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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Council Okays New City Fee Schedules

Final permits needed by the Peshtigo Historical Day Committee for the annual festivities coming up on Saturday, Sept. 30 were approved by Peshtigo City Council at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Later in the meeting the Class B retailer's license for the Historical Day Committee was approved, as was a request from "The Office" for a temporary beer garden license for a customer appreciation event on Sept. 30. A set of guidelines for temporary outdoor beer gardens was also approved.

At the start of the meeting Council unanimously approved a fireworks display permit as requested by Historical Day Committee Chair Joe Nystrom. A traffic flow change on East Park Drive as requested by Historical Day Board member Steve Kaempf to accommodate the Historical Day Parade was approved.

Mayor Cathi Malke commented that the Historical Day Board has been doing a wonderful job, and expressed hope that everyone appreciates all the work they have put into the celebration.

Fireworks are also approved for Peshtigo High School's homecoming festivities on Friday, Oct. 13. Before Council approved the permit, Francine Reif, on behalf of the Bulldog Boosters, explained plans are to shoot off some fireworks during the National Anthem at the start of the homecoming game and whenever the Peshtigo football team makes a score. Remaining fireworks will be shot off in a display after the game. Malke thanked Reif for all that she does for the community.

A Streets and Drainage Committee recommendation to ban overnight parking in all city parking lots except those where special exceptions are in place was discussed at great length and then sent back to committee for reconsideration.

That decision came after Malke said she had only wanted to ban commercial vehicles with advertising signs from parking overnight in the city's lots, particularly the highly visible triangle lot by the lights. A vehicle with a trailer painted with company advertising has been parked there regularly in recent weeks, which Malke felt is wrong. However, she was concerned that residents in some of the downtown apartments will have no place to park if the ban were to go through as proposed, especially in winter when on-street parking bans go into effect. She expressed regret that she had been unable to attend the committee meeting to present her concerns when the proposed parking ordinance revision was discussed.

Alderman Jillian Schutte suggested everyone who parks regularly in city-owned parking lots should pay for the privilege, since the city pays to keep them maintained. There was discussion that existing ordinances require two parking spots per rental unit, but the apartment units affected are in old buildings constructed downtown before the new rules went into effect. Alderman Mary Lock said the former building inspector also had not been adamant about enforcing parking space requirements for rental units.

Council approved most of a new fee schedule for city services, including prices for disposal at the city's dumpster and special recyclable disposal site. After long discussion a proposed $40 charge for disposing of large television sets was sent back to committee, along with lesser fees for other electronics like smaller TVs and computer monitors.

The proposed rates are $25 each for TVs less than 21 inches, $8 for computer monitors, and $50 each for partially dismantled TVs. On the approved list are charges of $5 for computers, no charge for cell phones, keyboards, printers or mice; 75 cents for small fluorescent light bulbs and $1.75 each for large ones; $45 each for refrigerators and freezers with freon and $10 for air conditioners; $6 each for regular tires and $30 each for semi tires; $50 per pickup load for unpainted bricks or concrete; no charge for scrap metal, lead batteries, waste oil, pallets or unpainted wooden boards. Dumpster rates are $20 per passenger vehicle, $46 per pickup load and single axel trailers, $80 for a double axel trailer, $10 per household item, and $15 for special curbside pickup for items like couches, beds, dressers, etc. Regular recyclables cannot be brought to the dumpster site, and no commercial wastes are accepted there.

Rental rates for the Henry Drees Community Center remain unchanged for 2018. Charges for camping and other facility use at Badger Park will go up slightly, and a $20 fee for special assessment requests and $30 fee for rush special assessments were added to city's code book.

For 2018, Marinette county library system will continue to be charged $650 a month for space the Peshtigo Public Library occupies in the Municipal Building, but the committee noted the county should expect a rent increase in 2019. Terms and rent charged to Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce for its seasonal lease of Triangle Park will remain the same.

Council also approved a request from Parks and Recreation Director David Zahn that the rental fee for Drees Community Center be waived for the quarterly meeting of the Coastal Management Council (CMC) of the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) to be held there on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Schutte asked what CMC does. Malke explained they are the agency responsible for grants the city is receiving for planning and constructing the fish viewing platform over the Peshtigo River adjacent to the paper mill.

Zahn explained the meeting will run from approximately 9:20 a.m. to about 2 p.m. He said the Council likes to hold its quarterly meetings in different locations around the state for visibility and because members come from all over the state. Michael Friis of the DOA had told him he suggested holding the meeting in Peshtigo because they had received the grant from Coastal Management for the engineering and construction documents for the planned fish viewing platform below the dam, and they would like local communities and media to learn more about the purpose and grant opportunities from Coastal Management. Zahn said he will set up tables and chairs for the meeting and be responsible for cleaning up after it.

During his department head activities report Zahn said the city should be hearing soon from the DNR on the grant application submitted for the construction phase of the project. Work has begun on phase 2 of the grant from CMC. Deadline for that grant is the end of October.

Zahn said camping gross revenue so far this year is up 4.5 percent over last year, which he did not think possible since it had jumped up so high last year. Firewood sales are also up, and he continues to receive many positive comments from campers about the campground and park system.

He said they are gearing up for fall recreation programs, including flag football and grade school girls basketball. There is to be a pom pon group for ages 5 to 12 starting early next year.

Participation of senior citizens in the Strength and Balance classes continues to grow. Well over 50 seniors are now participating and the results are visible, Zahn said.

He warned that some trees in the parks may have to come down, particularly maples, which are reaching the end of their life spans and becoming hazards. He said they regularly purchase or transplant trees to replace those that need to be removed.

Work begin soon on removing "lips" from all fields. More extensive work is to be done on Field No. 1 to reset infield dimensions to where they should be. Peshtigo Youth Baseball is footing half the bill for this project.

Zahn congratulated Team Plumbing for claiming another championship in men's softball, which concluded last week.

Significant work was done at Anderson Park - unpopularly known as "Picker Park" to remove sandburrs and discourage them from growing back. Grass is coming in nicely and should crowd out any burrs that survived, Zahn said.

So far, $2,925 has been committed for expansion of the disc golf course at Badger Park and he continues to work on the remaining $700, Zahn said.

Council approved most of a new fee schedule for city services, including prices for disposal at the city's dumpster and recyclable disposal site. After long discussion a proposed $40 charge for disposing of large television sets was sent back to the Streets and Drainage Committee, along with lesser fees for other electronics like smaller TVs and computer monitors. Members are Aldermen Michael Behnke, Brigitte Schmidt and Chair Debbie Sievert. Malke and Public Works Director George Cowell had both expressed concern about the $40 for TV disposal. They were worried that the rate far higher than Town of Peshtigo or City of Marinette, and setting the fee too high might lead to "disposal" along streets or in someone else's yard.

Terms and rent charged to Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce for its seasonal lease of Triangle Park will remain the same.

Council approved a beer and liquor license for Dawn Marie Dunn for Peshtigo Pub and Grill at 350 Oconto Ave., and operator (bartender) licenses for Emily Ann Peterson, Janae Michel Marcotte and Cynthia Ann Kloida. On recommendation of Police Chief Joe FitzGerald they denied a request for a provisional operator's license for Jeremy Thomas Woulfe.

Council authorized Cowell to advertise for bids to raze the building at 311 French Street that now is owned by the city. There is some asbestos to be dealt with, and an old well inside the building needs to be properly sealed and abandoned.

Marvin Peterson, a new city resident, said he moved to Peshtigo from the Town of Pound because of noise from the quarry near his home, and now wants to move from Peshtigo because of noise from speeding traffic and semi trucks. "It sounds like a race track out there," he said. "Something has to be done about the noise and the speed." He said he is disabled and uses an electric scooter and it is dangerous near the wheels of semis speeding through the city.

Malke said the police department has one officer on duty at a time, and they cannot be everywhere. Police Chief FitzGerald said his department could issue a lot more speeding tickets if they could hire more officers.

Cowell said his crew has stopped striping because they ran out of yellow paint, and projects may need to be completed next year. They completed major cleanup work just before the Labor Day weekend as they do before each major holiday, and had been doing more branch chipping than usual. They have been weed eating to remove grass and weeds from around grates and trees. They have been working with the contractor on the Ogden Road project, including raising manhole in preparation for paving. They may be able to extend the paving for the same contract price.

Homes are being tested for copper and lead in the water. Cowell said Peshtigo is in the same DNR/EPA region with Flint, Mich., "so we get a lot of screening." Tests must be done every three years.

The city crew had also spent three and a half days spraying for phragmites.

Cowell said he had heard criticisms that his crew spent too much time on chipping, and wanted everyone to know that they do a lot of other things as well.

Stan Nogalski, on behalf of Riverside Cemetery Association, asked the city to again provide for them at budget time. Last year the city allocated $46,000, and the cemetery earnings are projected to be only $38,400 again for the current fiscal year. He said the city also does help a lot with mechanical repairs and materials, but trends are for income to go down every year as the move is more toward cremations than traditional casket burials.

The Cemetery Association board of directors is to meet again on Monday, Sept. 11 at the Drees Community Center. Nogalski said for now, with the city allocation, the cemetery is operating in the black, but one major equipment breakdown could change that. They are not allowed to spend cemetery escrow funds unless the day comes when the cemetery ceases to operate. "We try to balance what we charge versus what people can pay and also be competitive with other cemeteries in the area," Nogalski said. He added they do not want to be cheaper than others because they need to conserve space for families of city residents. BPM, Inc. also helps them with their sprinkler system and water supplies.

Lock asked if the fire department had at one time supplied water to fill barrels and sprinkle lawns at the cemtery, but Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Gardon said in his 40 years with the department he does not recall them ever bringing water to the cemetery.

Nogalski said the cemetery looks really good and new Sexton John Garon has been doing an excellent job. He invited anybody with a talent or time they would like to donate to help at the cemetery.

Council authorized sale of the old city street sweeper on auction with a minimum price of $7,500.

The city will be advertising for a new cleaning service for the Municipal Building. CEO Cleaning has notified the city that they will end their current contract effective Oct. 12.

A stop sign is to be added at the intersection of Eklund Street and Harper Ave., and the speed limit sign there will be moved.

The evening ended with closed session discussion of seasonal help for the Public Works Department, but no action was taken on the subject.


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