- Member for
- 4 years 4 months
In a way, preparation of Pierce County's 2010 budget was simpler than some years. With a state-mandated levy limit, union raises already set, higher health insurance costs and an increase in the county's contribution to employee retirement accounts, there was little left to divvy up. "How many nickels and dimes can you really argue about?" summarized County Board Chairman Paul Barkla Thursday.
Pierce County Board members will vote next month on whether to give themselves or future board members a raise next spring. The proposal to increase regular pay for committee meetings from $35 to $47 and for county board meetings from $50 to $70 was introduced and discussed briefly at Tuesday's board meeting. Chairman Paul Barkla, noting board pay hasn't been raised in 12 years, said the suggestion to increase came from Supervisor Rich Purdy, Town of River Falls, who was not at the meeting. Barkla said Purdy recommended tying the board increase to the percentage increases negotiated for emp
Because of funding shortages and anticipated need from more families, Pierce County economic support workers are warning clients to expect less home heating help this season. The human services department takes applications for four types of heating and utility aid: heating assistance, electricity assistance available to some users, crisis assistance and furnace assistance. The Wisconsin Division of Energy Services warned in September there will be a funding shortage for the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, both because funding is limited and because WHEAP applications are expected
By the end of the year, Pierce County expects to join a growing number of counties that offer their residents discount cards for prescription drugs. People who use the cards, which will be free to all county residents, can save an average of 22 percent of the retail cost of prescription drugs, claims the National Association of Counties. Those who can benefit include people in the Medicare Part D coverage gap dubbed "the donut hole," people with no medical insurance and others with high out-of-pocket medicine costs, said Kathy Hass, manager of the county's Aging and Disabilities Resource Cen
One day in the late 1970s Julie Dollahon walked into the Pierce County Department of Human Services, met the director and asked if he had any job openings. While Dale Melstrom didn't exactly hire the young social worker on the spot, it was close.
A $280,000 Homeland Security grant will allow the Pierce County Sheriff's Department to buy a new mobile command post and an air boat to use for shallow-water and ice rescues. Actual cost of the equipment is expected to be $375,000. The federal grant is $281,250. A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, will pick up the 25 percent match of $93,750. "It's really purposefully and professionally built so it will do exactly what we want it to do in an integrated fashion," said Lt.
Apart from inconvenience for workers who will have to file in two states, the end of the income tax reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin may have greater implications, say some lawmakers. "There's a state border there, but we really operate as a region," said Wisconsin State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls. She said ending this 40-year-old cooperative agreement could jeopardize others. "Once you lose one, it's easier to watch the others fall apart," Harsdorf said.
Saying he intends to stay in Congress and focus on getting health care reform done right, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind announced he won't be a candidate for governor of Wisconsin. "I'm in the middle of these intense negotiations right now," said Kind, a Democrat, during a phone conference Thursday afternoon.
The local fundraising committee for Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2010, which will be held in Pierce County, is about half way toward its goal, reports committee Chairman Steve Healy. "We've got a long ways to go, but we're making good progress," said Healy. Pierce County, as with previous and future host counties, must raise about $170,000 in cash sponsorships and about $150,000 of in-kind donations to cover the costs. AgStar Financial Services, with a pledge of $10,000, was the first Charter Sponsor for FTD 2010.
Pierce County should prepare for greater demands for alcohol and drug dependency and mental health services, and try a different approach to deal with reports of possible child abuse or neglect, says a consultant. The study, commissioned by the human services department and conducted by E jj Olson and Associates, was started in 2008 and completed this year. "For the most part, they said we're doing a good job--keep doing what you're doing," said Human Services Director Tammy Kincaid. The consultants compiled demographics, interviewed select county administrators and human services board mem