Posted on

representation, time commitment for board ….

representation, time commitment for board members and organizational effectiveness. The matrix gave the 38-member board the highest score.

Public comment included individuals, including past and present county board supervisors, but also local village and town boards and one organization, the Marathon County Farm Bureau. In local government input, Village of Stratford president Keith Grell said he supported cutting the board size, while the town boards of Bergen, Cleveland, Emmet, Green Valley, Guenther and Knowlton all sent letters saying they supported keeping the large board.

It was noted that some of the comments were duplicates, where one person submitted both written comments and filled out a public survey.

Robinson said that the survey was not precisely scientific. “It gives us a flavor,” he said.

Task force members were all surveyed whether they were in favor of cutting the board size. None were. Task force member Jacob Langenhahn, town of Marathon, was not present.

_ Supervisor Arnie Schlei, town of Easton, said he supported keeping the current board and argued that input from the Farm Bureau and town boards represented the viewpoint not just of officials but also their constituents.

_ Supervisor Tim Buttke, town of Stettin, said he “sat on the fence” at the start of the task force work but now is convinced to oppose cutting the board size. “There is no political appetite to do it,” he said. “The current size is large, but it involves more minority representation.”

_ Supervisor Craig McEwen, Rothschild, said public sentiment seemed to favor a large board. “I don’t think there is a need for a change,” he said.

_ Supervisor Rick Seefeldt, Eland, said a consensus of people he has talked to, including his constituents and local town chairmen, favored keeping the same board size. “Everybody out here says 38,” he said. “People said stay with 38.”

_ Consultant Deb Hager, a former deputy county administrator, said she supported keeping the same board size for lack of a good reason to change. “There is no political will to change the size of the board,” she said.

_ Supervisor John Robinson said he supported the present board because it encourages a diversity of opinions. “We benefit from fresh ideas,” he said. “It’s the strength of democracy.”

The committee’s recommendation now goes to the county’s Executive Committee, which will present the task force’s finding to the full board in January 2021. With the board size set, the county will ask the Northcentral Regional Planning Commission to draw new supervisory boundaries using data from the 2020 Census.

It was reported that populations in the county’s rural towns and the City of Wausau have lost population over the last decade, while the municipalities of Rothschild, Kronenwetter, Marshfield, McMillan and Rib Mountain have gained population.

“Some of the lines will have to be changed,” said Robinson.