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St. Croix County Board, Sept. 16, 2008

proceedings of the


Regular Meeting September 16, 2008

Invocation given by Deacon Dick Peterson of St. Anne's Catholic Church, Somerset, Wisconsin. Pledge of Allegiance recited. Meeting called to order by Chair Rebholz at 9:00 a.m.

Roll call: 28 present; 3 absent: Supr. Cranmer, Supr. Horne, and Supr. Luckey.

Supr. Standafer explained that department heads will present their 2009 proposed budgets. In October there will be a preliminary balanced budget and final adoption in November. Supr. Standafer stated there is a $2.5 million gap today in terms of the levy requests. Supervisors are requested to consider prioritization and philosophy. There are no increases for non-represented employees included in the 2009 budget but ultimately there's a need to develop a salary plan. Supr. Standafer indicated there is no increase in health insurance numbers included; the LAW union is still under bargaining so there is no salary increases included for LAW; and to keep in mind the referendum on the November ballot regarding the nursing home which is fully funded for 2009.

Administrative Coordinator Report: Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting reported the second chiller has gone down at the Government Center and there is a backup in place temporarily. Whiting requested committees give Whiting a report on the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) resolutions for the Administration Committee to review. WCA acts on all county resolutions dealing with state policy. Whiting distributed a summary of the County Board goals related to the budget.

Consent Agenda: Motion by Supr. Schrank, 2nd by Supr. Borup to adopt the consent agenda approving the August 19, 2008 County Board proceedings; setting the next County Board meeting for October 21, 2008; and approving mileage and per diem for August 2008 in the amount of $7,391.46. Carried unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS: Chair Rebholz, in consultation with Vice Chair King, announced the appointment of Supr. Sather to the Long-Term Support Committee. Supr. D. Peterson resigned from the Long-Term Support Committee due to a conflict in meeting dates with another committee he serves on.

PRESENTATION: Press Conference - Juror Appreciation Week - 9:00 a.m. Present: Judge Lundell, Judge Vlack, Judge Needham, Judge Cameron, Family Court Commissioner Dunlap, Clerk of Court Lori Meyer and Bob Parsons, President of St. Croix Valley Bar Association. September is juror appreciation month statewide recognizing jurors for their service. Judge Needham recognized the importance to serve on jury duty. In 2007, there were 1,800 jurors summoned in St. Croix County and there were thirty jury trials. Governor Doyle issued a proclamation appreciating jurors. Judge Needham thanked the County Board for the support for the system of justice and all jurors. Parsons made comments regarding the importance of jury duty. Chair Rebholz, on behalf of the County Board, thanked the jurors and the citizens who have served as jurors and recognized the importance of balancing work and home responsibilities. Whiting noted the importance of community service. Applause.


1. Election to fill a vacancy on the Finance Committee and, if necessary, other elections to fill vacancies on elected committees created by the election to the Finance Committee. Chair Rebholz opened the floor for nominations.

Supr. Ruetz nominated Supr. D. Peterson, 2nd by Supr. Marzolf, who received 17 votes.

Supr. Norton-Bauman nominated Supr. Peavey, 2nd by Supr. Speer, who received 11 votes.

Chair Rebholz declared nominations closed for the Finance Committee. Supr. D. Peterson was elected to the Finance Committee.

2. Resolution #32(2008) Approving Amendment to Town of Hudson Zoning Ordinance - Used Vehicle Sales. Motion by Supr. Ruetz, 2nd by Supr. D. Peterson to approve. This resolution amends the Town of Hudson zoning ordinance Section 105-12 B(5)(a) permitting used vehicles sales in the commercial district, providing it is ancillary to a primary use relating to an automotive repair facility located on the same site, owned by the same entity, building size minimum of 5,000 square feet, minimum 1,000 square feet inside showroom, state licensed and limit the number of vehicles to 10. Carried unanimously.

3. 2009 Budget Review and Department Presentations. Supr. Standafer requested feedback in prioritizing from Supervisors.

Administrative Coordinator: Whiting stated his budget decreased from 2008 relating to a one-time payment for Lake Mallalieu Dam maintenance. Whiting added his budget is personnel intensive and low on operating expenses. Operating expenses cover travel and education and also contains a new copy machine. Discussion regarding capital purchases vs. operating expenses.

Economic Development Corporation (EDC): Whiting indicated part of his budgets includes the EDC budget. The EDC budget shows an increase of $2,500 relating to the contribution to Momentum West which the County Board approved earlier and is a coordinated effort between counties to coordinate lobbying and economic development interest.

County Board/Committees and Commissions/Legal Publications/County Clerk/Elections: County Clerk Cindy Campbell explained she prepares five budgets. She noted no significant increases in the County Board and Committees and Commissions budgets. She suggested a way to reduce costs would be to reduce the number of County Board and committee meetings. Campbell explained the County Clerk budget is mostly salary and fringes and the 2009 budget contains three new computers for her office. Campbell stated the 2009 Elections budget is operating only and is estimated for two elections.

Circuit Court and Drug Court: Judge Needham highlighted the Circuit Court budget and new equipment needs in the courtrooms. He indicated they are phasing in re-constructing the jury boxes and witness stands in the courtrooms in the next three years. This budget includes a new copy machine. Judge Needham explained 2009 state funding for circuit court support is $46,000 which includes additional revenue to support the fourth judge.

Drug Court: Judge Needham explained the only increase in the Drug Court budget is staff development.

Clerk of Court: Clerk of Court Lori Meyer explained her 2009 proposed budget is $1.3 million with projected revenues of $1 million. Meyer explained the increase for psychiatric evaluation fees due and $300,000 in operational expenses which are mostly court ordered. Discussion regarding court appointed attorney fees.

Corporation Counsel: Corporation Counsel Greg Timmerman stated there are five employees in the Corporation Counsel office. The 2009 proposed budget is $445,000, two percent of which is operating expenses with the remainder being labor costs. Timmerman stated the Corporation Counsel budget is fully funded by the levy but the time spent for child support action is reimbursed at 66%. Timmerman highlighted contract review is done by his office.

Information Technology (IT): Director of Information Technology Tom Boron stated the IT Department keeps up the infrastructure for St. Croix County departments. The 2009 proposed budget is $975,000 overall with 71% in salary and fringe benefits. Boron stated software maintenance is also a large percentage of the IT budget. Boron highlighted potential reductions -- one being to remove MS Office 2007 updates.

Finance: Finance Director Michelle Pietrick highlighted the Finance Department 2009 budget. She indicated 94% is salary and fringe benefits. Pietrick highlighted cost savings. Pietrick addressed questions regarding non-represented employee increases.

Treasurer: Treasurer Cheryl Slind stated her office consists of 2.5 staff. She noted a decrease in operating expenses by $4,300 from the prior year. Slind addressed a question concern decreasing temporary staff during tax time. Slind stated this is not advantageous to do as the interest earned for January and July collections outweighs the $4,000 paid for additional staff. She estimated a $30,000 net in interest earned. Slind noted one possible reduction is to not send second half real estate tax notices but this may decrease incoming payments. Discussion regarding penalty and interest charges and the increase in credit card payments for real estate tax payment.

A question was asked regarding sales tax estimates. Pietrick stated 2009 sales tax is estimated at $5.2 million which is a decrease of $182,000 from 2008.

Operation of County Buildings: Building Services Director Art Tobin stated Building Services has 17 fulltime employees responsible for $56 million in building maintenance and its contents. Tobin added there is 350,000 square feet of building space and his department works with 27 county departments. Total number of work orders received since January, 1 2008 through September 15, 2008 is 2,156. Tobin explained budget increases for capital outlay and increases in utility costs. He stated water increase is estimated at 47%, gas price increase is 50%, electricity increase approximately 7 to 10 percent. Tobin highlighted the roof and chiller and heating projects for the Government Center and the need for a long-range plan. Brief discussion regarding switching to four / ten hour work days.

Risk Management: Risk Manager Kristen Ziliak presented the Risk Management 2009 proposed budget noting this budget is slightly over $1 million for both worker compensation and liability insurance costs. 89% of budgeted expenses are for insurance premiums and estimated claim costs. The other 11% of budgeted expenses are for salary and claim prevention programs. Expenses are not directly levied but are allocated to every department (2007 expenses are allocated in the 2009 budget). Department allocations are recorded as revenue in the workers compensation and liability budgets. Ziliak stated claim costs go up and down which makes it a challenge to budget and maintain a fund balance. Ziliak stated in 2005 the fund balances were not prepared for large claims and efforts the last 3 years have focused on increasing fund balance and decreasing fluctuation in department allocations.Review of building a fund balance for liability and workers compensation funds. Ziliak indicated if necessary, training and loss prevention program costs would be cut but the result long term could be increased claims. Discussion regarding workers compensation claims and implementing a wellness program.

Human Resources (HR): Human Resource Administrator Tammy Funk stated the HR 2009 proposed budget shows a decrease due to the elimination of a classification compensation specialist position and now includes an administrative assistant position. Funk stated the HR budget contains fees for the Springsted contract. The contract runs from 2008 to 2010 and is budgeted at $33,000 per year. HR provides services to all county departments and employees. This budget includes funding for employee picnics and recognition banquet. Funk stated recruitment is up and is reviewing internet based advertising. Funk addressed questions regarding Paid Time-Off (PTO). Funk stated PTO is a negotiable item. Discussion regarding Springsted and when will it be completed. Funk stated she is currently waiting for department heads' responses on job descriptions.

Emergency Management (EM): Emergency Management Director Jack Colvard explained this office is staffed with 1.25 people and his position is contracted. The EM budget includes funding for planning, training and exercising. The 2009 budget is funded by grants in the amount of $113,753. Colvard reviewed training requirements. Emergency Communications (EC): Director of Emergency Communications Casey Swetlik stated he has a 7.89% budget increase in 2009 due to 2008 staffing increases of 2.4 positions. Swetlik highlighted the increase in calls for service and added EC answers to 37 different agencies throughout the county. Another reason for the 2009 increase is a result of the end of a 911 wireless grant which ends at the end of 2008. Swetlik stated 88% of his budget is salary and benefits. The budget shows a decrease in operational expenses. There is a reduction in repair costs due to the replacement of radio base stations. Review of enhanced 911 services and the increase in volume of work for 911. Mobile data terminals for squad cars discussed which may reduce some calls to 911.

Veteran's Services: Veterans' Service Officer Merlin Blaisdell stated the increase in his budget is due to increases in fuel costs used to reimburse drivers who transfer veterans to appointments.

UW Extension: Agriculture Agent Lee Milligan highlighted the UW Extension goal is to provide access to the county residents and government for the vast services offered. There are currently 4.5 agents and 2 support staff and 2 summer interns. Milligan highlighted $14,000 in revenue generated mostly for postage reimbursement for USDA, meeting registrations and fair aid from the State to pay premiums. Total budget is $343,501 which shows a reduction in operating expenses.

County Fair: Supr. Standafer stated the Fair Association operates the fair and the request is $56,000 from the county.

Medical Examiner (ME): Medical Examiner Casey Swetlik stated the Medical Examiner's office consists of himself, three deputies and one intern. The deputies handle most of the calls and scene visits. Other Professional Services budgeted item includes autopsies and is based on history and projections. A 6.4% is an estimated levy decrease in autopsies which is a service contracted with Ramsey County. Review of phone report analysis and cremation analysis which is revenue projected at 170 for 2009. Total proposed budget is $140,227.

Child Support: Child Support Administrator Katy Kapaun stated her department currently serves 3,400 families and is made up of seven staff members. Kapaun reported collections of over $11,000,000 received. The 2009 budget does not reflect an increase. All staff members are currently non-represented employees which show no increase in 2009. Kapaun stated some staff may join the union. Kapaun indicated a 90% budget would require a layoff of one fulltime employee with the understanding of unemployment payout. Operation expenses were reduced by $6,800. Federal level participation cut reviewed. Kapaun summarized $30,700 of her budget is from the levy to continue to generate $11,000,000 in collections each year.

District Attorney: District Attorney Eric Johnson reported the attorneys in the District Attorney's office are state employees and support staff are county employees. There are six legal secretaries, one receptionist and an office manager. Johnson stated the DA's office responds to law enforcement referrals. Johnson highlighted caseload increases. The DA's office currently contracts out bad check cases - approximately 400 - 500 cases per year. Diversion program highlighted which keeps cases out of court and participants pay a fee for being in this program. 92% of the DA's budget is salaries and fringes. Johnson indicated a proposed reduction could be reducing work week hours from 40 to 35 or 37.5. There are four fulltime lawyers and two grant funded positions. Discussion regarding implementing a surcharge for restitution cases.

Victim/Witness: DA Johnson stated there are three employees in Victim/Witness office. This department responds to state mandated laws regarding victim rights. Two of the employees are reimbursed 50% by the state and the third is grant funded.

Break at 12:15 p.m.

Supr. Post and Supr. Tommerdahl left the meeting at 12:30 p.m.

Law Enforcement: Sheriff Dennis Hillstead highlighted areas in the Sheriff's Department 2009 budget showing increases. He noted $314,500 in increases for 2009 a 4.6% increase overall between the Jail and Sheriff's Department budgets. Hillstead reviewed staffing requests and increased investigative services. Hillstead noted drunken driving hospital tests, office supplies and uniform cost increases. Fuel increase costs reviewed totaling over $300,000 for 2009. Hillstead briefly highlighted snowmobile and water patrol. Water patrol is reimbursed at 70% and snowmobile reimbursed at 100%. Hillstead noted a decrease of $16,000 in liability insurance for the Sheriff's Department and an increase in new vehicles and explained future affects if vehicle rotation is delayed. Capital Outlay item includes an electronic file system.

Hillstead reviewed potential five and ten percent reductions for the Sheriff's Department 2009 proposed budget including removing the third court security position, reducing five squad cars and three unmarked squad purchases - a reduction of $139,000, reduce overtime by $9,000, reduce new equipment purchases by $5,000 and remove capital outlay purchases totaling $45,000. Ten percent reductions would include removal of two patrol and one staff positions, no new vehicle purchases, remove all new equipment and all capital outlay. Total ten percent reductions would total $559,915.

Hillstead stated there are currently 26 patrol positions and explained time officers spend in court and vacation allowance. Hillstead explained the daily patrol rotation. Discussion regarding car usage and rotation; and discussion regarding ammunition expenses.

Jail budget reviewed. Hillstead noted there are no additional personnel requests for 2009. The proposed budget includes increases in medical and dental costs, AODA counselor and twelve hours per week for mental health therapy. The budget also contains an increase in meals based on average jail population. Hillstead noted an increase in liability insurance in the jail budget and replacement of cameras within the jail.

Hillstead reviewed potential five percent reductions including removal of AODA counselor within jail, eliminate contract services, reduce meal costs to 110 inmates, and reduce $2,500 for new computers. Ten percent reductions would include removal of the program coordinator position, one entry level corrections position and leave one entry level corrections position unfunded and use one Huber officer as a corrections position; eliminate the AODA position; remove contract services and reduce meal costs to 110 inmates and remove the new computer purchase. Hillstead explained there is a decline in jail population partly due to Meth awareness and the AODA position. Hillstead explained the use of volunteers in jail if there is no program coordinator.

Register of Deeds: Register of Deeds Kay Walsh stated her office consists of five union staff and the Register of Deeds. Walsh explained revenue allocation in the Register of Deeds office and noted a decrease in transfer fees and decrease in fees from recording and vital record sales. Walsh indicated there are currently 23 participants of the internet access program which generates approximately $4,000 per month. Walsh stated the temporary position has been eliminated from her office. She noted savings of $92,000 for the next five years due to renegotiations with a software vendor. Walsh thanked the County Board and the Planning and Zoning Committee for their support and the IT Department for services to keep the Register of Deeds updated and automated. Applause.

Planning and Zoning (PZ): Planning and Zoning Director Dave Fodroczi highlighted Planning and Zoning program areas and noted there are seven program budgets. Fodroczi reviewed revenues. He noted Recycling and Land Records are totally funded by grants and fees. The PZ 2009 budget has a 4.84% reduction over 2008 budget and a 6% reduction over 2007. Fodroczi reported to meet the five and ten percent reduction would require reduction in staff hours with a further alternative reduction requiring the elimination of another position that is across three budgets: zoning, planning and septic.

Parks: Parks Director Bob Heise reported there are three staffed park facilities with over 40,000 visitors each year and operate five other unstaffed facilities and snowmobile trails. Total budget is $613,562. This is a result of a reduction of $95,000 from the 2008 budget due to grants received in 2008 and used in 2008.

Land & Water Conservation: Director Bob Heise indicated the Land and Water Conservation Departments administers fourteen different programs. The 2009 proposed budget shows a decrease from 2008 in the amount of $74,000 which is a result of a completed a watershed program. Heise highlighted potential reductions.

Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC): Health and Human Services (HHS) Director Fred Johnson and ADRC Director Brad Beckman were present. Johnson explained receipt of $168,000 from the state plus costs associated with office renovations for ADRC. The budgeted amount of $632,000 was earmarked in 2009 for implementing ADRC for the full year. Beckman highlighted blending the duties in ADRC. Staff time reviewed. Beckman highlighted the budget includes adding a nutrition site manager. Transportation costs reviewed. Johnson addressed office space issues and stated state funding in the amount of $39,000 will be available to renovate office space in the Government Center.

Highway, Surveyor and County Aid Bridges: Highway Commissioner Tim Ramberg reviewed the Highway Department budget. Ramberg reviewed various scenarios. He stated the county has no control over county aid bridges. Ramberg highlighted revenues pursued with the enactment of the registration fee. Reduction in expenses reviewed. Discussion regarding road salt costs and winter maintenance. Ramberg indicated they will move forward with the scenario with a levy amount of $3,893,701. Ramberg stated the portion on county levy continues to shrink. Discussion regarding materials and equipment.

Nursing Home: HHS Director Fred Johnson reviewed capital items in the Nursing Home 2009 proposed budget and wage and benefit increases of approximately $400,000. Johnson noted an increase in contracted services included in the budget. Review of eliminating contracted positions and bringing back employee positions. Johnson stated the 2005 operational assessment applied to 2008 budget in the amount of $533,000. 2009 surplus is $191,000 which equates to a request for more levy dollars. Downsizing the operation would need to be done to meet the five and ten percent reduction request. Supr. Norton-Bauman confirmed the nursing home carryover dollars are levy dollars that were not spent. The nursing home operating revenue is $4.3 million and outstanding revenue county allocation is $1.185 million and the nursing home carryover is $191,000.

Supr. Mortensen left at 2:10 p.m.

Health and Human Services: Fred Johnson reported HHS operating expenses are budgeted at $21.7 million which includes programs that were not budgeted in 2008 including ADRC and aging programs. Discussion regarding planning for long term care reform and the allocation to the state to buy into long term care reform will decrease over a five year period. Discussion regarding reduction in wait lists. Johnson stated building services costs are no longer incorporated in the HHS 2009 budget as they have been moved to the Building Services Department budget. Johnson confirmed HHS will accommodate building services expenses if they can be recuperated from the state.

Youth Community Support Program; Ron Kiesler explained this program is a service that provides for the severe emotionally disturbed and physically and developmentally disabled. Discussion regarding combining services into one unit. Kiesler described the program and reductions.

Kiesler explained the Mobile Crisis service and noted this service was offered in January 2006 to law enforcement to do on-site mental health assessments. Kiesler stated there has been a drop in calls from the Sheriff's Department. Kiesler stated the decrease in utilization by law enforcement impacts the program by $50,000 per year. Johnson stated they are interested in partnering with law enforcement and will move forward with a plan.

Family and Children's Unit: Kathy Dunlap explained how this program is utilizing placement. St. Croix County has 25 children in out-of-home care (foster care, corrections, etc.) Dunlap provided comparisons to Eau Claire and Milwaukee counties. Out-of-home care for the year is $1,000,000. The total levy dollars breakdown includes 33% of the budget home care and 57% salary and other operational costs. This department has no wait lists. Johnson stated the county has an effective delivery system relying on staff, good quality schools, good judicial system, etc. to sustain a lower placement ratio.

Economic Support Unit: Mary Squyer stated two retirement positions in Economic Support were not filled. There are 13 workers with a caseload of 3579. This department is currently out of compliance with the state relating to the 30-day processing requirement. The state has notified the county that a noncompliance fee for as long as the county is out of compliance would be $250 per day. Squyer stated this department is in need of staffing to complete the work. 80% of this budget is salary and fringes.

Johnson summarized he felt it was important to highlight those programs and will look at ways to minimize expenses and look at the operational budget.

Library Funding: Pietrick reviewed the library funding. Pietrick stated there are two components for library funding. In-county libraries, per Finance Committee, will receive 71% reimbursement of the total cost of circulation to rural residents or $597,000. Rural circulation reimbursement rate to libraries outside of the county will be reimbursed 70% or $18,751.

Supr. Standafer stated there is a $2.5 million gap. Supr. Standafer asked supervisors to take the summary sheet and rank each line item using a high, medium and low ranking. Supr. Sather stated some departments are more complex and suggested providing a narrative.

Supr. Speer left the meeting 2:50 p.m.

Supr. Malick would like to see how other County Board Supervisors view going to a reduced hour work week, for example, consideration of a department 35-hour work week. He asked what would the levy impact be and should that be investigated. He noted less pay may result in a reduction of services.

Supr. Norton-Bauman requested guidance from the County Board either in writing or verbally and noted there have been discussions regarding a potential four / ten hour day work week. She is not interested in reducing services to county residents and requested feedback. Supr. Kolbe stated some companies have gone to four / ten work weeks and it's been an advantage with extended hours.

Supr. G. Peterson would like to see personnel numbers and the number of employees.

Chair Rebholz noted there is more work to do to balance this budget.

Committee and Department Reports:

Clerk of Court: Clerk of Court Lori Meyer submitted a written report.

Judicial Circuit Court Judges: (9:20 a.m.) Judge Needham highlighted changes since 2007 including the addition of the fourth branch Judge Cameron. Judge Needham reviewed staffing increases with the addition of the fourth judge including a court reporter funded by state and a judicial assistant funded by the county. Judge Needham highlighted the Drug Court implementation which is fulfilling its mission of chemical dependency. He thanked the committee, oversight group and Judge Vlack who conducts drug court weekly. He added Juvenile Drug Court is in its exploratory phase. Early intervention hopefully can and will make a difference. Judge Needham highlighted St. Croix County hosting of the Wisconsin Supreme Court - Justice on Wheels. Caseloads continue to grow with an increase in family and civil cases. He highlighted the number of foreclosures filed showing an increase of 243% from 2003 to 2007. St. Croix County leads the 10th judicial district with the greatest number of foreclosures in the fourteen county area. He highlighted the implementation of video conferencing for criminal initial appearances. Future space needs were highlighted and the need to seek a fifth judge. The Judges thanked the County Board and Finance Committee for their ongoing support. Judge Needham invited Supervisors to visit the courtrooms.

Family Court Commissioner: Family Court Commissioner Stephen Dunlap briefly highlighted his duties and thanked the County Board for the support.

Register in Probate: Register in Probate Ericka Nelson submitted a written report.

County Clerk's Report of Correspondence and Rezoning Requests: County Clerk Campbell reported on Planning and Zoning Committee rezoning applications submitted and scheduled for a hearing for Charles and Barbara Weyer to rezone approximately 43 acres from Agricultural to Agricultural II in the Town of Rush River; John Bettendorf to rezone approximately 4.82 acres from Agricultural-Residential to Commercial in the Town of Kinnickinnic; Donald Ziegler to rezone approximately 2 acres from Agricultural to Ag-Res in the Town of Stanton; Jeremy Austrum to rezone approximately 1 acre from Ag-Res to Ag in the Town of Pleasant Valley; and Sharon Austrum to rezone approximately 1 acre from Ag to Ag-Res in the Town of Pleasant Valley.

Announcements: Chair Rebholz reminded County Board Supervisor about the political season and cautioned Supervisors to be careful in what they submit to the newspapers and use of their County Board Supervisor title. Supr. Marzolf stated newspapers may add this information.

County Clerk Campbell announced a petition to reduce the size of the County Board from 31 to 19 was filed with her. It has been determined that a sufficient number of signatures have been received and this will be placed on the November ballot.

Meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

Roger Rebholz, Chair, St. Croix County Board of Supervisors

Cindy Campbell, County Clerk

Copies of resolutions, ordinances and Department Head reports may be obtained at the St. Croix County Clerk's office.