Oneida County board debates ATV use on county highways
“Putting the cart before the horse ” was an adage heard numerous times at last Tuesday’s Oneida County Board meeting. The term was being referred to allowing ATV use on county trunk highways, which the county has not previously allowed.
“This is allowing ATV use on roads so that riders can connect up with trails,” said Supervisor Gary Baier. “It’s about getting from point A to point B.”
David Lemke of the Nokomis ATV Club told county board supervisors the primary roads he wanted to see be open to ATV use included portions of Cty. Y and Cty. N.
But a few board members questioned the soundness of passing the resolution. “This is a drastic change for the county,” said Supervisor Tom Rudolph. “We need to talk with constituents about this. We should have a public hearing on this issue.”
So far, the county does not have a set of formal rules allowing ATV use on county trunk highways. In the resolution it states that the “highway committee shall work with the highway commissioner, corporation counsel and other county staff to develop regulations that will govern the usage of ATVs on county truck highways. “Aren’t we putting the horse before the cart here?” asked Supervisor Dave O’Melia. “Shouldn’t regulations be put in place first?”
But the fact the county was losing ATV tourism money to counties surrounding Oneida County was a factor for many of the board members’ decision to pass the resolution. “We are missing the boat on tourism here,” said Supervisor Scott Holewinski. “This is a good opportunity, and the highway commission will come up with the rules needed for this.”
Only Rudolph voted no the resolution.
The board also voted to eliminate the county coordinator position that was vacated in August by John Potters, and instead create a human resources director. Lisa Charbarneau, the county’s Employee Service Manager, has worked for the county for the last 18 years, and was approved for this position.
“I was against the county coordinator position from the beginning,” said Baier. “I think this is in the best interest of the county.”
Potters total compensation package was worth $114,797 a year, which included his salary, a retirement fund, health insurance and social security input. Charbarneau will get a package worth $106,810 a year to assume the human resources position.
In other business:
1. The board voted to increase ambulance “loaded” rates. These rates are charged only when a patient is in the ambulance and being transported to medical care. The previous rate was $10.06 per mile for the first 17 miles, and $8.35 for all miles over 17. Both of these rates were increased to $15 per mile. The basic life support rate of $570 per trip did not change.
2. The board also voted down a resolution that would require a two year waiting period before a resolution could come back to the board after it failed.