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County board briefs: funding for water quality studies, update on manure spill

Star-Observer named 'paper of record' by county

The St. Croix County Board's Administration Committee approved a resolution Monday, Sept. 17, to make the Hudson Star-Observer its official newspaper for legal notices.

The Star-Observer was chosen because it had the largest circulation of the county's six newspapers in 2018. All six newspapers have decreased circulation since 2012, but some committee members expressed concern that few people would see notices in years they were printed in smaller circulation papers.

Since 1988, the county has rotated its official "paper of record" annually, cycling through the county's news publications alphabetically. The most recent was the Baldwin Bulletin.

State law requires municipalities to print legal notices in at least one official newspaper. The county will also post legal notices on its website, sccwi.gov.

Funding approved for water quality studies

The Administration Committee approved funding on Sept. 17 for three water quality studies that will take place within the county.

Last month, the Community Development Committee and the Health and Human Services Board recommended the Administration Committee approve $44,000 in funding for three ground and surface water quality research studies to begin immediately. The county had previously set aside $50,000 for the purpose of studying water quality, so the approval of this funding does not affect the county levy limit.

The three studies, which are baseline water quality analysis testing, nitrate source analysis testing and an EVAAL (Erosion Vulnerability Assessment for Agricultural Lands) assessment of the Kinnickinnic Watershed, are planned for the upcoming year.

Capital improvement projects inch closer to approval

The Administration Committee weighed in on Sept. 17 on 2019-2020 capital improvement projects.

The committee approved a funding option that will require no additional debt and applies $3.9 million in existing project funds to a slightly scaled-down list of projects.

The committee removed the replacement of the county's mobile command vehicle and the Homestead Parklands entrance station from the 2019-2020 list, though the county board has the final say over Capital Improvement Plan funding. A "capital improvement plan" is the county's way of prioritizing infrastructure projects in a long term manner.

County Administrator Pat Thompson recommended that the two projects that were removed should be considered when the next debt issue is authorized.

The entire plan can be read on the county website, sccwi.gov.

Update on Sept. 11 manure spill near Baldwin

Interim Health Officer Sharon Reyzer brought the Community Development Committee up to speed on the Baldwin manure spill at its Thursday, Sept. 20, meeting.

The spill was first reported in the Town of Rush River on Sept. 11 and occurred near the Village of Baldwin, about half a mile from the Rush River.

Though there are no wells within a short distance of the spill location, county public health sent a letter to residents Sept. 17 informing them of the spill and recommending annual well tests. Well water should also be tested if there is a noticeable change in taste, odor or appearance of the water, the county said.

For more information, call St. Croix County Public Health at 715-246-8330.

Hannah Black

Hannah Black is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism interested in the intersection of politics and the everyday lives of citizens. Outside of reporting, she enjoys running, going to museums and concerts, and trying new coffee shops and breweries. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her dog, Wendell.

(651) 301-7817
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