County Board opposes reduced shoreland structure regulation

he Waushara County Board supports the repeal of a motion included in the state of Wisconsin’s 2015-17 Budget Bill that would reduce the standards for regulation of structures in shoreland areas. 

The proposed changes to minimum standards would be “to the detriment of environmental quality and the orderly economic development of Waushara County,” according to the resolution unanimously approved by the Board during its June 16 regular meeting held at the Springwater Town Hall, Wild Rose.

Weakened regulations would result in “unchecked development along our shorelines which will cause irreparable harm to the water quality of our county; result in a drop in property values which in turn will damage the economy of our county; and promote harm to the environment by contributing to the degradation of our surface waters and ultimately the ground water of our county and the state,” the resolution states.

In other business, the board discussed 2016 budget guidelines. Waushara County Administrative Coordinator Deb Behringer indicated the county has used the majority of leeway the state has provided to fund its budget, and no additional sources of funding that haven’t already been accounted for are anticipated for the next year.

The county also will change the design of its health insurance plan or contribute less to Health Savings Accounts to keep insurance premiums from increasing next year, Behringer said.

The board could utilize some surplus funds to address a budget deficit or “live within our means,” Behringer said.

Board Chairperson Donna Kalata said a 1.5 percent raise for all county employees being considered for next year might not happen if funding isn’t available. 

Behringer said the county’s ability to recruit and retain employees will be hurt if it doesn’t provide a wage increase and remain competitive with neighboring counties.

County Clerk Melanie Stake said county department heads will be advised to look at adjusting fee schedules and equipment replacement schedules, as well as consider reducing services provided above statuary requirements, as they plan 2016 budgets.

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