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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Wausaukee Has Problems With Sewage, Not Water

Issue Date: January 3, 2018

Problems with the Village of Wausaukee's Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) that surfaced last month in regard to testing and other issues have absolutely nothing to do with the village's water supply, President Hilbert Radtke assured everyone at the monthly village board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 20. "This is not, and never was, a water issue. The problems are strictly with the sewer system and wastewater treatment plant," Radtke repeated.

Former Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Lonnie Bamberg was discharged in November after it was discovered he had submitted false results from WWTP effluent testing when in fact he had not done the mandatory tests. At that time Jeff Mayou, who works full time at the City of Peshtigo WWTP, had been hired to serve again as the licensed WWTP operator, with Tyler Stumbris to work at the plant under his direction.

Action by the Department of Natural Resources in regard to any charges that may be brought against Bamberg and the WWTP itself are pending. In an update on pending investigation of WPDES permit violations, Radtke stated at the Dec. 20 board meeting that there had been no new information since the initial investigation began.

However, when investigating other conditions at the WWTP after the change in management, board members discovered that sludge from the facility had not been hauled away for perhaps a year and a half. The resulting buildup in the sludge tower caused the motor to burn out, and it had to be very promptly replaced.

Radtke thanked trustees Randy Schmidt and Kyle Stumbris, as well as other citizens, employees and former employees who donated their time and effort to help resolve the problems at the WWTP.

In an update on the Consolidated Safety Program audit, Streets Supervisor Dennis Whitton, Jr. stated that Vince Matarrese with Advanced Safety Technology, Inc. had performed a safety audit of the municipal building, WWTP, and equipment. He observed several deficiencies and provided instruction on how to correct them. Updated safety manuals will be provided to the Village at the end of the month, Whitton said.

There was no utility report presented at the meeting and action on the scheduled review of the Annual Preventative Sanitary Sewer checklist was tabled, as was review of the annual WWTP Preventative Maintenance report.

On a happier note, winners of the 2017 Christmas Light Contest in the village were announced. Residential winners were Diane Degrand, Gerry and MaryEllen Edlebeck, and George and Marge Smith. Once again, the commercial winner was Newingham's Supper Club.

During time of public comment at the start of the meeting, resident Ruth Jicha commented that Christmas decorations in the village looked very nice. Joellen Simpson, also from the audience, concurred. The board instructed Clerk/Treasurer Sara Pullen to send a thank you letter to North Countree Christmas Trees thanking them for their generous donations.

Radtke said for next year he would like to see a lottery drawing for a prize for any resident who puts up holiday lights of any kind, even one strand. He suggested participants could have their names entered into a drawing for a cash voucher. Board members liked the idea, and asked that it be put on the agenda for next year.

Radtke advised the board some residents have expressed interest in purchasing some of the village's old holiday lights.

Radtke reminded everyone that clearing sidewalks is the responsibility of the abutting property owner, not the "Village. The Village will clean them up only after all streets are clear and only on regular time. "If someone gets hurt on a sidewalk outside your property, you are liable," he declared.

Radtke reminded everyone of the Tuesday, Jan. 2 deadline to file nomination papers for village offices, and encouraged residents "to get involved in local government. Earlier in the year the board had voted to cut the size of the board from seven to five members.

Among those present for the meeting were local facility manager Karen DeLaet and Human Resources Director Derrick Armstrong, representing Carfair Composites, In November Armstrong had assured village officials the firm wants to become a big part of the community. He had attended the Wausaukee Business Association meeting on Dec. 6 and indicated he would attend the Dec. 20 board meeting.

At the Dec. 20 meeting, Armstrong said he was present to introduce himself and the company to the board, and discuss community involvement. He extended his sincere gratitude to the board and members of the audience and for welcoming him and his team into the community.

Armstrong stated that Carfair believes strongly in partnering with the communities in which they operate, and they understand how important an industry like theirs can be for a small community like Wausaukee. He assured the board they will work hard to ensure that Carfair is a great place to work, and assured those in attendance that he and his staff are always willing to listen and they believe in an open-door policy.

Radtke thanked Carfair Composites for being a part of the community, and for allowing several elected officials and residents, himself included, to tour the plant.

Joel Rennie presented results of the 2016 Village audit, and responded to questions from board members. He said village finances and the records to support them are in good shape, so he was able to give the village an "unmodified opinion" on the 2016 financial statements, which is the best opinion you can get. He complimented Pullen on her bookkeeping. "She does an excellent job for you in that office," Rennie declared. "She gives me everything I need, and if she doesn't know an answer immediately, she finds it."

At the end of the November meeting the board had gone into closed session to discuss hiring a building inspector/zoning administrator and a part-time snow plow driver. When they returned to open session they approved hiring Duane (Scott) Collier for the snowplow driver position, but took no action on the building inspector, since there were no applicants.

At the December meeting vote was unanimous to contract with Nature's Edge Inspection Agency (Jane Meissner) for building inspection services for one year starting on Monday, Jan. 1.

Village officials present for the meeting in addition to Pullen, Whitton and Radtke were trustees Joleen Christ, Kyle Stumbris, Mack McKim, Ray Gordon, and Randy Schmidt. Trustee Pat Tracy was absent and excused. Also present were DeLaet and Armstrong with Carfair Composites, Jane Meissner with Nature's Edge Inspection Agency, Auditor Joel Rennie with Johnson and Rennie, LLC, Simpson and Jicha. WWTP Operator Jeff Mayou and WWTP Assistant Tylor Stumbris arrived at 7 p.m.

After other business was finished the board went into closed session to discuss hiring a water/sewer treatment plant operator, hiring a deputy clerk/treasurer, and land acquisition. Before adjourning at 8:48 p.m. they approved a motion to officially name Tyler Stumbris as the WWTP Operator, working under "Jeff Mayou, as Operator In Charge, at 40 hours per week beginning Jan. 1. Trustee Kyle Stumbris abstained, and the rest of the board voted in favor.

Laura Olson's resignation as Deputy Clerk/Treasurer had been accepted at the November board meeting. Following the closed session discussion in December the board agreed to advertise for one month for someone to fill the vacancy. Earlier in the meeting they approved a motion to have her name removed as a signatory on village bank accounts.

In other business at the Dec. 20 meeting the board agreed to purchase a new push button lock for the Fire Department and tabled action on quotes for electrical upgrades for the WWTP building.

They approved the proposed 2018 fee schedule, which included Jane Meisner's fees as building inspector. After agreeing to eliminate "Accessory Buildings" under Building and Zoning they approved the schedule without dissent.

Radtke reminded everyone of the Tuesday, Jan. 2 deadline to file nomination papers for village offices, and encouraged residents "to get involved in local government. Earlier in the year the board had voted to cut the size of the board from seven to five members.


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