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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Pound Gets Coveted “5” ISO Fire Rating

“This was a great day,” Fire Chief Turner Gross declared to Pound Village Board at its meeting on Monday, May 5, as he proudly announced that the department had achieved a coveted “5” rating as a result of the recent ISO audit. The lower the rating the better for everyone, in terms of insurance rates. They had hoped to improve from a “7” to “6” and announcement of the new rating had arrived in the morning’s mail.

Gross said the “5” puts them on a par with the City of Peshtigo, and is in fact about the highest rating a volunteer fire department can achieve. Getting the “5” had been the department’s 5-year goal, however, and now they have achieved it.

He said the ratings depend on the department itself - trainings, equipment, etc., but also on availability of fire hydrants, water pressure and reliability, and the quality of dispatch services, so Marinette County’s 911 dispatch Center and the village’s water and sewer utility also deserve part of the credit. He said adding the second village well also helped.

“We’re getting into a very elite class there,” Village President Jay Martens declared, as he thanked Gross, Public Works Director Kevin Schutte and others for all their hard work.

The board is working to establish a Tax Incremental Financing District to develop a business park on a 25-acre parcel on the south side of Hwy. 141 and west of the overpass.

Gross said the new rating will go into effect on Aug. 1. He declared the lower fire insurance rates along with the new TIF District will be of huge economic benefit to the village. He encouraged village property owners to contact their insurance carriers to find out what reduction they can expect in insurance premiums, but suggested that anyone wanting more information on the rating should call his office at 920-897-5487, or Mel Gross at 920-897-4524.

“This could not have been done without our great members and the overwhelming community support we received throughout the years,” Gross declared. Schutte said adding the new pumper truck helped a lot.

Gross had more good news. The department had received a huge donation of equipment from Tom and Bill Prue that would have cost thousands of dollars if they had to purchase them. The donation included including four Scott Air Packs that cost a couple of thousand dollars apiece plus eight masks and other equipment.

Gross displayed the department’s new thermal imaging camera that will enable firefighters to take pictures while inside a burning building. The camera can withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees. Photos will be used for training purposes and will make the department a lot more productive, Gross said.

The camera, which cost $3,700 because it was part of a group purchase with 18 other area fire departments, comes with a 10-year warranty on the case and a 4-year “bumper to bumper” warranty on the rest. Purchased individually, they cost $9,000. A company representative will train department members in its use.

There were no fires in April, but 18 members attended the business meeting, and training was well attended. Five members completed various phases of their certifications.

Village Clerk Trish Schutte recalled it was only 15 years ago that the village fire rating dropped from a “9” to the “7”. Rating of 10 or higher is for places that have no fire department.

The village will have its annual Spring Cleanup Day on Saturday, May 17. Village residents, and only village residents, can bring trash to the site, not garbage that should be put out for regular weekly pickup.

Clerk Schutte said there now is an option for paying utility bills on-line, and it is being used. First half property tax payments can also be paid on line, she said. There are more improvements coming for the web site, Schutte said, and she is continuing to work on it.

Plans continue for the annual Fire Department Car Show and Picnic on Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, which this year will also be the village’s Centennial Celebration. The event will include live entertainment both nights, the traditional fireworks. and a 17-team Little League tournament that starts on Friday and ends Saturday afternoon.

“Our roads took a pounding this year,” reported Kevin Schutte. He said one of the culverts was frozen and water backed up onto the street, which had never happened before. “Lots of things froze that were never frozen before,” he added. He has been busy doing crack sealing, the village’s trucks and equipment have been moved out of the rented building, and the fire department is out too.

Martens asked Schutte if he needed some heavy duty pallets for the recycling center, and asked him to put gravel in the dip behind the fire department to make the area more usable. “I’d like to get that recycling place organized,” he commented.

After some discussion the board agreed unanimously to accept the $11,060 low bid from Robert E. Lee and Associates to set up the TIF District as a first step in development of the business park.

There were bids from three other firms: Ehlers , for $16,500; Graef for $20,900, and Meade & Hunt for $25,510.

Board members had been concerned about the big difference in price and had a special meeting on Thursday,April 24 to compare proposals. Trustee Adam May had checked some references and obtained responses via e-mail. Robert E. Lee had done similar work for Wausaukee, and came with high references from others that May contacted.

Martens said after Thursday’s meeting he would go with Robert E. Lee. Trustee Mary Meyer had not attended Thursday’s meeting, and did not feel ready to make a decision. She wondered if that bid was so low because of hidden costs, etc. May said he had asked that question, and the Robert E. Lee response was that the only costs not included in their proposal would be things that are unexpired and out of their control. He said all their references spoke very highly of them.

Hopes are to have the TID ready to go by late August or early September.

After a bit of discussion the board agreed to give a 15 percent discount to Safe Haven Church, for use of the Community Center every Sunday morning. The church has been paying $100 for each week for using the meeting room and kitchen on Sunday mornings. They had asked if there could be a price break, as cost to them is $400 to $500 a month. “They’re wonderful people and keep the place really clean. I have no complaints whatsoever, Clerk Schutte said as they always leave the facility very clean. Martens had suggested a $25 percent discount, and the 15 percent was a compromise. Schutte said she has an inquiry from a woman who wants to hold classes at the Community Center once a week this summer, using half the facility and no kitchen. Cost will be $25 a week. The board decided to give no discount.

There will be a change in policy for renting the facility. Payments will be required in advance, and discounts will be given only if Schutte is notified a week in advance, except in the case of funerals. Schutte is to post the rental schedule on-line, including bookings and available open dates.

The board set Open Book for Wednesday, June 25, and Board of Review for Thursday, July 17.

By unanimous consent the board agreed Dennis Lepinski can pile 5,000 to 7,000 yards of black dirt for his worm farm on the back section of his property near the railroad tracks.


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