space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* 11 Area Wrestlers Head To State
* Buccaneer Men Win WCC State Tourney
* Niagara Finishes Season With Win In Wausaukee
* Rangers Capture Conference Crown
* 9 Cougar Wrestlers Qualify For Saturday Sectional

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

City Utility Acts On Sewer Bills, Fire Fee

Winter is over, but the problems that the deep freeze this year caused for the City of Peshtigo’s Water and Sewer utilities are not. Public Works Director George Cowell reported to the Water and Sewer Committee that he lifted the “keep running” request on May 7 and 8, but then on May 8 they found another 200 feet of frozen storm sewer causing problems at the end of Wood Street.

Other issues aired at the meeting on Tuesday, May 13 included completion of the wastewater treatment plant test lab, cross connection inspections, and some new information on state requirements for water and sewer improvement projects.

Chair Tom Gryzwa reported the people doing cross connection inspections are doing an excellent job of dealing with property owners and advising them what to do if their systems do not have the proper back flow protection devices. Cowell noted there are two types of back flow preventers for outside faucets, but only one is designed for the climate here. It allows water to drain out completely when shut off. the other traps water inside, and then freezes and breaks when winter cold sets in.

Two property owners - Jeff Peters and Ryan Larsh - sought relief from high sewer charges on their first quarter bills resulting from water line problems. The Peters request was approved by unanimous committee vote, and the Larsh request was tabled for more information because the volume of water that apparently leaked out exceeded the capacity of the basement it was pumped from. Assistant Clerk/Treasurer Anita Morois explained how City Hall computes the volume of a leak - which involves comparing the meter read from the problem period with averages from the previous eight quarters.

Peters explained near the end of January he called a serviceman to fix a zone valve under an apartment he owns. The valve was fixed, but the worker left the it turned on, with water running into the crawl space into the ground under the apartment. No one noticed for some time.

He said he received a huge bill, and requested credit for $407.12 that was charged for water that ran into the ground and not into the sewer system. The water bill too was high, but since it actually was used he did not request credit for that.

“I assume the heating guy is going to pay for the whole thing,” Committee Member Fred Meintz commented at the start of the discussion. He also wondered how much insurance might pay, and said he did not want Peters collecting twice.

Gryzwa explained an owner only gets the credit once for an address. “What you collect from your contractor is up to you, but the sewer wasn’t used, and we never give water bill credit.”

Peters was present to explain his problem, and committee vote was unanimous in favor of that reimbursement.

The leak on the Larsh property resulted from a frozen water line break under a vacant home on Front Street that went undiscovered for two days. The sewer drain in the basement was also frozen, and eventually, after the basement filled up, a neighbor spotted water running out from under the building. It was pumped out by Matt Michalski, and probably eventually went into the storm sewer system.

Morois said the computations showed excess water use of 151,000 gallons, resulting in an excess sewer charge of $768.11.

Morois said there will be another request from a property owner in the same area, but the request was not received in time to get on the day’s agenda.

Seymour questioned the volume needed to hold 151,000 gallons of water, and Cowell said they could not get that much water in a basement. Cowell and Seymour did some math and determined that a 1,000 square foot basement with 9 foot ceilings would hold only 67,000 gallons. They wondered if part of the volume went into the floor drain before the sewer froze, but Gryzwa pointed out that in theory, the drain should not have frozen after the water was running.

Morois said the basement apparently connects to a crawl space, and wondered if part of the water had exited there. She said there was a problem last year under the other apartment in the same building, and it was discovered at that time that water was going into the crawl space and then out.

Cowell said he couldn’t support giving credit for that amount of water and proposed postponing a response until they get more information. “That volume is too large!” he declared.

The committee asked Cowell to check with Larsh and Michalski to determine how much water was actually pumped out, and where other excess water could have gone. Cowell wondered how that much water even ran through the meter. “At 50 gallons a minute through a one inch pipe you couldn’t get that much water in two days,” he declared.

Since they had no other option, the committee agreed to write off an unpaid $3,239.74 water and sewer bill for the old Peshtigo Motel building. The property was sold at sheriff’s auction after going through foreclosure and the city was notified by Marinette County that there wasn’t enough money generated to pay the back taxes and the bills.

Seymour wondered how a water and sewer bill was ever allowed to get that high without being shut off.

Morois explained the water has been shut off for a long time, but charges keep accumulating because of the Public Fire Protection fee that is assessed against each property with a water meter. The charges are based on meter size and this building has a 2” meter. “The charge was for the meter, but there was no water use,” she explained.

Meintz said property owners should be notified when the water is shut off that they will continue running up bills unless the meter is taken off. “That huge a bill when water is not being used...There’s something wrong there!”

Gryzwa said the person who bought the property now also isn’t paying. He suggested he should be notified that charges are accruing even though the water is shut off. Morois said he was told,but Meintz felt that information should always be put in writing, to leave a paper trail for the protection of everyone.

Gryzwa suggested he should be sent a letter advising that the account is already in arrears, and the only way to stop or reduce the charges is to remove or change the meter. Cowell said he cannot educe the meter size without changing the plumbing. What he should do would apparently depend on whether he intends to use the property for a motel or apartment building in future, or perhaps there is some other use in mind.

That led to a brief discussion on when and how the Public Fire Protection charge began appearing on water and sewer bills instead of being paid through the city’s property tax levy.

Morois said the amount to be collected is set by Wisconsin Public Service Commission, but it can be paid through property tax levy, special assessments, or water/sewer fees.

Meintz said the change was made about eight years ago, and at that time the city picked up an additional $260,000 a year in revenue and never reduced the property taxes.

Morois noted Public Fire Protection fee, to be paid to the water utility, formerly was a line item on the fire department’s annual budget. It pays for hydrants and water used for fighting fires, and the meter volume charged for has nothing to do with actual protection of the individual property.

Morois said several property owners in the city refuse to pay the fee, and eventually it gets put on their property tax bill as a special assessment.

Mayor Cathi Malke agreed. She knows of about 55 properties in the city that do not have city water service but get assessed the fee.

Meintz repeated they need to have a policy that requires notifying property owners with water shut off that the Fire Protection Fee will continue to be assessed.

Gryzwa suggested that the city building inspector should also get involved with the old motel property. He said the building is rapidly deteriorating, and if the new owner has no plans to improve it he should tear it down.

Payments are coming in now on the $1,788 due for sewer work done on the Dumke Forest Products property.

Cowell reported water main flushing has begun for the season, and will be done every Thursday night for several weeks from 9 p.m. to the early morning hours on Friday from the west side of French Street to Railroad Street and the river to the west city limits. In fall the north quarter of the city on the west side of the river will be done.

Because of the large amounts of overtime worked due to winter freezeups, Cowell said 2-man crews are doing the flushing instead of the three people that did it last year, but it is going well.

“We know we’re going to get some red water,” Cowell said, adding that will be particularly true in areas of Brown and Peck avenues. Residents in the flushing areas should let their water run a bit on Friday mornings before doing anything like laundry.

Cowell reported work is nearly done on the new lab at the wastewater treatment plant. Tests have been done, and on Tuesday, June 3, the state is coming in to the certification audit. “A lot of work has gone into getting us to this point, but now we’re there!” Cowell declared. He said once the lab is certified they will be able to do all the tests in-house except a seasonal one that will be done weekly throughout the summer by an outside firm.

The sink faucets and restrooms are functional, and the eye wash station will be operating before the inspection. Problems remain. They need a wall-the air condition to maintain the required 70 degree temperature, and the entire roof of the building may need to be replaced in the near future.

Some major issues were found when they tested the generator at the main lift station at full power, Cowell reported. But there was a bright side. He found maintenance manuals and parts, and he believes they can fix it in-house. They also found prints and manuals for all the machines dating from about 1971. Cowell said. he will see if Fabco has a backup generator the city can rent to use as backup while the existing generator is being repaired. Should there be a power outage at the main lift station it wouldn’t be long before sewers started backing up, he said. However, they need two pumps only when BPM, Inc. is running its big machine, Cowell said, so if there’s a problem they could be asked to shut that down.

Cowell, Tom Termatt of the public works crew and Richard Sparks of the wastewater treatment plant recently attended a day-long confined space training put on by Rural Water at Oconto Falls. They learned that some of the city’s equipment is improper, out of date or nonexistent. He said among things needed are guard rails to put around manholes when they are open, covers to go over them so nothing falls on the had of the person working inside, and a new tripod and hoist.

“We cannot go into manholes until we get these things,” Cowell declared. He said some of the present equipment that no longer meets confined space requirements can be put to reuse by the fire department.

Cowell mentioned other problems with equipment in the water and sewer departments, and Gryzwa suggested they should put together a cleaning and maintenance plan so they don’t lose track of things that need to be done.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
02-25-2015Sports
11 Area Wrestlers Head To State

02-25-2015Sports
Buccaneer Men Win WCC State Tourney

02-25-2015Sports
Niagara Finishes Season With Win In Wausaukee

02-25-2015Sports
Rangers Capture Conference Crown

02-25-2015Perspectives
Country Cousin

02-25-2015Perspectives
From our readers

02-25-2015Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

02-25-2015Obituaries
Betty J. Zabel

02-25-2015
Lawrence F. Seefeldt

02-25-2015Obituaries
Dr. Fred J. Schuette

02-25-2015Obituaries
Anne E. Martin        

02-25-2015Obituaries
Mary Ellen Herrild

02-25-2015Obituaries
John E. Hansen

02-25-2015Obituaries
John W. Golla

02-25-2015Obituaries
Michael L. Franklin

02-25-2015Obituaries
Melvin H. Dettman

02-25-2015Obituaries
Raymond L. Berg

02-25-2015Obituaries
Donald Bell

02-25-2015Obituaries
Robert L. Ward

02-25-2015Obituaries
Emil Steier

02-25-2015Obituaries
Glenn K. Smoot

02-25-2015Obituaries
Helen M. Shevy

02-25-2015Obituaries
John E. Schroeder

02-25-2015Obituaries
Walter Schaal

02-25-2015Obituaries
James L. Perry

02-25-2015Obituaries
Darleen J. Neuens

02-25-2015Obituaries
Mary Lerich

02-25-2015Obituaries
Olga Kopatz

02-25-2015Obituaries
Violet D. Hinkfus

02-25-2015Obituaries
Sally A. Frank

02-25-2015Obituaries
Marge E. Frank

02-25-2015Obituaries
Tammy L. Finendale

02-25-2015Obituaries
Donald W. Edlebeck

02-25-2015Obituaries
Violet I. Dodd

02-25-2015Obituaries
Robert Bizjak

02-25-2015Obituaries
Frances Kwiatkowski

02-25-2015Community - Wausaukee
Blood Drive Gets 51 Units

02-25-2015Community - Wausaukee
Lions Bowling Tourney Dates

02-25-2015Community - Wausaukee
Order Roses from Wausaukee Lions

02-25-2015Community - Wausaukee
Luncheon Speaker at Presbyterian Church

02-25-2015Community - Crivitz
Hunter Education Class Starts Mar. 31

02-25-2015Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Water Rate Phone Hearing Mar. 25

02-25-2015Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Blood Drive March 5

02-25-2015Community - Crivitz
Orientation for Badger Staters

02-25-2015Community - Coleman
Senior Club To Meet March 2

02-25-2015Community - Coleman
Middle School Students of Month

02-25-2015Community - Coleman
Coleman Village Board March 2

02-25-2015News
Oconto Church Fish Fry Feb. 27

02-25-2015News
Hunter Education Class Starts Mar. 31

02-25-2015News
Men’s Wild Game Dinner March 7

02-25-2015News
MCC Athletic Club Fish Fries

02-25-2015Front Page
PRESENT CHECK

02-25-2015Front Page
County Board Favors First Step To Ending Airport Partnership

02-25-2015Front Page
Oconto Co. Board Salutes Retiring Finance Director

02-25-2015Front Page
Sheriff: Prisons Full, State Will Ask Counties to Help

02-25-2015Front Page
City Still Seeks Sponsors For Ball Field Name Rights

02-19-2015Sports
9 Cougar Wrestlers Qualify For Saturday Sectional

02-19-2015Sports
Rangers Remain On Top Of M&O

02-19-2015Sports
Peshtigo Flawless in M&O

02-19-2015Sports
Deadlines to Remove Ice Fishing Shelters

02-19-2015Perspectives
Country Cousin

02-19-2015Perspectives
From our readers

02-19-2015Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

02-19-2015Obituaries
Charles M. Zinther 

02-19-2015Obituaries
Lawrence L. Walli, Jr.

02-19-2015Obituaries
Jeffrey D. Teske

02-19-2015Obituaries
Donna M. Sopkowicz

02-19-2015Obituaries
Gerhardt Rusch

02-19-2015Obituaries
Lois Rehn

02-19-2015Obituaries
Carol Prestin

02-19-2015Obituaries
Harris J. Hubert

02-19-2015Obituaries
Mary J. Grandaw

02-19-2015Obituaries
Larry J. Goral, Sr.

02-19-2015Obituaries
Norita A. Gifford

02-19-2015Obituaries
Melvin L. Brunette

02-19-2015Obituaries
Deborah L. Wilde

02-19-2015Obituaries
Rosemary A. Sutek

02-19-2015Obituaries
Gary E. Limberg

02-19-2015Obituaries
Laurie A. Kinziger

02-19-2015Obituaries
Rosemary Johnston

02-19-2015Obituaries
Charles H. Jessel Sr.

02-19-2015Obituaries
Robert Heckel

02-19-2015Obituaries
Helena Hanysz

02-19-2015Obituaries
June R. Gering

02-19-2015Obituaries
Roger O. Durocher

02-19-2015Obituaries
Doris M. Durocher

02-19-2015Obituaries
Brooke Kay Benoit

02-19-2015Obituaries
Ronald R. Bajczyk

02-19-2015News
Moose Lodge Sets Feb. 21 Fundraiser

02-19-2015News
Lions Members Selling Roses

02-19-2015News
Goodman Fire Dept. Dinner is Feb. 21

02-19-2015News
Antique Show at Moose Lodge Apr. 11

02-19-2015Community - Wausaukee
Lions Bowling Tourney Dates

02-19-2015Community - Wausaukee
Silver Cliff Auxiliary To Offer Scholarships

02-19-2015Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Buys Tender Truck, Seek Recycling Center Help

02-19-2015Community - Wausaukee
Town Buys Tractor, Action on Road Bans

02-19-2015Community - Crivitz
Hunter Education Class To Start

02-19-2015Community - Crivitz
Candlelight Ski, Hike at State Park

02-19-2015Community - Crivitz
UTV For Middle Inlet Fire Department Expected Soon

02-19-2015Community - Crivitz
T/Stephenson Approves Hirings, Wage Increases

02-19-2015Community - Coleman
Coleman Competes at Regional FBLA Meet

02-19-2015Community - Coleman
Kickers Winter Dance Feb. 21

02-19-2015Community - Coleman
Neil Diamond Show at Equity Feb. 27, 28

02-19-2015Front Page
Preliminary Hearings In Child Neglect Case

02-19-2015Front Page
Twin County Airport Partnership May End

02-19-2015Front Page
County Board To Vote On $5.95 Million Bond Issue

02-19-2015Front Page
Judge Finds For DWD, Advises City To Appeal

02-19-2015Front Page
Primary Vote Election Results

02-11-2015Sports
Peshtigo High School Bowlers Qualify for State

02-11-2015Sports
Northland Pioneer Men Win First Game 60-42

02-11-2015Sports
Cougars Wrap Up 12th Straight Title

02-11-2015Sports
Wausaukee Routs Wildcats By 43 Points In Lena

02-11-2015Perspectives
Country Cousin

02-11-2015Perspectives
From our readers

02-11-2015Perspectives
Tales from the old-timer

02-11-2015Obituaries
Wayne Strahl

02-11-2015Obituaries
Jeffrey D. Schuette

02-11-2015Obituaries
Jeffrey W. Novak

02-11-2015Obituaries
John J. Veriha

02-11-2015Obituaries
Jeanine J. Smith

02-11-2015Obituaries
Evelyn G. Nault

02-11-2015Obituaries
Helen A. Cole

02-11-2015Obituaries
Loren R. Anderson

02-11-2015Obituaries
Edward Turensky

02-11-2015Obituaries
William H. Powell

02-11-2015Obituaries
Frances V. Nowakowski

02-11-2015Obituaries
Walter F. Meyer, Jr.

02-11-2015Obituaries
Josephine Marnocha

02-11-2015Obituaries
Michele M. Macha

02-11-2015Obituaries
Francis Leon Cornell

02-11-2015Obituaries
Geraldine A. Bingenheimer

02-11-2015Obituaries
Michael J. Beaudo

02-11-2015Obituaries
Dale A. Sieloff

02-11-2015Obituaries
Gladys M. Schlak

02-11-2015Obituaries
Michael Pawlak

02-11-2015Obituaries
Mary T. Luczak

02-11-2015Obituaries
Fred Kuhnle

02-11-2015Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Honor 5 Teams at State for WIAA 100 Years

02-11-2015Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Taps Mayou For WWTP Certifications

02-11-2015Community - Wausaukee
Dog, Cat Clinic at Wagner Feb. 14

02-11-2015Community - Wausaukee
Lions Bowling Tourney Dates

02-11-2015Community - Crivitz
CAWC Girls Night Out at The Woods Apr. 20

02-11-2015Community - Crivitz
Hunter Education Class Starts Mar. 31

02-11-2015Community - Crivitz
Rural Life Day Mass, Blessing of Animals, Soil

02-11-2015Community - Crivitz
Plan Valentine Candlelight Ski

02-11-2015Community - Coleman
Kickers Winter Dance Feb. 21

02-11-2015Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board Feb. 16

02-11-2015Community - Coleman
Coleman PTO Plans Book Fair

02-11-2015Community - Coleman
CLC Pantry Hours

02-11-2015News
Lena Blood Drive Feb. 19


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Should Wisconsin become a right-to-work state?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2015
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites