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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Expect Peshtigo Council To Finalize ATV/UTV Signage

Issue Date: September 2, 2020

At its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, Peshtigo City Counsel will consider several recommendations that came from a Streets and Drainage Committee meeting on Friday, Aug. 28, and from meetings of the Finance and Claims Committee and Parks and Recreation Committee starting at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 3. City Council meetings are generally held on the first Tuesday of each month but this month it was postponed to the second Tuesday.

Signage that is the last step before Peshtigo City Streets and alleys are opened for use by ATV and UTV vehicles should be going up in the near future. City Council approved the enabling ordinance at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18, with the provison that it will not be published and go into effect until after proper signs are in place. ATV and UTV enthusiasts, including Aldermen John Berendt and Rick Berth, are eager to have the city opened to the recreational vehicles and have offered to do everything they can to hurry the signage along, including collecting funds to pay for them and to personally help put the signs in place.

Both are members of the Streets and Drainage Committee, along with Alderman Brigitte Schmidt. After considerable discussion at a meeting on Friday, Aug. 28 they voted unanimously in favor of a motion to allow Public Works Director George Cowell to work with one member of the Streets and Drainage Committee to determine the number and size of signs to be ordered to permit ATV/UTV use, and to have the city pay the cost, with the understanding that the expense will be reimbursed by donations from ATV/UTV supporters. The signs are to be put in place by volunteers at sites recommended by Cowell. Police Chief Rick Badgley felt he did not need input, as Cowell is well aware of signage requirements.

At the start of the meeting Berendt, who chairs the committee, said if the committee could give the go-ahead for ordering the signs that day (Friday) he could collect enough money to pay for them by Monday.

Alderman Mike Behnke, who is serving as acting mayor during the illness of Mayor Cathi Malke, was present for the meeting, and advised Berendt to collect names and addresses of the donors while gathering the donations.

Berth had also done some homework, and found a company in Marathon offered the best sign prices, but they would need to be ordered ahead. Berendt said signs could be purchased on the spot from MJB for $20 each. Berth had done a tour of the city to determine where signs should and could be posted, and said he had been told they could be placed on any existing sign post except a stop sign. That included Lions Club, Rennes' and other privately posted signs, and Cowell cautioned they would need permission from the sign owners.

Berth asked why it is okay for an organization or business to put up a roadside sign, "...but we can't put up a rummage sale sign?" Cowell said the signs he had referred to were there "historically," and the only one he had been approached about was a church sign.

Schmidt was upset by what she felt was possibly a "rolling quorum" in regard to sharing of information and discussions of committee issues by two or more members of the 3-member committee outside of their public meetings. "I don't want to be blind sided into breaking Open Meetings laws," Schmidt declared, and added, "We need to do it as fast as we can, but we need to work with George (Cowell) and the Chief...We need to do it right."

Schmidt felt Cowell should make the decisions as to size and location of the signs.

Behnke cautioned before putting up new sign posts they would need to contact Digger's Hotline to be sure they do not strike a utility wire or other items. Cowell suggested he could put up a lath where he wants the signs. He said the sign posts should be available within a week after they are ordered, since they are the standard break-away variety.

Discussion then turned to disposal of yard wastes from private property owners along the north and west boundaries of Badger Park. Schmidt said there is already an ordinance prohibiting this, "but it's never been enforced."

She asked Badgley how illegal dumping ordinances are enforced and was told, "We usually talk to them, tell them it's not tolerated." We tell them to clean up whatever they have dumped, "...or face the music in the court system.

There was discussion on where signs might be needed, including corners of Harper and Forest avenues and by the well in Badger Park, as well as at Aubin Street and East and West Park Streets.

Cowell said during spring and fall he has no problem with having his crews pick up yard wastes from the park side of the road on the same basis as they pick up leaves and lawn debris (but not grass clippings) raked into the streets in other parts of the city, but the City Garage is the official place to dispose of yard wastes. He suggested posting signs that prohibit dumping of yard debris around Badger Park from May 15 to Oct. 1 each year. He noted city crews pick up compost-type debris raked into the streets during spring and fall, and those dates are published. Having the debris picked up on the Badger Park side of the streets prevents lawn damage in areas where there is no curb and gutter, he commented.

"It's an improvement, but it's still dumping on city property," Schmidt commented. She ultimately proposed a motion authorizing Cowell to design, order and arrange installation of "no dumping of compost" signs around Badger Park Property.

Next on the agenda was purchase of refuse bins for automated garbage pickup. The only bid was from the same company that provided the recycling bins for Peshtigo residents. Cowell said it is a reasonable price, and is from the same company that had by far the lowest price for the recycling bins.

The committee agreed the bins should be black in color, and additional recycling bins for residential properties will be available at a cost of $65 per year, which is about the amount charged per bin by the recycling company plus a $5 per year administration fee. The first bin for each household is provided at no cost to the property occupant or owner.

Cowell said the city's new automated garbage truck could arrive some time in September. He will be advertising for a "tipper" for the old garbage truck so it too can be used to pickup the automated carts.

Cowell informed the committee that his crews had put up and taken down banners along city streets honoring graduates and repaired a big manhole at the end of Rainbow. He said with the limitations due to Covid, "we're basically taking care of essentials and nothing else."

Two people recently hired for Public works Department work will soon be getting their commercial driver's licenses. Right of way work, wedging and strip sealing have been done on Noquebay Ave.

Council action on Sept. 8 could include recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Committee related to use of snowmobile trails on park properties in the city, future Parks & Recreation events, sale of items from the new vending building in Badger Park, a memorial bench donation, purchase and sale of firewood at Badger Park Campground, and solutions for drainage issues on Badger Park property.

Finance Committee recommendations for full Council actions could include collection of real estate taxes, 2020 debt levy and loans, and 2020 capital outlay items.

At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, prior to the evening Council meeting, the city of Peshtigo Plan Commission will meet to discuss and consider a split of the Strategic Equipment Systems property at 600 Oak Street, and work on updating the city's Comprehensive Plan.


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