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County managers get salary increases

In a meeting that lasted only 20 minutes, the Pierce County Board voted last week to give 2.5 percent raises to non-union employees and approved amendments to the county's manure storage law.

The raises, which are retroactive to Jan. 1, will go to about 50 workers. The group includes department heads and managers, but not elected officials or the county's administrative coordinator. (Editor's Note: The Herald will publish the new salaries when those details are available.)

The manure storage amendments bring the county's ordinance into compliance with Chapter ATCP 51 of Wisconsin Administrative Code, said Land Management Administrator Andy Pichotta.

The county law regulates the location, design, construction, installation, alteration and use of waste storage facilities on farms. Permits, issued by the county land management department, are required to build or substantially alter storage facilities.

"Our ordinance went too far in some respects," said Pichotta. One of the standards removed from the county ordinance was a requirement for screening manure storage facilities to minimize their "visual impact" on homes or in residential areas.

The revised ordinance increases the setback for new or expanded facilities from 300 feet to 350 feet from the property line or from a public road right of way.

The amendment eliminates the term "manure" from the law. The ordinance will be called the "Waste Storage Ordinance" rather than the "Manure Storage Ordinance." In the amended ordinance, waste is defined as "manure, milking center waste and other organic waste generated by a livestock facility."

The amended ordinance says storage facilities must be certified by a "registered engineer" rather than an "approved engineer," but that's not really a change, said Pichotta.

"You're going to have the same guy," he said. "It's just a different way of describing the credentials."

In other business:

--The county board voted to increase driveway access permit fees from $25 to $50. The permit fee for subdivision and commercial driveways was raised to $100.

Highway Commissioner Ross Christopherson said the fee, which helps cover costs related to inspecting the site, has not been adjusted since the 1970s. A review of practices in other counties shows they charge anywhere from $25 for a farm driveway permit to $300 for a commercial driveway.

--A resolution to rezone 32.15 acres in the Town of Trimbelle from Primary Agriculture to Agriculture Residential was introduced and will be acted on at a later meeting.

The land is owned by Steven and Rhonda Davison, who want to create another buildable lot on their property. In a letter to the board, they said the property is densely populated with hard wood trees and has never been planted in crops.

--Jason Schulte was appointed to the Local Emergency Planning Committee.