De Pere residents saddled with sidewalk repairs
By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – City residents with hefty sidewalk replacement bills will have up to five years to repay the city for the work.
At its May 18 meeting, the De Pere Common Council voted unanimously to let property owners with sidewalk replacement bills of more than $1,000 to pay in up to five installments.
Affected residents will be charged 2.03% interest, with the charges added to property tax bills.
The rate is the city’s bond rate plus 1%.
Property owners can have the sidewalk replacement done by the city or by someone else.
Over the next seven years, hundreds of residents will find sidewalk repair notifications in the mail as part of the city’s regular rotation meant to ensure dangerous sidewalks get replaced.
Every year, the city inspects about half of the city for sidewalks in poor repair, marking segments in green paint that are the property owner’s responsibility to replace.
Ninety-one properties will have bills of more than $1,000.
This year’s area is on the west side of the Fox River, bounded by the city limits to the north, Scheuring Road to the south, the Canadian National railroad tracks to the west and the river to the east.
In 2019 and 2020, the city also allowed for such bills to be paid in installments.
End of emergency leave
The board also voted 6-2 to end the extra two weeks of emergency/COVID-19 leave granted to city employees last year.
The extra 80 hours ended earlier this month when the city’s emergency order ended.
Council President Jonathon Hansen asked for more discussion on the issue.
“Most city employees have been vaccinated, but they could still be in a position of needing to take sick time if a child of theirs contracts COVID,” he said.
The FDA hasn’t approved a vaccine for children under 12 yet, and approval could be months away.
“If a child gets sick, they’ll face a quarantine of at least two weeks,” Hansen said. “If the employee has to stay home with the child for the full two weeks, it could potentially deplete 80 hours of their regular sick leave.”
He said this would leave employees just two days of sick leave to make it through cold and flu season.
Hansen and Alderperson Shana Defnet Ledvina voted against ending the extra leave.
In other business, the board voted to:
• Sign a contract for $265,000 with the Appleton design firm Short Elliott Hendrickson to design an expansion to the Municipal Service Center.
• Hire a recruitment firm to help the city find a replacement for Police Chief Derek Beiderwieden, who will retire in December. The firm’s services will cost about $30,000.
• Approve a cyber insurance policy with a new company offering an introductory premium of $5,000, which is $35,000 lower than the cost to renew the previous policy.
• Accept a $1,200 donation from the Hutchins family for police body cameras.
• Accept a $10,000 donation from Konrad and Jesse Jossart of Jossart Brothers, Inc. for the James Street project.