News: Neillsville, Wisconsin (14 May 2005)

Transcriber:  Crystal Wendt

----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Sat, May 14, 2005 Clark Co. eyes parks to ease sting of budget

By Matt Ollwerther; Marshfield News-Herald

NEILLSVILLE - In an effort to ease a budget pinch for the coming year, Clark County will consider passing maintenance costs on to willing local governments.

Upkeep for Humbird County Park in southwest Clark County might be passed along to Humbird and the town of Mentor residents soon if the Clark County Board approves the shift.

The move would reportedly save about $7,000 each year for the county.

Carol Johnson of Humbird said upkeep on the park would include water testing the 33-acre lake once a year, pumping the bathrooms and mowing the grass.

The county recently installed new equipment and did rewiring, which should minimize future upkeep.

"Our maintenance would be nominal, but that says nothing about the future," she said.

The notion of acquiring Humbird Park was discussed at the annual town meeting, Johnson said. Those present voiced an "almost unanimous" opinion that the choice be pursued, she added.

Humbird officials still are seeking further information, Johnson said.

And so are county officials.

At its April 28 meeting, the Forestry and Parks Committee voted to prepare the necessary documentation and write a resolution to go before the county board.

Mark Heil, forestry and park administrator, said his department is "looking at every opportunity to reduce overall operating costs to county park system." That could present options such as the transfer of parks, implementing new user fees or streamlining operational procedures, Heil said.

"The committee is working hard to assist wherever they can," he said.

If the county board decides to hand control of the park over to local officials, it would help reduce a projected budget shortfall of nearly $1.5 million for the 2006 budget.

The board might go into a committee as a whole to discuss budget issues at its meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the County Board Room, 517 Court St..

Matt Ollwerther can be reached at 384-3131, at 800-967-2087, ext. 358, or at



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