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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City Deeds 2 Streets To Town Of Peshtigo

Issue Date: October 2, 2013

It is now official. By unanimous vote Tuesday, Oct. 1, Peshtigo City Council approved a quit claim deed transferring jurisdiction and ownership of portions of Schacht Road, Old Cedar Way (Dolan) and Poplar Ridge Road to the Town of Peshtigo. The Peshtigo Town Board at its September meeting had agreed to accept the roads in question provided the city was willing to transfer ownership as well as responsibility for their care and maintenance.

City street construction work approved by Council for the remainder of this year include Ellis Avenue from Thompson Street to McCagg Street for an estimated $157,940 and Emery Avenue from the Trout Creek Bridge to West Park Drive for an estimated cost of $110,500.

Council unanimously approved a tentative 3-year contract agreement with the Teamsters Union that represents public works employees. Alderman Mike Behnke, Personnel Committee Chair, reported the settlement includes a one percent raise for each of the contract’s three years, six days sick leave per year accumulated to a maximum of 120 days, and the addition of mother-in-law and father-in-law funeral leaves. The contract terms were negotiated with union officials during a closed session of the committee on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Alderman Cathi Malke reported the Volunteer Cemetery Committee, consisting of herself and Aldermen Debbie Sievert and Brigitte Schmidt had held a second meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and the atmosphere was like night and day from the first time we met. That first meeting, marked by a hostile reaction from the Riverside Cemetery Board of Trustees, ended up being adjourned with nothing accomplished. Malke said the committee was formed because of financial and personnel concerns with the cemetery, which had requested more funds from the city.

Malke said at that first meeting they had intended only to discuss what the committee wanted to do and who should do it. Before they could even begin discussing that the public comments became so volatile that the meeting was adjourned.

At the Sept. 25 meeting Malke announced there would be no public comments until after the committee had finished its business.

After the aborted first meeting, she, Alderman Tom Gryzwa as Finance Committee Chair, and Don Richter, who is a Cemetery Board member and a paid employee as secretary/treasurer, had met to discuss the issues they were facing, mainly centered on a drop in cemetery income. Richter had been the Cemetery Board’s chief spokesman at the August committee meeting,

People had the wrong idea. Now they understand that we’re just trying to help, Malke told the Council. She said she will call another meeting of the volunteer Cemetery Committee in the near future. Issues to be addressed include funding, prioritization of projects the Cemetery Board would like to accomplish, appointment of a City Council liaison to the Cemetery Board, employee compensation and a completed and realistic budget for cemetery operations.

After brief discussion, Council unanimously agreed to create a position of lead operator for the Wastewater Treatment Plant at the state average wage of $23.51 per hour. Alderman Malke asked why only one, when there are currently two employees at the plant. City Engineer George Cowell explained the recommended staffing is two people but only one needs the licensing that takes five years to complete. Decision to advertise now is to see if there are people out there available to take the job if Council decides direct city operation is the way to go.

Currently the Wastewater Treatment Plant is operated by BPM, Inc., under contract with the city, and Gary Motkowski is the lead operator. However contract renewal negotiations fell through and the committee is now looking at three options for operating the facility, which would be either by contract (in which case the contractor, not the city, would provide certified personnel); direct operation by the city, or operation by the city with aid of a consultant. Gryzwa, who chairs the Water and Sewer Committee, explained they are looking at all options, and asked the Personnel Committee to approve creating the position in case it is needed.

Cowell had explained at the committee meeting that the city has two people certified for the Water Department and a third certified for distribution, but this new position is for operating the wastewater treatment plant, which requires a different certification.

Mayor Al Krizenesky announced that a special committee appointed to discuss possible developments at Riverview Fishing Pier and the lower river portion of the Peshtigo River Recreational Park will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 at City Hall. He stressed that any plans are definitely long term, and will include hopefully getting grants to help pay for improvements.

Members named to the special committee are Director of Public Works George Cowell, BPM, Inc. General Manager James Koronkiewicz, Alderman Tom Gryzwa, Parks and Recreation Director Dave Zahn, Edward Brandt of Wisconsin Public Service and Marinette County Conservationist Chuck Druckrey of Marinette County’s Land and Water Conservation Department.

Krizenesky said discussions will include the use of the old railroad bridge and the river fish view walk.

Krizenesky also reported that negotiations with Robin Peterson and his son for a possible new factory in Peshtigo have fallen through, perhaps because of the economy. Discussions had been going on for some time over the possibility the Petersons would build on land the city had obtained from the county adjacent to the Industrial Park about two years ago.

A bit later in the meeting Zahn reported progress made at River Recreation Park includes making some new trail cuts, with about 75 percent covered in wood chips. An access route has been cut along an old trail back to East Front Street, and there is consideration of a possible snowmobile route through the city’s newest park.

Council unanimously approved a Parks and Recreation Committee recommendation that Zahn attend the 2013 Parks and Recreation Association’s 48th Annual Conference and Trade Show Nov. 4 through 8 in Green Bay, and authorized him to use the city car. Cost is $480, since Zahn is not currently a member of the organization. Committee discussion included that there are funds available because the City Clerk did not attend the Clerk’s Conference in August.

Council at Wednesday night’s meeting approved purchase of a new Front End Wheel Loader from FABCO Equipment for $118,649 complete and delivered with the options suggested.

Some surplus equipment is tentatively to be sold, but Council approved Malke’s suggestion that instead of selling the Police Department’s 2011 or 2009 squad car, whichever vehicle is no longer to be used as a squad car should be assigned to the Parks and Recreation Department for transport of Community Service workers and other errands.

Clerk/Treasurer Mary Ann Wills pointed out the Parks and Recreation Department already uses the city car for that purpose and there has never been a conflict. Malke countered that the additional car would be already in the park, which would save time Zahn or some other Parks and Recreation employee would spend picking it up. The last old squad car sold for only $2,100, and insurance costs are minimal on the overall city policy.

Before the vote, Zahn said he went to Marinette recently in the old Ford Ranger pickup truck and was out accelerated at the stop light by a fully loaded tanker truck, so anything would be an improvement.

Behnke said the committee tentatively used $8,000 from sale of surplus equipment toward the 2014 budget, but was assured that $8,000 is the estimated price for all the equipment they are proposing to sell, which includes an old dump truck and the Hustler mower.

A bartender’s license was approved for Chelsea M. Rose of Peshtigo.

Fire Chief Steve Anderson invited anyone interested to attend a Fire Engineers Club Open House Saturday, Oct. 19 at the NWTC in Marinette, starting at 11 a.m. The day’s focus is on training and use of sprinkler systems, and at 1 p.m. there will be a burn demonstration using two rooms, one with sprinkler systems and one without.

Zahn reported Peshtigo hosted the Marinette County Land and Water Conservation Day on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Badger Park Campground will be closed for the season after the weekend of Oct. 19 and 20, and water systems and restrooms there will be winterized the following week. Rates next year will be the same as this year.

Badger Boardwalk has been resealed, epoxy paint will be applied to bathroom floors this week, and plans are to do work on the horseshoe pits.

Zahn said he expects to announce winter recreation programs in the next couple of weeks. He is continuing work on the dog park idea, additional campsites for tents, goose removal options for next spring, a cooking pad by the large pavilion, and bridge replacement on the Badger Park Recreation Trails.

Programs in progress include Flag Football and basketball for girls in grades four through six and basketball for boys in grades four through six are also in progress.

The softball season ended Monday, Sept. 30 with a win by Cortezz’ Place, Zahn said. Softball field lighting issues continue, and some underground wires are faltering. The third base lights have a new wire run and they need to lay electric cable to left and center field.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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