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December 12, 2019

11/30/2019 7:29:00 AM
Oneida County committee puts hold on UWEX relocation
Revisits single-point entry for courthouse
Kayla Houp
of the Lakeland Times

The Oneida County board's facilities committee put a hold Monday on the UW-Extension's proposed move from the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport to Nicolet College pending a formal contract with the county.

The plan, as presented, would have the county's UWEX program moved to the college by Jan. 1, 2020.

During the discussion questions were raised pertaining to costs associated with the relocation and the need for a formal contract with the county.

According to assistant facilities director Troy Huber, UWEX wanted to move the relocation forward to January, instead of April, as was originally planned.

"That's fine for them, but it's not fine for anyone else," Huber said.

"In the budget process, the rent to go over there is estimated to be $18,000, but this first year they were going to reduce it to $4,500," committee chair Billy Fried said. "We had some funding coming from the state, and Nicolet making some considerations."

"There's an additional $4,500 sitting there that needs to be paid that came about when we were proposing that they have to pay for that other $4,500," Huber said.

According to Huber, $4,500 had already been set aside to help UWEX with rent, but not for the move.

After the first year, the rent would go back to $18,000.

Fried added the county had approved funding the UWEX for 2020 and included the $4,500 rent, while also being committed to the $40,000 rent at the airport.

According to Fried, while there was some "debate" over that commitment eventually becoming a liability if the space weren't rented, he felt there was some "optimism" it could be rented.

"I know as a building and grounds committee, if UW (Extension) does move from that space, we certainly want to talk about public meeting spaces and that seems to be an ideal one," Fried said.

'A win-win for everybody'

The committee also had concerns about using county staff to assist with the move, moving county-owned furniture to the new location, and authorizing county staff to work on UWEX equipment while at Nicolet.

"They're also looking at using our staff to move them, which we do not recommend," Huber said, saying the relocation should be contracted to a moving company.

He added UWEX wanted to take the furniture and electronic devices at its current location to Nicolet when it relocated, as well as authorize county staff to work on their equipment while at Nicolet.

"It makes sense that they're with the college," committee member Lance Krolczyk said.

Huber agreed and said Nicolet would offer a lot "more exposure."

"It's a win-win for everybody," he said.

Unanswered questions

Huber said the way he understood it was the space UWEX was moving to was already furnished.

"So why do they need to bring the furniture that we have here out there?" he asked.

"Before anything can be moved, they need to get authority from the, let's say the admin committee, and a contract needs to be signed by the county," Fried said. "In summation, we're just saying there's a lot of unanswered questions and until they're answered and some formal things are done, it's hard for us to be able to meet their Jan. 1 relocation."

Single point entry

Also on the agenda Monday was a discussion involving potentially changing the Oneida County courthouse from a multi-point entry system to single-point entry.

"Last year, I think it got sent over to us, and then it never really went anywhere," Fried said. "We paid money for a study and all that."

He explained the county hadn't committed any money toward setting up the single-point of entry at the time.

"I had thought it might be prudent to have a day, or a week, where we ask everyone to come in the front doors, and it would help us identify what works and what doesn't," Fried said.

He added he wanted to see what the challenges would be if the courthouse had to switch over to a single-point entry.

Committee member Greg Oettinger asked what the administration committee's stance on it was.

"They need to revisit it," Fried said. "I proposed to them to at least give it a try to see how it functions and how it doesn't."

While policy on whether employees could still enter and leave the building through other doors hadn't been determined, he said there had been discussions.

"I'm trying to be proactive," Fried said and told other committee members he would bring the matter back to the administration committee to see where they wanted to go from there.

Other items

Contingent on the corporation counsel's review, the panel also approved space in the courthouse for the Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

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