By the narrowest of margins, the Kewaunee County Board has tabled a proposal to conduct a study of housing needs for two months.

The board voted 10-9 on Aug. 20 on Supervisor Charles Schmitt’s motion to delay hiring Bay-Lake Planning Commission for the study until its October meeting.

Schmitt cited a CNN report that said undersupply of housing has been a nationwide trend for years because of five issues: a shortage of construction workers, slow issuance of housing permits, high material costs and tariffs, many small builders still haven’t recovered from the last downturn, and government incentives for tax breaks for certain building projects.

“Within the county we have numerous building inspectors, people in charge of the sanitation systems – whether it’s city or rural – builders, Realtors and bankers, and moreso being a rural county I believe the county’s rural zoning which involves all of the townships, and ironically we have four people serving on the board today who are also town chairmen, and they bring a lot of knowledge as well as these other individuals as far as zoning, which I think is one of the problems going forward with housing situations or problems,” Schmitt said.

He suggested forming a roundtable with one or two representatives from the county to discuss local housing issues before going to the expense of hiring an outside consultant.

Supervisor Chuck Wagner said county officials and the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp. are in the process of forming such a discussion group as part of the overall housing study.

“I do not believe our county is comparable in any way, shape or form to the rest of the country,” Wagner said. “Although I agree that a roundtable discussion among Realtors, builders, things of that sort, people who are in that business in this county might have some benefit, I think a part of that is going to be brought into the study in the first place.”

Wagner said tabling the Bay-Lake study unnecessarily delays work on the matter.

The resolution indicated that the housing study would cost $12,450, which would be taken out of the county’s contingency fund. The board’s Finance & Public Property Committee has the authority to approve contingency fund expenditures up to $20,000, but committee members chose to bring the matter to the full board anyway.

Voting to table the resolution were Schmitt, Weidner, Gerald Paape, Daniel Olson, Douglas Doell, Aaron Augustian, Thomas Romdenne, Linda Teske, Joe Lukes and Kaye Shillin.

Voting to take a vote on the resolution immediately were Wagner, Cory Cochart, Scott Jahnke, Thomas Cretney, Mary Ellen Dobbins, Kim Kroll, Virginia Haske, Lee Luft and John Mastalir.