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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Town Says No Deal On Hale Road Bridge

By unanimous vote Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, the Peshtigo Town Board served notice to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that it will not be responsible for the care and maintenance of the bridge, guard rails and approaches for the bridge that carries Hale Road over U.S. Hwy. 41.

A resolution adopted by the board states they will snow plow and salt and sand the roadway as needed, but will not accept the jurisdictional transfer that would make them responsible for maintaining the bridge, guard rails and approaches because of the excessive costs involved. The resolution reminds the DOT that in discussions regarding construction of the US 41 bypass, the town did not agree to do any of the maintenance of the bridge, guard rails and approaches.

Liability connected with the bridge and its approach ramps was another concern of the town.

“This has been a bone of contention with the state since those discussions started,” declared Town Chair Herman Pottratz. “It was made very clear to them that the town was not interested in taking on this responsibility...I don’t think we want any part of that!” He said the approaches and the barriers that protect traffic on them are very costly to maintain.

A town resident in the audience pointed out that if a vehicle strikes the guard rail the owner’s insurance has to pay for the repairs, but Town Clerk Clarence Coble pointed out the rails have already been broken twice in the two years since the bridge was built, and neither time was there any driver around to pay for the damage.

“We’re not going to be responsible for any of that, and we’re letting them know it...That’s how we killed the round-a-bout. We told them to keep it,” declared Pottratz.

During time for public comment at the start of the meeting town resident Dwane Panske criticized a decision of Pottratz that town snow plow contractors should keep snow banks on the shoulders and not plow the snow off into the ditches. He said that is the worst thing they could do for the longevity of the pavement, since when the snow melts the water has no place to go except under the pavement, after which it freezes and causes the blacktop to break up.

Pottratz said keeping the snow banks on the edge of the blacktop, rather than pushing it off into ditches, helps keeps cars on the roadway and out of ditches. He said plowing into the ditch and then winging over the top of it makes it look like the road is there when it is not.

“I think we should leave the plowing to the guys who do the plowing,” Town Resident Jerry Pennings, also from the audience, declared.

Coble said he is out with his school bus every morning, and by 4 a.m. Harbor Road is already packed down. He added that whenever he reports a problem area it is taken care of promptly, “I think the guys are doing an excellent job of plowing.”

Supervisor Pat Ravet also praised the workers for the job they are doing to keep the roads plowed.

Panske explained after the meeting that he was not criticizing the quality of the plowing, but was warning that keeping snow piled right on the edge of the blacktop is not good for the road.

Also during public comment time, Joe Wilke, speaking from the audience, noted there were a few committee appointments on the meeting agenda. “You just appoint whoever you want,” he told Pottratz. “I’ve been asking to get on these committees for years and I never even get considered!”

Despite his comment, a bit later in the meeting the board unanimously approved Pottratz’ reappointment of Jim Kollross, Gerald Pennings and Patricia Pottratz to the Board of Appeals for three year terms from Feb. 1, 2013 to Jan. 31, 2016.

Ravet abstained and supervisors Mark Monnette and Dan Staudenmaier voted in favor of Pottratz’ appointment of Joyce Buchman to serve the remainder of Steve Hannot’s term on the Plan Commission. Ravet felt they should keep Wilke’s comments in mind, and suggested they should get more people involved with the town. Supervisor Denise Wiedemeier was absent and excused. Before the vote, Pottratz said Buchman is familiar with Plan Commission work because she was previously a member. She quit because of time required for her job in Green Bay, but now she has retired and has time again.

By unanimous vote the board, as it does each year, authorized the Road Foreman or Town Chair to impose seasonal weight limits as needed. They agreed since Hoppe Dairy no longer exists the weight exception for that .2-mile portion of Schacht Road is no longer needed, so the signs now will be posted for all of Schacht Road from Jopek Road north to Hwy. 64, and will have the ordinance amended accordingly.

The auditor and Assistant Auditor were praised for the work they have done so far for the town, and their contracts were renewed for another year. Coble said the difference is now if neither party does anything 60 days before the expiration date the contract automatically renews for another year.

Contract with Clean Kill Pest control at $53 per quarter was renewed for another year.

In the absence of the Fire Chief, Monnette reported the only call for the fire department since the board’s January meeting was to a vehicle fire.

Treasurer Vilas Schroeder was absent, but he had prepared a list of budget amendments that the board unanimously approved. Among them was correction of an $81,000 error resulting from transposition of numbers. That is being corrected through a memorandum of understanding with Marinette School District. The town collects property tax money and then turns the proper amount over to the county, school districts and state. A transposition occurred in the amount due to the school - $1,609,000 instead of $1,690,000 - and it therefore was not accounted for in the budgets but was discovered later. The school will get the money from the town this year, and next year the town will get it back.

Schroeder said in a note to the board that in December he asked for a transfer of $8,706.31 from the Roads (Reserve Account) to cover rock pile removal, but the correct amount should have been $10,100, so another $1,393 was needed there. Fire Department spending was $13,931 under budget, plus they received $500 for a fire service. The board approved Schroeder’s recommendation to designate that $14,431 to Fire Department Reserves. Other changes recommended by Schroeder were also approved as presented.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, March 19 at 7 p.m.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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