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Status of tax rolls remains a key issue

Class sizes a problem

■ Menominee teachers’ group press the matter

Menominee assessor suggests an outside contractor should be hired

By CHELSEA EWALDT EagleHerald staff writer cewaldt@eagleherald.com

MENOMINEE — After two-and-a-half months, the Menominee City District Education Association (MCDEA) and the Menominee School District have not settled the grievance regarding overloading class sizes. Representatives from the MCDEA and the district met Oct. 26 to discuss the grievance at the junior and senior high schools. After a discussion that lasted a little more than an hour, a oneweek extension was granted. On the afternoon of Nov. 4, the school district presented MCDEA with an offer that involved compensation. On Nov. 10, MCDEA representatives responded to the district, stating that they would continue to file an Unfair Labor Practice charge. A letter, signed by Julie Flores (president, MCDEA), Greg Langlois (vice-president, MCDEA) and Brenda Quaak (chair of the MCDEA negotiations team), stated, “Although we appreciate the communication of your offer for compensation to resolve the violation of Section 6.1 of the Master Agreement filed by the MCDEA on Sept. 8 (class size limits), we will respectfully decline your offer. Not only does your offer lack adequate compensation for the staff involved, but you are also asking for other concessions that are not acceptable to the MCDEA. We are very disappointed in yet another example of the lack of value the board of education places on its teaching staff, and another example of the lack of respect the board holds for its employees. We will continue with the grievance process and will file an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the district.” “Because they rejected the proposed relief, my response is that we feel that we met the tenants of the contract so the grievance is denied,” said Superintendent Terri Mileski. “It’s up to them to take it to another level, if that’s what they so choose.” According to section 6.2 of the Menominee Area Public Schools Master Agreement, “The school district will strive to meet pupil professional staff ratios of 24 to 1 in grades DK (developmental kindergarten) through fourth grade and 25 to 1 in grades fifth through See SCHOOL, A3

By PENNY MULLINS EagleHerald news editor/digital director pmullins@eagleherald.com

EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

Holiday prep work

Marinette Public Works employee Fred Johnston hangs Christmas decorations Thursday on Hall Avenue.

MENOMINEE — As the Menominee City Council prepares to welcome a new manager, they also will be dealing with an existing problem — the status of its 2015 and 2016 tax rolls. In a meeting which offered two agenda items regarding the arrival of Anthony “Tony” Graff next Monday, council members Monday also set one of his first priorities as getting involved in straightening out the city’s 2015 tax roll already seized by the State of Michigan, as well as the possibility the 2016 roll will be seized after the Nov. 29 meeting of the State Tax Commission. Newly hired City Assessor Peg Bastien reported to the council Monday her recommendation to Interim City Manager Rob Jamo to hire an outside firm to work on those problems, because, in her opinion, “an extensive analysis is required to determine if the land value adjustments or removal of same were warranted, if the percentages of the adjustments were accurate and if those adjustments were applied uniformly.” Bastien said parcels with flat land values need to be analyzed “and market values applied.” She said such an in-depth analysis would take “considerable amount of time that I simply do not have.” She said she needed to

be fully devoted to completing the 2017 tax roll, so she recommended an outside contractor to work on the 2015 and 2016 assessment rolls, with emphasis on the 2016 land issues, “which must be analyzed and corrections made … as they directly affect the 2017 roll.” Bastien told council she has spent the first two weeks of her hiring to set up the office, handle land division issues, responded to a Michigan Tax Tribunal Small Claims claim, as well as the removal of two Principal Residence Exemptions that had been denied in a Department of Treasury audit. Jamo said he had spoken with Kelly Sobel of the Michigan Department of Treasury and explained the situation the new assessor faced and the recommendation to hire an outside firm. “I asked if it would be advisable for the city to do that now, and Sobel recommended we take no action and wait for the State Tax Commission to meet Nov. 29.” Jamo said the agenda for that Nov. 29 meeting will be released today, giving the city “a real good idea with regard to the 2016 roll.” Later in the meeting, council members spoke about setting goals and objectives for Graff. Council member Doug Robinson was absent, but excused, and provided his written list to other members. See COUNCIL, A3

‘Obamacare’ repeal is complex and risky

By ALAN FRAM Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Here’s the idea: Swiftly pass a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care law, perhaps soon enough for Donald Trump to sign it the day he takes the presidential oath. Then approve legislation restructuring the nation’s huge and convoluted health care system — despite Republican divisions, Democratic opposition and millions of jittery constituents. What could go wrong? With Republicans controlling the White House and Congress in January, they’re faced with delivering on their long-time promise to repeal and replace “Obamacare.” Here are hurdles they’ll face:

SPEED VS DELIBERATION Trump and congressional Republicans will be under intense pressure from their core conservative supporters to repeal Obama’s 2010 health care law — and fast. After all, Congress already sent Obama a repeal bill last January, which he vetoed, and many GOP voters will see no reason for delays this time. But there probably won’t be anything fast about Congress’ effort to replace Obama’s law, which is likely to take many months. While the replacement effort is underway, Republicans will risk aggravating up to 30 million people who are covered by the law or buy policies with prices affected by its insurance marketplace. Democrats will be sure to accuse See TRUMP, A3

The Associated Press

In this Nov. 9 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally in New York. Trump has said he will repeal and replace President Obama’s healthcare law, a process that is sure to be long and complicated.

Parks and Recreation Committee creation imminent

By EMMA KUHN EagleHerald staff writer ekuhn@eagleherald.com

MARINETTE — The creation of a Parks and Recreation Committee in the City of Marinette is underway, after the topic of the merger of the city’s parks department and the Recreation Programming Board was discussed and met with approval Monday night in the Civic Affairs, Cemetery, Traffic & Lights Committee meeting. 

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The merger, which has been an item of discussion in the Recreation Programming Board meetings for the better part of the year, was discussed in the Civic Affairs committee in four parts. Committee members approved the creation of the standing committee through Marinette Municipal Code (MMC) amendment, which states the committee will be comprised of five alderpersons and be responsible for public recreation spaces and parks as

Quarnstrom, Evelyn C. Suennen, Floyd F.

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well as the activities within them. “I think as long as it has been worked out between the departments, that’s the key,” Ward 5 Alderman Wally Hitt said of the decision. “They can work together, so it should be good.”  The Civic Affairs committee also cleaned up some legal language and references to the Recreation Programming Board in the MMC, but stopped short of sending the item on for discussion by the City Council due to some missing pieces. 

Recreation Department Director Kent Kostelecky said he would like to see one of the deleted pieces of the MMC reinstated somewhere in the new code, the portion detailing how to choose a new director should the need arise. He and Mike Swiatnicki, Public Works Superintendent, also pointed out that the new MMC additions did not state that the Director of Parks reports to the new committee. “My title’s different, obvious-

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ly, it’s Superintendent of Public Works, which encompasses parks and forestry and cemetery also,” Swiatnicki said. Mayor Steve Genisot agreed the changes were necessary.  The committee decided the proposed changes to the MMC amendments be forwarded to City Attorney Jonathan Sbar before being recommended to City Council. The committee will review the amendments again during its next meeting. 

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