Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.
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Development of a day reporting center at the St. Croix County Jail could assure that those out on bond or on probation are being monitored as the judges assume they are, say those championing the project. “This is not done widely throughout the state. We’re really on the cutting edge,” Sheriff John Shilts said about the center that could be used by more than 2,800 who, at any one time, are involved with the courts and are ordered to report for urine or preliminary-breath tests, DNA collection or fingerprinting.
Development of a day reporting center at the St. Croix County Jail could assure that persons out on bond or on probation are being monitored as the judges assume they are, say those championing the project. “This is not done widely throughout the state. We’re really on the cutting edge,” said Sheriff John Shilts of the center that could be used by over 2,800 people who, at any one time, are involved with the courts and are ordered to report for urine or preliminary-breath tests, DNA collection or fingerprinting.
Three St. Croix County elected officials -- the county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds -- will be paid 9.6 percent more when the new officers are seated after the fall election. Last week, the county board approved the raises for 2017, followed by 2 percent increases the next three years of the positions’ terms. The salaries for county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds will be $69,749 in 2017; $71,144 in 2018; $72,567 in 2019; and $74,018 in 2020.
During its Feb. 2 meeting, the St. Croix County board finalized union contracts that will give sheriff’s deputies, jailers, investigators and sergeants 2 percent pay increases. The three-year contract gives annual 2 percent, across-the-board increases to 46 primary services officers and 27 corrections officers in the sheriff’s department. The extra cost to the county for 2016 is estimated at $110,000 with similar incremental impacts in 2017 and 2018.
The St. Croix County board agreed Tuesday to take the best of seven bids, voting to borrow the second $10 million for the health center project. Supervisors also formalized a State Trust Fund loan that allows the county to access another $5 million for other projects -- though there was agreement that only $3.7 million would be borrowed from that fund.
In a primary election set for Tuesday, Feb. 16, voters across the state will be asked to cut the number of candidates for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from three to two. The three candidates are Rebecca Bradley, a former Court of Appeals judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court last fall; Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg; and Milwaukee County Judge Joe Donald. The Spring General Election will be held Tuesday, April 5, at the same time as the Presidential Preference Primary.
Earlier this month the St. Croix County Board supervisors began to address a question that has dogged them for months: Does the county need $16.7 million of unspent, unassigned money at the end of a year? $15.7 million? $12.7 million?
Last week the members of the St. Croix County Administration Committee voted to recommend 9.6 percent pay increases for three elected officials, followed by 2 percent raises the next three years of their terms. The committee also endorsed a negotiated agreement that will give St. Croix County law enforcement officers 2 percent increases this year, in 2017 and in 2018. Both proposals will go to the county board for a vote Feb. 2.
State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) claims a proposed change in state law relating to the use of small all-terrain vehicles and utility terrain vehicles by children responds to consumer demand and encourages family enjoyment of trail rides. But the president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics argues that adoption of Senate Bill 381 and Assembly Bill 504 would be a step backward in protecting children from injury and death.
St. Croix County supervisors voted unanimously Jan. 5 to indefinitely postpone, effectively killing, a proposal to bond to pay for $5 million in building and equipment projects. The county sold a $10 million bond issue in 2015 and plans to sell another $10 million this year for the new nursing home project, which is unrelated to the capital improvement projects that would have been covered by the $5 million. Advisors warned that bonding the $5 million in 2016 would increase interest costs for the health center project by $500,000.