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Police department merger talks Monday get attorney input

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Town and Village of Weston, Rothschild, and Schofield leaders meet to discuss possible police department merger with Chief Wally Sparks and attorney Shane Vanderwaal
Town and Village of Weston, Rothschild, and Schofield leaders meet to discuss possible police department merger with Chief Wally Sparks and attorney Shane Vanderwaal
EMPD Chief Wally Sparks disc... (Download MP3)
Attorney Shane Vanderwaal di... (Download MP3)

WESTON, WI (WSAU) - Leaders of four communities met again Monday with their attorney to move towards a possible police department merger. The Village of Weston, Town of Weston, City of Schofield, and Village of Rothschild officials met with Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks and attorney Shane Vanderwaal.

One question brought up was about how Rothschild officers would be brought into the Everest Metro Police Department. The group agreed that the officers would have no loss of rank or pay. Chief Sparks believes one Captain would actually get a slight pay increase in the move. He says the biggest changes will be scheduling people in shifts they might not be used to in a fair manner. “It’s no longer a nine or a twenty-five man department, it’s a thirty-four man department, and you know we have to staff our schedules to accommodate serving the public and so there will be some minor changes, but nobody should be adversely affected.” Sparks adds, “ We’re looking at defining our beat areas and our shifts to accommodate the workload, so it isn’t just (we) divvy up this many people and this many work days, this many work nights, we adjust the shifts and we stagger our shifts so it meets the demand for service.”

Attorney Shane Vanderwaal received input from the municipal leaders, and has several ordinances to modify and send to each board for approval. “The City of Schofield and the Village of Rothschild have charter ordinances which will have to be amended through the statutory process. They also have standard ordinances which will need to be amended. The Town of Weston will have to create some ordinances.”

Part of the proposed merger involves a Rothschild buy in of around 444-thousand dollars for the building costs and their portion of the police department’s fund balance. Vanderwaal says the existing three municipalities will have decisions to make when that happens. “When the Village of Rothschild pays its percentage share in, those entities, I-E the Town of Weston, Village of Weston and City of Schofield would be entitled to a portion of reimbursement, and (we’re) just trying to understand what each municipality wishes to do with those funds.”

The buy-in dollars may end up refunded to the other three municipalities. They might buy down the building debt and save interest money, or they might choose to build the operating fund balance to cover emergency costs and lower future budget requirements. He says that will be up to each municipal board to decide.

 

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