Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Weidner- County Board Chairman for next two years

I attended the County Board Organizational meeting on April 24th, where Bob Weidner was elected once again as Chairman for the next two years.  There was no opposition to his seeking another term.  It was rumored that Lee Luft was going to make a run at it, but I think at the last minute when he was counting his probable votes he decided it would have been futile.

All in, this is a fairly conservative leaning Board.  I was very pleased to see that Chairman Weidner showed some steel when making his Committee appointments and voicing the idea that the Chairman should be the spokesperson for the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors.

In addition to election of the Chairman, Gary Paape was elected as the Vice-Chairperson. Once those two positions were filled, a couple of quick motions were made and approved allowing the Chairman to appoint the Highway/Solid Waste Committee and the Human Services Chairman without having the board to vote on those positions.  The Board then went into recess allowing the Chairman to visit with all the members of the board in finalizing his appointments for the Committees.  Once the committees were set by the Chairman, a full vote of the Board unanimously approved the committee appointments.

Following are the Kewaunee County Board Standing Committees:

Extension Education & Zoning Committee
Chairman:     Tom Romdenne
                      Charles Wagner
                      Gary Paape
                      Mary Ellen Dobbins

Finance & Public Property Committee
Chairman:     Virginia Haske
                      Lee Luft
                      Tom Romdenne
                      Dan Olson
                      John Mastalir

Health, Veteran Service & Child Support Committee
Chairman:     Mary Ellen Dobbins
                      Kaye Shillan
                      Linda J. Teske
                      Kim Kroll
                      Virginia Haske
                      (When this Committee meets, as a Health Committee, Dr. Stephen Shopbell shall be a                            member)

Highway/Solid Waste Commitee
Chairman:     Gary Paape
                      Tom Romdenne
                      John Mastalir
                      Cory Cochart
                      Thomas Cretney

Human Services Committee
Chairman:     Kaye Shillin
                      Mary Ellen Dobbins
                      Virginia Haske
                      Lee Luft
                      Linda J. Teske
                      Kent Treml

H.S. Aging Advisory Committee
                      Kaye Shillin
                      Linda J. Teske

Land & Water Conservation Committee
Chairman:     Charles Wagner
                      Gary Paape
                      Lee Luft
                      Aaron Augustian

Law Enforcement, Emergency Management Committee
Chairman:     John Mastalir
                      Scott Jahnke
                      Charles Schmitt
                      Doug Doell
                      Joseph Lukes
                     (When this Committee meets, as an Emergency Management Committee, the Board Chairman shall be a member as per WI Statutes 166.03(4)

Personnel, Advisory & Legislative Committee
Chairman:     Bob Weidner
                      Tom Romdenne
                      Virginia Haske
                      Mary Ellen Dobbins
                      Gary Paape
                      Kaye Shillin
                      Charles Wagner
                      John Mastalir
                      Scott Jahnke

Promotion & Recreation Committee
Chairman:     Scott Jahnke
                      Doug Doell
                      Kim Kroll
                      Cory Cochart
                      Thomas Cretney

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tuesday, April 24th - New Kewaunee Co. Board

The "New" Kewaunee County Board will meet at 5:30 PM, and following some brief descriptions of responsibilities will be sworn in on Tuesday evening at the Kewaunee Co. Board Room at about 6:45 PM.  I posted the members of the new board last week on my blog.

So, on Tuesday evening the Board will be called to order by the Administrator, Scott Feld.  Scott will lead the board through the pledge and prayer and will, along with the County Board Legal Counsel, Jeff Wisnicky will explain to the new board what will transpire that evening.

The first order of business will be to elect a new Chairman who will serve for the next two years.  Bob Weidner was the Chairman for the past two years and I have heard from reliable sources that he is running again for the Chairman position and I also have reports that Lee Luft is also seeking that position.  So there will be a vote taken for the Chairman position.  In years past, the candidates seeking that position have been allowed to make a few minutes statement as to why they would be the person to vote for.

Once the Chairman is voted in, the new Chairman will take the gavel and commence the activity of appointing the various committees.  The Chairman will meet with each member of the board in private to discuss what committee / committees the individual member will be appointed to.  The Chairman appoints all the committees with exception of the Highway Committee which is elected by the full board.

In years past while the private interviews were going on, there was a bit of dead time for the members.  This year, in addition to photos being taken of each member there will be an orientation presented for the board.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Bad Ruling by Department -- Part Two

On April 6th, I posted part one of this awful story.  In this segment I will outline some of my perspectives, and those of others that I have received since that posting.

First, it must be perfectly clear to everyone that the folks behind the idea of re-assessing properties near CAFOs are a direct result of the Kewaunee Cares group.  I will point out why this ruling was ridiculous and explain the faults with this ruling.

First the ruling itself, you can find at this link -  Kliment Department of Revenue Case 2017-81-01.
On the 3rd page of this 22 page PDF you will see who attended the DOR appeal of Oct 30, 2017.  In addition to the 2 DOR staff and 1 Pierce Township Assessor there were 7 Kewaunee Cares people in the hearing room with other Kewaunee Cares folks in the hall who couldn't get in to the room.
Do you think their show of force might have intimidated the DOR staff?  Just a thought, because that's what they do, they intimidate, they bully, and they have been caught in lies in the past.  Therefore anything they do now is suspect.  Their history of bullying is well know!

Here is a list of the Kewaunee Cares people who attended the Oct 30 appeal meeting in Green Bay;
Bill Iwen, Andrea Iwen, Nancy Utesch, Dick Swanson, Robin Mulhaney, Tom Kretney and Lynn Utesch.  These were the folks that were inside the meeting room. 

The Kliments who moved to Kewaunee County sometime around 1995 moved into their property on County Trunk D.  The Ebert Farm was there long before the arrival of the Kliments, in fact, I recall that farm being there when I was a kid in the late 50s.  So, you move into a neighborhood that has farms around you and now you don't like it?  I understand the Ebert Farm has grown considerably, but so have many other farms in this county.  However, when the Kliments purchased the property the Eberts had about 2,000 animals along with 1,300 hogs.

The Kliments own about 14+ acres of land with improvements on that property.  The local assessor found the value to be $245,300 ($42,300 land / $203,000 Improvements).  After the DOR reviewed their case, the value was reduced some $26,400 with the value of the land reduced to $36,800 and the Improvements reduced to $176,600 or a new total of $213,400.  So with the new assessed value of $2213,400 they effectively achieved a 13% reduction in their taxes or about $600 in actual dollars.

Now, the first thing that comes to my mind is why is anyone wanting to decrease their property value?  That just doesn't make sense.  The second thing that comes to my mind is, will this ruling have an effect on everyone's property value in the County with regards to selling of their property?

Here is the "SUMMARY OF FINDINGS" the DOR published.

  • The value of property located more than a mile away from a CAFO is not impacted
  • The value of property located within any distance from a CAFO that is smaller than 4,000 units is not impacted.
  • The value of property located within one-quarter mile of a large CAFO (greater than 4,000 units is reduced by 13%
  • The value of property located between 1/4 and one mile of a large CAFO is reduced by 8%

Do you see how arbitrary this ruling is?  What if, the 4,000 unit farm had 3,899 units?  OK, so I am a farmer with 200 cows within 1 mile of the a 4,000 unit farm am I entitled to a discount of 8%?  What is ludicrous is that the final ruling according to the DNR can be applied across the County. All ground is not created equal in this County.  By the way, I live in the country and my land value has increased greatly over the past 15 years.

What has more of a dramatic influence on the value of our land in the County is all the bad press the Kewaunee Cares and Progressives have done to bad-mouth our County.  Just this morning on WTCH radio of Shawano Wisconsin, 15 minutes of a 30 minute morning talk show was devoted to bashing Kewaunee County and the issues of polluted streams and wells caused by CAFOs in our county.  Every week on Thursday morning WTCH at 8:00AM they talk politics.  One week it is the Republicans turn, the next week it's the Democrats.  Today it was the Democrat Party of Shawano County.

Once again, in the Kliment case, a total reduction in taxes was about $600.  That $600 will have to be made up by taxpayers.  What if you had 200 cases like this with the same average tax reduction.  That would be $120,000 of taxes made up by others, but what is potentially worse is the regional DOR in Green Bay would be paralyzed in completing the research for all the appeals.

This was an appeal of the value of one property in one township in Kewaunee County.  There were no other appeals heard by the Green Bay DOR for that same reason - the proximity to a large farm.  Yet the DOR reported their findings can be applied across Kewaunee County.  This sets a horrible precedence, not just for Kewaunee County land values, but for any landowner in the State of Wisconsin.  Consider that the counties of Brown, Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Calumet have a high number of CAFOs which could trigger an influx of revaluations in 2018.  Also, now with this precedent, what will the DOR do with revaluations of properties with proximity to wind turbines, hog farms, chicken farms, slaughterhouses, gas fired electrical plants, nuclear plants and interstate highways?  Where does this end?

The DOR needs to adhere to the rules any and all assessors use in calculating land/property values.

New County Board, April 24th, 2018

On April 24th, the new County Board members will be sworn in and will take their place for a two year term.

What will be critical, will be; who will be the new board chairman and then what that chairman does with regard to constructing the committees that really do all the work.

There are 8 new members on the board this year,  a big turnover.  Overall this board appears to have a conservative majority, however, we have several members that are openly members of the liberal Kewaunee Cares organization in Kewaunee County.  Those board members who have been champions of the Kewaunee Cares agenda include: Lee Luft, Tom Kretney and Mary Dobbins. Keep an eye on these folks as they are voting on important Kewaunee issues.

New members on the board are highlighted in green.  Some of the email addresses may be changed after April 24th, TBD.

Name of Supervisor after April 24th County Board Meeting
District Description

Email Address
Paape, Gary
Town of Ahnapee           
Cochart, Cory
Town of Lincoln           
Wagner, Chuck
Town of Red River - Wards 1&2           
Weidner, Bob
Lincoln Township           
Treml, Kent
Village of Luxemburg –Wards 4 & 5           
Olson, Daniel
Village of Luxemburg – Wards 1&2           
Charles Schmitt
Town of Casco-Ward 2
Village of Casco-Ward 1           
Doell, Douglas
Town of Luxemburg-Ward 3, Town of Montpelier- Ward 3, Village of Luxemburg- Ward 3           
Jahnke, Scott
Town of Montpelier Wards 1&2           
Cretney, Tom
Town of Franklin           
Town of Carlton- Wards 1&2           
Dobbins, Mary
Town of West Kewaunee
Ward 1           
Kroll, Kim
Town of Casco – Ward 1
Town of West Kewaunee-Ward 2           
Romdenne, Tom
City of Algoma- Wards 2 & 3
Teske, Linda
City of Algoma – Wards 4 & 6           
Haske, Virginia
City of Algoma – Wards 1 & 6           
Lukes, Joe
Town of Pierce Ward 2, City of Algoma – Ward 3           
Luft, Lee
Town of West Kewaunee Ward 1, Town of Pierce- Ward 1           
Mastilar, John
City of Kewaunee Wards 2 & 5           
Shillan, Kay
City of Kewaunee-Wards 3 & 4