Town of Peshtigo Contracts Snow Plowing With Cramer

At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Peshtigo Town Board voted to award this winter’s snow plowing contract to Cramer Excavating & Hauling, Inc. which ended up being the sole bidder after the Road King bid was withdrawn last month. Price is $120 per hour, $5 per hour less than the quote from Road King, the town’s long-time snow plowing contractor.
Supervisor John Kowalski said he agreed to vote in favor of Cramer, since the Road King bid had been withdrawn and he had previously been assured that Cramer will acquire the added equipment needed to get the town roads plowed in a timely fashion. The bid specifications only require two plows and a grader.
Town Clerk Clarence Coble said after the meeting that he has seen no contract, and no contract had been presented at or prior to the meeting.
Bids for the new fire truck arrived in large, fancy binders. Prices varied from manufacturer to manufacturer. Coble commented the town is buying a fire truck, not a binder. The bids were opened, and then were turned over to the fire department, which is to have a recommendation for next month’s board meeting.
After brief discussion the board agreed to hire an administrator to help the town comply with requirements for its $355,000 Covid Relief Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV). They will seek additional grant funds to help pay for the administrator, but Furton said at the worst the added funds would be refused and the town would need to spend $4,000 of town money to be sure the grant money is used and reported properly. The grant is to help provide funds for Emergency Rescue Squad, the local food pantries, Fire Department equipment and air filtration improvements for the town hall.
Plans of Vertical Bridge to erect a 195-foot communications tower at W2042 Hwy. 64 in the Town of Peshtigo remain on hold as a result of a tie vote by the board, despite a unanimous recommendation for approval from the Plan Commission, and what appears to be a lack of objections from the public.
The board agreed to put the tower issue back on the agenda for the next available board meeting with all five members present, which will be on either Thursday, Oct, 6 or Tuesday, Oct. 18.
The Oct. 18 board meeting will be preceded by the town’s Annual Meeting and Budget Hearing at 6:30 p.m. The board will hold a budget workshop meeting on Monday, Sept. 26.
Town Chair Cindy Boyle was unable to attend Tuesday’s regular board meeting, so only four members of the five-member board were present. Supervisors Kayla Furton, who chaired the meeting in Boyle’s absence, and Supervisor John Kowalski voted in favor of allowing erection of the tower. Supervisor Cindy Bauer voted against and Supervisor Tatem Schroeder abstained, which is somewhat equivalent to an opposing vote.
Tuesday’s meeting opened to a full house, with over 30 members of the public on hand in addition to town officials.
A public hearing on the communications tower was the first item on the agenda, and Mike Bieniek, AICP, agent for VB VBTS, LLC, which is doing business as Vertical Bridge, was on hand to explain.  He said the 195-foot tower will be topped with a 4-foot lightning rod, bringing total height to 199 feet. It is to be located on a leased 80’ by 40’ area behind the storage sheds at W2042 Hwy. 64, and is situated to avoid infringing on wetlands and to avoid any risk of damage to septic systems and drainage. He explained cell phone service is provided by an interlocking grid system, so location is important. Vertical Tower has FFA approval and no lighting is needed. In event of a failure, which is certainly not expected, the tower will not fall down in one piece, it will fold like a finger, to result in a 25-foot fall zone radius. It is to be located 25 3/4 feet from the back property line and 22 feet from the east property line.
Bauer objected that the tower was too close to the property line as required by town ordinance. Bieniek handed out copies of state laws that set the rules, and state that if there is a conflict between state law and laws of a political subdivision state law will prevail.
Bieniek said at the Plan Commission public hearing no one had spoken against the tower location. Bauer was the only one to raise an objection at this hearing.
During time for public comment Wayne Gerondale scolded the board for conditions along town roads. He said ditches are getting filled with brush, corners are grown out so there is no vision clearance at intersections, and dead trees and dead limbs are hanging over town roads, posing a risk to motorists who drive on. He said the board spends so much time on garbage and water issues that they are ignoring the people that drive on town roads every day. He said he goes out daily and picks up limbs and brush that have fallen on roads.
He added that when ditches fill with brush it impedes water flow, and then water gets under the road beds and causes damage, and creates puddles on roads, which can be a driving hazard.
Gerondale said last year the town spent 623 hours on road work, and they now have fewer road workers, and declared they now have three people working at the recycling center and only one person to do all the work on all the roads in the Town of Peshtigo. “I have been in this town since 1972 and this is the worst the roads have ever been,” he concluded.
Next speaker was Buck Nelson, who advised the board that his well water had been tested and it is good, and he has no interest in a public water system.
Herman Pottratz, who served for many years as Peshtigo Town Chair, said the 5-member town board is not qualified to make the decision on a public water system, and should let the public have a vote on it. He also was critical of the board holding special meetings at odd times, like 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and of the way bills are handled without going to the Town Clerk first.
Pottratz also said that years ago, when Marinette County  quit plowing Peshtigo Roads, Jim Wortner of Road King came through for them, at  $85 per hour. He obtained the equipment needed for the plowing business and has been doing it ever since, and Town of Peshtigo roads are all plowed within 24 hours after a snow storm. He also was concerned that the second town maintenance employee has not been replaced.
Gordon Wickland said Peshtigo Town Chair Cindy Boyle had assured him that the town as a whole would not be subsidizing or paying for a water project. He said 10 percent of the town has a PFAS problem, and the rest should not have to pay to correct it, including that they should not have to be paying attorney fees for the 10 percent that do.
Jeff Schoenfeldt, on behalf of himself and his father, said a problem with their neighbor blocking a culvert on Hale Road with hay bales has not been corrected, and the neighbor thinks that now it is okay. Schoenfeldt said their property is flooded because of the blockage, and the roadbed will be damaged by water underneath it.
Fire Chief Mike Folgert reported there were six calls since the last meeting, two for EMS assists and one each for a vehicle crash, UTV fire, water rescue, and an oven fire.
Annual driver training had been completed the previous evening, Justin Walk had completed pre-employment medical testing and has been hired as a probationary firefighter, and Darren Jacobson resigned as a volunteer firefighter effective Friday, Sept. 2. The department currently has 23 volunteers and four applications in the works.
The Fire Department has been busy with special events and fund raisers and held a very successful and enjoyable Open House on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Furton agreed the Open House was a good event, and said her boys had given it rave reviews.
The Fire Department has been raising money for Jaws of Life equipment with a Forgotten Fire Winery cook-out, and Fall Sportsman’s gun raffle.
They helped organize the 911 Memorial Walk with the City of Peshtigo, and helped with the Ride to Remember motorcycle group that raises funds for the Wisconsin Firefighter’s Children’s Burn Camp.
Coble reported absentee voting season has begun, and over 200 absentee ballots were requested and mailed out.
At his request the board approved a resolution by which poll workers are paid on the same time schedule as other town employees.
Coble’s contract as Town Clerk ends in December, and he has notified the board that he will be retiring. During the meeting Bauer said her committee interviewed three candidates to fill Coble’s position, but has no one to recommend at this time.
The board approved transfer of the liquor license for Spring Creek Lodge/2Cs Game Farm at N141 Coble Road to Nepthar Watchtower LLC, and approved Jared Cox of West Bend as agent.
Bauer reminded everyone to affix decals to their vehicles so they can continue using the recycling center and refuse disposal facility. The decals can be obtained there, or at the town hall when it is open.
On recommendation of Furton the board approved an agreement from MSA for up to $20,500 for administration of the CDBG grant, and approved contracting with MSA with no contract presented.
Furton said they have had a good working relationship with Art Barr of MSA and the town’s contact person at the Department of Administration also works very closely with him. She said she is feeling very good about the contract agreement, and feels having MSA aboard will speed up the grant process. The board also authorized MSA to submit a grant increase request on behalf of the town to finance the cost of having a grant administrator.
Kowalski reported Madsen Road, Heath Lane and the east part of Krause Road had been chip sealed that day, and a nice job had been done.


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