space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* Country Cousin
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Peshtigo & Coleman Claim Conference Golf Titles
* Area Athletes Decide Conference Titles
* Cougars Lead M&O in Final Week; Cavvies Still in Championship Hunt
* Coleman Claims M&O; Peshtigo Tops Packerland Conference
* Peshtigo Invite Showcases Area Talent

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

Oconto Co. Oks Up to $25 Million Bonds For New Jail By Courthouse

Issue Date: September 25, 2013

After a decade and a half of indecision, Oconto County Board on Thursday, Sept. 19 jumped two major hurdles on the road toward construction of a new jail/law enforcement center. Motions verifying need for a new law enforcement center, tentatively locating it adjacent to the courthouse and authorizing steps toward borrowing up to $25 million to pay for it were approved by very healthy margins.

In my 18 years as County Board Chair this is maybe the toughest decision we have ever had to make, County Board Chair Lee Rymer declared before the vote. I know the Mayor worries about the cost to the people of Oconto, but that may be offset. He said the cost to the owner of a property valued at $100,000 will be about $25 a year for the term of the bond issue. The cost of bonding rose about $3 million in the last six months and is likely to keep rising. People are saying we’ve waited too long... Let’s get it done...The time is here to make the touch decisions...I recommend we pass this resolution!

Administrative Coordina-tor Kevin Hamann stressed those votes were just the beginning. There will be several more votes along the way before the first dollar can be borrowed, or the first shovel turned for the construction project.

Despite pleas from Oconto Mayor Victoria Bostedt to not put more burden on the city’s hard-pressed property taxpayers, the board voted 29 to 2 in favor of the location adjacent to the courthouse in downtown Oconto. The only opposing votes were cast by Supervisors Rose Stellmacher and Vernon Zoeller. The courthouse site will cost the city some tax base but save construction costs for the county and reduce operating expenses when it is in use.

From day one I was opposed to the site on County S. I feel 100 percent better! declared Supervisor Bill Grady after the vote on location.

There seems little doubt that a new or at least expanded jail is needed. For several years the county has been sending overflow prisoners to jails in nearby counties, generally Marinette County, which itself is beginning to feel some overcrowding.

The decision to build in the city was made partly in response to a Town of Riverview vote on , Aug. 22 not to allow the city to annex the 14.6-acre proposed jail site and the section of North Park Avenue that leads to it. The county already owns this parcel and soil tests showed satisfactory conditions for construction, but there has been much opposition from those in favor of either a jail adjoining the courthouse, or an entirely different location, such as in Oconto Falls, where land had been offered at no charge.

The agreement formerly reached between the City of Oconto and the Town of Little River relative to annexing the site included a provision that it would go into effect only if county residents approved jail financing in a referendum vote.

Subsequently county officials learned that a new law allows them to move forward with bonding for the law enforcement center without a referendum. It can be done with approval of a super majority of the County Board - 75 percent. That margin was readily achieved Thursday with a vote of 28 in favor, four more than the needed majority, to three opposed. Voting against the bonding resolution were supervisors Stellmacher, Zoeller and Terry Brazeau. Stellmacher said the people of Little River and elsewhere in the county would be upset because there will be no referendum. She said that had been the assumption for years. Hamann said that was his fault, because he had incorrectly interpreted state statutes.

Borrowing must be done within five years for the vote to remain valid. It is expected that even with Thursday’s affirmative vote, actual construction is at lest two to three years in the future.

The County Board room was packed with observers, many of them with rather strong feelings on one side or the other on the jail issue. However, the crowd remained orderly and there were no disruptions.

Rymer had advised supervisors at their August meeting that a decision on the referendum issue would be expected in September. At that time construction was still expected on the Little River site. The Little River Town Board met that evening and declined to change their agreement.

At the start of the law enforcement center discussion on Thursday Hamann reiterated the need for new jail facilities that has been under discussion for 15 years. He cited the Kimme study, state jail inspection reports stating the existing facility is antiquated, and growing inmate populations.

In 1994 the jail population was generally in the 20’s, Hamann said, now it’s in the 70s and I expect that to increase steadily. Currently they are paying to have 13 prisoners housed in jails outside the county, seven are in the old juvenile facility, and at any given time there are two to six out on the bracelet system. He added that if they need to have prisoners housed at jails that are far away, it will get very, very costly.

Hamann said the County Clerk gave him a state report from 1998 that projected future jail populations. Their numbers have been right on so far, and they predict by 2015 the Oconto County jail population will be close to 100, he said, adding, Our facilities cannot hold them all...All the reports say we need to build on!

Hamann said after learning of the Little River decision they had begun looking more closely at the option of building adjacent to the courthouse, and he had polled the 14 neighbors involved. Of 14 inquiries he got 13 back. Of those, 10 were willing to sell, and the others gave a conditional no. NEWCAP prefers not to sell, one owner has just remodeled, and one owes more than the property is worth.

The Law Enforcement Committee has indicated its intent to build adjacent to the Courthouse, and several supervisors commented that is the site their constituents feel is best.

Hamann explained the question supervisors would be asked to vote on is, Should we intend to build it on the block north of the courthouse? He explained that even if they vote that is the intent they would need at a later meeting to rescind their vote of intending to build on the County S site in Little River, and then do a resolution directing the county to proceed with acquiring the properties north of the courthouse.

Rymer noted some supervisors who have been vocal in their opposition to the County S site might support the resolution with the courthouse site.

There also was talk of savings to be realized by being able to keep the 911 Communications Center in its existing location at the courthouse, and possibly reuse some of the current jail/law enforcement facilities.

A brief recess was called in County Board proceedings for a meeting of the Law Enforcement Committee in an adjoining room.

There, Supervisor Gerald Beekman contended there is still nothing wrong with the County S site and they should keep it as a backup. The committee agreed they should not dispose of the land.

As Mayor of Oconto, I am pleading with you not to do this to us, Bostedt urged the committee. She said with the Hwy. 41 by-pass the city lost a million dollars of property value, and this will take another million off the tax rolls, a double whammy to us.

Our poor people in the city are struggling, she said, adding that water rates are up 44 percent and she has watched people standing in line to make monthly payments on their water bills. Now our residents will be taxed once to pay for the building and pay again with loss of tax base. This affects every single person! She said the city is $18 million in debt, and she is doing her best to bring things into the city, but if things keep going up it gets more difficult.

People have been telling us for years this is where the Law Enforcement Center belongs - adjacent to the courthouse, Rymer replied, adding that keeping it in the city will keep employees in the city.

As the Law Enforcement Committee we represent the whole county and we have to act in their interests, declared Supervisor Buzz Kamke, a member of the Law Enforcement Committee.

Committee endorsement of the courthouse site was unanimous.

Back in the board room, Mayor Bostedt repeated her request that the county not take the properties off the tax roll, but with the same result, and County Board voted 29 to 2 in favor of the amendment and approved the resolution declaring intent to build a law enforcement center.

Before the vote, Stellmacher said she was surprised they were not telling the board the cost of the properties around the courthouse.

Hamann said the county will spend for land acquisition, but save elsewhere. Cost of running sewer and water to the County S site would be about $5 million. He said fair market value of the 13 privately owned properties is $850,000. The NEWCAP property, already tax exempt because it belongs to a non profit entity, is valued at $150,000 to $250,000, bringing the total to about $1 million.

The city’s total tax levy is about $1.5 million on $187 million of equalized value, so loss of the properties will mean $7,000 will be divided among the remaining properties.

Hamann said economies resulting from being adjacent to the courthouse will save the county money for several decades, and predicted that will more than offset the additional land acquisition costs.

Supervisor Bill Grady, long a vocal opponent of the County S site, recalled that two years ago the vote had been 20 to 10 to build there, and asked, When can we get rid of that?

He was told they could rescind that resolution as early as next month.

Hamann said they will need to do soil tests on the properties around the courthouse, and asked that the resolution not specify just the north side, since they may need additional properties for parking and other needs. They would hope to go through eminent domain on all the properties, and thus pay just fair market value. They would also need to do a relocation plan for the residents, and he expected most of them will remain in the city, just in other locations.

Before the resolution of intent to issue the bonds of up to $25 million Hamann explained wording was drafted by the law firm of Quarles and Brady as advised by Jeff Belongia, the county’s financial advisor. This resolution is simply a statement of intent and does not raise the tax levy. When the designs are drawn and estimates are prepared there will be another resolution with the actual bond amount, interest rates and other details.

Supervisor Gooding said there are many checks and balances along the way, and if they end up with a building that costs $10 million less, the actual bond issue would be for only that amount. He said they also may be able to pay for it with the sales tax, rather than putting it on the property tax levy. Hamann said that could happen if the sales tax goes up 10 percent year as it has in the past. As currently planned, half of the debt payment would come from sales tax proceeds, which are dedicated to capital improvements, and half from property taxes.

Stellmacher asked at what point they would need to budget for the facility. Hamann said he would use money the county has already set aside to buy the property, hire an architect, etc.

Stellmacher was concerned that if they approve the $25 million, that is what we will spend. Hamann said they will only know the actual cost after they have a design plan and get bids, probably two to three years in the future.

After the jail issues were settled the board went into closed session to discuss the MarOco lawsuit, and after an hour retuned to open session and unanimously approved the mediated settlement, as well as the MarOco Operating and Administrative budgets for 2014. Landfill Administrator John LeFebvre said the MarOco budget has no anticipated tax levy from either county, and there was no increase in tipping fees this year.

This is a great example of two counties working together, declared Rymer. He noted there was much controversy when the landfill was started, but the venture had even won a WCA award for cooperation between counties.

The board approved a compromise agreement worked out before Mediator Larry Jeske settled a lawsuit over boundary lines involving Oconto County and Darrell and Anita Wagenknecht that will involve removing some land from the forest management program. The DNR and the Circuit Court are to be notified. Attorney Andrew Smith represented the county in the negotiations and Attorney Barbara Morrison represented the Wagenknechts.

The board approved a resolution paving the way for closing the courthouse from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29 for a full scale Intruder Alert exercise. All employees will participate. Stellmacher urged giving the shut-down ample publicity, and was concerned about the possible couple that picks that afternoon to drive down from Townsend for a Marriage License or other county business. She was assured it will be well publicized.

A decision of the Planning and Zoning Department to deny a zoning change requested by Timothy Hanaway for his existing auto body repair shop in the Town of Oconto was upheld by unanimous board vote, despite the town board’s recommendation to approve. Reasons were that the area is designated for residential use and the requested Neighborhood Commercial Zoning would be inconsistent with that and with the town’s vision and plan and is not consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan. No one was present to speak for or against the denial. Supervisor Korzeniewski said there were violations filed in the past on that property and statements were made about violations like burning lacquer in a pit.

Among Zoning Ordinance amendments approved by the board was one which involves Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Fairhaven Baptist Church in a lot reconfiguration to allow access to Fairhaven lane off Hwy. 141, and eventually will allow the DOT to sell a 24.9 acre parcel it owns there.

The board approved several other zoning changes, including:

*A 2.72 acre parcel owned by Lawrence Karcz and Evelyn Dumas, Town of Chase, from Agricultural to Rural Residential to allow building a new dwelling;

*A 3-acre parcel owned by Riegert Farms in the Town of Maple Valley from Agricultural to Rural Residential to allow sale of the residence while keeping the remainder of the farm;

*A 3.16 acre parcel to be split from property owned by Dennis O’Neil in the Town of Oconto, from Agricultural to Rural Residential, to split off the residence;

*Combining lots on a 6 acre parcel owned by Marianna Demyer on St. Patrick’s Road in the Town of Stiles and rezoning from rural residential to residential single family to bring them into compliance.

Also approved were:

*Forgiveness of illegal taxes totaling $2,278.14 and assessment errors totaling $183.08, as recommended by the Land Information Systems subcommittee of the Forest, Park & Recreation Committee;

*Purchase of an FB 85 Power Broom from Road Tech for $58,486 as recommended by the Highway Committee;

*Contracting with Clean Right Services, LLC for $5,506.30 per month on a 2-year contract, the same price as for the previous two years of janitorial services.

*Contracting with Helmle Construction, Inc. of Little Suamico for the low bid price of $16,178 to build two ATV bridge decks with funding from ATV grants. The next lowest bid was for $33,134, and the high bid ws $58,125. Some supervisors were concerned over the price difference, but the board was assured by Parks and Recreation Committee spokesmen that they have worked with Helmle before with very satisfactory results. The Bridge Rehabilitation grants are for $23,000.

Stellmacher reported the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation has started calling on companies and expects to visit all manufacturers in the county by spring. They are working on financing a motel in Oconto Falls, for which half the money must come from private investors.

Congratulations were extended to Supervisor Grady on his birthday and his 60th wedding anniversary.

Supervisor Ken Linzmeyer announced a fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Lena High School to benefit Kyle Hodkiewicz.

Supervisor Diane Nichols announced the Machickanee Players will perform The Drunkard, or Down With Demon Drink on Oct. 11, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
05-17-2018Obituaries
Roger J. Albert, Jr.

05-17-2018Obituaries
Ruby F. Anderson

05-17-2018Obituaries
Arlene F. Bintz

05-17-2018Obituaries
Wesley G. Borchert

05-17-2018Obituaries
Richard A. Bruce

05-17-2018Obituaries
Ruth A. Dixon

05-17-2018Obituaries
Thomas J. Elbe

05-17-2018Obituaries
David J. Fernstrum

05-17-2018Obituaries
Jane A. Gnabasik

05-17-2018Obituaries
Douglas E. Hudon

05-17-2018Obituaries
Vincent Jasenovsky

05-17-2018Obituaries
Ernest L. Medina

05-17-2018Obituaries
Virginia L. Mullins

05-17-2018Obituaries
Margaret Peterson

05-17-2018Obituaries
Sharon L. Saunier

05-17-2018Obituaries
Margaret L. Schroeder

05-17-2018Obituaries
Theodore R. Soderberg

05-17-2018Obituaries
Peter Sohr

05-17-2018Obituaries
Robert Thoune

05-17-2018Obituaries
Judith A. Weidemeier

05-17-2018Obituaries
Rita Wery

05-17-2018Sports
Peshtigo & Coleman Claim Conference Golf Titles

05-17-2018


05-17-2018Sports
Area Athletes Decide Conference Titles

05-17-2018Sports
Cougars Lead M&O in Final Week; Cavvies Still in Championship Hunt

05-17-2018Sports
Coleman Claims M&O; Peshtigo Tops Packerland Conference

05-17-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-17-2018Perspectives
From our readers

05-17-2018Perspectives
From My Window

05-17-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee School Board Elects Wojcik President

05-17-2018Community - Wausaukee
Athelstane OKs ATVs On Northway Drive

05-17-2018Community - Wausaukee
Town Wausaukee Lists Committees Retained

05-17-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Village, Town Rummage Sale

05-17-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Announces Memorial Day Rites

05-17-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Plans Trap Shoot May 26

05-17-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Special Ed Field Day May 16

05-17-2018Community - Crivitz
Lifetouch Photography at St. Mary, Crivitz

05-17-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman High School Graduation is May 19

05-17-2018Community - Coleman
1958 Coleman Class Plans June 22 Reunion

05-17-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Legion Post 280 Memorial Day Program

05-17-2018Community - Coleman
Bond Center Offers Swimming

05-17-2018Front Page
Local Officials Participate in Law Enforcement Service

05-17-2018Front Page
Rick Rickaby Resigns As Highway Commissioner

05-17-2018Front Page
Wagner Has Full Board For Regular Meeting

05-17-2018Front Page
Porterfield Plans To Form Zoning/Land Use Committee

05-17-2018Front Page
Shirley Kaufman Receives Alvan E. Bovay Award

05-10-2018Obituaries
John A. Cervanka

05-10-2018Obituaries
Cecelia M. Chlopek

05-10-2018Obituaries
Malachi J. Bergevain

05-10-2018Obituaries
Gerald Bero

05-10-2018Obituaries
Wayne Falk

05-10-2018Obituaries
Marian C. Gruenstern

05-10-2018Obituaries
Dean O. Klein,

05-10-2018Obituaries
Richard Kuntze, Jr.

05-10-2018Obituaries
Carol R. LaLonde

05-10-2018Obituaries
Robert A. Martin

05-10-2018Obituaries
JanetLee M. Mickel

05-10-2018Obituaries
Jim J. Murray

05-10-2018Obituaries
Mary E. Oehler

05-10-2018Obituaries
Alice H. Peterson

05-10-2018Obituaries
Donna L. Polzin

05-10-2018Obituaries
Richard K. Smith

05-10-2018Obituaries
Lynore M. Waldron

05-10-2018Obituaries
Mary von Heimburg

05-10-2018Sports
Peshtigo Invite Showcases Area Talent

05-10-2018Sports
MAROON HALL OF FAME HEROES

05-10-2018Sports
Teams Fight for Postion as Shortened Season Nears End

05-10-2018Sports
Crivitz Takes Win Over Coleman; First in Over Four Years

05-10-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-10-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

05-10-2018Perspectives
From My Window

05-10-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Village, Town Rummage Sale

05-10-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee To Offer Summer Food Plan

05-10-2018Community - Wausaukee
SC Auxiliary To Make Picnic Plans

05-10-2018Community - Wausaukee
WBA Farmers Market New Location This Year

05-10-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Students Told No Phones While Driving 

05-10-2018Community - Crivitz
Middle Inlet Reunion Potluck Party May 24

05-10-2018Community - Crivitz
Lifetouch Photography at St. Mary, Crivitz

05-10-2018Community - Crivitz
Legion to Meet at Post May 16

05-10-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Legion Post 280 Memorial Day Program

05-10-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Utility Board To Meet

05-10-2018Community - Coleman
Equity to Host Tourney

05-10-2018Community - Coleman
Change Food Pantry Hours

05-10-2018Front Page
Crivitz Area Food Pantry Soon Will Have New Home

05-10-2018Front Page
County Committee Supports 18-Month Mining Moratorium

05-10-2018Front Page
Tiffany Says New Mine Law Protects Environment, Economy

05-10-2018Front Page
Kurt Konell Named Wagner Town Chair

05-10-2018Front Page
Master Gardeners Spring Plant Sale

05-04-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Chamber Announces 2018 Persons of the Year

05-03-2018Obituaries
Mary S. Zwiefelhofer 

05-03-2018Obituaries
Muriel J. Young

05-03-2018Obituaries
Lorraine B. Wood

05-03-2018Obituaries
Ralph VandenBush

05-03-2018Obituaries
Laura J. Valcq

05-03-2018Obituaries
Gloria Peetz

05-03-2018Obituaries
Victoria A. Lehmann

05-03-2018Obituaries
Richard Larson, Jr.

05-03-2018Obituaries
Donald T. LaGassie

05-03-2018Obituaries
Janet E. Krueger  

05-03-2018Obituaries
Charles Knapp Jr.

05-03-2018Obituaries
Tadeusz Kielbicki

05-03-2018Obituaries
Florence T. Rosene-Heuring

05-03-2018Obituaries
Thomas C. Heckel

05-03-2018Obituaries
Tina A. Gustin

05-03-2018Obituaries
Floyd F. Fisher

05-03-2018Obituaries
Blanche A. Fritz

05-03-2018Obituaries
Gloria Cottrell

05-03-2018Obituaries
Eileen (Anderson) Boorman

05-03-2018Obituaries
Jane R. Bigger

05-03-2018Obituaries
Dorothea M. Behrens

05-03-2018Sports
Peshtigo Wins Packerland Opener at Vernon Hills

05-03-2018Sports
Peshtigo Golfers Off To A Strong Start

05-03-2018Sports
Softball in Full Swing After Freeze in Play

05-03-2018Sports
Delfosse Spins Birthday No-Hitter in Victory Over Crivitz

05-03-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

05-03-2018Perspectives
From My Window

05-03-2018Community - Wausaukee
Town of Wausaukee Holds Meetings

05-03-2018
Silver Cliff Card Winners

05-03-2018Community - Wausaukee
Post 66 To Meet Saturday

05-03-2018Community - Crivitz
Spring Craftfest at Crivitz May 5th

05-03-2018Community - Crivitz
M&M Area Foundation Helps Crivitz Playground

05-03-2018Community - Crivitz
Seek Funds for Crivitz Playground Improvement

05-03-2018Community - Crivitz
Seek Volunteers To Paint Cabins

05-03-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman School Board To Elect Officers April 26

05-03-2018Community - Coleman
Wellness Conference at Pound Church

05-03-2018Community - Coleman
CHS Classes 1943-65 Reunion is July 15th

05-03-2018Community - Coleman
Senior Club To Meet May 7th

05-03-2018
Peshtigo Chamber Announces 2018 Persons of the Year

05-03-2018Front Page
Ed Delfosse Named New Wagner Town Supervisor

05-03-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Gets Good Annual Audit Report

05-03-2018Front Page
Garage, Contents and Logging Truck Destroyed in Pillath Fire

05-03-2018Front Page
MCABI Working On Plans For Expansion

04-26-2018Sports
Marines Sweep Quadrangular; Suring Second at Boys Invite

04-26-2018Sports
Peshtigo Middle School Bowlers State Bound

04-26-2018Sports
Marines Drop Panthers; Kotecki Fires No-Hitter

04-26-2018Sports
Peshtigo Splits a Pair; Marines Edge Out Tigers

04-26-2018Perspectives
From our readers

04-26-2018Perspectives
COUNTRY COUSIN

04-26-2018Obituaries
Beverly H. Angelich

04-26-2018Obituaries
Daniel J. Barker

04-26-2018Obituaries
Sharen K. Baxter

04-26-2018Obituaries
Kristine E. Belling

04-26-2018Obituaries
Harry W. Brendemihl

04-26-2018Obituaries
Joyce C. Miller-Cardinal

04-26-2018Obituaries
James A. Charniak

04-26-2018Obituaries
Sister Lucy Edelbeck, O.P

04-26-2018Obituaries
Maxine F. Faucett

04-26-2018Obituaries
Lee J. Fredrickson

04-26-2018Obituaries
Betty A. Clark Hanish

04-26-2018Obituaries
Thomas C. King


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Is the Foxconn facility in Kenosha a good idea?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2018
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites