As county staff prepare the 2022 budget, the board approved a list of priorities to review during budget development.
The approved priorities are health insurance, employee compensation, new positions and operating expenses.
Supervisor Bob Long said while he agreed with the importance of supporting county employees, he questioned whether health insurance and competition should be prioritized first. Long said critical services to citizens should take precedence from a budgeting standpoint.
“That’s why we're here, isn’t it? The county exists to serve our citizens,” Long said.
Supervisor Scottie Ard said the excellent service and response county residents receive is because of the exceptional staff. The way to retain that staff is with a competitive wage and excellent benefit package. Like the question of the chicken or the egg, Ard said in this case the staff comes first.
“Without the exemplary staff and service they provide, we don’t have to worry about the service because they’re not going to exist in the same manner as today,” Ard said.
The priorities were approved, with Long and Supervisor Paul Berning voting no.
In other business the county:
Renewed St. Croix County Fair lease
The board approved a 5-year renewal of the lease with the St. Croix County Fair Board for the fairgrounds in Glenwood City.
With the lease agreement, the fair board has the right to construct buildings with approval from the county administrator.
One difference to the newly approved lease is the construction of a safe room on the fairgrounds. The board approved funding for the room more than a year ago, Corporate Counsel Scott Cox said. The room will be constructed by Glenwood City and maintained by the fair board.
Approved ATV routes
Two new all terrain and utility terrain vehicle routes were approved for use in the county.
A one mile stretch of County Highway I from 50th to 60th streets in the town of Somerset was approved, as well as a stretch on County Highway NN from 50th to 60th avenues in the town of Cady.
Anytime new routes are considered, the highway committee and sheriff’s department review them for safety concerns, traffic volumes, crash history and more, Supervisor Greg Tellijohn said.