Rock County parks, land will keep money
In other business Thursday night, the Rock County Board:
-- Approved the 2035 comprehensive plan. View the plan at www.co.rock.wi.us. Click on the link to the planning department, or call the department at (608) 757-5587.
-- Tabled a discussion on a resolution to sell the former Tiffany gravel pit to the town of La Prairie. The town is interested in turning the unused pit into a park, board Chairman Mike Saunders has said.
JANESVILLE Rock County will have to keep looking for cash to fill a projected 2010 budget shortfall.
The county board Thursday night voted 21-5 against pulling $250,000 from a special parks and conservation fund.
A few people said the county faces tough financial decisions and every little bit will help. But the majority of the board members and county residents who spoke said the money would have the best impact if it stayed in the fund.
The finance committee approved the resolution in August. The resolution would have borrowed $250,000 from a fund that was created when the American Transmission Company gave the county $1.8 million for a high-voltage transmission line that’s being built across the county.
The $1.8 million was equally split between the parks and land conservation departments in the 2009 budget.
The parks department intends to spend the money on capital projects, Director Lori Williams has said.
Land conservation will use the money for several projects. The biggest would be the creation of a farmland preservation program, said Alan Sweeney, a member of the county board and the conservation committee.
Here’s what people had to say Thursday night:
-- Suzie Smith, county parks volunteer, 12618 W. Dorner Road, Brodhead: “After years of delaying many (parks) projects, we could get on to some of these. Many of our workers are over 60 (years old). They would like to see some of these projects get done before they’re gone. The parks are good for all residents. Keep that money in the parks and let us use it for the good of all the public.”
-- Board member Richard Bostwick, Janesville, chairman of the land conservation committee: “When we voted overwhelmingly to preserve the ATC funds, we knew then our financial situation was bad and due to get worse. Now the time is here and things are worse, but we all saw it coming. There’s no shock here. Moving the money would have a small impact on the grand scheme of the budget but a huge impact on the programs they were set aside for.”
-- Board member James Joiner, Janesville: “I would argue $250,000 would make a huge impact (on the total budget.) I would further request that I hear some things besides “no.” I would like to hear alternatives. Saying “no” isn’t a conversation or debate and gets us no closer to patching that hole we face.”