Sen. Vinehout Introduces Bill to Foster County Cooperation

Bill saves taxpayer money by allowing local governments to share equipment and personnel

Sen. Vinehout today introduced a bill to foster cooperation in road repair among local government. The bill reverses earlier action by lawmakers to prohibit such cooperation.

“It just makes sense for counties to cooperate,” said Vinehout. “Road equipment is expensive; certain county workers have special skills and experience. Working together brings costs down for taxpayers.”

An amendment to the state budget passed this summer stopped counties from working together unless the project involves roadwork in extending into an adjacent county.  The new law also forbids counties from doing work for cities within the county if the city has greater than 5,000 people.

Local officials have a long standing practice of sharing equipment and personnel with surrounding counties. Cooperation fosters efficient utilization of equipment and crews. 

“All across western Wisconsin counties cooperate,” said Vinehout. “Neighboring counties share a pavement painting machine in Vernon County; a machine that reclaims asphalt in Buffalo County; bridge expertise in St. Croix County and a hot mix plant in Trempealeau and Chippewa Counties. Clark and Jackson Counties even share a highway commissioner.”

Vinehout concluded, “If my bill does not pass, all this cooperation will grind to a halt. Wisconsin should encourage cooperation in government; not make it illegal.”