- Member for
- 3 years 9 months
Twelve new supervisors, nearly 40 percent of the St. Croix County Board, took office last week before new officers and committees were elected. There was no candidate on the spring ballot for the District 8 seat formerly held by Tom Dowd, and that position remains unfilled.
Clarence "Buck" Malick, who has been chairman of the St. Croix County Board for the last six years, lost the post Tuesday to Roger Rebholz. Rebholz, of Hudson, who has been on the board for about seven years, received 20 votes.
Tests will be conducted in early May to determine the conductivity of the ground in anticipation of installing a geothermal heating and cooling system at the St. Croix County Government Center. Building Services Director Art Tobin said the test will involve installing one vertical heat exchanger to a depth of 200 feet. At a minimum, the test will be conducted for 36 hours. Bids for the work are due by noon Friday, April 11.
Reform of long-term care programs is expected to slash waiting lists for disabled adults, but some St. Croix County leaders wonder if it will dampen services provided to the county's elderly. As part of long-term care redesign, the county must establish an Aging and Disability Resource Center.
A sluggish economy isn't helping St. Croix County's bottom line as 2007 sales tax receipts fell behind those received for 2006. Finance Director Michelle Pietrick waited until March, after sales tax collected by merchants in December arrived, to ask the County Board's Finance Committee to transfer $189,736 from the General Fund to the sales tax account.
More taxes aren't the answer. Spending must be cut, say local lawmakers as the Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle's administration tackle a biennial budget deficit projected at $652 million. Since last week, Wisconsin legislative leaders and Doyle's administration have started discussions on three disparate proposals to solve the shortfall. In early March the Department of Administration announced an expected biennium shortfall due to lower than estimated tax revenues.
The St. Croix County Board voted last week to set the 2009 pay for the county clerk, register of deeds and county treasurer at $61,000. Current pay for the three elected positions is $52,665. Last week's action results in a 16 percent raise for 2009, but the annual pay for the three positions will not be increased during the rest of their new terms. Starting this year, the three positions will be elected to four rather than two-year terms.
Although the agreements haven't been approved by union membership yet, last week the St. Croix County Board approved three-year contracts that would give annual 2 percent raises to 300 workers in four employee groups. The agreements also offer additional 1 percent mid-year raises if a new insurance plan is in place by July 1, 2008. The plan, which includes a deductible, would be optional in 2009 but mandatory for all employees by 2011. The contracts are for the General Government Support Services, Health Center, Human Services and Highway Department unions.
As St. Croix County moves to consolidate services offered by its Department on Aging with a new Aging and Disability Resource Center, its Department on Aging director is resigning. "I just feel that my personal and professional values don't fit with St. Croix County as an organization," said Kjersti Duncan Monday. "It's not so much the decision (to move toward the ADRC)," said Duncan. "I've had concerns with the process." Duncan has headed the Department on Aging for three years. She has given a four-week notice but said she's not sure when her last day of work will be.
A regional builders' association has filed lawsuits against a town in Pierce County and a town in St. Croix County, claiming the municipalities' impact fees are illegal. The suits ask for refunds totaling over $600,000. The complaints allege the ordinances place an unequal burden for improvements on new development and have thus injured the business of association members and diminished the value of their properties. The St. Croix Valley Home Builders Association, 1477 S. Knowles Ave., New Richmond, filed lawsuits against the town of St.