City Council Delays Vote On Fire Department Fees
At least another more month will pass before Peshtigo Fire Department starts charging for certain services in accord with a proposed amendment to the citys Fire Prevention and Protection ordinance.
Wording for the new section on fire department service reimbursement had been reviewed by the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 12 and forwarded for Council approval, subject to pending review by Fire Chief Steve Anderson.
However, at the regular monthly City Council meeting Tuesday, March 5, Clerk/Treasurer Mary Ann Wills pointed out there were some blanks in the copy forwarded to Anderson that would need to be filled in, and then a public hearing will be needed before adoption. Lines for proposed charges for calls to malicious incidents and non-permitted burns had not been filled in.
Anderson said in any case he had questions on minimum and maximum charges for other responses, and noted Insurance companies generally set a maximum amount they will pay. Alderman Cathi Malke said before setting fees they should get input from Anderson on the amounts of time and expense involved for various calls.
As written, the proposed amendment allows the Fire Department to bill for calls to malicious incidents, motor vehicle accidents, non-permitted burns, permitted burns that get out of control due to negligence, rescue calls, power line or gas line problems, nuisance calls and hazardous material calls. Enforcement, invoicing and application of the ordinance would be the responsibility of the fire department, except that work could be delegated as necessary.
Among items left blank were amounts to charge for malicious incident and non-permitted burn responses.
Alderman Mary Lock, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, suggested the matter should be returned to committee, and the remainder of the council agreed. Lock said she will schedule a committee meeting at a time when Anderson is able to attend.
Tuesdays meeting began with approval of a request from the Experience Works program for a contribution of $360 to support three workers requested by the city.
Mayor Al Krizenesky said the city has made the contributions in the past, and the city gets a lot of service for the $120 contribution per person. Alderman Mike Behnke, who chairs the Finance Committee, said there was money available in the budget and the Finance Committee had approved the contribution. Approval was unanimous.
The Finance Committee had not approved a request for funding from Crime Stoppers of Marinette County, Inc., since there was no allocation in the budget for that purpose and the committee had felt they needed more information on what they all recognized as a good program. Council agreed with that decision without taking formal action, but Mayor Al Krizenesky promised a personal donation and Alderman Lock said funds will also be coming from the Cans For Kids program. The contribution offers came after a report by Marinette County Sheriffs Deputy Dan Miller. (See related story in todays issue.)
Council unanimously adopted a policy governing tests and operation of the citys new Emergency Siren Warning System. Some of the Council members had recently heard the first test blasts on Friday. Tests are to be done every Friday at 4 p.m. to be sure the system is working properly. The test signal is a 10-second continuous blast.
The police chief is in charge of scheduling tests, and if there is an existing or impending emergency, or inclement weather likely to lead to a weather emergency, the test will not be held.
Citizens are urged not to call 911 or emergency service providers for information if they hear the warning siren, but should monitor a radio station, television station or the citys web site for information. Emergencies in addition to tornadoes might include hazardous chemical spills, large fires, flooding, dam system failure or natural gas explosions. Information on response to the sirens and meaning of various blast signals is to be included with utility bill mailings.
The policy states that the siren system is to be maintained in working order at all times in accord with manufacturer specifications, and the police chief is to oversee the maintenance. Police Chief Kent Kline wondered about that. Krizenesky assured Kline he personally is not expected to do any repairs or maintenance, but is responsible for calling the proper people if repairs are needed.
As recommended by Peshtigo Librarian Jenny Hipke, Council agreed to dissolve the Peshtigo Library Advisory Board and instead recognize the Peshtigo Public Library Foundation as the advisory committee. Alderman Malke asked if all the Library Board members were in agreement with this plan, and was assured that they are.
The Judiciary Committee had recommended preparation of a supplement of all ordinances adopted since the Municipal Code was adopted, and Lock said she personally is working on that project and no Council action was required.
The Judiciary Committee had recommended that parking be permitted on Maple Street from Wells Avenue to Beebe Avenue and the Council in general agreed, but before that can happen an ordinance amendment will be required, and that entails a public hearing, which probably will be scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, immediately before the next Council meeting. Meanwhile, curbside parking in that section of Maple Street remains illegal.
Bartender licenses were approved for Brian J. Behnke and Wendy Lynn Rodgers.
Alderman Fred Meintz reported, tongue in cheek, that no building permits were issued last month because everybody was too busy shoveling snow.
In a somewhat routine action, Council agreed to let Marinette County be responsible for mapping updates required by the Census Bureau. There is no cost to the municipality, but the city will no longer receive the packet of maps from the census Bureau for updating. The county will do the updates electronically through the census/redistricting software program. County clerk Kathy Brandt anticipates the county becoming eligible for the Boundary and Annexation Survey work during 2014. She said the county focus is to work with the most accurate data possible, and having the work done by a single entity will eliminate duplication of efforts and ensure that data submitted to the Census Bureau matches the land records data base supported by the Land Information Department in the county courthouse.
Council approved routine transfers totaling $124,627 within the 2012 budget as recommended by the Finance Committee, and approved paying all bills as presented.
As recommended by the Water and Sewer Committee, Council approved a change order request that raises the contract with Elmstar Electric Corporation by $3,949.27 to replace one existing exterior light fixture with a Type D Fixture and provide two additional Type D light fixtures for the blower building. Several payments for work on the wastewater treatment plant reconstruction were approved.
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