County passes resolution opposing DOT policy & finalizes Newbold sale
By Jared Raney
Concern over ATV crossing prompted a conversation about change in state rules
What started as a simple request for an early warning sign at the recently approved ATV crossing in Three Lakes has turned into a tussle with policymakers as the Oneida County Board this week approved a resolution supporting such a sign in contradiction of DOT regulations.
The DOT dictates a sight distance restriction on ATV crossings, which according to current law, the Three Lakes crossing does not meet. Not only does the law prevent the county from seeking state aid for a sign, it actually restricts them from putting a sign up with local funds.
“It seems fairly simple to me,” said county supervisor Bob Mott, who brought the resolution forward. “If two more signs make it safer that’s what I’m for… When we voted for this [ATV crossing], we wanted it as safe as possible.”
According to Mott, though the sight distance doesn’t meet the technical requirements, the law fails to take into account features of individual landscapes, such as the curves before and after the Three Lakes crossing.
Deer crossing signs are everywhere, Mott said, and if we have signs for deer crossings we should have signs for this.
There was some opposition to the resolution; the ATV club president spoke at the meeting, saying that there had been no accidents in the several months the crossing has been in place, and no concern from ATV users that the crossing was unsafe. Supervisor Scott Holewinski also spoke out against the resolution, the only supervisor (with three absent) to vote no.
Newbold outdoor recreational facility sale
Also at the meeting, final approval was granted for the sale of parcel NE 93 to the Town of Newbold for their planned recreation facility, including an 18-hole championship frisbee golf course.
After two unsuccessful public bid periods, the County Board received an offer of $7,800 from Newbold, which they counter-offered at $15,000. That offer was brought before the Newbold electors and accepted last month.
At this week’s meeting, the topic earned minor discussion due to an unsolicited offer from a private landowner of $23,000, which spawned concern that Newbold might turn around and sell the property for profit if an offer was available.
The original $7,800 offer had certain conditions attached, such as a 50-year condition on clear-cutting the property, however, the Board failed to attach similar conditions to their return offer of $15,000.
Chairman Dave Kroll represented Newbold at the meeting, saying “we have no intention of selling [the parcel] for profit, that has never been our goal. We intend to build something that will be good for the public, and will have some economic benefits to the entire county.”
Chief Elected Officials Consortium Agreement
A resolution to create a new consortium was also approved; Oneida County will join nine area counties in the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Area to vie for federal assistance through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
The new Consortium will replace the former North Central Wisconsin Local Elected Officials Consortium, of the former Workforce Investment Act (which has been replaced by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act).
Its goal is to provide leadership on workforce services and act as a mouthpiece for federal assistance. Supervisor Tom Rudolph will represent Oneida County on the Consortium, and also brought the resolution forward to the Board. It passed 17-1, with three absent.
Mental health programs
Two resolutions regarding mental health services in Oneida County were passed. The initiation of the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) program, and a fund transfer of $30,000 from the Community Mental Health Program administered by the Human Service Center to the Community Option Program admministered by Social Services.
Because of mental health funding consolidation in the recent state budget, the Social Servies program was left with a $48,000 deficit. The resolution was offered by Supervisor Carol Pedersen, and passed without opposition.