In A Perfect World, We Would All Play Nice

John H. FischerBy Dr. Rent

I understand that this is the “Wausau” blog, but what do you consider “Wausau”?  Do our thoughts of Wausau end at the city limits?  They don’t for me.

For me, Wausau means the entire metro area, to include Schofield, Rothschild, Weston, Rib Mountain, etc.  Newcomers to the area don’t realize just how many different communities are in what they consider Wausau.  Many people who have lived in this area their entire life cannot state for certain where Wausau ends and Schofield or Weston begin.

As someone who has to interact with local governments on a regular basis, each government entity is unique.  Each has its benefits, and each has its difficulties.  In a perfect world, this entire metro area would fall under one governing body.  However, as a realist, I know that will never happen.  The next best choice would be if there was full cooperation between the various communities that make up the Metro area.  But let’s face it; often they just can’t play nice.

There are some areas of inter-government cooperation.  And where this cooperation exists, it is very successful.  The Everest Metro Police Dept. (a joint police force serving the Village of Weston, the Town of Weston and the City of Schofield) was one of the first of its kind and has been used as a model for other joint departments.  Schofield and Rothschild have combined resources on one pool facility serving both communities.  The cooperative agreement between Weston and Wausau for the new aerial fire truck is the stuff of great headlines and has been recently renewed.

However, there are so many more areas where these communities could work together, and they could do so without loosing their identity as a community.  Not long ago there were discussions of combining the fire fighting services of all of the Metro communities, but that was killed by pride (in my opinion anyway).

It would be nice if the communities could get together to establish a uniform zoning code.  When building a single family home in R-1 zoning in the City of Wausau, the same house would have many different requirements in R-1 of Weston or Schofield.  If these codes were consistent, the departments regulating this zoning could be combined.

Think of all of the areas where taxpayer money could be saved by eliminating the duplication of services.  Schofield recently purchased a new fire engine and built a new fire station.  Yet, Wausau and Weston’s full-time crews could respond to a Schofield fire faster than Schofield’s volunteer crew on most occasions.

There was recent discussion on how much money Wausau will need to spend on its pools, when there are other fine public pools available.  There is discussion as to whether Wausau needs a dog park, when Weston already has a large one.

I would like to commend those leaders who look at the big picture and realize more can be done with cooperation.  The fire truck agreement discussed earlier was entered into with much reservation, but renewed with much enthusiasm.

I have been told that the outcome of the mayoral race in Schofield could end the poster child for community cooperation, the Everest Metro Police Dept.

The communities of the Wausau area are not stand alone communities.  They need each other.  Once they realize this, there is power (and savings) in numbers.  We should all encourage our municipal leaders to work together.

Dr. Rent.

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19 responses to “In A Perfect World, We Would All Play Nice

  1. I think your right. I worked at the RS Pool for a long time in the summer of high school, and a few from college. It has existed for probably 40 years as a coop idea. I remember Dale Braatz, Glady Blaskowski, and Ed something or other as the commisioners coming to the pool most days to tell me to pick weeds. And me ignoring them.

    I think the only place we should join up, at least the one that makes the most sense, is police and fire. I mean there really is no differance between weston and schofield and wausau, they are all smmooosshheeeddd together. Why not let the same officers and firefighters protect us.

    You know it is coming eventually.

  2. How do we get all the communities to agree on one set of laws though? Each village has its own set of ordinances. They would all have to agree on one set of city ordinances or else the police would have to learn a separate set of laws for each of the juridictions they enforce wouldn’t they?

  3. I do not know. but at some point we all need to accept certain things. Otherwise its anarchy.

    GUYS LIKE BURT WILL TAKE OVER

  4. I trust Ed Gale the ninja as well

    Though it might be fear of the Ninja

  5. that is a good point… however… schofield and weston have difference ordinances and it all seems to work.

  6. Durango Tequila...hmmm

    I remember when the idea of was tossed around in the mid-90’s about consolidating Wausau, Weston, Rib Mountain, Schofield, Rothschild, Kronenwetter, and other towns around the area into one city. It never materialized, but I believe we should revisit the thought of a city over 100,000 people. Granted, the smaller communities would never want to give up their identity as would Wausau if this were to occur. However, we should at least visit the thought of combining police/fire dept’s. Certain towns/villages receive a fraction of funds that Wausau would by both federal and state governments due to its size. Yet they are forced to deal with Wausau’s overflow problems of crime (unfortunately) as does Wausau Police, due to the geographical layout of this concentrated area. Now combine Everest Metro with Wausau at the very least, and our newly formed department would qualify for more grants due to the fact that there is a higher number for the police officer:citizen ratio. Tracking? Or am I going in circles?

  7. Overflow or Crime?? WTF… Crime can’t be blamed on just one person or place… it happens everywhere.

  8. It does happen everywhere… but statistically speaking there is more going on in a large metro area.

    Schofield is a good example, with a population of right around 2,000, it compares to Stratford in size. However Stratford is a stand-alone community. I would wager that if you compared Stratford’s numbers for police calls with Schofield’s, Schofield would be huge compared to Stratford, yet both communities are the same size.

    The difference, Schofield does not stand alone. It is part of a larger metro area and therefore suffers from different problems inherant to such areas.

  9. Yeah, but to call it Wausau’s overflow is to point the finger at Wausau when only half the metro population lives there.

  10. Hello all,
    I used to work for the government in a municipal planning capacity, so I thought I could add to the discussion. Wisconsin updated its comprehensive planning legislation several years ago requiring all community and county comprehensive plans to have an “intergovernmental cooperation” element. That is, a plan to identify how to go about doing the things everybody is talking about above. As of 2010, it will be a state law that local leaders are required to follow these plans when making decisions (consistency with the plan). I know Marathon County Planning has been working on such a plan for all the Wausau Metro area and may be completed with it by now. Those who are interested could obtain a copy of the plan or review it (if it’s finished it would be at the public library) to see if there are any elements in it that go along with our discussion here of police and fire coordination. I am positive it will say something about this, I just don’t know how aggressive it will be in addressing the issue. Good discussion!

  11. Good addition, Craig. For those interested in learning more about the comprehensive planning process here (and staying off the currently slippery roads):

    http://www.co.marathon.wi.us/infosubtop.asp?dep=27&tid=1

  12. Thank god you made it back J-Bone. Hit us with a post.

  13. My daughter wants to know why they are renting out the guy in the picture…. 🙂

  14. … Because selling John outright just seems like it wouldn’t be right? 🙂

  15. And what would be wrong with that Jim? Maybe we could get a player to be named later. 😉

  16. it better be a pretty high draft pick

  17. Tell you what, Doc. We got a new guy coming to the plate today and it looks like he’s got a lot of potential, so we’ll keep ya around to bat cleanup. I’ll call your agent, maybe we can go half again on your salary to keep you through the season.

    Just ignore those nasty trade rumors. 😉

  18. Cut my pay in half….. wow.. what will I do…

    Do you have any clue how much it costs to keep a St. Bernard fed?

  19. John, please!!! I meant INCREASE your salary by 50%!!! Come back to the table!

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