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NEWS STORIES

Oneida County Board Discusses Mining Rules, Wireless ServicesSubmitted: 10/16/2012

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RHINELANDER - On Monday, some Oneida County Supervisors hoped to end any future mining exploration.

They wanted to remove the current rules, making it more difficult for mining to come back before the board.

But, the full county board decided today to push the idea back to the Forestry Committee, which oversees mining, to make that call.

Any future mining projects would have to write new rules and form a new committee.

Supervisor Paul Dean put forth the resolution.

"Without the language there, that means whoever wants to start this up again will have to go through the language and startup a new committee," Dean said.

"It makes a little bit harder to have another committee or people saying we want this."

Other board members thought removing the committee would waste time in the future if the issue comes up again.

"I don't think it does any harm to anybody to leave this on the books," Supervisor Tom Rudolph said.

"Rather than in case there is some interest in mining or a referendum indicates we should resurrect this issue, we don't have to start again from scratch to draft a new ordinance."

The board voted 15 to 4 to send it back to committee.

Technology upgrades were also up for debate.

The board is looking into county wireless or internet coverage.

Dave Hintz and others mentioned the benefits of enhancing coverage across the county.

"The purpose of this committee would be to enhance internet service throughout the county and cell service throughout the county," Hintz said.

"Basically like an economic development effort to improve service in the area that was facilitated by the town of Three Lakes."

Supervisor Bob Martini thinks the expansion could help business, tourism, and residents.

"I think the more counties that undertake a coordinative role in this subject, the more this whole system will advance across the nation," Martini said.

While some support the idea, Jerry Shidell thinks wireless and information technology should be left to the private sector.

He doesn't think taxpayers should float the cost for people who live in areas without coverage.

"If you live out in the middle of the boondocks, you chose to live in the boondocks," Shidell said.

"Does that mean that, I, who chose to live in the city or others who chose to live in a more populous area have the responsibility to provide you with your coverage? I don't believe so. Especially since you can get that coverage from a satellite, if it is that important to you, put up a satellite."

The board ultimately voted to create a technology committee and explore the options.

Story By: Matt Doyle

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