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Board should seek public input before spending on jail

7:47 PM, May 7, 2013  |  Comments
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"You can always do a referendum," said a sarcastic John Nygren when school superintendents begged for more funding. "You're hesitant because you're concerned about what people will tell you." I redirect his words to the Oconto County Board regarding the new jail.

Tom Kepla (Sobieski) says, "It's the board's job to make the decision." Seriously? The northern towns have a mere handful of votes, but pay disproportionately high county taxes while producing few inmates. We want and deserve a say in the matter. If the board uses the bonding loophole to do an end-around those who question building a new jail, they should be ready for an angry backlash, especially from the northern townships.

Proponents haven't convinced anyone other than their inner circle that we need to build a new jail when other less-expensive options lie unexamined. Shouldn't the board want to find out what voters in a mostly Republican county think about increased government spending, raising taxes, and using hazy projections to justify spending $25 million-$30 million?

Perhaps Rep. Nygren put his finger on it. They are hesitant to do a referendum because they're concerned about what the people will tell them.

Kathleen Marsh

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