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A sluggish economy isn't helping St. Croix County's bottom line as 2007 sales tax receipts fell behind those received for 2006. Finance Director Michelle Pietrick waited until March, after sales tax collected by merchants in December arrived, to ask the County Board's Finance Committee to transfer $189,736 from the General Fund to the sales tax account.
More taxes aren't the answer. Spending must be cut, say local lawmakers as the Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle's administration tackle a biennial budget deficit projected at $652 million. Since last week, Wisconsin legislative leaders and Doyle's administration have started discussions on three disparate proposals to solve the shortfall. In early March the Department of Administration announced an expected biennium shortfall due to lower than estimated tax revenues.
Helen and Wilbur Falkenthal still shudder at what could have happened on a hot August day last year when their 5-year-old autistic granddaughter wandered away from home. The little girl rode her bicycle three blocks to a New Richmond park, where searchers found her bike with the helmet hanging on the handle bar.
St. Croix County Board members got estimates last week on the cost of building a brand new nursing home in New Richmond, but still weren't ready to make a decision to either stay in or drop out of the business. In the motion that ended discussion Jan. 15, the Health and Human Services Committee was directed to get estimates on the cost of remodeling the current 72-bed facility to a 50-bed home on the existing building's first floor. The Board hasn't normally met in February, but the committee was asked to report back in February.
BALDWIN -- The technology-related business sector in west central Wisconsin has seen a steady, though not phenomenal, growth. But the communities need to work together to develop and maximize talent and investment capital, advised a consultant last week. "I heard more about what divides you than what connects you," said Jerry Paytas of GPS Consulting. He said the cities and nine counties in the corridor must develop a regional orientation.
Two New Richmond area members of the St. Croix County Board didn't file for re-election, and no other candidates met the deadlines for filing for those seats. The general election for the 31 seats on the County Board will be held April 1. Neither Chuck Mehls, 1813 Oak Ridge Circle, nor Tom Dowd, 1483 County Road K, filed for election, leaving their District 9 and District 8 seats open. In another New Richmond area district, incumbent Richard King, 1214 County Road H, is being challenged by John N. Heintz, 905 County Road H. In District 11, Frederick Horne, 215 N.
After failing to reach a consensus on two new proposals from private businesses, St. Croix County supervisors voted Tuesday to get estimates on the cost of building a new county-owned nursing home and an assisted living facility. Those numbers are expected to be presented to the Board Jan. 15. The county provides tax levy support for the nursing home, which is located in New Richmond.
Adding a fourth circuit judge in St. Croix County means adding a fourth court -- complete with staff and equipment. Current judges met with the County Board Finance Committee last week to assure the county is on track to furnish chambers and hire a judicial assistant before the fourth judge is seated Aug. 1. The plan is to have a new judicial assistant in the office by July 1 to get the judge's office and calendar organized, said Judge Scott Needham.
If Wisconsin lawmakers and citizens learned anything from the last budget process, it's that it must be changed, said Sen.
Although votes weren't expected until Tuesday, members of both parties seemed fairly satisfied with a state budget agreement announced last Friday. "We have achieved a workable compromise that Wisconsin families can afford," said Rep. Kitty Rhoades, R-Hudson, taking a short break from a conference committee meeting Monday afternoon. In a press release sent out Friday evening, Gov.