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- 4 years 2 months
It's not that the St. Croix County Jail doesn't have policies regarding booking and suicide and medical watches, it's that the policies say one thing and another is being done. So says Corporation Counsel Greg Timmerman. As an example, he said policy says inmate names on a suicide-watch board are identified with a red magnet if the prisoner is to be constantly observed and with a yellow magnet if he is to be checked every 15 minutes.
For the first time next spring, St. Croix County voters will choose 19 rather than 31 members for the County Board. Candidates for the reduced-size board could begin collecting signatures on nomination papers Dec. 1. Completed forms for the supervisor positions must be filed in the office of County Clerk Cindy Campbell by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5. Primaries, if needed, will be held Feb. 16. The general election is Tuesday, April 6. The smaller board was mandated by county residents who voted in November 2008 by a margin of more than three to one to cut the number of supervisors to 19.
With only two supervisors objecting and with little discussion, the St. Croix County Board adopted a budget Nov. 10 that raises the property tax levy 4.6 percent. While votes on bonds will come later, the 2010 and subsequent budgets rely on borrowing the county's full $3.36-million allocation of Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds.
While employers and coworkers don't want people coming to work with H1N1 symptoms, workers who have little accumulated paid time off may be reluctant to stay home and lose income. St.
Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Company's motto is "Strength in Members," but other members see St. Croix County as the weak link and the county will pay a price. St. Croix has been notified that its liability premium for 2010 may be increased over 25 percent and that its self-insured retention, roughly comparable to a deductible, will be increased from $250,000 to at least $500,000 per loss. Actual costs will be determined in December. "From the other members' perspective, we are not a good risk," summarized Kristin Ziliak, St. Croix's risk manager.
Department budget requests, escalating insurance costs and lagging sales tax income sabotaged the St. Croix County Finance Committee's plan to hold the tax levy increase to the rate of new construction. Instead, when the County Board meets for its budget hearing Tuesday, Nov. 10, the committee will recommend a 2010 levy for general operations that is about 3 percent higher than this year's levy. The proposed general operations levy is $25.8 million. The recommended overall levy -- which includes county aid for bridge construction, debt service and library tax -- is up 4.6 percent.
Come April the St. Croix County Board's work will be divided among fewer supervisors, but they won't get a raise. A citizen referendum adopted in November 2008 cuts the number of County Board members from 31 to 19. The filing period for those positions opens Dec. 1. The election will be held April 2010. At its Oct. 20 meeting, the board voted to reduce the number of standing committees from about a dozen to five.
In a few months, clusters of smokers outside St. Croix County buildings and the litter of cigarette filters in county parks should be things of the past. Seventeen years ago the County Board voted to ban smoking inside county government buildings and passenger vehicles. Tuesday the board went farther by agreeing to ban use of tobacco products on the grounds of county government buildings, at the fairgrounds, in county parks and in all county-owned vehicles and equipment regardless of location. The tobacco-free policy will be effective Jan.
Two western Wisconsin lawmakers are introducing legislation to require that DNA samples be taken when suspects are arrested on felony charges. Twenty-one other states have implemented this procedure, which is aimed at stopping repeat criminals, said Sen.
Apart from inconvenience for workers who will have to file in two states, the end of the income tax reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin may have greater implications, say some lawmakers. "There's a state border there, but we really operate as a region," said Wisconsin state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls. She said ending this 40-year-old cooperative agreement could jeopardize others. "Once you lose one, it's easier to watch the others fall apart," Harsdorf said.