Weekly Meeting Recap
Green Bay City Council
ARPA fund allocations
A handful of proposed allocations of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were up for discussion at the Tuesday, May 17, City Council meeting – many being held for another month, pulled for further discussion by Council President Jesse Brunette.
“The reason why I pulled all ARPA-related items is not so much that I disagree spending ARPA funds on these items… but something I had realized in discussions with some of the council members and members of the community, is it would be helpful for us to know, and this I’m not meaning this in any disrespectful way to anyone at City Hall whatsoever, but I think what would be helpful is if we had a list of things that perhaps our book could be spent on under each category,” Brunette said.
Some alderpersons took issue with the amount of time spent on these items after he said deep-dive discussions had already taken place at the committee meeting.
“We hashed over stuff that a lot of it could have been handled at the committee level,” District 4 Alderperson Bill Galvin said.
Potential ARPA expenditures that were held include: $150,000 from the Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Enhancement category for neighborhood association support; $500,000 from the Affordable Housing Development and Small Business Support category for energy efficiency grants; and $500,000 from the Affordable Housing Development and Small Business Support category for the Great to be Home! Program.
One allocation that passed includes spending $90,000 for Homelessness Blueprint staff support.
“We have to start taking action on some of these, and this is one that has an immediate impact,” Council Vice President Brian Johnson said. “How much time did we spend last month talking about homelessness that we have here in our community, individuals facing housing insecurity? We need to deploy this funding immediately, so that we can start receiving the benefit… I absolutely implore the balance of counsel to really consider their votes on this one because this is an immediate need.”
The council also approved using $180,000 to fund a three-year micro business staff role implemented by the Greater Green Bay Chamber.
De Pere City Council
Council approves special event permits
In a sure sign that summer is on its way, the De Pere Common Council voted to approve several special event permits when it met Tuesday, May 17.
The permits, which allow alcohol outside in public areas, includes:
• For farmers’ markets held Thursdays, June 9 to Aug. 25, from 3 to 8 p.m., and Thursdays, Sept.1-22, from 3 to 7 p.m.
• During food truck rally events on Sundays, June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14 from 4-8 p.m.
• During Downtown De Pere Music Nights on Fridays, June 24, July 22 and Aug. 26, from 5-9 p.m.
Alderperson Dan Carpenter said he mentioned to Definitely De Pere that, in the future, they should send letters out to businesses and residents in the area prior to the formal approval process so if anyone has any objections, they have a chance to speak.
Alderperson Jonathon Hansen agreed.
“In the past, I voted against this because I’ve had several business owners in the old post office who don’t like (drinking outdoors at) farmers markets on Thursdays, especially in the Mission Square lot,” Hansen said.
The main area for activities includes George Street and Mission Square.
The permit doesn’t extend to Wisconsin Street.
“I’m going to vote for it today, because this is the third year now, and the council has made it clear that they’re comfortable with it,” Hansen said. “But I agree with Alderman Carpenter. Going forward, it would be a good idea to make sure that (nearby businesses) are notified in advance, so that they can speak on this.”
The council authorized the $600,000 payment as its share of the local cost associated with matched federal funding received by Brown County for design costs associated with sections two and three of the southern bridge corridor, also known as Southbridge Corridor.
The funding will be allocated from four local tax increment finance (TID) districts (No. 8, No. 11, No. 12 and No. 15).
The board also approved a recommendation from the Board of Public Works for upgrades to the intersection of Broadway and Cook Street, which includes painting left-turn lane lines, changing street light bulbs to LED bulbs and asking the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve a reduced-speed sign on northbound Highway 32/57.
Staff said the changes stem from residents’ complaints noting the intersection is dangerous, dark and the timing of the “walk” signal is too short for some people to cross the road in time.
The intersection has been the scene of 11 accidents over the past few years.
In an email to the city, Cook Street resident Michael Moore said he had “utter frustration” with the situation.
“I have personally witnessed a number of close calls and numerous running of red lights at high speeds at all times of the day, from both the north and south directions at that intersection,” he said.
Moore said he and his kids witnessed what he called a near-tragic collision between a northbound and southbound vehicle last year.
Other more structural changes would fall under the auspices of the DOT.
De Pere School Board
CESA-7 contract approved
The School Board approved a contract with CESA-7 for the 2022-23 school year for $1.48 million at its Monday, May 16, meeting.
That amount includes $915,000 for EEN (exceptional educational needs) aides; $110,000 for ELL (English language learner) aides; $110,000 for 4K aides; $100,000 for Title I paraprofessionals; $63,000 for the Learning Lab; $58,301 for special education aides at Syble Hopp School; $24,785 for physical therapy services; and $23,787 for educational audiology services.
Other services included in the contract are staff development and school improvement activities, mandated contributions and fees for certain services, 4K programs and support for Infinite Campus, which is the student information system.
The board voted in favor of replacing concrete at the middle school and Altmayer Elementary School, awarding the project, estimated at $62,572.50, to J & S Concrete Services of Greenleaf.
Director of Buildings and Grounds Pat Meyer said some of the damage at the middle school includes the front entrance, totaling 7,700 square feet, where concrete has cracked, lifted and is recessed in about 60% of the area.
Meyer said the cost for the work at the middle school is estimated at $51,921.
At Altmayer, an approximately 1,015-square-foot section has separated from the building.
Meyer said the damage allows water to get under the concrete and the freeze-thaw cycle exacerbates the situation, and at times, water gets into the gym.
He said a second area at Altmayer, an entrance/exit for students and staff covered by a roof, has separated, cracked and lifted.
Meyer said the cost to remove and replace the concrete at Altmayer is $10,651.50.
In other business, the board unanimously approved the removal of asbestos in several older rooms at Dickinson Elementary School.
Meyer said the asbestos is contained in floor tile and mastic in five classrooms and one office space built prior to 1988.
“The floor is lifting up and damaging the asbestos tiles,” Meyer said. “We have been able to temporarily mitigate any further damage or lifting of tiles by using adhesive tape and floor filler to seal loose flooring in place.”
The cost of the project is estimated at $49,768 – which includes $18,958 for asbestos abatement through Asbestos Removal, Inc. along with $21,700 for new flooring through H.J. Martin for the five classrooms and office space.
It also includes an additional $9,100 in environmental costs.
Meyer said he expects the asbestos abatement to take place in July and new flooring to be installed in August.
K-8 math curriculum
The School Board voted in favor of a new math curriculum for grades K-8.
Director of Curriculum Shelly Thomas said all K-8 math teachers were involved in evaluating the materials against the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s academic standards.
Their choice is a six-year license for the Illustrative Math series for $298,250 per year.
“All of our curriculum work is driven by our state standards,” she said. “All of our standardized assessments derive their items from the Wisconsin State Standards.”
She said revisions focus on students having the ability to see themselves as mathematicians.
“We all hear people say, ‘I was never good at math.’ or ‘Math isn’t my thing,’” she said. “And the standards are really driving the elimination of that mindset (and showing) that math is for everybody, not just those few. It’s building that identity so kids can see math as something that they can do, and that they can all be mathematicians.”
Suamico Village Board
Community garden plots
The Village Board discussed the addition of 11 community garden plots on village-owned land at 3070 Mink Ranch Road.
Recreation Director Nicholas Lemke said the 24-foot-by 20-foot plots were created following interest received from the community.
He said plots are first-come, first-serve by returning the reservation form, payment and signed agreement form to the Suamico Municipal Services Center.
Plots are $30 each.
All produce, vegetation, debris, structures (fencing, arbors, cages, and decorations) must be removed from the garden plot prior to Oct. 29.
Lemke said four of the 11 plots are currently reserved.
“In the past, I’ve been against most of the community gardens, because we were looking at putting them in places that didn’t really belong, or that we weren’t going to own for a long time,” Village President Sky Van Rossum said. “I think this is a fantastic use for this property. I think the fact that it’s already ready, saves people a lot of headache.”
However, not all members of the board were supportive of the idea.
“It was a deal before I even found out about it, and I just think it’s a bad idea,” Trustee Michelle Eckert said. “We’re a suburb and community gardens, that’s a city. This doesn’t belong here. I don’t want a village to be a city.”
The board voted to open the plots, at least for its first year, to Suamico residents only.
The original plan had the plots open to Suamico residents until May 17, and then giving surrounding residents the option to claim the remaining plots.
While some board members supported the gardens, they didn’t support opening them to others outside of Suamico.
The motion to limit it to only Suamico residents passed 5-2.
2022 DPW truck purchases
The board approved an additional surcharge on two truck purchases – a single axle plow and a tandem axle haul truck – the village has with Truck Company.
Andy Smits, director of public works, said earlier this year, the village received notice from Truck Company saying its parent company, Daimler Truck, was charging a surcharge of $2,900 surcharge for each vehicle.
Smits said the village received another letter from Truck Company saying another surcharge of $3,800 would be charged for each vehicle – in turn pushing the amounts for both trucks over the previously budgeted and approved amounts.
In order to move forward, the board had to approve an increase in the budget for the single axle truck from $195,000 to $203,000; and the tandem axle truck from $215,000 to $220,000.
“The alternative is we could cancel the order, but I don’t think that’s going to save us any money down the road,” Smits said. “I’m guessing if we were to rebid the trucks out, prices are going to be even more than what the surcharge is. And to build on that we do need these vehicles. We’re definitely limping along our current tandem truck right now making do, but it’s in need of retirement.”
He said he is hopeful this will be the last surcharge the village will see for these vehicles.
“I’m not going to sit here and say there isn’t going to be another one, because it’d be foolish of myself, but I don’t think so,” he said.
Delivery is expected in this fall to be ready for use in November.
ASHWAUBENON SCHOOL BOARD
Preliminary budget approved
The School Board unanimously approved the 2022-23 preliminary budget when it met May 1 – which includes $37,088,732 in revenue and $37,249,454 in expenditures.
Assistant Superintendent Keith Lucius said it includes a 3% salary increase for all staff, but no increase in health insurance costs.
Lucius said the budget uses the state’s current revenue limits that includes no per-pupil increase, and is balanced using the remaining ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funds to cover staff.
He said an accurate tax levy amount won’t be available until October, but estimates at this time show the total tax levy decreasing in this budget.
Lucius said early indications show that inflation is not slowing so the district can expect the 2023-24 budget to be very challenging, leaving a large funding cliff.
The budget will be presented to the board and public again at the annual meeting in July.
No changes in leadership
The board held its election of officers May 11, and though a new board member joined the ranks following the April spring election – board officers remained the same.
Jay VanLaanen remains the board’s president, Brian VanDeKreek vice president and Jennifer Vyskocil and Michelle Garrigan will continue as clerk and treasurer, respectively.
Open enrollment update
Lucius said the district received 265 applications for open enrollment in students for the 2022-23 school year.
Staff recommended the acceptance of all but 23 of those applications, mostly as a result of lack of classroom space in special education.
The district also received 40 open enrollment out applications, with all but one being approved.
Lucius said the denial was because the student wasn’t age eligible for school, being only three years old at the start of school.
APPL Program update
After spending its first years between a couple of different locations within the district, the Ashwaubenon Preschool & Parent Learning (APPL) program has found its permanent home at Ashwaubenon High.
“The district-run program is for kids (up to) five years old,” Superintendent Kurt Weyers said. “It’s a preschool and parent program, so there’s two pieces to it. While students are in class learning, there’s a chance for parents to meet and ask questions.”
Four classes will be offered throughout the school year, mornings and evenings, as well as summer school classes.
“The brand new classroom will have big windows facing the parking lot,” Weyers said. “There will be a place for parents to meet. Certainly, Maria (Anderson, program coordinator) and her staff are very excited about the permanent setting and the great location.”
For more information on the program, contact Anderson at [email protected].
BELLEVUE VILLAGE BOARD
Salt shed improvements approved
The Village Board approved a bracing option to help extend the life of its aging salt shed for at least another 10 years before needing to build a new structure.
Adam Waszak, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, said the current structure was constructed in 1984 and has experienced structural damage.
The board approved a total of $3,800 for full engineering plans for a bracing system on the village’s current salt shed, with the anticipated cost for repairs totals between $20,000-$35,000.
“Staff is recommending signing the authorization with Integrity Engineering to finish the engineering of the bracing, and then from there we would go out and secure contractors and complete the bracing this year,” Waszak said. “We are very confident that bracing is viable.”
Waszak said a replacement salt shed is currently slated in the village’s capital improvement plan for 2024.
Trustee Jackie Krull said she supported the bracing work, however, wanted to make sure the board continues to keep the future plans for the department of public works facilities and operations in the forefront of discussions going forward.
“I still want to acknowledge we should be tying ourselves to making a recommendation to conduct a site study to secure about seven to seven-and-a-half acres for public works,” Krull said. “That’s not the agenda item. That is not the motion. But that is how we got here today… because of the uncertainty of public works.
Press Times Editor Heather Graves, Staff Writer Josh Staloch and Intern Kat Halfman contributed to these briefs.