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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Pound Board Property Tax Levy Remains Same

Pound Village Board on Monday, Oct. 7 tentatively approved a proposed budget for 2014 as prepared by Clerk/Treasurer Patricia Schutte. It projects both expenses and revenues at $396,713, up nine-tenths of a percent from last year. If adopted as proposed, the general property tax levy would remain at $115,773 as it was in last year’s budget, and personal property taxes are again projected at $3,000. A budget hearing is scheduled with the next monthly board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4.

The board had gotten its first look at the proposed budget that evening, and Village President Jay Martens suggested trustees might want to take it home and study it before giving their approval. He urged them, “even though money is tight,” to start setting money aside in a capital improvements account, “or we’ll be right back where we were, with huge interest payments.” He suggested they could hold a special budget workshop meeting if they felt changes were needed in time to get the budget finalized by the county’s deadline. Eventually, however, the board’s consensus was to have Clerk Schutte publish the budget as prepared and consider it again before adoption on Nov. 4.

Planned culture, recreation and education expenditures include $6,300 for parks and $500 for park improvements; $900 for recycling; $11,500 for celebrations, of which $10,000 is allocated for fireworks, $500 for Christmas and $1,000 for labor; $4,500 for the Community Center, which covers utilities and supplies, and $300 for the library. There is a total of $13,463 allocated for capital improvements, of which $5,000 is for business park development, $5,000 for street improvements, and a total of $3,436 for park, land acquisitions and community center. A total of $144,200 is scheduled for debt repayments. Clerk Schutte noted they will be done with payments on one of the loans in two years. Detailed copies of the budget may be viewed at the village hall.

Clerk Schutte announced the annual Village of Pound Christmas parade is to start at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and follow the same route as last year. As last year, the parade will be followed by a social and chili dump at the Community Center.

She also noted the village no longer has a post office box, so there is a new mailing address, which is “Village of Pound, 2002 County Q, Pound, WI 54161.”

Fire Chief Turner Gross reported the department’s first meat raffle went very well, and raised $1,230. During their fall fund raiser the department received a $100 donation from Jay and Connie Martens.

Gross said the department had two calls in September, one for an EMS assist and another for a motor vehicle accident. The 18 members present for the September meeting discussed the recent fund raiser and worked on various tasks in the station. The month’s training was on fire scene safety and equipment in trucks. All inspections are complete and all equipment is in good working order. A hydrant on Meyers Street is leaking.

Chief Gross asked to have a few yards of gravel put in potholes in the driveway to the old DNR building and in front of the bay doors. Martens asked if the village had any patching material left and Public Works Director Kevin Schutte said he did not. He somewhat jokingly added he had left the potholes there so the fire department would not be speeding with their equipment. The discussion ended with a request from Martens that Schutte put some gravel where Gross requested it.

Schutte reported he had replaced a sign on Crescent Lane that was knocked over by a semi, and replaced some flags on the old highway that had been snagged by a different passing semi. It was noted that one of the flags left the village on the truck.

Later in the meeting it was reported that the village received a check from Nicole Payette for $500.39 to pay for damages on Crescent Lane.

Schutte reported the “Thanks For Visiting” sign at the south end of the village was hit by a vehicle and was repaired, someone dropped a load of shingles and nails on the overpass and Schutte cleaned it up. He used his own sprayer to treat weeds in the park, and also cleaned up a load of broken cement that someone dropped off. He changed all the street light bulbs on the west side of the street so now all the bulbs are new.

Problems with the garbage truck continue, and repairs are costly. Schutte displayed some broken parts that have been coming through the hydraulic lines and said he will keep operating the truck manually until he knows exactly what the problem is, and what repairs are likely to work.

Trustee Mary Meyer asked about check valves he had been inspecting, and Schutte explained by federal law they are needed inside and outside the house to prevent contaminated water from being siphoned back into the village water system. There should be a check valve on anything you can put a garden hose on, he said.

There was brief discussion on hydrant flushing, and Clerk Schutte said they will be flushing again on Thursday, Nov. 14. Trustee Wayne Gross said whenever they flush hydrants his house gets zero water pressure. Schutte said he believes it is a problem with the water softener flushing back into the house.

Martens commented that the box on the dump truck has been sand blasted and painted and looks very nice.

Marinette County again offered to collect first half property taxes for $200 plus 85 cents per parcel. With about 200 parcels in the village this would total about $370. After brief discussion the board decided to continue having Clerk Schutte collect them at the village hall as she has in the past. Those paying taxes in halves will still make their second half payments directly to the county.

After much discussion, the board agreed that the tenant on a property located in the Village limits of Pound, will be given until the end of the year to either find a different place to live or at least a different place for the family’s animals.

Last month the board had sent a registered letter to the property owner warning that the farm animals must be gone within 30 days or the owner would be fined. The property currently has some chickens and goats, but apparently there were more animals when the complaint was issued.

Martens had asked the owner to address the board.

She explained the renters have had some hard times, including the illness of the mother, and the animals mean a lot to them. The owner was seeking some solution other than the two options she had been given - either to tell him he must get rid or the animals, or tell him he has to move. She said the family have been good tenants and she would personally not want to see them move, but felt they might do that rather than give up the animals.

The home includes 3.1 acres and is just inside the village limits. The animals would be legal on the other side of the road, which is in the town. She asked if anyone knows of an old farm house with a few acres that the family could rent, or land close enough to their current home for them to keep and care for their animals.

The owner told the board she does not want to be fined, and felt that should not happen, since legally she cannot go onto the property and remove something that belongs to the tenant.

Martens said they had never fined anybody in the village yet. He said many of the illegal chickens are now in the family’s freezer, but there are some chickens left for eggs, and the family uses the goats for milk. “I would like for us to digest all this and come up with a solution that would be amicable for everyone in this situation,” Martens told the board.

The owner said she asks only two things of a tenant, one, that they take care of the place, and two, that they pay their rent on time. She added there are no problems with this family with either issue.

Clerk Schutte reminded the board there had been two other village residents with animal issues and the board had enforced its ordinance, and warned there will be complaints if they handle this differently. “When you draw a line you have to stay with that line,” she cautioned. She asked if whoever owns the land across the road would rent a corner of it to them for the animals, since it is in the town, not the village.

“We lived with those other people for a year. We can give this family until the end of the year,” Martens recommended. Motion was then unanimously approved to give the owner and family until the end of the year to remove the animals out of the city limits, and at that time- the January board meeting - to see if anything has come up for them.

Former Trustee John Homontowski said he attends the same church as the renters do and will help them. At the end of the meeting he asked Martens for assurance the board will make no decision until its January meeting. Martens assured him that is the plan, and added, “Hopefully, something will be done so we don’t have to make a decision. I wish I had some land there to give him.”

Clerk Schutte reported ads are being solicited for the 2014 Marinette County Tourist Guide, with a deadline of Nov. 25. She wondered if the board wants to advertise.

A Tourism Alliance representative in the audience noted that the village is entitled to some editorial copy in the guide, and reminded them they should contact the tourism director at the Marinette Area Chamber of Commerce about upcoming events, such as the Christmas Parade and next year’s fireworks and Centennial celebration to get them in the county calendar of events on the Alliance website and hopefully in the state’s event calendar for next year. She stressed the earlier an event gets posted the better, because some people may already be planning their vacations for next year.


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