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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town of Sliver Cliff Board Hears Commission Report

Issue Date: June 20, 2019

The Silver Cliff Town Board meeting on Tuesday, June 11, began with a visit from Marinette County Highway Commissioner, Eric Burmeister, who brought new information about how the town can move forward with repairing the culvert on Old Highway 8. Burmeister began with a short introduction about his career in government service, in which he started by joining the US Navy and the later the Army after graduating from Northern Michigan University for risk management, safety and security of administration. After spending 10 years with the City of Menominee law enforcement, Burmeister started working for the Marinette County in 2005 as the emergency management director. From there he was asked to step in as interim highway commissioner, and was hired for the position shortly after.

Burmeister said that it is difficult to approach road construction in the same way as years past due to lack of funding. Emergency Management used to be its own department housed at the law enforcement center, but now Emergency Management is under the umbrella of the Highway Department and is coordinated by Kathy Frank. The state of Wisconsin has two sources of emergency funding: the Wisconsin Disaster Fund, and The Disaster Damage Aids. The Wisconsin Disaster Fund began shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck the South at the same time that multiple tornadoes hit Southern Wisconsin. Due to the hurricane, the disasters in Wisconsin were less of a priority, which brought about this emergency fund which would be available for Wisconsin cities to apply for up to 70% reimbursement on construction after a natural disaster.

The Disaster Damage Aids fund came from a similar situation where funding was not sufficient to cover the damage created by the tornadoes that hit 14 Wisconsin counties. However, this fund is specifically for roads, bridges, and culverts and will cover up to 80% of reimbursement and even help prevent the damage from occurring again. Both funds need proper documentation and application, which Burmeister stated that he is willing to assist in applying for these funds. Silver Cliff has received $50,000 in matching funds thanks to the help from Burmeister which will cover the repairs for the culvert on Old Highway 8. Additionally, Burmeister has been able to make an agreement with and engineering firm, MSA, to have a set price for all the towns in Marinette County.

Burmeister also provided information about the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) and the Town Road Improvement Program (TRIP). The funding from these programs is still in question thanks to a budgeting debate in Madison, which at this point is planning on giving funding to larger cities and less to smaller ones, like Silver Cliff. At this point, Silver Cliff is due to receive $0 in funding, and Chairperson Bruce Weber insisted that community members write in and call to make our voices heard that small communities also need adequate funding.

Town officials present for the June 11 meeting were Chairperson Bruce Weber, Supervisor Sue Victoreen, Clerk Dana Weber, Treasurer Carol Kichmaster, and Deputy Clerk Stephanie Bishop.

Kichmaster reported a balance in checking of $19,298.01 and money market balance of $420,191.40. Additionally Kichmaster stated the town collect about $3,400 in taxes.

Software for WiFi has been installed into the Silver Cliff Town Hall available for meetings and committees using the building. The internet can be spotty when weather is bad, but it works well most of the time.

Reports will be available at next months meeting to see budget versus expenditures. All reports are now electronic and are considered public record.

Bruce Weber reported that the culvert on Old Highway 8 is priority right now but they are also working on a building permit ordinance that is still in process. They will then launch into working on a citation ordinance as they have received complaints about people not receiving citations when they should be.

The particular case in question was brought to the attention of Weber by a community member whose neighbor installed an easement into their driveway. The concern was that emergency vehicles would not be able to reach the person's cabin at the top of the hill, but Weber himself and a member of the fire department personally went to look at the easement in question and believe that it would not prevent access for emergency vehicles. This was determined as a private matter and of no concern to the town, especially after hearing that the driveway was not even plowed during the months of December through February.

The fire department had a slow month with only two calls, one for a pontoon boat that rolled over and the other a small forest fire that was started by a quarter inch stick thrown out a car window.

It was reported that the town found one stray dog, which was taken to the shelter and a stray cat that could not be taken to the facility, but the owners were found shortly thereafter.

It was also reported that they are checking on set backs and fielded a complaint about a driveway being put in without a permit, which was found to only be a trail and not a driveway at all. This did bring about the concern for what existing driveways might be missing according to the towns requirements, so board members will be compiling a list of those driveways.

In the last meeting, the town received $4,000 of grant money for recycling, however the check was sent to the wrong town and the true amount is $1,044. There have been complaints about the garbage retrieval system, one member of the community even spoke up, "They came to my house at quarter to midnight and they nearly got shot!" After the laughter died down, Weber assured the community that the kinks in the new garbage system will be ironed out in the next few months but they still want to know the concerns held by community members to make sure they are working with the best company for the town.

Weber had nothing praise for the new park pavilion that has been under construction. The pavilion has much more space and the bar is nearly two times the size. Engineer, Dan Seymour, recently inspected the pavilion and reported that there needed to be extra wind bracing installed, but it would not add to the total cost of about $8,000. The pavilion still needs to be approved by the state and the inspection could happen at any time over the next four months.

An email from Century Link was sent to board members saying that they would be installing a cable from the BP to Parkway Road in order to offer cable and high speed internet to the area. The board tabled the approval until they get more information including how it might affect the Town of Silver Cliff and what they have in mind for a five year plan.

Picnic licenses for Silver Cliff Fire and Rescue Picnic, in August, and Post 66 Picnic, in September, were both approved. All licenses for Class A and B Beer and Liquor and Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retail were approved for businesses in the area.

At the end of the meeting it was brought up that a landowner in the community has not removed the junk from his yard after many complaints and a warning from commissioner. The board has been aware of this resident and the situation has escalated since one of his neighbors is trying to sell a house but is unable to due to the mess in his yard. He has sent threats to his neighbors and "moved" one of the vehicles on his property from facing East to West to facing North to South, when it should have been taken out of the public view. This issue will be further addressed at the next meeting on July 9 at 7:00 PM.

The meeting ended on a high note with the reading of a thank you card from Carol Betts for the celebration held in her name at the last meeting on May 14. She said that though times have changed over the years, she is happy to still be a part of the growth and advancements in the community.


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