Kenosha County Board Chair: Parks Could Close For the Winter Because of Impasse

Nov. 28, 2022 9:45p; Updated at 11:40p with Kerkman statement

(WGTD)---If the Kenosha County budget impasse continues much longer, the county’s parks could be closed for the winter in order to save money on plowing.

Kenosha County Board chair Gabe Nudo made the remark at an open meeting of the county board’s Public Works/Facilities committee Monday night. "Maybe, maybe, and please don't quote me on that but these are all things we're looking at right now. Since it's not really essential we want to try to save the money on the plowing and maybe close the parks for the winter since they're not really used," said Nudo, adding "these are all options." 

The county budget crisis came about when six members of the county board voted against approving both the operating budget and capital improvement program borrowing last month. The vote left the board one vote short of the three-quarters needed to approve the bonding measure.

Those who voted no were upset over what they believed were the needless and unwise eliminations of three positions, including two in the public works department.

When questioned by a county board supervisor Monday night, Nudo said the three alternatives that were presented recently by the minority aimed at restoring the positions weren’t realistic. "Those are not options and for many reasons and I can go into details once we go on the 15th," said Nudo, referring to a scheduled committee meeting where the impasse is expected to be discussed. 

Meanwhile, in a strange business-as-usual atmosphere, one of the targeted public works employees who appears to be out of a job at the end of the year gave the committee an update on his work.

Frank Martinelli oversees a number of county projects. Based on his comments, and those of his supervisor, Public Works Director Shelly Billingsley, Martinelli is continuing to work on those assignments, and has even been assigned a new one: Coming up with an emergency weather plan for the Kenosha County Center.

After the meeting, Martinelli declined to comment when approached by a reporter.

Late Monday night Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman issued this statement: "While it is not our intention to close the parks for the winter, Chairman Nudo's comment demonstrates the challenge we face if we go into the new year without bonding authority. We are continuing to look at all the various options to ensure that the most essential county government activities will continue if the County Board fails to come to an agreement."