Door County Municipal News

Notes from the Grove

By John Lowry

• The town board has scheduled a special informational meeting from 4 to 6 pm on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the town hall. Michael Konecny, CPA, of the Green Bay office of Schenck Associates will provide information on the town budgeting process, how the town compares to other municipalities’ fiscal policies, audit and the general financial health of the town. He is currently the managing shareholder of services that Schenck provides to governments and not-for-profits, which presently total in excess of 300 clients. He has more than 30 years of experience managing audits and consulting governmental clients. Schenck will conduct a maintenance audit for 2013 after completing a full audit in 2012.

• Attorney Lee Turonie, assistant legal counsel for the Wisconsin Towns Association, in the January 2014 Towns Association Magazine addressed the issue of financial housekeeping. He points out that towns with separate offices of clerk and treasurer do not have any sort of audit requirement. Administrator Kalms has pointed this out as well. The lack of an audit requirement is due to the organizational structure which provides an inherent system of checks and balances. While in the past the town did not conduct audits on a consistent basis it is now the position of the board and administration that this be done through a maintenance auditing each year and complete audits as warranted.

The board and administration feel it is very important for town citizens to understand the budgeting process. The various town committees begin work on the following year’s budget in late summer and the finance committee meets throughout the year to monitor expenditures and income. As reported earlier the town will need to address the probable elimination of $400,000 from the 2015 budget, due in part to the state-mandated spending cap which is impacted by our decreasing debt, prior conservative spending approach and failure of a levy override.

During the budget hearing a citizen encouraged the town to spend more on highways, as it has been recognized that in the past highway spending has been trimmed from previous budgets as a way to adhere to the levy cap while maintaining other services and benefits for town residents. It was further stated they could easily find $200,000 to trim from the budget in other areas. To my knowledge the person making the statement did not attend any board/finance meetings nor highway meetings as the budget was being prepared. It has always been a concern of the board that very few citizens attend the board/finance committee meetings as budget preparations are being made or make inquiries at the town office regarding the budget prior to the actual budget hearing.

It is the hope that the special informational meeting will encourage citizens to attend those meetings in the future. The board and administration welcome specific suggestions, keeping in mind that we must take into consideration what is best for the whole of Liberty Grove. Mr. Konecny will take questions from the public.

• While many are familiar with the recent acquisition of the Grandview Town Park, which was turned over to the town by the Door County Land Trust, the Porte des Mort Forest Preserve created by the Door County Land Trust is another preservation effort that enhances Liberty Grove. The preserve protects hardwood and hemlocks along the rugged shoreline overlooking Death’s Door and also protects a stretch of Highway 42 near the Washington Island Ferry terminal at Northport. At Porte des Mort Town Park the Neptune’s Dive Club of Green Bay is working with the town to provide public access to the waters of Death’s Door.

• The town has received word from the Door County Parks Department that they will hold an informational session for town residents on the planned tree maintenance in county parks. It has been schedule for Feb. 20 at 6 pm at the town hall.

Baileys Harbor:  Town Clerk Douglas Smith and Fire Chief Brian Zak were both re-appointed to their positions at a town board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 2. Smith was first appointed as deputy clerk in 2007, then became town clerk in 2008. Zak was appointed as fire chief in 2010, and before that was assistant chief since 1998.

Brussels:  Building plans for the Brussels-Union-Gardner (BUG) Fire Department are on the agenda for the Jan. 15 meeting of the Brussels Town Board, which comes a day after representatives from the three municipalities served by the BUG Fire Department met with Door County representatives to talk about issues such as location of the proposed new station. Brussels Town Chairman Joe Wautier said the three town boards will get together on Jan. 16to iron out any differences they have in order to get the project moving. Union has expressed a desire for the station, with a full-time ambulance service, be farther south.

Also on the agenda for the Town of Brussels meeting, the board is expected to revise its sex offender residency ordinance, which currently only requires that sex offenders who have served prison time be registered. The change would require the town also be notified of sex offenders who have only done county jail time.

Ephraim:  Anne Glabe, Kate Houston and Diane Kirkland were appointed chief inspectors for the 2014 and 2015 elections in the village. Norma Hager, Jane Olson, Theresa Weborg, Don Diekman and Marianne Diekman were appointed election workers for the 2014 and 2015 elections.

City of Sturgeon Bay:  Christmas trees will be picked up as time permits by the City of Sturgeon Bay Street Department on Friday, Jan. 24. Trees should be placed on the corners of blocks. Call the department at 920.746.2912 if you have questions about the tree pickup.

Town of Sturgeon Bay:  The Town of Sturgeon Bay became the first Door County governmental body to adopt a resolution endorsing the Nine Tools of Civility presented by the Door County Civility Project at its regular Jan. 6, 2014, board meeting. The goal of instituting the resolution is to show support for and to model civil discourse and discussion in the town. Town board supervisors recognize that an atmosphere of civility and respect can have a positive effect on their proceedings, on the quality of debate, and on the practice of democracy itself. Board Chairman Dan Cihlar said, “It’s just good common sense!” Use of the Nine Tools can promote conversations that lead to positive resolutions of the issues facing local towns and other organizations. Interested in knowing more about the Door County Civility Resolution? Contact the Door County Civility Project at [email protected] or visit

Town of Egg Harbor:  The town’s plan commission meets at 6 pm on Jan. 13 and the town board meets at 7 pm on Jan. 20. Both meetings are held at the town hall, 5242 County Road I.

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