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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City Assessed Values Still in Legal Range

Assessed values for residential properties in the City of Peshtigo remain within the range acceptable to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Assessor Jerry Pillath reported at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 4. For this year, the residential assessments are within a 97.97 ratio and commercial properties were at 105.07. The Department of Revenue allows a ratio of 90 to 110 percent so both are in compliance.

However, Pillath said commercial properties in general sold for considerably more than their assessed value, so the Department of Revenue will probably increase the city’s commercial values next year.

He explained there were 147 property sales in the city last year, but only 38 of them were “fair market sales” as determined by the Department of Revenue. Of these, 31 were residential and seven were commercial. The residential property sale values averaged 101 percent of assessed value. The seven commercial properties had an aggregate ratio of 72 percent, meaning the average of assessed values to sale prices was only 72 percent.

However, there was a wide variance within that category, with one property assessed at $282,900 selling for $720,000, another assessed at $82,400 selling for $145,000, and two valued at $127,400 selling for $134,000 and $127,900 respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, a property assessed at $215,300 sold for $195,000, another assessed at $105,900 sold for $63,000 and still another assessed at $89,200 sold for $48,000.

To questions from city aldermen, Pillath explained “fair market” sales do not include transactions between family members. They also do not include properties in foreclosure or those taken on tax deeds or almost any other type of government transactions.

He said the city’s 160 personal property tax reports continue to come in, and he should be done assessing them sometime before July 1.

Pillath said he is required to have all information in digital format by 2015, so he needs to work on getting a digital scanner.

Mayor Al Krizenesky asked Pillath to give copies of the annual assessor’s report to Mary Lock, who is unopposed in her bid to return to the Council in April, and to Mark Konrad, one of the two candidates to be on the ballot for Mayor in April. Both were present for the meeting as was Alderman Cathi Malke, the other Mayoral candidate. Krizenesky noted Malke already had a copy of the report in her Council packet. Later Krizenesky, who is not seeking re-election, commented that he has only 41 more days to serve as mayor. All aldermen were present for the meeting, which lasted less than half an hour.

Discussion continues on how to handle the vacant position of city clerk/treasurer. Mayor Al Krizenesky asked Personnel Committee Chair Tim Colburn to schedule a Personnel Committee meeting. It will be held Thursday, March 13 at 5 p.m. He asked that it start after 5 p.m. and that Deputy Clerk Treasurer Vicki Koronkiewicz and Clerk/Typist Anita Morois be invited to participate and be involved in the discussions. “It will be a big meeting,” Krizenesky declared. There also will need to be a Judiciary Committee meeting.

Koronkiewicz and Morois have been handling duties of the office since the retirement of long-time Clerk/ Treasurer Mary Ann Wills. Wills’ last day in the office was Friday, Feb. 14. She will officially be retired on Friday, March 28, when her vacation time and unused sick days have been depleted. Koronkiewicz was officially named interim clerk/treasurer at a special Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

There have been discussions on the possibility of splitting the City Clerk and City Treasurer positions between two people. Krizenesky said they also have had discussions on hiring an additional full time or part time clerk/typist.

Parks and Recreation Director David Zahn reported the two young juveniles responsible for the Dec. 22 break-in and vandalism at the Parks garages were sentenced on Friday, Feb. 21. He said he was present for the sentencing, and is satisfied with the court’s actions. One of the conditions for their sentence was to write letters of apology to the city. Zahn said he had spoken with the boys’ father after the hearing and was assured they would write the letters, but was not certain they would read them in person. Zahn said he had offered to do it for them, but so far the letters have not arrived.

Zahn reported the snow shoeing events were very successful and well received, and thanked Ann Bartels from Marinette County for leading both events. He said there might have been more, “if not for the mistaken notion that Spring would be here.”

Proposals for security upgrades at Badger Park are to be opened on Friday, March 21. Advertising was posted on Wednesday, Feb. 26, and a good selection of vendors have requested bid packages, Zahn said, predicting a good selection on March 21.

The Ll Dribblers basketball program was successful this year. Photos from that and other Recreation Department programs and events were posted on boards in the hallway of the Municipal Building.

The Senior Card Parties at the Community Center have concluded for the season. “All who participated vowed to make the next round, scheduled now for late fall, more widely known and thus better attended. Zahn thanked Burger King and McDonald’s for donating gift certificates as prizes.

The Men’s Summer Softball League held an initial meeting. Zahn said because of intense interest he has capped the league at eight teams. The league will start on Tuesday, May 20, and complete the season the Tuesday after Labor Day.

He still hopes to start a women’s league for Monday or Wednesday nights for the coming summer, and is also considering a coed or a Veteran’s League this summer.

Alderman Mike Behnke reported there were two building permits issued last month, one to Steffan and Nicole Russell to enclose their backyard at 321 E. Front Street with a 6’ wood panel fence, and another to Lori Kobishop for rewiring, insulating, plumbing and dry walling the interior of the house at 460 French Street.

Council approved lease of a Minolta Bizhub copier from Cooper Office Equipment for $86.46 per month plus one cent per copy for 3,500 copies a month. Alderman Tom Gryzwa, chair of the Finance and Claims Committee, said the new copier will save the city about $1,000 per year and give the staff a new machine to work with that does exactly what they need.

They also approved a $4,844 quote from UES Computers to upgrade the operating systems on 10 city computers that now have Windows XP and provide a new desk top computer for the Parks and Rec Director. Gryzwa explained they need to change the operating systems because effective April 1 Microsoft will no longer support the XP system.

To a question from Alderman Brigitte Schmidt, Gryzwa said the money is budgeted as part of their overall computer upgrade, and will be split between the three departments involved.

Gryzwa reported there was not a quorum for the RLF/UDAG Committee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 27, so no action was taken. There was a review of current loans, and discussion on loans outstanding to Faucett Forest Products and Dumke Forest Products.

Gryzwa, who also chairs the Water and Sewer Committee, reported on a meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 11. He said there was no news on the periodic water rate increase allowed by the Public Service Commission and they will look at that issue again after the audit.

The city has taken over operation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, a task formerly handled by BPM, Inc. under contract with the city, and things have been going well, Gryzwa said.

Malke, who chairs the Parks and Recreation committee, reported on a meeting held Wednesday,Feb. 19, at which they discussed summer employment, reviewed the quotes for Park Security upgrades and forwarded them to the Finance Committee. They also reviewed a “Land Use Agreement” with the DNR that will allow Zahn to groom cross country ski trails in their Hemlock Curve and Woods Road properties at no charge to either party.

The comittee also discussed naming rights for the ball fields, ball field needs, the possibility of playground equipment grants, and a letter regarding Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s preliminary plans to change their “blue sign” program for highway business signs.

As recommended by the Personnel Committee, Council approved hiring Jason Stibbe for the position of Heavy Equipment Operator/Laborer with the Department of Public Works. They also approved a Personnel Committee recommendation to hire “the two individuals discussed in closed session,” one for the 40-hour per week summer position and one for the part time seasonal position. Without identifying the individuals hired, Council authorized Public Works Director George Cowell to contact and interview the three applicants for a 24-hour summer position as discussed in closed session.


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