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County Begins Budget Process

In preparation for nailing down its 2015 budget, the Door County Board of Supervisors on July 29 approved its five-year Capital Improvement Plan for several big-ticket items.

“We’ve got to start putting some of these pieces of the puzzle together for the budget,” said Board Chair Dan Austad.

One of those items approved is a $2,708,500 million fiber optic network connecting the county and public schools.

Finance Director Shirley Skalish told the board it needs to eventually make a decision on whether to proceed with long-term financing for that three-year fiber optic project.

Austad also pointed out that nothing is yet written in stone on the budget. “This can be adjusted up to the final moment in November,” he said.

“That is correct,” Skalish said. “This just sets the tone for the budget, helps us out to let us know where we’re at and what adjustments may have to be made before November.”

Other items in the CIP included $500,000 for improvements to the central Emergency Medical Services station in Sturgeon Bay to accommodate six new paramedics requested by EMS Director Dan Williams.

“It is only a request,” County Administrator Maureen McGovern pointed out. “So this is early in the process and subject to amendment on what happens with the finance committee and the budget.”

In other action:

Judge D. Tood Ehlers made a case for passing a resolution asking the state to restore funding for court interpreters and guardians ad litem assistance.

• Now that Door County has been named a bird city (making it the sixth county in the state to be declared a Bird City), the county board passed one of the requirements of being a Bird City, and that is by recognizing International Migratory Bird Day for the second Saturday in May. “This is a really good thing to support,” said Richard Virlee, chair of the county’s Airport & Parks Committee.

• Approved a $5,000 grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program to support a feasibility study of a potential nutrient reduction filtration system to protect Dunes Lake in the Town of Sevastopol. The shallow 48-acre lake has been identified as being in “an escalated state of eutrophication.”

• Approved three tower space lease agreements with Cellcom. The first is a quid pro quo agreement with the communication company that would allow them to use county-owned towers and structures as it allows the county to use its structures without an exchange of money. The second agreement is for a five-year tower space lease agreement for the county to co-locate communication equipment on Cellcom’s tower in Baileys Harbor. The third agreement is the same as the second, but for Cellcom towers in Fish Creek, Jacksonport and Washington Island.

• Approved an additional $15,572 to make up a shortfall in funds to install a cooling system for the Door County Justice Center computer equipment. The 2014 Capital Improvements Project plan had allocated $74,000 for that project.