County Board Seeks Tourism, Economic Development PostsIssue Date: January 30, 2020
For months, Supervisors on Marinette County Board and County Administrator John LeFebvre have been discussing how to best promote tourism, economic development and community development for the county as a whole. They may be making some hard decisions before terms of all 30 supervisors end in April. Several supervisors, including County Board Chair Mark Anderson, are not seeking re-election.
In the final weeks of 2019 the board had approved LeFebvre's recommendation to end the county's tourism promotion contract with the City of Marinette, and to add a position to the Parks division of the Facilities Department to promote use of county owned facilities, mainly parks, but numerous supervisors were concerned that nothing was being done to promote overall tourism in the county.
LeFebvre has maintained that this would be done by contracting with outside agencies, with oversight from his office.
Meanwhile, need to attract more residents to move into the county to fill jobs available at numerous businesses and industries has become a growing concern related to economic development of the county as a whole.
A Bay Lakes Regional Planning Commission study commissioned by County Board and the Development committee had advised contracting with inVenture North for economic development and tourist promotion, but that recommendation has not been accepted.
After its contract with the county for tourism promotion had ended the city had asked the county to help finance the city's tourism department.
At the County Board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14, supervisors spent considerable time debating the economic development and tourism issues before instructing the Development Committee and LeFebvre to create two additional internal county positions, one for Community Development and one as Tourism Director. Both proposals had been introduced by Board Chair Mark Anderson and will likely be on the Development Committee agenda for its meeting, which is set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Motion directing the Development Committee and LeFebvre to create an Internal Community Development position was made by Supervisor Gilbert Engel, seconded by Board Vice Chair Bob Holley, and approved by a vote of 23 to 5, with supervisors Holley, Engel, Al Sauld, Tricia Grebin, Bill Stankevich, George Kloppenburg, Robert Hoyer, Penny Chaikowski, Anderson, Laura Frea, Glenn Broderick, Thomas Mandli, Jillian Schutte, Michael Behnke, Vilas Schroeder, Don Pazynski, Ken Keller, Gail Wanek, Paul Gustafson, Ted Sauve, Tom Mailand, Rick Polzin and Allen Mans in favor and supervisors Ginger Deschane, Christopher Gromala, John Guarisco, Shirley Kaufman and Clancy Whiting opposed. The District 16 supervisor post is vacant.
Motion directing the Development Committee and LeFebvre to create an internal Tourism Director Position was made by Popp and seconded by Polzin. It passed on a narrow 15 to 13 vote, with supervisors Broderick, Deschane, Engel, Gromala, Guarisco, Kaufman, Keller, Mandli, Sauld, Schutte, Stankevich, Wanek and Whiting opposed.
Once the Development Committee and LeFebvre set job descriptions and potential budgets for the two positions the issue will most likely be turned over to the Administrative Committee for recommendations on how to pay for the two new positions before they come back to County Board for approval.
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