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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Peshtigo Okays Recycling Center Ramp

Anyone from the Marinette County District 6 portions of the towns of Peshtigo and Grover who would like to serve on Marinette County Board should apply in writing to County Board Chair Mark Anderson, Vilas Schroeder announced at the Peshtigo Town Board meeting on Tuesday, July 18. County District Six includes Ward Five in the Town of Peshtigo (including Seward Heights and Poplar Ridge areas) as well as part of the Town of Grover.

Schroeder, who serves as Town of Peshtigo Treasurer, is vice chair of Marinette County Board, where he represents District 21 (Town of Peshtigo Wards 1 and 4).

Schroeder said the District Six supervisor post had previously been held by C. J. Barrette, and subsequently by Christopher Schmidt. Schmidt has resigned, so the post is open.

Other discussion by the town board centered mainly on the recycling center and possible raises for town employees.

In response to comments from some town residents that there should be more hours at the Recycle Center, the board agreed to have it open from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday and every other Saturday from now through the end of the year. The previous schedule of every other Wednesday and every other Saturday left some periods with 10 days without the disposal site open. Town Chair Denise Wiedemeier said she had received requests for more hours at the Recycling Center, and Schroeder said the only comments he hd heard on recycling were wishes that there would be more summer hours because garbage gets smelly when it sits too long in the garage.

There was a suggestion they should open the site every Saturday instead of every Wednesday, but Wiedemeier felt it would not be fair to require the Recycling Center employees to work every weekend. They are willing to work every Wednesday.

The new schedule goes into effect immediately. Wednesday, July 19 was a regular open day on the old schedule, and the site will again be open for garbage and recycling drop offs on Wednesday, July 26 and every Wednesday thereafter for the remainder of the year. Depending on use, the board may decide later to go back to the alternate Wednesday schedule for the winter months.

If there are no objections from the town's insurance carrier, there soon will be a ramp between dumpsters at the Recycling Center so persons hauling in large items can more easily get them off their vehicles and into the dumpsters.

Supervisor Dan Van Beek proposed building the ramp, and said it will solve a number of problems, mainly time spent by Recycling Center employees getting large items off vehicles and into the dumpsters. Most people will be able to off-load their own items without help from the town employees. He felt being able to see where the materials go will save space in the dumpsters, since items like mattresses can be dropped in neatly and lay flat, rather than being cross piled every which way.

The dumpsters are six feet high, and with the current system it is almost impossible for people to get anything into them without help.

Wiedemeier, who for many years was the supervisor in charge of the Recycling Center, felt the ramp is a good idea, and suggested once it is in use they would not need the part time Recycling Center attendant they had been planning to hire. Van Beek agreed, and said the current employees are working very well together.

The ramp Van Beek described will be four feet high, 12 feet wide and about 40 feet long, and will cost about $5,000. It will be built from 6' by 2' concrete block walls with gravel in between and then asphalted. There will be four inch curbs on each side to prevent any accidental slide-offs. He had seen the ramp in use at the Town of Porterfield site and was told it has been used there for several years and works very well.

Customers coming into the Recycling Center will be able to drive in, pay the attendant, drive up the ramp, off-load and then drive out.

Schroeder was concerned about snow and ice on the ramp in winter, and about the possibility someone could fall into a dumpster. Van Beek said if it would make him feel better they could check with the town's insurance company before doing the construction. He said it would be almost impossible for anyone to fall in, as the dumpster walls are six feet high and the ramp will be four feet. The ramp will be wide enough to be kept plowed in winter, and the raised curbs are another safety feature.

Schroeder said he was playing devil's advocate, "I'd hate to spend $5,000 and not be able to use it."

VanBeek agreed that Schroeder had a point, and said he would check on Wednesday with the insurance carrier.

Supervisor Mark Monnette moved to have VanBeek go ahead and get the ramp built, provided it will not create a problem with the insurance company.oard approval was unanimous.

With that decision made, the board agreed to hold off on hiring anyone for a part time attendant position. Names of the five who applied will be placed on file.

There was considerable discussion on pay scale for town road and recycling center employees.

Wiedemeier felt it had been over a year since the recycling people had raises. Clerk Clarence Coble said it was less than a year. Schroeder looked it up and found the lead worker at the Recycle Center had a raise from $16 to $17 per hour in December of 2016, and pay for the other two was set at $15 per hour in November.

Schroeder suggested they should hold off on raises until budget time in any case.

Van Beek suggested they should look at pay scales every year in November or December.

Wiedemeier said they are trying to improve communications with town employees and they should at least review their pay once a year.

As to pay for the town road employees, Monnette said it scared him when he saw the Town of Lake ad for a road worker offering full benefits including health insurance, retirement, sick leave and vacation time. Requirements for the job were very much the same as those for the Town of Peshtigo.

"You don't want to lose good employee," he declared.

VanBeek said the Town of Peshtigo offers no benefits at all, and noted even Marinette County is giving pay raises because they have been having a hard time attracting and keeping workers.

Wiedemeier commented the current lead road man responds whenever there is a call. "The other day he got a call for a culvert at 2:30 a.m. and he was right there to fix it," she declared.

Schroeder said he had been paid $20 per hour when he became a town employee on July 24, 2015, "and that's where he's stayed."

Monnette felt they should do something right now, "maybe paid holidays or a week of paid vacation." He also suggested a $2 per hour raise.

Schroeder cautioned if they give raises now, with money that is not in the budget, they will need to scale back on something else. He suggested they should give him paid holidays for this year, and add the week of paid vacation for next year. Coble pointed out the paid vacation does not increase the town's expenses, it just cuts down on work that will be done. There are only three paid holidays for the remainder of this year - Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are typically six paid holidays a year, the others being New Year's Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Motion was made by Monnette, seconded by Supervisor Tom Holterman and unanimously approved to add the week of paid vacation now plus the three paid holidays this year, and then decide in November if they will offer the six holidays, with the $2 per hour proposed raise to be considered for the 2018 budget.

Wiedemeier said she had checked to see what other towns pay for part time road help, and found it ranges from a low of $15 per hour with most paying $17 to $18 per hour. She felt once Town of peshtigo part time employees can function on their own they should be paid $18 per hour.

There was discussion on pay for a temporary/part time worker hired through Employment Options, a temp service. He is paid $13 per hour. Suggestions to eliminate the temp service met with objections from Schroeder, who said then the town would be faced with paying unemployment. Wiedemeier felt he would not work for the town enough to qualify for unemployment, but Coble pointed out if he gets a job elsewhere and then gets laid off, the town could be charged for the time he worked for them. Schroeder agreed, and said if he is hired through Employment Options and the town does not need him, the agency will find him other work.

Eventually the board agreed that even though Employment Options gets 50 percent of whatever the town pays for his services, it would be worth it to avoid some of the other problems. They approved a motion to pay him $16 per hour. He has been working about 200 hours a year, Monnette said. If the town says he should be paid $16 per hour, they will be billed $24 per hour by the employment agency to cover Social Security, Unemployment, Workman's Comp., etc.

The board also approved a suggestion from Wiedemeier that they should change the term "temporary help" to "seasonal help" when appropriate.

Quotes were opened for road shouldering services. The two sealed quotes were from Road King and Peshtigo Asphalt. Richlen excavating of Crivitz had inquired but had not submitted a quote. The board agreed without dissent to award the contract to Road King, who submitted the low bid, which ranged from $65 to $75 per hour depending on equipment used. Cost is $9 per ton.

Constable Rick Badgley reported receiving only a couple of calls. "All in all, it's been a pretty peaceful month."

A storm was in progress just before the meeting, and during the meeting Fire Chief Mike Folgert left in response to a call, so there was no Fire Department report.

Supervisor Dan Staudenmaier reported all is well with town buildings and grounds.

In his treasurer's report, Schroeder said nothing had changed since last month in the town's' investments and major fund balanced. Vouchers totaling $29,738.95 were approved for payment.

Coble reported representatives of Command Central will demonstrate their new voting machines at 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 31, in Marinette City Hall. The new machines are intended to replace the optical scan machines for absentee ballots, but he did not know what they will cost. To questions from board members, he said there are other voting machines that would work.

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 15.


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