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Town Stephenson Committees Okay Hiring Road Employee

At brief back to back meetings Wednesday, Nov. 5 the Town of Stephenson Road, Personnel and Finance committees agreed to go forward with hiring the additional road crew employee authorized in the 2013 budget, to advertise again for a “canine control” person, and to open town roads year round to ATV traffic.

They also heard - loudly - from a town resident who wants the agenda for the town board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12 to include action eliminating mileage payments to Water Patrol personnel for driving to and from their homes to the job site, as specified by the majority of electors at the annual budget hearing last month.

Town Chair John Konopacki asked if anyone remembered why and how the policy of paying Water Patrol officers for going to and from work got started. Supervisor Mike Kudick said at first they couldn’t get any officers to drive up to the Town of Stephenson, since most of them live in or near the City of Marinette.

Questions was raised if they are also paid time from their homes and back again, and no one knew for sure, but they believe Water Patrol Leader Randy Miller keeps track of that. Clerk/Treasurer Elaine Olsen said it is not policy for anyone to be paid for both mileage and time for work related travel.

Representatives of the Woodland Trails ATV Club, and their parent group, Iron Snowshoe, Inc., were present for the ATV trail discussion.

If the town board approves the committee recommendation as expected, most roads owned by the Town of Stephenson will now be open to ATV use year round. This permission applies to town roads only, if they are properly signed, and does not include county, state or federal highways. There are no county highways within the Town of Stephenson open for ATV use.

There had been a long list of roads on which ATV use was permitted only during the summer months. In accord with state statutes, any roads or trails opened to ATV use must be properly posted as an ATV route. There are no exceptions to this statute, thus any ATV operation on an unposted roadway is illegal. Most dead-end roadways are authorized for trail-access only and use is limited to residents of that roadway or their visitors.

Town officials were concerned with the expense of taking down the ATV signs along town roads in fall and putting them up again in spring. The club spokesmen at the meeting stressed that only the roads are opened to year round ATV use. ATVs can use snowmobile trails only when signs to that effect are posted.

The club officials present agreed that it is up to the riders to notice if there are signs allowing ATV use, and to stay off roads that do not have the signs, They also noted that permission to ride the town roads does not give ATV operators the right to travel on the snowmobile trails they adjoin unless the trails are also separately marked for ATV use.

The Town needs to fill a Public Works mechanic position to replace a person who retired, and another worker will be added to help eliminate overtime. Kudick, on an as needed volunteer basis, has been handling Canine Control duties, which mainly consist of picking up lost or injured dogs. However, he said it sometimes becomes a problem, as on the previous night, when he spent hours trying to get veterinary care for a dog that had been struck by a car.

Job descriptions will be presented at the Dec. 12 meeting of the full board, or at a special meeting, and ads will be placed for all three positions.

Also on the board agenda will be getting rid of some old creosote laden timbers now at the town shop. Kudick said he knows an individual who will take the timbers if the town delivers them to his property on Handsaw Lane, and in return will contribute $150 to the town.

Other items for the 7 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12 include the audit contract with Schenk Business Solutions for 2013, Twin Bridge and Crivitz Rescue Squad contracts for 2013, granting of operators licenses as received, and approval of CSMs as presented.


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