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St. Croix County Board, Nov. 11, 2008

proceedings of the


Regular Meeting November 11, 2008

Invocation given by Pastor Ralph Thompson of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Glenwood City. Pledge of Allegiance recited. Meeting called to order by Vice Chair King at 9:00 a.m.

Roll call: 27 present; absent: Chair Rebholz, Supr. Raebel, Supr. Hermsen. Supr. Cranmer arrived at 9:15 a.m.

Administrative Coordinator Report: No report.

Consent Agenda: Motion by Supr. Schrank, 2nd by Supr. Marzolf to adopt the consent agenda approving the October 21, 2008 County Board proceedings; setting the next County Board meeting for December 16, 2008; no rezoning applications to act on; no mileage and per diem report to approve. Carried unanimously.

PRESENTATION: PHIL OTTNEY DAY - Recognition of Phil Ottney's services to the youth of Glenwood City. Pastor Thompson, Mike Erickson, Jim Celt and Leon Berenschot all spoke in appreciation of Phil Ottney's services, dedication, attitude, and his motivation and leadership to the youth of Glenwood City. Phil Ottney was present with family members and members of the Glenwood City community. Vice Chair King presented Ottney with a plaque of appreciation on behalf of the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors.

Supr. Grant and John Helgeson, on behalf of the St. Croix County American Legion presented to District Attorney Eric Johnson a check in the amount of $500.00 for the Stop Drugs Program. Johnson explained how funds are used and thanked the American Legion for its ongoing support.


1. 2009 Proposed Budget - 9:00 a.m.

a. Presentation. Finance Committee Chair Standafer, Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting and Finance Director Michelle Pietrick presented the 2009 proposed budget. Supr. Standafer explained efforts made by departments in developing budgets with five and ten percent expenditure reduction alternatives. Department of Revenue net new construction arrived at 1.987%, meaning a levy limit of 2%. Supr. Standafer explained the City of Hudson's Tax Incremental District (TID) decertification gave an additional 1.01%, giving St. Croix County a levy limit increase of 3.01% or $753,880 over 2008.

County Tax Base growth reviewed. 2008 total equalized value: $8,738,454,500. Total change in equalized value: $134,382,100, up 1.56%. The Finance Committee proposes a total 2009 levy of $26,165,238. The Finance Committee proposed an operating and pre-2005 debt levy increase of $753,880 up 3.01%. The new state budget levy limit is 1.987% with the library levy and state aid bridge levy outside of the state levy limit. Levy outside the levy limit increases $202,897 to $1,139,610 for a total overall levy increase of $956,777 or up 3.795%. The proposed levy yields a mill rate of $3.051 per $1,000, an increase of $.002 per $1,000 of property valuation last year. Review comparisons to previous years regarding valuation increases, equalized value, property tax levy and mill rate history.

Review of budget issues, concerns and realities. Supr. Standafer stated the initial budget was down almost $13 million from 2008 due to the Long Term Care Reform in Health and Human Services (HHS). Corresponding revenues were also reduced. There is no borrowing proposed in the 2009 budget. The Finance Committee is reluctant to turn to fund reserves in the current economic environment. Total amount of surplus applied to the budget (not including General Fund reserves) is $1,641,096. The proposed budget is "as is" for a 72-bed nursing home. Review of economy impact on revenues, and sales tax estimates; decrease in employee health insurance with the HRA plan; LAW union negotiations are pending and there are no funds budgeted; county's bond rating maintained at Aa3; highway salt costs up considerably; five positions eliminated through vacancies or straight up cuts; first year of funding of employee "retirement health savings" or RHS liability, as part of the transition from sick leave payout upon retirement to the RHS.

Supr. Standafer highlighted expense changes from original budgets. Overall expenses reduced by $3,063,593 from original proposed budgets.

Revenue changes reviewed. Total revenue and surplus applied adjustments increased by $339,482 for a total of $80,152,987 in revenues for 2009.

Review of fund balances from 2001 to 2007 and review of cumulative fund balance from 1999 to 2007.

Personnel positions in the proposed budget were reviewed. Supr. Standafer indicated the budget includes an Economic Support Specialist in HHS at $51,712 annual salary and benefits, and a Nutrition Program Coordinator in HHS / ADRC 19 hours per week at $15,000 annually. Other personnel position issues for 2009 include: two deferrals, one delaying a start of a position until May 1, and another not replacing a retirement expected in 2009; three current positions cut; one position left vacant and unfunded while employee in Iraq; and two vacancies not being replaced.

2009 employee health insurance HRA premium plan reviewed. Supr. Standafer noted changes in premium costs with the switch to HRA plans and expressed appreciation to all groups for their cooperation.

The impact of the strip search settlement schedule reviewed. Supr. Standafer stated the last payment on the settlement debt is in 2011.

Library funding for 2009 reviewed. Statutes require library funding of 70% in eligible costs. St. Croix County funds 71% which is outside the levy limit.

Review of sales tax comparisons. The 2009 budget for sales tax revenue is $520,000 less than the UW-Extension projection. Other revenue sources were reviewed. Revenues from tax levy are 32.64% of the total revenue projection.

The 2009 levy requirements by fund were provided. 2009 levy is $26,165,238 a difference of $956,777 over 2008. Expenditures compared to the 2008 to 2009 budget reduced $12,923,268 a -13.88% - shift. Overall summary of the 2009 budget reviewed. Supr. Standafer cautioned use of fund balances and noted the nursing home levy of $944,665, is up $684,806 from 2008.

Supr. Standafer added there are two new or upgraded positions included in the 2009 budget totaling $66,712 in new costs. A flat $520 wage increase is included for non-represented full time employees at top step, and normal step increase for those below top step. Supr. Standafer noted a policy conversion from employee sick bank payout to retirement health saving account, providing for a 100% payout of sick bank into a RHS account upon retirement. Supr. Standafer expressed concerns regarding building maintenance issues at the Government Center and HHS buildings.

b. Public Hearing (3 minutes per speaker) 10:15 a.m. Vice Chair King declared the public hearing open. Kim Dupre shared with the County Board the results of nursing home referendum with the understanding of the tough environment we are in economically. Dupre thanked the County Board and expressed appreciation for the work done on the budget. Dean Winquist spoke on behalf of his mother who lives in the St. Croix County Nursing Home and expressed his mother's relief when she heard the results of the referendum. He thanked the County Board members for their work.

Vice Chair King closed the public hearing at 10:22 a.m.

2. Resolution #36(2008) Approving County Aid Bridge Construction. Motion by Supr. Malick, 2nd by Supr. G. Peterson to approve. Petitions have been filed by towns for county aid in the construction of bridges under Wis. Stats. 82.08. This resolution grants the petitions and provides that the County Board hereby levies a tax of $183,400 to meet such appropriation on all the property in the County which is taxable for such purposes. Carried unanimously.

3. Resolution Approving County Aid Construction and Maintenance During Calendar Years 2009. Motion by Supr. Grant, 2nd by Supr. Malick to approve. This resolution was submitted without an amount based on the approval of the budget. Supr. Luckey questioned the incomplete amounts. Timmerman explained this has been a routine resolution and after discussing this with Highway Commissioner Tim Ramberg, the resolution may not be necessary because the amounts are part of the Highway Department's budget included in the county budget. Discussion regarding order of the resolutions taken before the budget is adopted. Timmerman stated the County Board cannot pass this resolution because it's incomplete. Motion by Grant, 2nd by Malick to withdraw the motion. Carried unanimously.

4. Resolution #37(2008) to Modify Funding of Employee Medical Plan for One Year. Motion by Supr. Malick, 2nd by Supr. Ostness to approve. This resolution approves that the reserve amount of the Employee Medical Plan premium be 28% of expected claims in 2009 and 25% of expected claims in 2010 and beyond. No discussion. Carried unanimously.

5. Resolution #38(2008) Approving New Positions to Begin in 2009. Motion by Supr. Wentz, 2nd by Supr. Malick to approve. This resolution approves the following new positions: Economic Support Specialist (fulltime) in HHS and Nutrition Program Coordinator (part-time) in HHS. HHS Director Fred Johnson and ADRC Coordinator explained with the Long Term Care Reform, duties have shifted and noted the need for proper nutrition oversight at Senior Center sites. Carried unanimously.

6. Resolution #40(2008) Adopting 2009 Budget and Approving Other Expenditures. Motion by Supr. Standafer, 2nd by Supr. Wentz to approve. Supr. G. Peterson requested direction from Corporation Counsel Timmerman regarding a budget amendment. Supr. G. Peterson indicated the Transportation Committee would like an opportunity at the December 2008 County Board meeting to present its rationale on why it needs to have the $400,000 reduction back in its budget. Timmerman stated the County Board decides whether or not to adopt the budget as presented or have further discussion and adopt as modified. Nothing prevents committees to come back to present amendments to the budget. Supr. Malick stated his understanding is the Finance Committee would continue as in past years to have approval to authorize line item transfers within the budget. There was no objection.

Supr. G. Peterson expressed concerns regarding achieving Highway Department's goals and the possibility of submitting a budget amendment at the December County Board meeting. Supr. Standafer stated the opportunity will be available in December. By that time, the Finance Committee will have additional information regarding health insurance and other information unknown now. There will be an opportunity for the Transportation Committee to request consideration to return dollars to the highway area and make its case. Supr. G. Peterson stated he accepts the responsibility to bring a good presentation to the County Board in December.

Supr. Norton-Bauman stated her understanding of the Transportation Committee's concerns and noted the needs concerning the Government Center and HHS building maintenance.

Supr. Cranmer indicated he would rather see requests committees have on specific items and amounts rather than a blanket assumption.

Discussion regarding building maintenance needs. Supr. Standafer stated the estimate for repair of west wall of the Government Center is $240,000 and there are specific safety repair needs in the HHS building. The capital projects fund does not have sufficient funds to take care of these building maintenance needs. A long term analysis needs to be done for the HHS building. Supr. Marzolf asked if there is recourse to the contractor and/or architect for the Government Center building. Timmerman indicated he would provide a recommendation to the Finance Committee next month for outside legal counsel and what, if any, rights we have to proceed with those involved.

Vice Chair King indicated there are reserve funds the county has on-hand that would provide additional funds to the Highway Department, Sheriff's Department and HHS. He felt the reserve funds held at 29% could be reduced to 25% to help those departments recover funding.

Supr. Norton-Bauman highlighted a letter from the county's fund manager, Bob Moore and the auditors report regarding maintaining reserve funds and the effect on the county's bond rating. Supr. Norton-Bauman stated copies will be distributed to the County Board.

Supr. Tommerdahl left the meeting at 10:45 a.m.

Break for Veteran's Day Ceremony. 10:55 a.m.

Roll call vote on motion to approve the 2009 budget - Yes: 25; No: 2. Motion passed.

Supervisor Yes No Supervisor Yes No

Dan Raebel (absent) Alfred Schrank X

Julie Speer X Joe Hurtgen X

William Peavey X Gerald Peterson X

Charles Grant X Greg Tellijohn X

Roger Larson X Richard King X Frederick Horne X John Mortensen X

Esther Wentz X Eugene Ruetz X

David Peterson X David Ostness X

Lorin Sather X Richard Marzolf X

Sharon Norton-Bauman X Peter Post X

Roger Rebholz (absent) Bill Cranmer X

Daryl Standafer X John Borup X

Clarence Malick X Steve Hermsen (absent)

Kenneth Kolbe X Cindy Leonard X

Linda L. Luckey X Shane Demulling X

Laura Tommerdahl (absent) TOTAL 25 2

Supr. Sather left at 12:07 p.m.

Discussion regarding the necessity of item 3 regarding approving county aid construction and maintenance. It was noted this resolution repeats what is in the budget for the Highway Department and is not necessary. Motion by Supr. G. Peterson, 2nd by Supr. Grant to remove this resolution from the agenda. Carried unanimously.

7. Discuss Results of Nursing Home Advisory Referendum. A map prepared by the Planning and Zoning Department was distributed showing results by municipality on the referendum question on the November 4, 2008 ballot - "Should St. Croix County continue to operate a public nursing home if property tax dollars are needed to fund its operation?" Whiting stated no municipality's votes against the referendum were less than 57% approval. Discussion regarding the results. Supr. Standafer stated there is a fairly high levy going to the nursing home with reductions in other department budgets. Vice Chair King stated we need to take care of the people at the nursing home and not reduce numbers of beds. Supr. G. Peterson suggested allowing the voters to decide to build a new nursing home and assisted living facility.

Supr. Norton-Bauman expressed her thoughts on the nursing home and the need for an admissions policy and a dementia care unit.

Supr. D. Peterson indicated the referendum did not mandate a specific size of the nursing home and we should not box ourselves in and leave us at status quo. Take into consideration building a new facility and supply services to the rest of the county. We've been directed to take on the responsibility to come out with answers.

8. Discuss Results of Downsizing County Board Referendum. The referendum to downsize the size of the County Board from 31 to 19 passed. Supr. Malick suggested the Administration Committee be the committee to make proposals to the County Board as it does for the census redistricting and come back with proposals for the new district boundaries. He recommended there be no delay in this process as this will be effective for the April 2010 election. He also noted the need to make changes to the bylaws with the consideration for more flexibility in having a supervisor elected to more than one elected committee and combining some committees. This redistricting is based on the 2000 census, and the redistricting scheduled for 2012 will be based on 2010 census.

Supr. Standafer stated the downsizing creates an opportunity to take a look at how we do business, to streamline and operate with less, and deal with functions and operate appropriately. The redistricting plan must be in place by November 15, 2009 for the next supervisory election.

Supr. Kolbe asked where the number to reduce to 19 came from and felt this was not a political advantage to constituents of the county.

Supr. Cranmer confirmed the vote for 19 supervisors is binding and the County Board is compelled to redistrict.

Supr. Norton-Bauman thanked Whiting, Pietrick, and departments for their cooperation and thanked Supr. Standafer the Finance Committee chair for his work on the budget. She also sent well wishes to Chair Rebholz.

9. Resolution #39(2008) of the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors in Support of the St. Croix County Fairplex. Motion by Supr. Ruetz, 2nd by Supr. Malick to approve. This resolution provides the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors supports and endorses the St. Croix County Fairplex's Renovations for the Generations, a $3.5 million fund drive to modernize the Fairplex for generations to come. Supr. Ruetz introduced Chris Libby who spoke on the fundraising efforts and donations made to improve the Fairplex. Carried unanimously.

Committee and Department Reports: None.

County Clerk's Report of Correspondence and Rezoning Requests: County Clerk Campbell indicated there was no correspondence and read rezoning requests not scheduled for hearings for: Paul and Karen Jahnke to rezone property from Ag to Ag-Res in the Town of Somerset; Joseph and Linda Jahnke to rezone property from Ag to Ag-Res in the Town of Somerset; and Roland Jahnke to rezone property from Ag to Ag-Res in the Town of Somerset.

Campbell stated there was a 78% St. Croix County voter turnout for the November 4, 2008 election with 14% of the voters voting by absentee ballot. The County Clerk's office has over 4,000 election day voter registration applications to enter into the state's system. Campbell noted overall, the Election Day went well.

Meeting adjourned at 12:42 p.m.

Dick King, Vice 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.