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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Culvert Issues Plague Peshtigo Town Board

Issue Date: November 9, 2021

The Peshtigo Town Board held a special meeting on Thursday, Nov. 4 to have further discussion of some of the agenda items to be approved at the special meeting or forwarded for further discussion at the next upcoming regular Board meeting of Tuesday, Nov, 16.

The major agenda item discussed was the Schacht Road culvert update and action if any. Supervisor Jon Drees stated "We placed metal at the culvert from the east side going to the west side and put gravel there so it cannot be disturbed. As far as removing the culvert, the board would have to entertain that and I would like to see all affected parties involved here to discuss it and come up with a collaborative decision".

Chairperson, Cindy Boyle asked, "How many homes on Schacht road on the East side have culverts? When driving through I don't see very many culverts or much of any ditches".

Boyle then verified she understood correctly stating, "The problem at hand was the property owner on the east side, Steve Rich had standing water in the driveway to his cabin and to the north of that driveway is an equalizing culvert that was there for a long time. You then have his driveway and a ditch where a new culvert was inserted and that is the mechanism of which additional surplus water that came through that additional equalizing culvert ended up instead of just going south, it went down the west side of Schacht past Pheasant Farm Road out to the Peshtigo River, instead of doing that like it should have, there was such a surplus that it backed up and came in together with the first equalizing culvert which came into your dry creek bed. Because of all the extra water that came in, then it funneled up through".

Resident Tatem Schroeder whose property was affected causing them to lose all of their trees, with some over 250 years old then spoke saying, "Yes that is how it got in there. When they put in the new culvert, it was like pulling a plug in the bathtub. It rushed that water and it couldn't go anywhere so it went up in the ditch that I have on my side. We told Drees and Herman Pottratz not to put it in, you are going to flood us out and that's exactly what happened. You should not only talk to Mr. Rich, but to Walters as well. The Walters' had to have Sure Dry Basements at their home and they have been there since 1976 and they never had water issues and their whole yard was flooded and across Kozuzek Road into the landfill. The correct way to do it would have been to do ditching on that side of the road to mediate this problem, put the culverts in and clean out the existing culverts that are there and have the water naturally flow as it has been doing forever".

Drees said, "Since I have been on this board, we have only had to replace culverts, we have never had to remove culverts. In certain areas, there has been a lack of ditching for years and they haven't been maintained. I don't have a problem taking that culvert out if that is what has to be done, but I would also like to see something done on the other side of the road, clean out the existing ditch, and if certain people have to put in culverts, then they have to. I would like to hire the County to do the project and re-ditch that whole east side of the road the whole way".

Schroeder offered that they would take the culvert out themselves and absorb all the cost other than repatching of the road. They have a construction business and are insured so they have the ability to remove the culvert. Schroeder added, "We had a logger come out and log all the dead trees and he stated that had they not lost their trees, after the first cutting, every 10 years thereafter, we could have gotten $40,000 every 10 years at least".

Both Boyle and Drees have talked to the County and DNR and they are awaiting answers from the County, then as a board they will come up with a system of how to move forward. The Board will check with the lawyer to determine if the residents can proceed with removing the culvert without any liability to the town or how to proceed. Boyle added "We will take the proper steps to move forward, go to the next stage, talk to the County, look at a team of people to do ditching, gather all the information, get legal recommendations and approval and we will address everyones concerns on both sides of the road. Boyle stated, "We can't solve one residents concern and create three new issues for the other neighbors".

Another item discussed was for the Town Hall structural and HVAC projects for the CDGB block grant that is being submitted. The Board is looking into remodeling the office which would be a covered item under the CDGB grant. Supervisor Kristin Edgar stated, "I contacted Mike Dura and he quoted me $72 per hour for engineering plans for the project with a limit of 6 hours". The plan is to take out the closet and put cupboards all around that area along with a new more user friendly counter top.

Supervisor Cindy Baur asked, "What are we looking to gain"? Edgar replied, "We are looking to gain room in the office and the ability to separate staff and have more room. It is a bottle neck now and everyone is crowded in small spaces. We also want to protect the public and personnel with protective windows or shields along with a more convenient way of doing business. After further discussion, it was approved to secure Dura for his services at $72 per hour not to exceed $432. This is expected to be fully covered by the grant and if it is not, it will be paid for out of the Town Hall fund # 57140.

There were two discussions about signs for the Town starting with landfill signs for the walking trails. With landfill inspection completed and the board voting prior to open up the landfills to green land space, the requirement now is for signage to be posted at the Landfill sights for Heath Lane and Kozuzek Road. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires a no hunting sign posted. Supervisor Kayla Furton said, "There were bullet holes in the old signs and I feel those should be replaced as well as we need a sign with the landfill name and license number". After further discussion there were more signs that should be added, such as No camping allowed, No vehicle traffic, No smoking and No dumping. Edgar asked if there should be signage to stay away from the wells and Furton replied, "Yes, my concern is preserving the integrity of the cap. At present there are signs on all four corners".

It was then approved to purchase the needed signs, not to exceed $320. There are four signs with posts and Boyle added, "With the four signs out there with posts, each sign shouldn't cost anymore than $60 and a thought is the signs can be removed, reused and refaced and that should be able to be done for approximately $240 or less for all signs".

PFAS sign placement is the other item of discussion about signs. The Town will come up with an approximate quantity of signs and the Citizens can request them from the town if they are interested. The signs will be advisory to warn of danger or poison in an affected area. The discussion was tabled to be discussed at a committee level meeting and bring information to the next Town Board meeting for further discussion and possible action.

The last agenda item was to discuss the snow plowing/ snow removal contract and any action if needed. Boyle was happy to announce that no action was needed stating, "I had a direct call with Road King and he will continue to honor his current contract through the end of its term through May of 2022 with no increase. Road King has not increased their rates in 10 years. Bids will be put out in the first quarter of 2022 and Road King will then submit his bid at that time".




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