Richland County Board Meeting June 20th

The Richland County Board met Tuesday evening, June 20th. At the meeting the board of supervisors concluded action which it thought it had finalized at last months meeting.

It was brought up in the finance and personnel committee meeting that resolutions concerning the borrowing of money from the State Trust Fund could not be altered from the original application. Therefore, the resolutions which were passed in May had to be repealed and a vote had to be taken on the original proposals. The board of supervisors unanimously approved a loan request up to $120,000 to be used toward the purchase of a new squad car for the Richland County Sheriff's Department. The loan is for four years. The other resolution is a ten year loan in the amount of $1,390,421 for capital improvements in the Richland County Highway Department. Both loans can be paid back early with no penalties assessed. Upon passing the resolutions for the loans from the State Trust Fund, the board of supervisors passed a resolution to transfer $1,390,421 from the highway fund and $30,000 from the sheriff's department new car outlay to the general fund. The transfers will not be made until the money from the State Trust Fund is received.

In other business the board approved eliminating accumulated sick leave buy outs for employees when they retire as of those who are hired after January 1, 2018; five unpaid mandatory layoff days for all full and part-time employees of the Health & Human Services Department on July 3rd, September 1st and 5th, November 22nd, and December 29th, thus saving the department between $25,000 and $30,000; a resolution to approve payment for the annual maintenance contract to Spillman Technologies for the computers for the dispatch section and the jail at the sheriff's department in the amount of $23,418.24; and the temporary hire of Tim Dahlen to provide training for the next Real Property Lister up to 210 hours in the amount of $18.15 an hour. Approval was given for a repair project at the northeast entrance of the Wallace Student Center on the UW-Richland campus in the amount of $8,939.50 to Mark Bowell Concrete of Blue River. The board also approved a five year lease of the office space for the Land Conservation Department, however, the department is to continue to search for a more viable solution to save expenses in rent. Renewing the lease will allow the agency to stay until the end of the year.

Patrick Metz and staff gave a report on services provided at Health and Human Services so the board would have a better understanding of what services are mandatory and how they utilize money levied to the department. During 2016, 475 outpatient mental health clients were served; 106 clients received substance abuse services; 16 UW-Richland students received mental health services; and 52 adults and six children were served through the Comprehensive Community Service. At this point in 2017 numbers appear to be on target for at least that many again this year. The biggest percentage, 30% of tax levy money goes into adult mental health. Significant increases are being seen in adult mental health and children's placement. Children who are able to be placed into the Kinship program, placements are 100% reimbursable from the state. Aging and disability resource centers are also 100% state funded. Due to resources, 14 county positions are not filled at this time. At this time Richland County does not have any mental health clinicians or therapists and the county is in danger of losing funding if these positions are not filled. The programs are not sustainable at this rate. Health and Human Services office in comparable counties near Richland receive twice as much in tax levy. Due to a cutback at Health and Human Services, the Richland Hospital has seen an uptick in mental health patients in crisis in the emergency room. UW Hospital and Gundersen Health Systems at this time are not taking new clients and the soonest these people can be seen is six months to a year. This dilemma is a community issue. High needs in Richland County are: mental health, obesity, and substance abuse.

Troy Maggied, director of Southwest Regional Planning Service Work Program, gave a presentation. Richland County allocates about $15,000 to the organization for a net cost of 86 cents per resident. Using interns on projects through SW Regional Planning Service Work Program saves the county around $12,000 a year. Volunteer hours sees a savings to the county of over $12,000.

The Richland County Board of Supervisors also approved three projects at the Symons Natatorium that will be entirely paid for by the Symons Recreation Complex Foundation. The projects include: a salt water conversion for the pool ranging from $40,000 to $60,000; patio improvements at a cost of $15,000 to $20,000; and to replace the lobby flooring with a vinyl composite tile in the amount of $10,000 to $12,000. 

A No-Wake ordinance was also established to take effect on the Pine River in Richland County. Any person who shall violate this ordinance shall, upon conviction, be fined no less than $100 but not more than $400 plus applicable costs, fees and surcharges imposed under Wisconsin Statutes. In the event the fines and fees are not paid, the violator can face up to 90 days in jail.

Several people were recognized for their years of service to Richland County last night (Tuesday). Carol Clausius for 17 years of service on the Richland County Board of Supervisors. Lois Miller was recognized for 37 years of service as a part-time volunteer coordinator at the Department of Health & Human Services; and three persons were recognized for their years of service at Pine Valley Community Village: Ila Hagenston served over 23 years as food service supervisor; Janice Keller served over nine years as a food service worker; and Heidemarie Schwichtenberg served over 15 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant.