County Board approves Wilson wetland mitigation site

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN – The County Board made a modest first deposit in the county’s wetlands mitigation bank Tuesday.

While the pending purchase of the 333-acre Amsterdam Dunes property – with a potential for up to 78 acres of wetland mitigation – was referred to the Finance Committee for its recommendation, the board approved creation of a 10-acre wetland restoration in the town of Wilson.

The parcel is located to the west of the county Highway Department’s southside shed on the Frontage Road west of Interstate 43 in the town of Wilson.

Wetlands that are restored under the mitigation program can be utilized to offset other wetland acreage that has to be filled in for public or private development projects. Any acreage that the county does not utilize for county projects can be sold either to other counties for public projects there or to private entities for projects that require filling existing wetlands.

The board approved the purchase of 50- by 60-foot concrete storage building at 615A Center Ave. to use for additional storage for the Building Services department for $155,000.

Building Services Director Jim TeBeest explained that his department has run out of storage space in an existing small garage on the south end of the Courthouse annex building. His department, he said, has been forced to store some equipment in the Sheriff’s Department vehicle bay, which has caused overcrowding there as well.

TeBeest noted that the building also comes with 26 parking spaces, “basically at no cost. We hope to use those parking spaces originally for the contractors remodeling for the combined dispatch center in the Law Enforcement Center.”

The purchase is structured to have the county pay $35,000 down and the balance in four equal annual installments.

Supervisor Roger Otten questioned why the county was not using reserve funds to pay for the purchase all at once.

Finance Committee chair Supervisor Greg Weggeman explained that the seller had asked for the four-year term for tax purposes.

Otten also asked why the county was purchasing an existing building rather than build a new one on county property. Both TeBeest and Weggeman said that building new would cost more than purchasing the existing building. “It would be considerably more expensive,” Weggeman said.

The purchase was approved by a vote of 23-2, with Otten and Fay Uraynar opposed.

Supervisor Mark Winkel, in his report on the East Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium, said that bids are currently being let for final reconstruction of the Plymouth to Sheboygan Falls rail line. The plan is to start work in July and have it completed in a year.

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