By 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.