LAFAYETTE COUNTY - The consolidation of two Lafayette County departments was discussed at a joint meeting of the bargaining committee and planning and zoning committee on Monday, Nov. 28.
With the upcoming retirement of zoning administrator Steve Hubner, the committees discussed combining the zoning department with the land conservation department and possibly eliminating one position. By state statutes the county must have a zoning administrator and the committees discussed combining that position with the county conservationist while distributing many of the duties of the zoning administrator throughout the land conservation department staff. County board supervisor David Hammer said there could potentially be a cost savings of $42,000.
Hubner said he didn’t think it would work as easily as the committees anticipated.
“The thing that is mindboggling to me is that I can barely get my job done now,” Hubner said. “I’m already doing the job of two people; I’m a sanitarian and a zoning guy.”
Hubner said with the new state law requiring inspection of all private sewer systems, he has to know about plumbing as well as zoning.
County conservationist Lisa Trumble said several other counties in the state have looked at doing something similar. The difference was that those counties had more staff to absorb the workload.
“I wouldn’t be retiring if they hadn’t taken my half-time secretary,” Hubner said. “I just can’t do the job… I’m doing my work and expected to do all of the work she was doing, too.”
Supervisor John Bartels said a person can only do so much individually.
Hubner said training and licensure would be required for another department to take over his duties.
Supervisor Dwayne Larson said the county would save some money for a while, but in the long run, when the economy turns around, they would have to hire another person.
The zoning administrator position has already been advertised and several applications have been received. Applications are due on Nov. 30 and they will be reviewed on Dec. 5-6.
Supervisors Ted Wiegel and Bartels made the motion to leave the position as it is and continue with the hiring process. The motion passed unanimously.
Trumble said the two departments can look at efficiencies in the future to save time and money by working together.