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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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$1,000 Reward Stands For Middle Inlet Sign Vandal Info

The Middle Inlet Town Board is expected to adopt the 2018 town budget and finalize the 2017 tax levy to support it at a series of meetings that start with a public hearing on the proposed budget at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

At a special workshop meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30 the board finalized the proposed 2017 budget with the town tax levy of $409,676 to be paid by property owners in 2018, and scheduled its adoption. This is an increase of 1.22 percent over the tax levy set last year for the 2017 budget. Present for the morning budget workshop meeting were Supervisor Donald Van, Town Chair Richard Wade and Clerk/Treasurer Chuck Stanek. Supervisor Ron Wenzel was absent.

The Nov. 15 meeting also will include a special meeting of town electors to approve the levy, and then a special town board meeting to adopt the budget.

Perhaps adding to budget requirements is a continuing problem with sign vandals, who have again stolen the signs and destroyed the sign posts at the intersection of Maple Beach and Rueff roads, and they again had to be replaced.

Wade said that makes a total of 15 to 17 signs and posts that have been stolen and/or destroyed from Middle Inlet roads this year. Cost of replacing signs and posts is well in excess of $100 each with cost of materials and labor. He said the latest downed sign posts were found in a nearby wooded area with the signs themselves chiseled off. He was told by Marinette County Highway Department workers that the cast iron brackets that held the signs on them were hammered off .

Wade stressed that replacing the signs and posts is costly for town taxpayers, and repeated that the town is still offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the culprits. He urged anyone who sees anything suspicious to note a vehicle description and license plate number if possible, and pledged anonymity for anyone who comes forward with information to the Sheriff's Department, Crime Stoppers, or any of the twon officials.

Wade reported shouldering of road projects completed this summer has finally been finished. At the board's October meeting he had expressed extreme displeasure with the contractor for failing to get the shouldering done in a timely fashion, and said leaving the shoulder work undone is hazardous for drivers and for the new pavement. He said after the work was done he had received a "comment card" from the contractor, and expressed his disappointment in the way the job was handled, and promised that will be taken into consideration when it is time to award contracts for future projects. Residents are unhappy with it and the road edge drop off is a liability for the town.

Routine winter maintenance has begun and due to recent bad weather all town roads were salted and/or sanded.

Wade said the salt sand supply has been delivered to a containment area behind the fire station next to the town hall and invited residents to take what they need to keep their driveways and walkways clear.

Wade said he has nearly completed applications for "TRI" and "TRID" road improvement grants for 2018. He said if approved the TRI grant will bring the town $26,000 for improvements to half a mile of "XX", and the TRID grant will provide $100,000 to be used to reconstruct the final mile of Moonshine Hill Road West. If that happens, grants will have financed reconstruction of the entire five miles of Moonshine Hill Road.

He said after the meeting that so far during his tenure as Town Chair he has submitted successful applications for $500,000 in grants for town road improvements. If the two he is preparing are successful the total will rise to $626,000.

Wade credited former Marinette County Highway Commissioner Mark Desotel with teaching him how to successfully fill out the grant applications and providing guidance from an engineering standpoint on how the work should be done.

The ditching project along the east side of Pines Road south from Pines Lane to the lake will start as soon as possible, depending on the weather. Property owners affected will be notified of the pending project and each will be billed for the cost of replacing their respective culverts.

Supervisor Van reported that there had been an issue with timing of the switchover to every other week garbage pickup, and as a result he called the hauler and arranged for them to pick up on Monday, Nov. 6, and again on Monday, Nov. 13, when every other week pickup will start. The next pickup then will be on Monday, Nov. 27, after Thanksgiving, and continue every other week throughout the winter.

Serious questions remain as to the future of the Northwoods Recycling coalition, which is scheduled to meet a 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11 at the Town of Stephenson Town hall on County X west of Crivitz.

On Monday, Nov. 6 there had been a meeting in Crivitz of partners in the Northwoods Coalition other than the Town of Stephenson, and Van and Stanek both commented that many questions must be resolved. There has been talk of ending the coalition in a year, which would make dispersal of assets a major issue. The main Northwoods Recycling site used by most Middle Inlet residents is in the Village of Crivitz, on town of Stephenson property behind the town shed. Buildings and equipment were bought and paid for by the Coalition, but are constructed on land leased from the Town of Stephenson.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Nov. 14, Wade said that he, Crivitz Village President John Deschane, a Town of Lake representative had met at Stephenson Town Hall at the request of Town of Stephenson Supervisor Jeff Lieuwen. Lieuwen told them the towns of Athelstane and Silver Cliff had already dropped out of the coalition. At the Nov. 6 meeting Silver Cliff and Athelstane representatives had stated they had not withdrawn and very much want the coalition to continue. Wade indicted more may be sorted out at the Dec. 11 Coalition meeting.

On other issues, Wenzel reported that concerns regarding trimming and cutting of trees and brush at the cemetery have been taken care of. Northeast Tree Experts completed a major project of tree cutting, stump grinding and clean-up, Wenzel said, adding that it looks very nice there now. Discarded grave decorations and other debris that had accumulated around the dumpster in the cemetery has been cleaned up.

The vehicular gate to the cemetery was to close for the season on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

There were comments that town Hall Caretaker Jessie Magerowski has had the new sign put up at the town hall and it looks good.

The board agreed to renew the contract with Jerry Pillath of M&O Land Surveying and Assessing Service as Town Assessor for another three year period with no change in the current price of $12,240 a year.

Pillath informed the board that the state has found the town out of compliance with property value assessments in four categories for the last four years. If not corrected within the year the state will order a complete revaluation of all properties, which is very costly. He explained current assessed values are too high on undeveloped lands, marsh land, agricultural forest lands and productive forest lands. He said he can correct the assessments by adjusting valuations and will do this market value revaluation at no additional cost to the town. Reduction in those valuations will result in an overall drop in the town's assessed value, which in turn will slightly increase the tax rate on improved properties.

To questions from the board, Pillath said the state bases its property value calculations on actual land sales of the various categories of properties. Because of the property value adjustments, the board of review will be held later in the year than usual.

By unanimous vote the board approved 2018 contracts with Crivitz Rescue Squad, Inc. for $2,361 and Wausaukee Rescue Squad, Inc. for $311.40 for a tiny portion of the town.

Vouchers for disbursements totaling $20,081.90 were approved for payment.

There was no fire department report at the meeting because fire department personnel were out on a call. Information released after the meeting was that they had been called to assist with removal of a body from a home at W7586 Sweetheart City Road, which ironically is one of the "problem properties" that had been on the agenda for town board discussion. The occupant, Thomas Malchow, appeared to have died of a heart attack and was found by a delivery driver.

Wade said the fire department is looking into the possibility of using the now vacant home for "controlled burn" training, and the property owners have informed him if the DNR does not give permission for that they may have it torn down. Cleanup of that property and others that remain on the "problem property" list had been going through legal channels to force owners to get the work done.

The fire department is planning a Hunter's Breakfast for Sunday, Nov. 19. They will serve pancakes and sausages or breakfast tacos at $5 per plate. Plans are also being made for the Vintage Snowmobile meet in December.


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