County designates Sebald Natural Area

by Emmit B. Feldner
of The Falls News staff

SHEBOYGAN – He was one of the first to fight for cleaning up the Sheboygan River.

On Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Sheboygan County Board honored the late Roy Sebald by designating a portion of the recently-dredged river the Roy Sebald Sheboygan River Natural Area.

The designation cover an approximately two-acre parcel on the northeast corner of the intersection of Taylor Drive and Indiana Avenue on the river in the city of Sheboygan.

Originally purchased for possible highway right-of-way, but no longer needed for that, the land will become a county park named in Sebald’s honor.

Sebald, who died in 2007, was one of the founders and an original co-chair of the Sheboygan County Water Quality Task Force.

“He deserves a lot of credit for what happened to this river,” County Administrator Adam Payne said of Sebald.

It was the task force that initiated efforts which eventually led to the Sheboygan River and harbor being dredged of poly-chlorinated biphenyl contaminated soil over the past decade or so.

“Roy Sebald brought people together,” Supervisor Jim Baumgart, a conservationist who served with Sebald in many groups and organizations, stated.

“He raised the issue (of cleaning the river) for 8 or 10 years until it finally got started,” Baumgart continued. “He set the foundation that made it easier for us. Roy Sebald brought people together to make the Sheboygan River a cleaner river.”

Payne noted that the two-acre parcel is a popular spot for fishing in the river. He said the designation of the park, “will forever remember Roy and his good work.”

Payne reported to the board on the impact of the county’s decision to drop insurance coverage for retired county employees.

Of 34 former employees who were still under the county’s health insurance plan, he said, 13 have secured new insurance and another 13 are finalizing obtaining new insurance. Three are extending their coverage by the county under federal COBRA provisions, while four have enrolled in Medicare. One person is still not accounted for, he added.

“It looks as though just about everyone has landed on their feet,” Payne summarized.

An agreement for the county to provide computer services to the village of Elkhart Lake was approved by the board, but with opposition from Supervisor Fay Uraynar.

The resolution allows the county to provide IT services on its computer system to Elkhart Lake and to any other municipalities in the county who wish to use it.

Uraynar contended the county was competing unfairly with private sector providers.

“We’re directly quoting against IT providers in Sheboygan County that provide jobs,” Uraynar stated. “The county shouldn’t be in business to compete with local IT companies. I don’t find that helpful.”

“We’re certainly not looking to compete with business as a rule, but these municipalities have approached us, asked us to help them help reduce costs for their taxpayers,” Payne responded.

“We’re saving taxpayers money,” Supervisor Brian Hoffmann said. “Cities, towns and villages will be saving money, and that goes back into the taxpayers’ wallets.”

“A lot of these municipalities don’t have anybody doing IT,” added Supervisor Devin LeMahieu.

The resolution passed with only Uraynar voting no.

The board approved issuing $14.575 million in bonding for capital projects in the wake of some good news from the county’s bonding advisor, Robert W. Baird and Co. Managing Director Bradley Viegut.

The interest rate on the bonds will be 2.95 percent, lower than was originally projected and the county will save around $300,000 in interest costs as a result, Viegut told the supervisors.

The county also had its AA2 bond rating reaffirmed by Moody’s, placing Sheboygan County in the top 10 percent of all rated counties in the nation, according to Viegut.

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