Parks Department Move Advances
08/09/2019- The reorganization of some Marinette County departments takes another step forward. County Administrator John Lefebvre proposed moving the Parks Department, which is currently housed with Forestry, to the Facilities Department, a strategy he says could benefit both departments by freeing up more time in Forestry to focus on increasing timber sales and by creating a new position in Facilities that can assist with the management of various projects throughout the county. Facilities Director Martin Keyport says while adding another employee costs money upfront, it could lead to savings in the long-run.
“We have been in a mode of we wait until it fails and then go ‘Man, now what do we do?’ because no one had the time to look ahead at the 5-year, the 10-year, and the 15-year plan for equipment replacement…because we’re reacting to what’s going on. I’m still reacting to what was going on before I got here 3.5 years ago. With some help in that department, I can spend a little more time looking out at that bigger picture.”
Forestry and Parks personnel have made some significant improvements to several county parks during the few years Pete Villas has been the department head, but, Villas says the benefits of being able to direct all their effort back to the county forest are two-fold.
“The result of what we do makes the county money, but, from my professional stand-point, sound forestry is good for the landscape, for the forest.”
This week, the Infrastructure Committee approved incorporating Parks into a new Facilities and Parks Department, as well as creating an Assistant Facilities and Parks Director role. If approved by the County Board, those changes would take effect in January.