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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Pound Christmas Parade, Party Is Saturday, Dec. 8

With only a few finishing touches needed, the Village of Pound is decked out for the annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 8, and the free community social and “chili dump” that will follow at the Community Center.Works Director Kevin Schutte told the Village Board at their meeting Monday evening, Dec. 2, that most of the Christmas decorations are up, the two community Christmas trees are trimmed (one has 100 lights), the Community Center is being readied, and all they need is a little snow early on Saturday to make the setting complete.

Clerk/Treasurer Trish Schutte invited anyone who wants to enter a float in the parade to simply bring it to the staging area on Crescent Lane by 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

She said there will be two Christmas trees given away by drawings at the Community Center gathering after the parade. Admission to all events is free, including the food and refreshments. Everyone is invited. Anyone who wants to may bring a batch of homemade treats or their own chili to be included with the chili dump, but it is not necessary. Donated goodies such as snacks, Christmas cookies, candies and cakes and non-alcoholic beverages will be served in addition to the chili. Santa will be on hand, and a Coleman school band will provide musical entertainment for the evening, Clerk/Treasurer Schutte said.

Under New Business Clerk/Treasurer Schutte asked the board for a 10 percent raise to be effective Jan. 1, 2013. She said her last raise, three percent, was received on Jan. 1, 2011. Her current salary is $15,757 per year, which totals $18,046.50 after the village share of Social Security and one half her retirement pay are added.

After considerable discussion and some offers and counter offers, the board voted unanimously to give her an $1,100 raise for the year, based on $1 per hour for each of the 1,100 hours per year she generally works. This brings her annual base salary to $16,657, with benefits at additional cost to the village. She said this is $541 a year less than her original proposal, and the board agreed it will apply whether she works the 10 hours or 2,000 or more hours a year on her dual jobs as municipal clerk and utility clerk. She also receives a $30 per diem for each meeting she attends of the Utility Board, and the village will continue to pay half her contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement plan.

Clerk/Treasurer Schutte said the work connected with her job has increased tremendously since she was hired in 1999, particularly tasks connected with elections. Also, she has become an officially certified clerk, and she and her husband, Public Works/Utility Man Kevin Schutte, are currently both enrolled in certified utility training. She said she keeps track of her hours separately for the utility and municipal duties, and about one third of her time is spent on water/sewer utility duties.

Questioned on whether or not the village could afford the raise without increasing taxes, Schutte said the budget includes $20,500 as wages and fringes for her position. Time she spends on rescue squad calls is not counted toward hours for her clerk/treasurer duties.

When the board was not receptive to the 10 percent raise proposal, she suggested as an alternative that she receive a three percent raise and the village pay $1 per hour toward health insurance coverage that she and Kevin currently pay from their own pockets. She said the previous village employee got a similar insurance allowance.

Trustee Wayne Gross asked for comparisons with other clerk/treasurers in the area. The Coleman clerk/treasurer is paid $16.30 per hour, the Crivitz position pays more, but Gross noted it is full time. Clerk/Treasurer Schutte contended that made no difference as long as the work gets done.

Gross asked if anyone knows how Obama Care will affect the village in terms of insurance.

“Nobody in America - or anywhere else - knows what it’s going to do,” declared Trustee Mary Meyer.

Clerk/Treasurer Schutte said Kevin should be offered insurance through the state plan, which says municipal employees who work 1,600 or more hours a year should be offered this. She said the Obama Care applies to all employees who work 30 or more hours a week, so everyone predicts that many businesses will be cutting their employees to 30 hours or less. But it applies to only employers with 50 or more employees, so Pound probably will not be affected.

Gross noted she had received three percent raises in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011. He suggested giving a three percent raise for each of the past two years, or six percent. That suggestion received no second.

Village President Jay Martens moved to increase her pay by $1 per hour, and it was agreed there should be a flat $1,100 raise for the year instead. Gross seconded the motion and all voted in favor.

This works out to $17.46 per hour at 1,100 hours. The 10 percent raise would have made the salary $18.05 per hour and the raise plus insurance option would have totaled $17.90 per hour.

“I’ve been here a long time and I think I do a good job,” Clerk/Treasurer Schutte declared. “If there’s a problem with my work I wish somebody would tell me.”

Martens assured her he was well satisfied with her work. “You’ve done everything I’ve asked you to do,” he declared.

Meyer added Schutte also often comes up on her own with things that need to be done, and simply does them. The other trustees agreed.

The meeting began with a 15-minute closed session starting at 6 p.m. After the open portion of the meeting was called to order motion to approve rental of the village’s business park property to Van de Walle Farms for another three year term was approved without dissent. Lease details were not included in the motion except to say they were the same as in the previous three year agreement.

Fire Chief Turner Gross reported there were no emergency calls in November, but there were two callers with carbon monoxide concerns. They replaced a faulty carbon monoxide detector component for $125. There were 14 members present for a meeting at which they cleaned the shop and discussed future fund raising projects. Firefighters trained with Coleman/Pound Rescue Squad in November, Gross said. All building inspections are done for the year.

Gross said the fire department has signed agreements to work with the Oconto County “MABAS,” a mutual aid box alarm system aimed at coordinating the efforts of emergency responders and systemizing calls for assistance under mutual aid effective Jan. 1, 2013, and with Marinette County effective Jan. 1, 2014. They are now attending MABAS meetings at Marinette County Sheriff’s Department headquarters once a month. Later in the meeting the board approved a resolution formally establishing a MABAS Agreement with the Coleman Area Rescue Squad.

Kevin Schutte reported he fixed the desk in the clerk’s office, replaced 30-year old phone lines there, and replaced a malfunctioning splitter with a router.

He has closed the park for the winter and drained water lines, fixed brakes on the old dump trailer, and put up 19 Christmas lights on village poles. There are two sets of decorations left over, but no poles to put them on, Schutte said. There are no decorations on the north side of the street, but WPS has poles there that could be used. Running a service across the street will cost about $125 each, because he would do the work to the point of connecting to electrical power, which WPS will do at no charge. The black light poles are on use-timed meters for electrical service, but WPS charges by the hour for lighted decorations hung on the basis of a use report submitted by the village.

Schutte said he fixed the emergency warning siren, so it will now again sound each day at noon. He said the repairs cost only $300 to $400, including cost of the new wire he strung from the building to the siren to eliminate a bad series of splices. Replacing with a similar new siren would cost about $18,000.

Plow trucks are prepared to run, Schutte said, and salt for the winter has been delivered. He applied salt to all village streets twice already this year.

He bought 1,000 pounds of weights for the back of one of the plow trucks from Henry Malke as part of a swap agreement in which Malke sold scrap metal Schutte had collected from village property and they split the money received. The village share was $600. Schutte had also provided some lead for the weight box, and said the village will be billed eventually if the weight system works.

He had taken both the garbage truck and the dump truck to Green Bay to have the transmission fluid replaced, and service on both was long overdue.

The 20-foot village Christmas tree already has 100 lights, and more may go on, Schutte said. Martens said it looks great. Since two trees were donated to the village he had a second tree stand built. One tree is at the village hall and the other, also decorated, is at the Community Center.

Schutte explained, in case anyone is concerned about his green pickup truck being parked in the village garage, that until the snow flies he keeps the village garbage/plow truck at the Beaver dump site, since the Village of Pound and Town of Beaver share services. Beaver provides recycling service for the village and the town garbage is loaded into the village truck and taken by Schutte to the dump. The town pays its own tipping fees, and no money is exchanged between the town and village for the trade of recycling and garbage responsibilities. By keeping his own truck at one location and the village truck at the other, Schutte said he doesn’t need to have someone give him a ride to pick up the garbage truck when it’s needed. Once winter really comes the truck will spend more time in the village garage.


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