Visions for the future

Breitung Township officials have offered their visions for the future.

Now, it’s time for Breitung Township residents to respond.

Members of the Breitung Township Board of Trustees recently devoted a special meeting to discussing future goals for the township.

It was not a time to pay bills or discuss current projects. This time was set aside to form a vision for the future.

Board members discussed a variety of subjects during the hours-long session. Township Superintendent Joe Rogina took board members’ suggestions for topics and compiled them into 19-item list.

It was a good meeting, one that should have had the attention of all Breitung Township residents.

For unless there are contrary positions from the public, this is likely where the township is headed.

Too many times, we witness objections to proposals after they have been set into motion. Sometimes, it’s too late.

We encourage residents of Breitung Township to take note of the trustees’ visions for the future now, before they take effect.

If residents have differing views, they should be offered now, at the planning stage.

Some of the areas discussed at the board meeting included the East Kingsford water system, blight and code enforcement, a township cleanup day, township entrance signs, a township survey, and park bathrooms.

East Kingsford water system

Rogina informed the board that plans are in place to upgrade substandard lines and loop certain areas of the system, if funds become available. The township’s new revolving loan fund could be used to self-fund some of the project.

Blight and code enforcement

Rogina said that the township currently has a part-time code enforcement officer. He asked if enforcement should be strengthened.

Board members stressed the need for equitable enforcement.

“We don’t want to be a dictator township, but we should follow up,” said Township Supervisor Denny Olson. “We need to be fair across the board.”

Trustee John Gaudette said code enforcement is largely complaint-driven, mostly by neighbors. Olson argued that this system might not be fair, as some people may have neighbors more likely to complain than others. However, trustees Gaudette, Ben Peterson, and Treasurer Carol Taylor felt that it would be going too far for board members to go out themselves and make complaints.

“If the neighbors aren’t complaining, should we?” Peterson asked.

Peterson suggested that board members carry around copies of the township’s complaint form in case they come across any residents who do wish to make formal complaints. The form is also available in the township office and on the township website.

Township cleanup day

Although the board has been considering this item for several months now, Peterson said that it may seem easier in theory than it would be to put it into practice. He noted that any dumpsters set out would have to be monitored, and identification would have to be checked to ensure that only township residents were using the dumpsters.

Olson said that he was most concerned about helping older residents and the residents who just do not take the time to clean their property of garbage. He suggested that a one-day alley pick up might be more convenient for those people than just setting out dumpsters at the township hall.

Township entrance signs

All of the township’s entrance signs are small, only on one post, and, in many cases, rotting off the posts. Standard green and white highway signs might be utilized.

Communities such as Alpha, Niagara, Wis., and Lena, Wis. all have large, attractive signs welcoming people to their jurisdictions, the trustees said. Olson felt that the county road commission could work with the township fairly quickly on getting new signs.

Township survey

Olson said that the township had a successful survey of residents’ opinions several years ago, and it might be time to send out another survey. He pointed out that surveys could be sent out with bills. Residents’ suggestions could be incorporated into the township’s five-year plan, he said.

Gaudette felt that this survey should not just ask what improvements residents want, but it should also ask what residents would be willing to pay in extra taxes in order to get those improvements.

Park bathrooms

The township has been renting porta-potties for the parks because no one wants the responsibility of unlocking the bathrooms during baseball and soccer games, then locking them again after the games.

Peterson said that with the funds the township uses to pay for porta-potties, it could easily pay a DPW employee overtime to unlock and lock the bathrooms during games.

Olson said even if a worker unlocks and locks the bathrooms, vandalism could still occur in the meantime. He thought that maybe the township should hire a part-time bathroom attendant for the summer months, just as it has part-time attendants for the ice skating rink in the winter.

Other items discussed included structure planning, five-year budgeting, webpage presence, future staffing needs, financial report workshops, master plan review, the Badwater recreation area, the weed and tall grass ordinance, keeping the status quo, the road maintenance program, and township policy review.

If you have a different idea, Breitung Township residents, be sure to contact Township Hall or a Board of Trustees member. This is your township.