by Randy Nesbitt, Attorney, Pinkert Law Firm
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I was invited to provide legal advice to the Town of Sevastopol at its annual meeting on April 16, and I would like to applaud the Town Board for its smooth and efficient operation. Having attended town meetings for three decades, I have come to realize that town government can be boiled down to a few essential elements: Take care of the roads. Take care of public safety. Provide some town recreation facilities. And finally, handle other items as they arise in an orderly and fiscally responsible manner.
The Town of Sevastopol gets check marks in all of those boxes. Sevastopol, like most towns, has fiscal limits on the funds available for road construction and maintenance. Because the town has no debt, it has been able to allocate additional funds to keep up on road repair.
Public safety is handled well in the Town of Sevastopol. Police protection and ambulance service are provided by well-staffed and professional providers through the Door County Sheriff and Emergency Services of Door County. Fire protection is always a subject of active discussion for towns. Operating a fire department is expensive. With fire-equipment pieces costing hundreds of thousands of dollars – and even exceeding the million-dollar figure – per piece, assembling and maintaining the equipment needed for a fire department is a major expense. And then there are the labor and training costs.
The Town of Sevastopol has elected to contract with the highly rated and full-time-staffed City of Sturgeon Bay Fire Department. It has been able to contain its costs to provide professional fire protection without breaking the bank. That may not work for all towns, but it works for Sevastopol. And did I mention it has been able to accomplish this without going into debt?
The Town of Sevastopol maintains a good variety of town parks, which, until the recent, untimely passing of Supervisor Tony Haen, have been overseen and kept in neat and orderly condition by a very sincere town official who went out of his way to make life better for his fellow townspeople. He will be missed, and so will Leo Zipperer, former town chair, who also passed recently.
Every town has its critics. But although the critics like to parse through documents looking for fly specks and screaming that the sky is falling, there is no denying that this town provides the essential functions to its residents in a cost-effective and orderly manner. The town also has a paid-in-full, beautiful town hall building available for public use, and it’s staffed on a regular basis by its friendly and efficient town clerk, Amy Flok. Any noise raised by critics is dwarfed by the sounds of success.
The town auditor made a presentation that reveals just how well this town is being operated. It pays its bills, has a healthy fund balance and has the capacity to borrow more than $32 million. But it doesn’t. That’s due to Chair Dan Woelfel and his board taking their positions seriously and being good stewards with public tax dollars. The auditor repeatedly stated that the town is in good shape financially – praise that is not provided lightly.
I would like to thank the Sevastopol Town Board for inviting me to its meeting, and I wish to offer well-deserved kudos to the board for a job well done in its operation of the Town of Sevastopol.