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Coleman Sets Plans For Some Special Meetings

Issue Date: July 5, 2018

Members of the Coleman Village Board left their monthly meeting on Monday, July 2 with several important things to think about in addition to the dedication of the new and improved Lillian Park on Wednesday, July 4, and the annual Fire Department Picnic and parade scheduled for Saturday, July 21.

In preparation for the new TIF District being formed to help the new cheese factory become a reality the Village Plan Commission is scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 and then at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25 a brief special Village Board meeting is scheduled to formally approve TIF No. 3.

During time for public comment, Dave Pellman, speaking on behalf of the Fire Department, asked the board to think, long term and short term, about a possible new building to fill the needs of both the volunteer fire department that serves the Village of Coleman and Town of Pound and the Coleman/Pound Area Rescue Squad that responds to emergency calls in the villages of Coleman and Pound and towns in the surrounding area.

Pellman unveiled tentative plans that he had drawn for different versions of a building that he felt would meet immediate and long-term needs of both departments. He offered to come back in six months or so with more definitive plans and additional information and the board accepted his offer. Trustee Dave Podoski, formerly was Fire Chief, predicted cost of the building will be in the $800,000 to $900,000 range.

A Public Safety and Personnel Committee meeting will be scheduled as a result of a letter from Barbara Payette that was read by Trustee Diane Patz during time for correspondence at the start of the meeting. Village Police Chief Ida Soletske, who was not present for the board meeting, is to be invited to share in the discussion at the committee meeting, as is Payette.

In her letter, Payette asked if there are written procedures and guidelines for Village Police Chief, and stated, "Over the last few years I have had a few situations that were handled by the Village Police Chief that I was not comfortable with. The most recent situation happened on June 6th when I reported theft from my property." She said when she called the police chief on June 18th for a follow up she learned that nothing had been done. She wrote that she called again on Wednesday, June 27, "and the response was what do you want me to do about it." She said she was told there is no time to investigate or search on the computer, "and that I should do my own investigative work and get back to her."

She asked what coverage the village has if she does her own detective work. She also asked what are the procedures for filing reports, and who the Village Police Chief is accountable to.

Payette continued, "I was told by Marinette County that if they dispatch a call to our Village Police Chief, the report does not come back to them and it is filed at the Village, along with any evidence collected and that our police chief is solely responsible in solving this."

"I do have to say if this is true, I am not comfortable with having our police chief taking a report, and if I call Marinette County and am told that I need an officer to come out, I would be much more comfortable with waiting until our police chief is off duty and then have a Marinette County officer come out, where it will be put in the system," Payette's letter continued.

At the meeting, Payette said she has been told that reports on complaints filed in Coleman and investigations carried out by Coleman Police go into a filing system at Coleman and are not tied to similar cases that other officers may be investigating elsewhere in the county or the state.

She said if this is true she is not comfortable with having the police chief take a report, and if she needs an officer she would be much more comfortable with "waiting until our police chief is off duty and then have a Marinette County officer come out where it will be put in the system."

"I m expecting a written response to my concerns in a timely fashion and for future, I want to make it known for the record, that if help is needed to investigate or take a report, I would like a county officer dispatched," Payette wrote.

Payette told the board she was told by a Marinette County dispatcher that when an investigation report is filed with Coleman Police, "it gets put in a filing cabinet here (in Coleman) and never gets into the system."

Board members asked if Coleman Police communicate with the Sheriff's Department, and Village President Glenn Woulf asked Municipal Court Judge Clifford Patz if he had any knowledge of cooperation between Coleman Police and the Sheriff's Department.

Patz said there have been cases in his court where the county was called and they contacted Soletske and eventually Soletske wrote the citation and it was handled through his court. He said in his experience here is cooperative work going on between the departments.

Payette said a couple of years ago she encountered the same thing with the Coleman Police Chief, "ad I did my own investigation and solved it."

"We need to all get together and work this out," Woulf declared. He noted Soletske was not present to speak on her own behalf. He assumed if it happens in the village, "unless we call the county in, the county does not get involved."

Trustee Patz agreed they should call a meeting of the Public Safety and Personnel Committee to talk about the issue, "and if a policy change is needed, change it." Trustee Nancy Stank also liked the idea of everyone getting together to talk about the problem at the committee level and then bing it back to the full board. Members of the committee are Woulf and trustees Jesse Parker, Jeff Gosa, Jr., and Dave Podoski, Chair.

Soletske said on Wednesday morning that when a citizen's complaint is received it does get entered at the county level.

Soletske said there would be a citizen's complaint entry at the county level, that complaint is entered in the village and at the county level."We do work together," she declared.

Soletske said she had court on the day that Payette called, and was on her way home after a 12 hour shift when the call came in. She said she had asked the county to have an officer respond and then forward the information to her, which he did. She said Payette's complaint had been that someone had taken two old wagon wheels from her property, and she had an idea who had done it.

Soletske said said when she went to the home of the suspect, he was on vacation so she talked to someone else at the house, and later she did talk to him. He told her he had asked her about the wheels years ago but she said no, she wanted them, they were her grandfather's.

Soletske said Payette had told her about a person who lives in the Beaver Pound area, not the village, who sells on Craig's List but she suggested Payette should ask the Sheriff's Department about it, since he is not in the village.

She also said a bar in the village had been robbed at about the same time as Payette reported the wagon wheels missing and that investigation took precedence. She said as a one-member police department she has to set priorities.

Pellman in his report reminded the board that about nine months ago there had been comments from the fire department about need for some improvements for their building, which was constructed in 1964, and has no space for large meetings or training.

The Rescue Squad is looking for additional space to meet new mandates they expect to be coming down from the state, particularly in regard to on-site sleeping space for Rescue Squad personnel and longer bays for squad vehicles.

He said the fire department currently has four trucks and has space for them, but would like to add an aerial truck and a brush truck to meet future needs of the village and town.

He said discussion has involved the possibility of a brand new building in a new location in the village. The Rescue Squad building, he said, has 26 members but room for only 24 to train.

He said the challenges are where to put the proposed new building, and how to pay for it.

Judge Clifford Patz said the Rescue Squad has over $200,000 put aside for a building project as a result of fund raising efforts over the last few years. They have been talking with Pellman about a joint public safety building. He felt the Rescue Squad would continue to use the existing building, but meeting the additional space needs of both the Rescue Squad and the Fire Department with a single building would be much more economical for both. Patz added the Rescue Squad is very close to having enough money to pay for the added space they need, but it is becoming a trend for municipalities to consolidate services to cut costs.

After some suggestions that Pellman get added information from nearby fire departments that have built within the last five years or so it was agreed that he will report back in about six months.

Woulf reported everything was ready for the July 4 dedication, and concrete was being laid for the new tank that will be part of the World War II memorial there. He said most of the costs for the memorial and the flag display area are being paid by the American Legion.

Stank, as president of the Finance committee, said village spending so far this year remains in line with the budget.

The Fire department had two calls during June, one for a roll over and one for a car accident. Chief Tom Behnke invited everyone to the Fireman's Picnic events on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21.

Police report showed eight adult citations were issued in June, plus one juvenile citation.


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