I was very surprised and disappointed by Thursday’s urgent amendment to the County Board’s resolution on the need to build a new law enforcement center. This amendment states that an addition would be built (probably to the north) of the Court House, which means the City of Oconto would lose over $1,000,000 in tax base! This is devastating for the taxpayers of this city. We have already suffered over a million-dollar loss in tax base due to the bypass a few years ago – loss of businesses, homeowners, ect. Our people are also dealing with the recent water rate increases. I pleaded with the County Board that they not consider this option and put our city in this financial dilemma – to no avail. I am bothered that this urgent amendment occurred so quickly, when for years a different site in Little River was supposed to be the best option. Is it good business sense to totally shift gears without plans or costs for those plans? These are such huge decisions to make – is every County Board member absolutely sure that this facility is absolutely needed? I toured the jail and admit it needs upgrades in areas. I have the list from the State that points out the jail’s deficiencies. I do not see anywhere on the State’s letter that we must build a new facility. I have been given tons of information, but I am not confident about all of the figures. Especially when I am getting opinions from people close to this situation, that these numbers may not be correct. If I was totally convinced of its necessity, I would definitely support it wholeheartedly. And then the referendum that was – then isn’t. We were told Thursday that it was a misunderstanding that a referendum was offered. How could a misunderstanding of this magnitude even happen? Weren’t questions asked and legal opinions garnered a long time ago? It looks like the people of this County are going to be bypassed, and not allowed to voice their opinion through a referendum vote on a possible $25,000,000 question, simply because the answer would very likely be “no.” Is that representation of the people? I walked out of Thursday’s meeting feeling very empty, very unrepresented. I have experienced this feeling before with many of the City’s issues. I did not expect it to be County-wide too. I can only hope and pray from this point forward, that the people responsible to formulate the answers to the exact future needs of this facility, do so correctly, for the sake of every taxpayer in this County. And that these taxpayers exercise their rights and become involved, before the final bottom line is signed!
Remember, “And in the end, through the long ages of our quest for light, it will be found that truth is still mightier than the sword.” — Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Victoria Bostedt, Mayor for Oconto