Brokaw to examine options for its financial future
BROKAW (WAOW) -- The village of Brokaw is facing questions about its future.
Brokaw is in heavy financial debt and Marathon County officials are trying to find a solution.
Since the Wausau Paper mill closed in 2012, Brokaw has struggled financially. Now, county officials say dissolving the village entirely could be a possibility.
"We have a very difficult situation in the village of Brokaw because the economy up there was really built around Wausau Paper," said Jim Rosenberg, the chair of Marathon County's Education and Economic Development Committee.
"After the mill closed, the ramifications of that have really never been dealt with," said Matt Bootz, the chairman of the town of Texas.
Debt has piled up, and Marathon County officials say it's time to find solutions.
They say one option is completely dissolving Brokaw.
"What would happen if that village dissolved is it would revert to the townships that it was a part of before," Rosenberg said.
That means it would become a part of the towns of Maine and Texas.
"Those townships would then be inheriting a huge debt that they had nothing to do with," said Rosenberg. "It's really not very fair to those citizens."
Breaking up Brokaw is not a popular option among county leaders.
"Everyone's saying dissolution and from what I've heard from Brokaw, that's the last thing they want to do," Bootz said.
Brokaw's president declined an interview. The town of Maine's chairman declined an on-camera interview, but he says he's in favor of keeping Brokaw the way it is.
County officials say they aren't leaning one way or the other.
"The dissolution is [an option] that has been held out," said Rosenberg. "It's probably as much of a speculative matter as anything. I don't expect it to happen."
Speculation is all anyone can offer at this point, but officials say starting a conversation is the first step.
"Now that they've realized there's some problems, I'm glad we're getting a line of communication open so that we can deal with the problem and get something figured out," Bootz said.
These issues are set to be discussed Tuesday night at 7 at a meeting of the county's Economic Development Committee. Leaders from Brokaw, Maine and Texas say they plan to be there.