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Committee nixes Sauk County mural proposal

A committee decided Wednesday not to budget $45,000 for a mural on the county's West Square Building in Baraboo.

An oversight committee isn’t ready to budget $45,000 to paint a mural on Sauk County government’s Baraboo office building next year, but will consider doing so in the future.

A panel decided Wednesday not to include funds for the project — championed by Sauk County Board Chairman Peter Vedro of Baraboo — in the county’s 2019 Arts, Humanities & Historic Preservation budget.

Vedro appeared before the board’s University of Wisconsin-Extension, Arts & Culture Committee to lobby for the budget item, saying community art is an evidence-based method for attracting young professionals to communities. He said the mural project would fit with the county’s placemaking and Smart Growth efforts.

A professionally painted mural on the county’s West Square Building would show those who visit downtown Baraboo that “this is a community that values art,” Vedro said.

The project initially was proposed at the board’s Property and Insurance Committee meeting last week. However, supervisors voted 3-2 against the budget item after Administrative Coordinator Alene Kleczek Bolin advised that county-sponsored art projects fall under the purview of a different committee.

Kleczek Bolin told UW-Extension, Arts & Culture Committee members Wednesday that the budget they were slated to consider already included $5,000 for art inside county buildings. She said the Sauk County Art Association is helping with that effort.

Board Vice Chairman William Hambrecht of Prairie du Sac, who chairs the committee, said $5,000 was a good start toward promoting more artwork on county grounds.

“That seems to be a reasonable thing at this time, as far as I see,” Hambrecht said, adding that the committee could revisit the mural idea in a future budget year. Other committee members agreed, and approved a 2019 spending plan that did not include funds for the mural.

Oversight committees are in the process of approving county agencies’ 2019 budget requests. The board’s Finance Committee will go over the requests during a series of meetings in late September, and then propose a budget to the full board in October.

Supervisors will have a month to review the proposal before taking final action on a 2019 county budget in November.

Follow Tim Damos on Twitter @timdamos

Reporter for the Baraboo News Republic.