MINUTES OF THE
SAWYER COUNTY ZONING COMMMITTEE AND LAND & WATER
January 4, 2010
The consolidation meeting was held at 4 PM in the Assembly Room of the Courthouse. Those present from the Zoning Committee were Bruce Miller, Fred Zietlow, Arlene Mizerka, Kathy McCoy, Warren Johnson. Chairman Jim Bassett was absent. Also present was Human Resource Manager Carol Larson, Department Heads Bill Christman and Dale Olson as well as staff members from the Zoning Office and Land and Water Conservation Dept.
Bruce calls the meeting to order and asks Carol to give some background regarding the consolidation of the two departments and how the proposed consolidation has gotten to this point due to Bill Christman retiring. Kathy asks about the State funding the Land & Water Conservation Dept. receives and what the County would loose. Dale explains the grants received and he feels no money would be lost. Both department supervisors (Bill & Dale) had previously made a chart of what they thought the office structure would look like regarding the consolidation of offices and the designated jobs and work load. These charts were passed around and reviewed. Dale states that if the departments were to merge, there would be some cross training in the two departments, the sharing of vehicles and when possible car pooling to inspection locations. Kitty Taylor stated that when she first started work for the County there wasn’t a Land and Water department but there has always been a Zoning Administrator full time since the County adopted the zoning ordinance. No staff member has the authority or responsibility to make decisions and do that work. The ZA’s job is to enforce the ordinance and assist the Zoning Committee in revising the ordinances. None of the merger issues address the issue of service. Many of the customers that Zoning works with don’t even know there is a Land & Water Conservation Department. From the audience, Phil Nies spoke against the consolidating of departments stating that if the offices consolidate, Dale would be spread to thin and the County would be creating two weak departments and the taxpayers deserve better. He is in favor of filling the ZA’s position saying that these are two active departments and they should remain two departments and he doesn’t want to see the public get short changed just to save a little money. Also from the audience, Brian Hucker from the Town of Spider Lake speaks against the consolidating saying that consolidating the two departments wouldn’t have much impact in his township as they have their own zoning administrator but the amount of money spent on the salary for the zoning administrator is money well spent. The administrator’s position is a critical position for the public and all the townships who work with him and the position should be filled with a full time zoning administrator. Linda Zillmer says she also is not in favor of consolidating stating that there are things that the zoning department is suppose to be doing that are not getting done now. She says the ZA needs to be a skilled person who knows the latest zoning laws. Discussion is held on the possibility of looking at reducing the salary of the new ZA position. Cindy Yackley had concerns regarding the delegating of work that Dale said he would be doing and wondering who the responsible person will be attending court, meetings with the Builders Association, Realtors and Lake Associations and other meetings a supervisor should be attending and someone with authority needs to be accountable for this. When asked about the department locations within the courthouse, Dale states that he planned to keep the Land & Water Department downstairs with the walk in people going to the Zoning Department for questions and answers. Kathy McCoy had concerns with the physical location of the offices and how that would work out. Warren Johnson asked Dale about his education or experience he has in Zoning and Dale replies that he has some knowledge of what Zoning is about and that he was the Chairman of the County Comprehensive Planning Committee. Warren asks Cindy Yackley if she would be interested in the administrator position. Cindy declines stating she doesn’t feel she would be what the County is looking for in an administrator.
Fred Zietlow Motions to move forward with the merging of the offices sending on to the Personnel Committee.
Motion failed for lack of a second.
Arlene Mizerka motions to move forward with the merging of the two offices, filling the Zoning Administrator’s position and the new Zoning Administrator being the department head of the merged offices.
Fred Zietlow Seconds Motion.
Discussion is held on Arlene’s motion and the Motion and Second is withdrawn.
Arlene Mizerka Motions to advertise for a full time Zoning Administrator
Kathy McCoy Seconds Motion.
Motion Carries 4 yes 1 no (Fred)
Warren Johnson Motions to merge the two departments at some point in time.
Fred Zietlow Seconds Motion.
Motion Carries 4 yes 1 no (Bruce)
Kathy McCoy Motions to adjourn
Warren Johnson Seconds Motion.
Minutes prepared by Cindy Yackley, Deputy Zoning Administrator