Board Kicks Building Projects Back to Committee

At its monthly meeting on Aug. 25, the Door County Board of Supervisors decided to send back to its Property Committee two big-ticket resolutions on funding for Phase III of the proposed Human Services Resource Center and the central ambulance station project – projects that amount to about $9 million.

Resolution 2015-52 would have authorized funding for Phase III of the Human Services Resource Center, a $6.4 million project that would be paid for through $2 million worth of gifts, grants and donations, and the remaining $4.4 million coming from the county. However, the resolution also stipulated that authorization for Phase III of the project was contingent upon receiving $1 million in donations by Sept. 1, a goal that has not been met.

Resolution 2015-59 would have authorized the beginning of Phase III of the $2.7 million ambulance project, a 14,370 square foot building to replace the current 4,594 square foot building on space leased from the hospital.

County Board Chair Dan Austad announced that Richard Virlee had assumed the chair of the property committee when former chair Ben Meyer resigned from his county board position on Aug. 13, and that Virlee had called a special meeting of the Property Committee for the morning of Aug. 27 to take another look at these two building projects in light of several developments.

Austad said one of those developments concerning the ambulance station is that more county board members are thinking the new station should be located on property the county owns rather than on property leased from Ministry Door County Medical Center, as the current arrangement is. Corporation Counsel Grant Thomas pointed out that the hospital has shown “zero interest” in selling the piece of land the county is considering for the county ambulance headquarters.

Austad also said the Property Committee will be taking a look at options for the old highway shop at John Miles County Park on 14th Street, such as whether to tear it down or consider converting it into another use.

Austad said this is an opportunity “to step back, take a deep breath and consider everything again.” We’ll have details on what takes place at the Property Committee in next week’s Pulse.

This was the first county board meeting attended by new County Administrator Ken Pabich, which means Interim County Administrator Grant Thomas is now back to his regular job as Corporation Counsel. The board recognized Thomas with a resolution thanking him for taking on the role of interim county administrator for a second time, a task that Thomas said was made much easier with the 30-some dedicated and talented department heads who “go above and beyond the call of duty” in making county government run.

The board also recognized two recently resigned county supervisors – Holly Runquist, who represented the Town of Gibraltar and the Village of Ephraim, and Ben Meyer, who represented the Sturgeon Bay wards 1, 2 and 29 – for their work on the county board. Austad also pointed out that he has received only one application to fill Meyer’s remaining term on the board and no applicants for Runquist’s seat. Residents living in those districts who are interested in being appointed to the appropriate seat are invited to submit a letter of interest to County Board Chair Dan Austad in care of the County Administrator, 421 Nebraska St., Sturgeon Bay, 54235, or email [email protected]. Letters of interest must be received by 4 pm on Aug. 28.

The board also heard from Rhonda Kolberg, director of the county’s Public Health Department, and Public Health Nurse Mary Ellen Smith, who recently was recognized with the Cornelia Van Kooy Award for distinguished service in Public Health Nursing. Kolberg nominated Smith for the prestigious award from the Public Health Nursing Section of the Wisconsin Public Health Association.

Zoning Administator Sue VandenLangenberg gave a brief explanation of some permit rate changes from the Planning Department as a result of the last-minute shoreland zoning changes that were inserted into the recently passed state budget, which created another unfunded state-mandated program.

“These fees are to establish the review or permit process, which we previously did not need before the budget,” she said.

The new fees include $1,000 for a Shoreland Mitigation Permit that includes a Storm Water Runoff Control Plan for impervious surfaces. In order to encourage compliance with the permit system, the Resource Planning Committee set up a series of payments for violation of permits, with the first violation requiring a doubling of the permit fee.

VandenLangenberg explained that since the Planning Department is not versed in stormwater runoff, it has had to team up with the department that does handle runoff issues – the Soil and Water Conservation Department.

Department head Bill Schuster said the Planning Department has done the calculations and expects the two departments will be dealing with a lot of these permits, so in order to make it a sustaining program, the fee schedule was necessary, although he pointed out two other options – a new tax levy to offset the cost of the program or set up an independent contractor and charge back the fees for service to the owners.

“We can’t take money from other programs for this,” he said.

Before the resolution went to a vote, Supervisor David Enigl said, “We can thank our legislators for adding something to the budget that should not have been there.”

The new fee schedule passed on a 16-3 vote.

The board also approved $120,000 to come out of the unassigned fund balance to pay for new Imagecast Evolution Voting Systems. Door County Clerk Jill Lau said the voting machines are basically computers that have outlived their useful life.

There was to originally be a 50-50 cost share with municipalities throughout the county, but it was decided the county would pay for the machines and the municipalities would be responsible for everything else, which includes software licensing, warranty costs and maintenance fees.

The board also approved a resolution that establishes a 45 mph speed limit on a 6/10 of a mile stretch of County WD leading up to Whitefish Dunes State Park.