Wausau, Schofield announce department merger - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau, Schofield announce department merger

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Every city has been faced with the challenge of saving money while maintaining services. Now, leaders in both Wausau and Schofield say they have a plan to do that.

"It's a classic example of two communities working together," Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple said.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Jim Tipple, alongside Schofield Mayor Ken Fabel, announced plans for Wausau to take over Schofield's assessment department. The department determines property values. A merger became possible after Schofield's City Assessor, Ken Hoffman, retired last summer.

"Anytime you can work with a community that shares the same types of issues, and problems and goals and objectives it's a step in the right direction," Mayor Tipple said.

With the merger, Wausau city assessors will re-valuate properties in Schofield for less money than it would normally cost. Schofield will play roughly $24,000 a year for the service. A price leaders there say could mean savings. 

"This is one more collaborative agreement the city of Schofield will enter into and we've been very proactive in trying to make those agreements happen in different communities," Mayor Fabel said.

But, this partnership is just a small step in a bigger issue. For years, surrounding communities have been talking about coming together to form one big city. Newsline 9 recently reported on that. But, officials say there are no plans to merge completely. Still, both mayors agree this move could be a step in the right direction.

"It gets more and more difficult to balance a budget," Mayor Tipple said. "So, if you can share services and hold the cost down its a win, win for all cities, villages and towns."

There are still many details to be worked out. But, leaders in both cities say they're excited about working together and what it could lead to.

Wausau and Schofield plan to work together for at least three years, that is how long the contract was slated for. But, they say it could be longer if things work out.

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