By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review

At this Tuesday’s meeting, the Marathon County Executive Committee discussed programs which seek funding from the county year after year.

One committee member opined that if all programs need to do is meet certain criteria, other programs may come seeking funding that appears to be guaranteed. This could lead to a strain on the county budget. Without some sort of ranking system or caveats, things will continue as they are. Thus, it was advised that a system be put into place to rank non-profits for such requests.

Previously, the committee discussed weaning programs off county funding over a few years. One member asked how the committee can incentivize programs to seek funding from other entities first or instead. Such programs may well meet the goals of some other local organizations. Funding through the county should be a last resort, it was said.

The public access channel relies on cable fees for funding. There is a proposal by the FCC in the works which, if passed, will give more of those fees associated with the production of such programs to the company they operate through rather than to public access itself. Consequently, it becomes more important that city and/or county funds are available to help support public access. The committee moved to keep the current arrangement of having public access video record just the county board and education meetings, as it was felt there would not be sufficient interest in any other meetings.

A request was made for reimbursement of taxi charges for an individual’s transportation to county meetings because that person does not drive. The policy on file allows for reimbursement for drivers, provided they have insurance. In fact, the particular insurance level a person holds affects how much they can be reimbursed. Committee member Guild said that if the individual is unable to drive due to disability, it might be inappropriate to deny such a request. However, strict financial limits would need to be put in place. It was stated that reasonable accommodations could be made for an individual who might make a request. A motion was passed that this be reviewed further.