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Board members question value of frequent intergovernmental meetings

Thiensville officials want discussions to be specific

Nov. 14, 2012

Thiensville - While village officials would still like to be part of the conversation, several people recently expressed concerns about the structure of intergovernmental meetings with the Mequon-Thiensville School District and city of Mequon.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting last week, the Village Board discussed its involvement in the Community Conversation, a task force looking into a number of issues of interest to all three governing entities. Branding is one such issue that has been discussed frequently.

Trustee Kim Beck said he is not opposed to meeting with representatives from the city and school district, so long as there is a specific purpose to the gatherings.

"I do not personally see a need for us to be meeting as often as we have," Beck said. "I'd like to see us meeting every six months with a facilitator and something specific to talk about. But I do not want to just keep meeting."

Trustee John Treffert said he has been sitting in on a half-dozen Mequon-Thiensville School Board meetings in an attempt to get a better understanding of how the district operates.

"Their mission is different. They're in a transitional process," Treffert said. "But I am a big believer in collaboration. I think I have a track record of this."

The next intergovernmental meeting had been scheduled for Nov. 7, but it was postponed to Jan. 16 because of the election and upcoming holiday season.

"I don't have a problem with meeting in January, so long as we have a clear goal of what we want to come out of these meetings," Beck said.

Trustee David Lange said he had concerns about some of the recent discussion topics, including a five-year strategic plan between the three entities.

While he does not mind planning a year or two out, Lange said he felt the long-range planning was challenging with so many unknown vari ables at play.

"I think that our time would be better spent with Thiensville," Lange said. "I feel like we all got sidetracked at the last meeting we attended."

After January, several board members said it might be prudent to hold the subsequent meeting in June - particularly since the spring general election in April could result in several new people in office across the trio of governing bodies.

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