Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Time for a Plan B

The Kenosha County Board's Finance Committee recommended last night putting the Emergency Services Building proposed next to the Kenosha County Center in Bristol on hold.

That recommendation needs the approval of the full board.

Questions have come up concerning the widom of the project which would include space for a sheriff's patrol substation, dispatch center, emergency government and the medical examiner.

Many of these questions are legitimate, such as whether moving the dispatch center out of the city-county Public Safety Building flies in the face of the whole concept of having the two departments and the dispatch and records functions all under one roof. The answer to that is a no-brainer: of course it does. It's a dumb idea and one that's already cost taxpayers a bundle.

There is wisdom to having a western county sheriff's patrol substation but legitimate questions can be raised as to whether Bristol is far enough west.

The Twin Lakes Police Department has a nice new facility staffed around the clock. The building was designed to be expanded. It might make sense to get together with the village of Twin Lakes to work out an expansion of their existing police station to provide space for the Sheriff's Department. Of couse, that would require intergovernmental cooperation, something the county doesn't always embrace.

The medical examiner sorely needs more room but it would make sense to find it closer to downtown Kenosha where constituent agencies are located.

These needs aren't going to go away and if the county board wants to pull the plug on expansion at the Kenosha County Center, that's fine. But they'd better have a Plan B -- pronto.

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