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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Hale Road Is Re-Opened Road Repairs Postponed

Issue Date: June 17, 2020

The main topic of discussion at the Town of Peshtigo Board meeting Tuesday, June 16 culminated from a public comment from many Town residents in regards to have the road ban lifted on Hale Road to allow trucks to deliver rocks and rip rap to protect their shoreline and property.

Hale Road is in rough shape and is the road driven to get to Bay Road where houses there are having shoreline issues. The blacktop needs to be removed, chipped and the structural base has to be established with a strong base.

Town resident Duane Pansky addressed Chairman Herman Pottratz saying, "I was in earlier today to talk to you about Hale Road. What should happen is to lay gravel down and let the contractors pack the gravel down with their big trucks bringing rock for residents shorelines. Hale Road needs to be opened so trucks can bring rip rap and rocks to the people out there to protect their house and property".

A resident commented, "I am losing property and my house is settling. It does not make sense to repair the road only for trucks to wreck it. There are about eight to ten homeowners here tonight looking for a decision to lift the road ban on Hale Road.

Resident Barb Krause said, "We run the risk of losing our property. You are not only inhibiting those on this road from saving our property, but you are also inhibiting those making a living by delivering products to help protect peoples property, by not lifting the road ban".

Town resident Glenn Herman commented, "I have done many jobs all over Wisconsin and this road was in disrepair from saturated ground long before trucks came. Further down on Hale Road you can see where it was bad, you can solve the immediate problem but it needs to be done right. If not done correctly, you will have the same problem. From a legal stand-point, if my property has $8,500 worth of damage and you deny the ability for people to protect their properties, what is then the burden on the Town"?

With his knowledge and experience, Supervisor Kayla Furton was interested in talking to Mr. Herman after the meeting to further discuss a relief fund she is checking into for repair of Hale Road. Furton said, "Bay residents need rip rap now. At present there are no immediate funds available for relief for residents, but there are long term grants out there that I am working on. I will have future information available for the Bay residents".

Furton also noted, "In reference for the Peshtigo River property residents, I did talk to the Marinette County Water Resource Specialist, Chuck Druckrey in regards to a variety of grants available for shore line restoration. I have started the process of what we need to do to secure these grants".

Supervisor Jon Drees suggested, "We need to temporarily lift the road ban so residents can get their property fixed and hold off on repairing the road until they get these water issues taken care of. The best thing to do is make it drivable but let the contractors work continue and hold off on fixing the road until their shorelines are taken care of".

Later in the meeting, the Board received a round of applause from appreciative residents when they approved to lift the road weight ban on Hale Road to allow trucks and equipment to get to Bay property owners to allow them to be able to fix their shorelines.

Another resident also asked about what the plans are for Harbor Road. She lives towards the end of Harbor Road and said many times the road is flooded over and the water is over the wheel wells of her vehicle. I am thankful for the Town putting the markers there so we can see where the road line is but it is scary and I have missed work due to water being too high. Pottratz responded, "That road is in our sights, we will have to do something in Spring".

Property owner Cheyenne Keller also had issues with her shoreline but not due to high water levels, but to boaters zooming by on the bay and destroying her shoreline. I put rock out there but the rock sank due to the high wake levels these boats are making and eroding the shoreline. The rocks aren't doing anything with boats cruising at high rates of speed and causing the erosion.

Drees commented, "We did put a no wake ordinance from March 1 through May 15, but the DNR said we can't do a no wake, due to it being hard to enforce". Furton interjected, "I texted the DNR and we can do a no wake as long as the water is high. We can't do a 12 mile long section because that is too hard to enforce. What we can do is put a high water wake notice in place".

Drees replied, "If we had signage, that would help. We can put signage but we have to have an ordinance in place also. We need to put this on the agenda for next month and get this done. A resident commented that the Sheriff Department added two people for recreation, maybe that will help patrol for offenders". Others commented if signs were put up maybe boaters would be more responsible. It may cut down about 80% of it with the signs. Supervisor Kristin Edgar asked if it would help if residents allow signs on their property and the audience was open to that.

Other Town residents had other property issues including Roger Schoenfeldt. He commented "We have a water issue on Hale Road also, but just outside of town. I lived there for 52 years and the water problem was there for that long due to the ditches. The neighbor said if he can't get the ditches cleaned out, he was going to block the road. I want something done soon". Pottratz commented "We will look at it, but part of that is a personal property ditch that we don't take care of but we can look at it and see what can be done".

Town resident Candy Buchanauer again shared her disappointment with not cleaning the ditch near her property. Buchanauer asked Pottratz, "Why did you put a stop at 600 feet"? Drees commented, "We looked at it and cleaned out the original ditch that was there". Furton added, "There is a section that is not a ditch and there was a part that was dug out, along with a culvert. There is a short section that is not currently a ditch. It would make sense to correct, but we couldn't immediately commit to the project due to the monetary cost".

On a positive note of the public comment portion of the meeting, resident Wendell Johnson had good things to say about the Kowalski walking trail. He said, "The trail was started 10 years ago with the help of Pottratz. The trail has become popular for walking, jogging, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and everything outdoors".Johnson asked the board if they could establish a committee to have management procedures for the trail. At present a neighbor has been mowing the trail. More people are finding out about the trail and it is getting more popular. There is signage on the South side of the trail about Pollination Habitat and we need signage on the North side as well. Johnson said, "Every opportunity I have, I tell local people and throughout the state about the trail. I would like to see the committee request for the trail on July's agenda so we can have consistency of maintenance of the trail". Pottratz added, "We also have an additional 20 more acres for the trail with the land the County gave us".

After all the resident discussions, the Town got down to business and took care of other agenda items. There was a surplus fund from 2019 in the amount of $8,355.20 and it was approved by the board to put into the 2020 budget to be used for road repairs. The capitol purchase for the Fire Department upgrade of airpacks was also approved.

A carryover from prior meetings was the generator and light upgrade to the town garage. The Board questioned at the May meeting, the bid from Olson Electric for installation of a town purchased generator. The bid was clarified and $200 was added to the original bid brining it to $750, with Drees Electric bid at $1,150. The LED lighting update came in at $1,200 from Olson Electric and $1,160 from Drees Electric. The lighting update was approved to the lowest bid for Drees Electric, but the motion for purchase of the generator failed with a vote of 3 to 2 and will be postponed for a later date.

At the May meeting, the condemnation of property on Hwy 64, formerly A To Z property was tabled until further information was received from the owner of the property and how they were going to proceed. It was finalized with the owner that she won't be doing anything with the property with the lien amount on the property along with the expenses to clean it up, would cost more that what the property is worth. It was approved by the board to give Attorney Dave Spangenberg authority to move forward with legal steps for condemnation of the structure along with clean up.

With Edgar now in charge of the Recylcing Center she noticed there are a lot of cans collected at the center. Edgar reached out to Cans For Kids to see if they would be interested in receiving the collected cans for their program. Mary Lock and Cindy Hagert were present representing the program. Lock indicated the Cans For Kids program will supply a dog cage for the center to collect the cans in and Cans For Kids will be responsible for picking up the collected cans.

The programs proceeds are used for kids in the community including Christmas presents for those less fortunate and donations to Kids Closet, the school district SEED (Students Eat Every Day) program and gift cards for gas, food, etc, for families that have extra medical expenses.

Town Treasurer Marsha Rettke advised the website is still being worked on. With COVID-19 we couldn't get providers to come in person, We are working with UES Computers and some individuals and will continue to move forward in updating the website.

In his Fire Department report, Fire Chief Mike Folgert said the Department is staying active and following the COVID-19 guidelines and continuing to sanitize. Antibody COVID testing is still being offered to our firefighters and so far we have had no positive results of COVID. We are in the process of doing annual maintenance, fire inspections will be started soon, the Jaws Of Life equipment has been gone through and tested, hose testing was completed of over 8,000 feet of hose, we have two new applicants in process and the DNR re-instated burn permits.

Folgert added, "There were 10 calls in May including four vehicle crashes, one ground fire, two trees down on power lines, one structure fire, one controlled burn and one hazardous spill on the highway.

Pottratz mentioned that Furton and Edgar are doing a great job in their Supervisor positions and noted that Edgar now has the Recycling Center open four Wednesdays per month instead of two and is also continuing the two Saturdays a month.

Attorney Spangenberg advised he is continuing to work on the reimbursement agreement with Tyco, Johnson Control Inc (JCI) and will be clarifying what Tyco is willing to pay for.

The next meeting will be held Tuesday, July 21.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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