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Washington can’t woo Ozaukee with merger talk PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by JOHN MORTON   
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 19:06

Local county officials decide not to join initiative to study partnerships

Washington County officials, who call  their’s and the state’s political and financial landscape “grim” and “unsustainable,”  could not convince Ozaukee County to join it in a program designed for strategic planning and possibly the merger of the two counties.
The program, called the Future Regions Initiative, would have cost Ozaukee County between $12,000 and $14,000 to participate in three workshops.
At its Aug. 2 meeting, the Ozaukee County Board rejected the offer, which came in a July 17 letter written by Washington County Board Chairman Rick Gundrum and County Administrator Joshua Scholemann. It included an Aug. 11 decision deadline and a Sept. 30 application deadline.
“Our Executive Committee discussed it before the meeting and decided we already had a staff qualified for this,” Lee Schlenvogt, the board’s chairman, said Monday. “We don’t need to double up with an outside source and spend that kind of money.”
Currently, Washington and Ozaukee counties share a health department and are discussing the same for transit services.
“We’ll continue to work with any counties on consolidation of services, but the idea of removing borders and becoming one county? Well, that would require a lot of research,” Schlenvogt said.
The topic did, however, get Schlenvogt active in seeking a possible strategic-planning partnership with a different county.
“I’ve talked to the (Waukesha) county executive (Paul Farrow) and he has a staff that is quite qualified for this type of thing,  so we’ll be talking about what things we can do together. In fact, I’ll be talking with (Waukesha County Board chairman) Paul Decker later today about doing something similar and about other possibilities.”
The Future Regions Initiative was developed by the Local Government Institute of Wisconsin. Its workshops focus on collaboration, engagement and accountability, according to its promotional material. Daily Press