Mayor Edward 'Casey' Jones on Brodhead using shared revenue

Brodhead Mayor Edward 'Casey' Jones considers proposals to increase and channel state aid for local governments in Wisconsin amid negotiation among neighboring municipalities about merging services.

By Zac Schultz | Here & Now

May 23, 2023

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Zac Schutlz:
So one of the other elements of this bill includes money for looking at mergers or cooperative services. You guys are already talking about merging with EMS or doing something. So I'm assuming that could potentially fall under there. And you also had a public hearing, well, Orfordville had a hearing where some of you went to look and listen. Are those real possibilities? I mean, certainly EMS is something you're looking at, but, you know, could that money on the table be enough to put something over the edge and over the finish line?

Edward "Casey" Jones:
That, I would, I think there's some differing ways of looking at stuff. Right now, and I don't know who's right or who's wrong. Sometimes it works for some places, sometimes it doesn't. Orford went to a full-time fire department, fire district, and the fire district kind of broke up over it. So that's their dynamic that they have to try to figure out. They've got, they were also very specific in the wording of their referendum. They said they were going to give six positions full-time. So they have to deliver six positions full-time in order to use that money. Well, it's not gonna happen because they can't get that, they're not getting that money because the other part of it is falling out. I think Avon, if I remember, or not Avon, Newark was like 28% of the fire district. That's 28% of the money is gone now or will be gone soon. They have still the mindset even from that meeting is that they need to have a full-time staff, full-time thing. And ours is now going towards paid on premise, keep a bunch of volunteers and stuff like this. So there's a difference in philosophy, and I don't know if that bridge can be gapped. So I can't say that, I don't think it's money that's gonna solve that. I think it's a difference in philosophy.

Zac Schultz:
Do you think that's the kind of thing that'll end up playing out in a lot of communities across the state? Or do you think at least the possibility of some money from the state being available may encourage some places to explore something that in the past they might not have been talked about?

Edward "Casey" Jones:
Oh, I think so, yeah. I mean, money is a factor for a lot of things. I like creativity. I have no problem looking at stuff and trying to figure out how to make it better. The way you, the challenge we have is trying to figure out which program to apply for to get the proper, you know, bandaid for the problem, which I don't even wanna a bandaid, what's the proper cure for the problem? But it's hard to say. Every time I think I've got it figured out, I get surprised. So I really just keep plugging along, doing the best that I can do for the city that elected me a mayor. And hopefully we can come up with cooperation and collaboration with other communities on things that we need to collaborate on to help us all get through everything we need to get through.

Zac Schultz:
Is there any other obvious category besides EMS or fire that would be a possibility for some sort of collaboration?

Edward "Casey" Jones:
Just about any of 'em, I guess. So you could, I guess, you could share building inspectors. You could do, at almost any level, you could share public works, stuff with the water and light. You could do water and light stuff with the other. There's, I think, I haven't read it totally enough to know exactly what the possibilities are. Just to myself, any place you can get somebody with a like philosophy, you can cooperate, just finding the person with the like philosophy and the right timing, and that would be the best thing that you can hope for.

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