Local Elected Officials Support Shared Services
Posted on 10/05/2023

West Bend, WI – In recent months, County Executive Josh Schoemann, along with County Board Chair Jeff Schleif, have hosted a series of meetings with the county local elected municipal officials to discuss shared services. These discussions have focused on collaboration, and the resulting county proposal prioritizes sharing services to provide citizens with much-needed efficiencies, stretching every taxpayer dollar a bit further.

County Board Chair Jeff Schleif: “The County Board has been talking about shared services and smaller government for about a decade and favor such an approach.  I am very glad to see we are working together to create smaller government and better efficiencies while saving our community members’ taxes.”

In the initial proposal, the county would be responsible for costs that currently are typically charged back to the municipalities for reimbursement.  For example, costs for election ballots, Property Tax Bill printing, and local road maintenance (i.e., crack filling, ditch work, mastic, etc.) Additionally, the county looks to add one full-time Municipal Planner position to assist the municipalities, consolidate Emergency Dispatch with Hartford and Germantown, work on shared IT services with Kewaskum and other interested municipalities, and provide additional funding for library services.

Fuzz Martin, Kewaskum Village President: “Kewaskum prides itself on running a lean budget. However, strict levy limits, inflation, increased demand for services, and federal/state regulations have made it difficult to balance keeping costs low and remain competitive with other communities. We are grateful to Washington County for working with us to find creative solutions through shared services. Working together allows us to reduce redundancies and remain fiscally responsible while providing improved services and amenities to our residents, businesses, and visitors.”

The discussions among the elected officials have illuminated many common concerns including road repair; strained Fire and EMS services; and lead pipe laterals still found in older neighborhoods in the county, particularly in West Bend, that are a potential public health concern. To address this, the county proposes Fire/EMS grants and water main replacement with lead lateral grants, totaling $5,000,000 over the next three years.

Scott Stortz, Village of Slinger President: I want to thank Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann for his continued efforts to work with the Chief elected officials across the county to put a proposed shared revenue plan together for the County Board of Supervisors to consider.

Since the road referendum took place this past spring, we have worked together to try and find a path forward. Although we still have much to accomplish to make a more permanent commitment to the individual municipalities, I am very happy with this first major step forward.”

Bob Bingen, Chairman Town of Addison: “The Town of Addison appreciates County efforts to find areas where we can work together to share services and save taxpayer dollars. We believe that current and future discussions will help fund efficiencies in many areas of shared responsibility including road repair, IT services, municipal planning and maintaining our fire protection services.”

The chief elected officials will meet again at the end of the month to continue to forge a path to consolidation of services, with a focus on efficiency and tax savings on behalf of the citizens of Washington County.

“With ever-tightening budgets, these discussions have been necessary and fruitful. The proposed county shared revenue grant program will provide more than $10.7 million in shared service benefits over the next three years, freeing up dollars in our local municipality budgets to use toward other priorities. This is a win for our county taxpayers,” - County Executive Josh Schoemann.