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The Pierce County Board voted last week to reduce programs and staff instead of drawing down fund balances if the county runs into budget problems this fall. While Wisconsin hasn't yet adopted its budget and associated local government levy caps, the assumption is that Pierce County will be allowed to increase its levy 2.296 percent. In past years, counties have been allowed to raise their property tax levies by their rate of new construction, and it is assumed that won't change. Under the guidelines accepted by the board Sept.
Citing the pressures and stress of the job, Pierce County's new treasurer has announced her resignation. Paula Knutson, who took office in January, will leave the post Oct. 31. State law gives the County Board the authority to either call a special election or appoint someone to fill out the term, which expires at the end of 2008. County Board Chairman Paul Barkla announced Tuesday that the county will immediately begin seeking applications from people interested in filling out the term. Applicants should submit a letter of intent and a resume by 4:30 p.m. Oct.
Editor's note: A story in Thursday's paper outlined the Sea Wing disaster.
ELLSWORTH -- The Pierce County Board will vote this month on a request to donate $54,240 to help Diamond Bluff develop and expand a 3-acre park with frontage on the Mississippi River. The funds would come from the Park Development Fund, money that was collected over the last two decades from fees ranging from $100 to $600 charged each time a new residential lot was created in the county's rural areas. Pierce County's Park Development Fund contains nearly $860,000. State law no longer allows counties to collect the fee. Diamond Bluff has spent $116,000 on Sea Wing Park.
ELLSWORTH -- A former Pierce County supervisor took current board members to task this week, complaining that they still are setting budgets and spending money without a long-range plan. "I found out nothing has been done. I was kind of disappointed with that," said Greg Kerr of Oak Grove, as he addressed the board Aug.
The Pierce County Board will be asked to vote next week on a plan to finance a new storage building for the Highway Department. The department estimates the 100 ft. by 200 ft. metal building will cost $800,000 and is asking that it be funded this way: Using $300,000 that the County Board agreed to pay the department for the Blue Building behind the courthouse.
ELLSWORTH -- Pierce County's Finance and Personnel Committee has given the go-ahead to fill the University of Wisconsin-Extension resource agent position that has been open for months. If the county doesn't refill the job by early October, it's likely that state funding, which pays 60 percent of the cost, will be shifted to another county, said Agriculture Agent Greg Andrews. "The position will play a significant role in pulling Farm Technology Days off," added Andrews.
The reports range from a high-profile case in which an accountant stole more than $150,000 from an elderly widow to a call from a person worried about her neighbor's hygiene. The term elder abuse covers a lot of territory, but most often it's a case of a family needing help with simple basic needs, according to Pierce County Office on Aging Supervisor Kathy Hass. In July, the Pierce County Office on Aging received 11 reports of suspected elder neglect or abuse.
Last week the Pierce County Board disallowed a claim from a township trying to pay for damage done when county officers diverted traffic over town roads for several hours on Jan. 27, 2006. After a fatal accident occurred on Highway 63 at County Road N, sheriff's department officers detoured traffic onto 690th Avenue and 530th Street, both of which are Martell Township roads.
ELLSWORTH -- Despite worries that residents might misinterpret the precaution, Pierce County Board members adopted a plan to distribute potassium iodide pills to people who live near the Prairie Island nuclear plant. The July 24 vote adopts a Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services plan to predistribute the non-prescription tablets to Pierce County residents who live within 10 miles of the plant.