Portage County Executive
Portage Coutny A place to live, work and play.
Hello and welcome to Portage County, Wisconsin; the very best of urban and country America. I'm Mark Maslowski, the Portage County Executive, and I welcome you to our web page.
Whether you are visiting to find specific information, or just browsing, we feel you will find our web site full of information. With thousands of acres of county parkland, numerous hiking and biking trails, arts and cultural events, there are countless activities to enjoy. Portage County is a wonderful place to live, work and play.
Through the years we have created close ties between our citizens and county government. The County Executive office is here to be an advocate for you and your family. We believe that county government works only if we have strong communication with everyone concerned. This office, the County Board, county employees and the people of Portage County. Our office is here to help you better understand what county government is all about, and we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. With the historic Wisconsin River, numerous lakes and streams, our county is abundant in natural resources. With access to major highways, our nationally known university, it is easy to see why nearly 70,000 people call Portage County home. I hope that you enjoy exploring Portage County!
The duties and powers of the county executive are detailed in Chapter 59 of the Wisconsin State Statutes. The county executive is the chief executive officer of the county, much like the governor and the president are the chief executive officers of the state and federal governments respectively. The county executive's duties and powers include:
- Coordinating and directing the administrative and management functions of the county government
- Appointing and supervising county department heads
- Appointing the members of boards and commissions
The county executive is required to submit to the county board of supervisors an annual state-of-the-county message, recommendations regarding issues of concern, and a proposed annual budget. Section 59.17(5) of the Statutes requires the county executive to "...annually, and otherwise as may be necessary, communicate to the board the condition of the county, and shall recommend such matters to the board for its consideration as he or she considers expedient. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, he or she shall be responsible for the submission of the annual budget to the board and may exercise the power to veto any increases or decreases in the budget..." As referred to earlier, the administrative and management duties of the county executive are similar to those of the governor and president. A typical day for the county executive will include meetings with his appointed department heads (cabinet member), representatives of various community groups, and individual members of the general public. The county executive is invited to attend and speak at service clubs, church and school groups, scouting events and more. The county executive spends time each day communicating with federal and state legislators, local community leaders, and county board members, in addition to correspondence with concerned citizens.
Mark has been a life long resident of Portage County with the exception of a few years in our neighboring state of Minnesota. Married in 1989 to Pam, they have 2 sons, Corey and Todd, 3 Daughters, Janet, Vikki, Lisa, 5 Grandchildren Lukas, Ashley, Dalton, Alexa, Isaac and 1 dog Odie (The First Dog of the County). Mark's community service came early when he worked in radio and the Television industry from 1970-1974 outside of Stevens Point and again in 1974-1977 for WSPT which was then owned by Sentry Insurance. Mark retired in April after 32 years with Sentry Insurance where he held various human resource positions. He was sworn in on April 18, 2006 as our first elected County Executive of Portage County. Throughout the years Mark has hosted various radio "Polka Shows." It was during this time he became known as the "Polish Polka Prince of Portage County." Mark has been very dedicated to our community, volunteering for numerous groups over the last 35 years. His positive rapport makes him a natural choice to be Master of Ceremonies for community events in the area. Mark also spent 9 years on the Stevens Point Area School Board of which three years were spent as President, and nine years on the district's negotiating committee. Mark is very committed to Portage County and the job at hand. He states "The people and employee's of Portage County need to have someone on a daily basis to listen to them, and stand up for their rights as citizens of Portage County.
- (Steve) I feel a major concern for Portage County is trying to provide the level of services residents have become accustomed to and finding the financial means to continue funding those current services. Another major issue facing Portage County is addressing the “whole” Justice Center issue and associated space needs for County departments.
- (Steve) There are a number of issues that will impact the Planning and Zoning Department within the next four years such as:
A. How to maintain a high level of efficiency with possible future budget cuts, especially if the State or Federal government passes new programs/mandates without associated funding to counties.
B. How to continue to meet budgets with the rising cost of health insurance/health care and the effect of rising petroleum product costs. At least five staff members need to be traveling in the field on a regular basis.
C. There may be some retirements within the next four years and whether the County will replace positions in order to keep a high level of efficiency within the many sections of our Department.
- (Steve) The County Comprehensive Plan was probably one of the largest projects ever undertaken by the Department. Twenty-four of twenty-seven municipalities have an adopted Comprehensive Plan and the remaining three municipalities are currently working to complete their Plan. It appears by January 1, 2010 State deadline, all municipalities in Portage County will have adopted Comprehensive Plan. These plans are the result of the “Smart Growth” Law, 1999 Wisconsin Act 9.
- (Steve) the Planning and Zoning Department will have a role in the Lakes Planning Grant, if the grant is received from the State of Wisconsin. This is the second phase of work being done for 29 lakes in Portage County. The first phase, lake inventories, is complete. The final phase will be implementation of what comes out of the lake planning process. The Geographic Information System Section continues to provide mapping for staff projects and the general public. Maps are provided at minimal cost to the general public.
The Department will be developing a Well Abandonment Ordinance. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will be transferring delegations of this program in spring 2008. This effort and many others, including water testing for various contaminants, continue to be a priority in the Department to aide in meeting goals set in the Portage County Groundwater Management Plan.
The Land Conservation Section continues its aggressive program to educate the public on invasive species in the water bodies of Portage County, including Eurasian milfoil. The Windshed Partners Program, which involves Portage, Waushara, Adams, Wood and Juneau Counties, will oversee 15 miles of windbreak plantings this year.
The Department’s involvement with the Little Plover River Workgroup is an important part of continuing to monitor the drought conditions that have been present and keep alive our proactive approach to water quality and quantity in Portage County.
The Planning Section oversees the Portage County Business Park, which has seen tremendous growth over the last few years. There is an extreme amount of work that goes into monitoring each development that locates within the Park. From administering the Portage County Business Park Covenants to overseeing each development and working with associated engineers, developers, contractors, etc.z,br>
The Buena Vista Grazers Project is assisted by our Land Conservation Section, which involves grant work with local farmers. Assuring farms have a Nutrient Management Plan and compliance with that Plan, as relates to Farmland Preservation, is another important function of that Section. Very important wetland restoration projects continue to be a function of this Section as well.
Our Geographic Information System Section is involved with the Federal Local Update of Census Addresses in preparation of the 2010 US Census. This is a very involved project for this Section of the Department because it deals with every road name, improvement type, and boundary adjustment in Portage County. This Section is also assisting with developing the County’s new Computer Aided Dispatch program. Continuing to update Portage County’s maps related to addressing, lot splits, certified survey maps, land sales, etc. is an important function of this Section.
Continuing enforcement of the many County Ordinances our Department administers has increased greatly due to assigning a staff persona as an enforcement agent for the Department. This process has increased the Department’s exposure to the County’s legal system and Court functions, while bringing several properties in compliance with County Ordinances.
Text amendments to several Ordinances the Department administers will be undertaken in 2008. This includes new zoning categories being developed as a result of the Comprehensive Planning process in order to serve various needs of several municipalities in the County. A major revision to the POWTS Ordinance, which deals with on-site waste septic systems, will also take place.
1. (Mark) What do you feel is a major concern for Portage County?
2. (Mark) What do you feel will impact the Planning and Zoning Department with the next four years?
3. (Mark) County Comprehensive Planning?
4. (Mark) Tell me about the good things that are happening within the Department or in Portage County that Planning and Zoning have been involved in.