By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD — New radios for Marshfield police officers would get funding initially earmarked for a new pet shelter under a proposal endorsed by city aldermen Oct. 24.
During a special meeting on the city’s proposed 2018 budget, the Marshfield Common Council voted unanimously in favor of taking $190,000 that was set aside this summer as a contribution to the Marshfield Area Pet Shelter (MAPS) and reallocate it toward 45 new radios for the Marshfield Police Department.
Alderman Tom Witzel made the suggestion and the motion to make the switch.
“Quite frankly, I think the safety of our sworn officers and the citizens is far more important than the comfort of the stray pets,” Witzel said.
Forty-five new radios will cost $180,000, and City Administrator Steve Barg said the pet shelter donation from the city could be pushed off until 2019, when MAPS’ new facility is tentatively scheduled for construction.
“What we would be doing is saying, ‘OK, we will borrow the ($190,000) for MAPS in 2019 instead of 2018, slide in another $120,000 for borrowing for the radios,’” Barg explained. “Ultimately, it increases our borrowing over those two years, but it could be done.”
Barg and the council had initially proposed purchasing the radios 15 at a time over three years, but Alderman Peter Hendler said the 45 radios could not wait.
“You cannot imagine the situations that they are placed in on many occasions that we don’t even know about, and I think public safety — either to the officer or the fire department or the public — is paramount. It’s vital,” Hendler said. “In this day and age, you never know.”
The council had voted in June of this year to help build the proposed pet shelter with a contribution of $190,000. Most aldermen indicated at the Oct. 24 meeting they would be in favor of adding that spending to the 2019 city budget instead. In 2015 the city did pay for a portable HVAC system for MAPS’ temporary home in the municipal airport’s former terminal building.
MAPS’ current goal is to construct its new 7,700-square-foot facility in 2019.