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Suamico extends coronavirus-related leave benefits through March

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

SUAMICO – Village employees will have three more months of eligibility to use emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19.

The Suamico village board agreed Monday, Jan. 4, to continue those benefits through March 31, as authorized through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act extension signed into law late last month by President Donald Trump.

Village Administrator Alex Kaker said the extension will follow the same procedures and rules the village has followed since last April.

“Basically, it allowed for 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave for staff that either test positive for COVID, maybe go into quarantine for COVID reasons, or maybe they had child care issues that they needed to take time off,” he said.

Kaker said the board’s action was necessary, because the extension was not required after Dec. 31, and he urged the board to continue the benefits to village employees to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“We probably had half of our staff take advantage of these benefits, and it really helps to make sure if somebody’s feeling sick with COVID symptoms, or if they’ve been quarantined, that they do stay home,” he said.

Kaker said the village’s budget covered the benefit costs.

“It’s not additional monies that are paid to employees,” he said. “It’s just their general salary, which has already been budgeted for.”

Kaker said staff members who already used 80 hours of benefits would not be entitled to additional benefit hours.

“Let’s say you use your 80 hours and then you come down with COVID in February – you would have to use your own vacation time or take unpaid leave,” he said.

Parcel sale

After the village received almost $210,000 for selling about 40 acres of village-owned property at 2534 E. Deerfield Ave., the board agreed to allocate $185,495 to Tax Incremental District No. 1A, based on state Tax Incremental Financing laws, with the remaining $23,434 going toward the equipment replacement reserve fund.

Kaker said the land sold to Paul Collins/Deerfield Real Estate Adventures LLC will be used for business condominiums and/or storage facilities.

Polling location change

The board approved a resolution to have the entire village in Wards 1-8 vote at the Municipal Services Center for the Feb. 16 primary, while the two polling places for the April 6 general election will be the Idlewild Park Shelter for Wards 1-4 and the Municipal Services Center for Wards 5-8.

Village Clerk Bonnie Swan said the resolution was necessary to notify the Wisconsin Elections Commission of the village’s polling locations being changed this spring.

Swan said a larger voter turnout is expected for the general election when the Howard-Suamico School District will ask referendum questions.

Last November, to keep residents, poll workers and staff safer in response to the social distancing challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, the village had a single polling place in the building vacated by the Marq at 2310 Lineville Road, east of the Shopko building in the Urban Edge Towne Centre.

Cemetery signage

The board authorized the purchase of a new cemetery welcome sign from Reinhold Sign Service for $4,185 coming from the cemetery perpetual care fund, which has a balance of around $100,000.

Kaker said the sign matches the look of the new Historic Downtown Suamico signage and includes the cemetery address, 1649 Riverside Dr.

Trustee Michelle Eckert said the cemetery needed a new sign, which will match the signage in Vickery Village.

Flood study

The board directed Kaker to seek bids for a flood mitigation study in the village.

Funds totaling $27,000 for the study were included in the 2021 village budget, though Kaker said data collected by Brown County in Suamico could save the village $7,000.

Kaker recommended approving a proposal from Ayres Associates to conduct the study at a cost not to exceed $20,000 from the stormwater fund, but board members favored seeking bids when facing a cost exceeding $5,000.

“I’m in favor of the study, because it’s a starting point of figuring out what we’re able to do with the areas because the (Bay of Green Bay) is so high, but I do believe we need to put this out for bid,” said Trustee Dan Roddan, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Village President Laura Nelson.

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