatment Plant.

With recommendation of the Fire, Lighting and Building Committee, the Council approved leaving Regular Renters rate for the Community Center the same, but recommended that the Group Rental rates have a resident and non-resident category.

The Council also approved the annual lease rates remain as present for Parks, Peshtigo Historical Society, Chamber of Commerce and the Library. Also approved was authorization to hire a consultant to draft plans and specification for a new boiler for the City Hall.

The Council approved 14 building permits. Nathan Hermanson (interior remodel), Zion Lutheran Church (replace roof), Rodney Pizinski (garage), Arath XXIV (entry door, concrete path, new step/landing), William Zak (replace roof), Christine Swiatnicki (roof, siding, windows, deck), Keith Klimek (replace roof), Steven Sutek (upgrade electrical), Jerry Koronkiewicz (replace roof), Jeff Johnson (fire restoration), Fred Carl (changing water meters from eight to two), Robert Wells (replace roof), Michael Lock (replace roof and windows), and Greg Beltrone (interior remodel, new garage).




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