911 Charge to Change With the Times

Sometimes it takes government a little longer to catch up with the advance of technology.

For instance, at its monthly meeting held Feb. 25, the Door County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved support for Senate Bill 566, which changes the way consumers pay for the 911 emergency telecommunications system.

The bill would eliminate the collection of 40-cent fee on landlines to offset costs of each county 911 service, and switch the 40-cent charge to all devices, recognizing the rise of cell phone usage.

The board gave unanimous support for SB 566, which has a Senate hearing in Madison next week.

The board also heard from Rob Burke, community development educator of the Door County University of Wisconsin – Extension, about the work of the Ad Hoc Door County Fair Study Committee, which was formed in Oct. 2012 to gather ideas to enhance the fair.

The committee held a number of public listening sessions to gather ideas from stakeholders, including 4-H clubs around the county, food stand representatives and the board of the Door County Visitor Bureau.

The committee is recommending improvements in four specific areas – exhibits, food stands, grandstand and a multi-entry area that included ticket pricing, grounds, midway marketing and management of the fair.

Under exhibits, the number one issue among stakeholders is sprucing up all display areas.

Under food stands, most important was offering diverse and healthier menus. There was also interest in offering more “Made in Door County” foods and partnering with a variety of markets, producers and restaurants in the county.

Under grandstand, most wanted to see motoring events in the grandstand and keeping music to the midway. There was also interest expressed in bringing a two-day rodeo to the grandstand.

Under the multi-heading of pricing, grounds, midway, marketing and general management, the top item was working out an arrangement between food stands and a “Made in Door County” pavilion. Stakeholders also thought the fair should be promoted throughout the county, and that the word should go out that the midway is higher quality than in the past.

Other ideas included adding a fun run or some other athletic event to the mix and providing free passes to some Door County hotels and inns to encourage tourists to visit the fair.

The Ad Hoc Committee will deliver its report to the fair association in March.

In other matters:

• The board unanimously approved the hire of Dan Williams as director of Door County Emergency Medical Services, to begin immediately. Williams’ salary will equate to an hourly rate of $37.64.

• Heard a report from County Administrator Maureen Murphy about the Mission Team, which has been charged with improving morale and unifying the work force. Mission Team leaders are Duane Kuntz, a network specialist in the county’s Information Systems Dept., and Jake Erickson, who is with the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Door County (ADRC)

She also mentioned the Door County Best Award, which is given monthly to a unit of county government that best exemplifies the county government’s core values. The first winner of the “box of applause” went to the ARDC. The winner chooses the next winner, and the ARDC staff chose Buildings and Grounds as the next winner.

• Transferred $750,000 to update all three channels of the county’s emergency Simulcast Radio System for fire departments, police and EMS. This was approved on recommendation of area fire chiefs, including Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Chief Chris Hecht, who was in attendance. A $1.25 million FEMA grant had been awarded to update the Simulcast Radio System for the fire departments, but the bidders advised that for an additional $750,000, all three systems could be updated.

• Approved a request from the Town of Washington to be included in the county’s ATV/UTV ordinance that was drafted for the Town of Union. The ordinance was devised so that other communities could be easily included. Supervisor Joel Gunnlaugsson, who represents the island, said the town passed an ordinance last year allowing ATVs and UTVs on town roads, but County W connects to almost all of the town roads, so the county had to approve the measure as well.

• Transferred $223,616.27 for 13 unbudgeted retirements in 2013.

• Transferred $152,617.45 for unanticipated costs due to contaminants found in the soil during the Chaudoir dock dredging project.

• Approved a referral agreement between the Door County medical examiner’s office and American Tissue Services Foundation.

The next county board meeting is scheduled for 10 am on March 25.