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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Council Okays Evergreen Loan, Upholds Firing, Closes TIF Fund

Issue Date: April 12, 2018

Evergreen Tool will soon be expanding its manufacturing facility at 900 Elm Street in Peshtigo's Pine View Industrial Park. At its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 4, City Council unanimously approved a $400,000 UDAG loan for 15 years at 2.5% interest to Beth and Joe Beranek to finance the project.

The loan had been recommended for approval by the city's Revolving Loan Fund/UDAG Committee, which had toured the business on Wednesday, March 21. Alderman Tom Gryzwa, who chairs that committee, said Evergreen Tool just opened two years ago, "and is doing very well."

He said the expansion will double the size of the existing facility. The couple had planned well by buying enough land for the expansion when they started their business and built originally, Gryzwa commented, adding, "Two years ago this was a brand new business for our industrial park! We should congratulate them on a real success!" Several aldermen and Mayor Cathi Malke echoed his sentiments and wished the couple well.

Council also approved several fund transfers connected with closing of the city's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District as recommended by Gryzwa and the RLF/UDAG committee on advice of auditors from Schenck & Associates. Of the TIF balance, $5,251 will go to the city's Sewer Utility, $34,343 to the general fund, and the TIF escrow of $1,107,433.37 will pay toward principal outstanding on the Safe Drinking Water Loan.

Alderman Mike Behnke questioned using the funds to pay off the loan principal and wondered if the balance could be added to the amount available for revolving loans. Gryzwa said plans from the beginning were to pay off that portion of the loan in 2018, and the city/utility will save money on interest into the future.

"We owe Tom a big thank you for all the work he did to get us through that," Alderman Mary Lock commented, and others agreed.

On recommendation of Gryzwa and the committee, Council also approved capital outlay items totaling $265,300, pending results of the final 2017 audit and possible funding.

Council officially canvassed votes cast in the Spring Election on Tuesday, April 3 and verified winners. In the only city wide contest there were 706 ballots cast for mayor, and 686 of them were for Malke.

This was the last regular monthly meeting for Gryzwa and Alderman Mary Lock, neither of whom had sought re-election. They will be ending their terms at the Council's reorganizational meeting on Tuesday, April 17. The old Council will conclude its business that evening and adjourn "sine die", after which Malke and Alderman Jillian Schutte will be sworn in for new two-year terms and newly elected aldermen John Berendt and Archer Leupp will be sworn in and seated. The new Council then will be called to order for its reorganizational meeting, which includes election of officers and committee assignments.

Mayor Malke officially welcomed newly hired Clerk/Treasurer Tammy Kasal, who was taking minutes of the meeting on her own for the first time. She replaces retired Clerk/Treasurer Vickie Koronkiewicz and attended the March Council meeting as an observer.

In more ordinary business at the April 4 meeting, Council authorized Riverside Cemetery Association to use the Henry Drees Community Center for its quarterly meeting on Monday, April 9, granted a request from Peshtigo Woman's Club to place a flagpole and landscaping there, and approved operator's licenses for Theodore R. Farvour, Jr. and Amanda Lynn Roberts.

On recommendation of the Judiciary Committee, Council asked City Attorney David Spangenberg to draft an amendment to parking ordinances to prohibit vehicles from parking, stopping or standing on the east side of Emery Ave. from N.W. Front Street to East Park Drive from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; to limit parking to two hours from Ellis Ave. from French Street to Oconto Ave. and 15 minutes in front of the day care center, on the south side of Pine Street from Beebe Ave. to 150 feet west. Public Works Director George Cowell said he had spoken to the day care center people and they had no problem with the regulation. Cowell said the street gets narrow there, particularly in winter.

Despite some concerns and the possibility of adding a permit option in future, they approved an ordinance prohibiting use of drones in the city.

Also to be drafted is an ordinance placing a stop sign for westbound traffic on Eklund Street at the Harper Ave. intersection, and placing all approved stop sign sites directly into the ordinance so anyone wanting to know can look it up on the city's web site.

On motion by Lock, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, Council agreed to send an ordinance regulating use of city equipment for youth baseball events back to committee. The committee had recommended continuing to prohibit volunteers from using 'Gators or other 4-wheelers on public streets between ball fields on baseball or softball tournament weekends. Current ordinance authorizes only city employees in city-owned vehicles to do so.

By unanimous vote, Building Inspector Tom Smith was instructed to file a condemnation notice for the old abandoned motel building behind the Edgewood at 100 Chicago Court.

Parks and Recreation Director David Zahn reported that this year's Easter Egg Hunt in Badger Park on Saturday, March 31 was the best attended ever. There were 205 children registered, 70 more than the last largest turnout.

Despite the snow they held the hunt outdoors, "and it turned out to be a blast," Zahn said. He added that he's still missing 70 eggs, "and maybe we'll find them someday."

Fund raising for the remaining local share needed to complete financing for the fish viewing platform is moving forward. Zahn said $8,200 has been committed so far, about a quarter of the $32,000 needed. Hopes are to get construction started this spring and completed by fall.

The Parks and Recreation Department spring and summer program guide is completed. Copies will be handed out in school, and will be available at the municipal building and in numerous local business places in the city.

Cowell reported Wastewater Treatment Plant operators Jeff Thompson and Mark Madden attended the most recent Rural Water Seminar to keep their licenses updated. He said lab tests from the utility were submitted and came back good.

There may be someone interested in buying the city's old street sweeper, and in late April a company will come to rebuild the machine.

There is a replacement in stock for a light pole on French Street that was struck by a vehicle, but a new replacement will have to be ordered.

The docks are in and the lower boat launch is serviceable for the season, Cowell said.

At the end of regular business, which took only half an hour, Council adjourned and a special closed session Personnel Committee meeting was called to order.

After two hours of discussion they returned to open session, at 9:31 p.m., and approved hiring eight individuals as summer help for the Parks Department. They also approved an individual to hire for a part time position with the Public Works Department, with a second person designated if the fist declined.

Then, settling an issue that has recently been the subject of a number of closed session committee deliberations, the committee voted without dissent to to deny a grievance filed by Jeff Mayou after Cowell fired him from his position as lead operator for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Behnke, as committee chair, said the next step for Mayou, if he wants to appeal the committee decision, is to request that the full council review his appeal.


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