Tuesday, November 6, 2007

County Board budget hearing tonight

The Kenosha County Board's budget hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight

If approved, the proposed budget will result in a nearly 4% increase in the county property tax levy (in real dollars the proposed 5% Pleasant Prairie hike is change by comparison).

The county board's Finance Committee is also recommending putting "on hold" any spending for the proposed public safety facility in Bristol.

The $19 million structure would house a sheriff's patrol station, joint services dispatch, emergency government and the medical examiner.

All four of these entitities have space needs but there's significant debate over whether they should be all housed under one roof in Bristol. That said, it appears that the county has no "Plan B" to address these needs without creating additional problems.

For example:

  • The Sheriff's Department wisely wants a patrol substation in the western part of the county although locating at Highways 45 and 50 may not be "west enough."
  • Joint Services dispatch may need more room but moving it out of the Public Safety Building in downtown Kenosha defeats the very reason the city-county facility was originally built. The dispatch facility should remain a part of and accessible to its constituent agencies, period. It was crazy to suggest otherwise. There may be a need for some creative space utilization in the Public Safety Building.
  • The Medical Examiner needs better facilities -- and soon -- but, again, shouldn't they be closer to the constitutent agencies?

Another "down side" is that taxpayers have spent several hundred thousand dollars on this already.

No comments: