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Board hashes out staffing, budget

The Pierce County Board of Supervisors spent more time discussing items on Tuesday’s meeting agenda not approved than those eventually approved.

Items up for first reading included authorizing new positions for 2014. Supervisor Mel Pittman asked about the addition of two Economic Support Specialists. Human Services Director Ron Schmidt explained the hires were needed due to the Affordable Care Act, with 100 percent funding for the position coming from state and federal governments.

Schmidt added the department is already swamped since the Act was implemented earlier this month.

“If the website doesn’t work, they call us,” he said.

Supervisor Ruth Wood questioned why Pittman and Supervisor Ken Snow voted no during the finance and personnel committee meeting about the request for a social worker for county residents who are involved in the court system. Pittman replied since the funding for the position was 100 percent county funded, he voted no. He also mentioned since this was a first reading (and not approval), he wasn’t going to comment any further.

The discussion then moved to the budget. Supervisors Cecil Bjork and Dean Bergseng asked about funding pertaining to the Courthouse Front Lawn project. Bjork asked why $40,000 was spent from the building outlay and Bergseng wondered about the veterans’ financial contributions.

Administrative Coordinator JoAnn Miller replied the building committee already set $90,000 for the project and it was decided to add $40,000 more. Miller also explained the committee received bids a few months ago which, in the committee’s eyes, were vastly higher than what they were led to believe. Therefore, the decision was made to put the project on hold until January 2014 and start the bidding again, with the hopes of starting in the spring.

Board Chairman Jeff Holst replied to Bergseng’s question by saying the Veterans Service Department is raising funds to support the project.

For more please read the Oct. 30 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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