Office of County Administrator
County of La Crosse, Wisconsin
County Administrative Center
400 4th Street North • Room 3300 • La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601-3200
(608) 785-9700 • Fax (608) 789-4821

Aging & Long Term Care

Health & Human Services

Internal Departments

Memo To:  La Crosse County Board of Supervisors

From:  Steve O’Malley, County Administrator

Date:   January 5, 2008


Re: January Monthly Report to the County Board 

Attached is the February Monthly Report to the County Board, providing monitoring information about department activities to the full County Board instead of reporting only to governing committees.    

REMINDER   Monthly Reporting by roughly half the organization every other month.  While you will receive this report each month, the reports do not cover every department each time

February, April, June, August, Oct. & Dec.    January , March, May, July, September, November

Planning, Resources & Development

Public Works & Infrastructure 

Judiciary & Law Enforcement

Corp Counsel & Child Support

Health & Human Services

Aging & Long Term Care

County Clerk, Finance, IT

Printing, Personnel, Treasurer

Please note that we have now added the internal departments that were not reporting in the past.


3.   Quality not Quantity  I have asked departments to keep the reports very brief, highlighting recent events or activities that are “nice to know” or to report on progress toward goals.  The reports are not meant to be exhaustive or comprehensive, merely a means of trying to keep the entire board better informed.    


Each month begins with a cover memo or introduction from the County Administrator which will give me a chance to keep the entire board informed of general items that may be of interest. 


Administrator attends Meeting with the Governor December 17, 2008   Along with 8 other Administrators & Executives, I was invited to a special meeting with Governor Doyle in Madison to get an update on the State Budget situation.  While unusual to have a meeting in such a small group, the Governor wanted to communicate the significance of the budget challenge before the State of Wisconsin and to highlight the potential for possible federal funding of infrastructure projects.   

1)  State Budget   The Governor indicated that he had not completed his budget recommendation for the new biennium 2009-2011.   But he said he was not expecting to rely on cuts to local government to make up the budget shortfall for the balance of the current biennium through June 30, 2009.  While the rest of the discussion didn’t give any clear indication of where he would have to make cuts, it was clear that there will have to be significant impacts on all areas of State Funding, since this deficit is much larger than anything the State of Wisconsin has every confronted.   

2) Stimulus Projects    The Governor has requested that local governments provide a list of potential Capital Improvement Projects that could be completed quickly, if federal funding were to be made available.  (As a result, I met with Highway Commissioner Dennis Osgood and Facilities Director Jim Speropulos to review the Capital Improvement Plan to identify a list of projects that could be moved up if funding were to become available.  The deadline for compilation of the initial list state-wide will be compiled this week.  I will keep the County Board up to date as information becomes available on any potential federal funding for County projects.)

 If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail as soon as possible. 

County Administrator direct line:   785-9789,   cell phone  608-385-3316

or e-mail




Aging & Long Term Care

January 2009



Lakeview Health Center


Lakeview Update on 2008


2008 has been a busy year for us.  In addition to all of our work with DHF for our multi-county commission, we entered into 2 new community ventures.


In March 2008, we opened our 14 bed Community Based Residential Facility called Maplewood.  The clients who reside there primarily have diagnoses of mental illness.  Maplewood is unique in that we provide a very high level of therapeutic programming for the people that live there, and because of that it’s been quite successful. 


We also began providing Resident Care Apartment Complex services to Whispering Pines (an elderly apartment complex adjacent to our campus).  This form of assisted living allows elders or the disabled to stay in their apartments by receiving a variety of services.  We provide housekeeping, noon meals, bathing, and other personal services as well as medication monitoring and if needed professional nursing services.  The La Crosse County Housing Authority has been quite pleased with these services since their residents no longer need to leave their apartments there if they need personal or nursing services.


In 2009, we will continue to plan future community services and we will be working with La Crosse County Human Services on the ongoing issues with Chapter 51 detentions.


Veterans Service Office


  • Effective 12/1/08 veterans in receipt of monthly compensation or pension benefits received a 5.8% cost of living increase.  Annually, La Crosse County veterans receive about $14 million in disability benefits.

  • Retired Army General Eric Shinseki has been asked by President-elect Obama to head the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The VA is the 2nd largest government agency after the Department of Defense.   General Shinseki is a Vietnam veteran who retired as the Army Chief of Staff.

  • The VA has implemented a pilot project in an effort to rate “fully developed” disability claims within 90 days or less from receipt of the claim.  The normal processing time is 4-7 months with an average of about 150 days.  Appeals are another matter:  an appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals can take 18 months to 2 years to be decided.  We currently have about 40 claims on appeal for La Crosse County veterans.   On average, there are about 250 VA disability claims pending at any given time.

  • The VA has modified some regulations in order to allow veterans to use the federal VA home loan guaranty program to more easily refinance either an adjustable rate or higher interest rate mortgage.

  • The VA mental health clinic located in the Village Shopping Center is now fully staff with a psychiatrist, two psychologists, 2 social workers, a psychiatric nurse manager, two support clerks, and a peer counselor.  The clinic has been a welcome addition to VA health services in La Crosse.


La Crosse County Aging Unit


  • $133,390, funding for 2009 STRAP Grant was awarded to the Aging Unit


  • Changes for 2009 Meal Sites include:

* New Suggested Donations ($3.25 Congregate & $3.50 Home-Delivered) go into effect January 1, 2009.

*The French Island Senior Meal Site closed.  Home-Delivered meals will be     sent out from Sauber Manor. 

     * Hayfield, Barre Mills, begins to provide Home-Delivered meals

* Ruthie’s, Mindoro, closed.  Black Oak Inn will provide Congregate & Home-Delivered meals.

*Holmen School District begins providing Holmen & Onalaska senior meals.

* Northwoods (La Crosse School District) provides meals for seven meal sites in the City of La Crosse.  They will begin pre-packaging Home-Delivered meals mid January.


  • Riverfront will provide delivery of the Bulk Food to the meal sites for 2009, 2010 & 2011.


  • Find A Ride advertising campaign has begun a TV ad.  You will hear the same jingle as on the radio, advising those looking for transportation to call 888-300-9796.


  • Cooperative events with Southside Neighborhood Center (city Park & Rec Dept.) where seniors could have lunch and a day of activities were very well received and we plan to do it again.


  • Two Chevrolet Impalas have been delivered for transportation to make more comfortable rides available for riders with back injuries. One will be used for the MiniBus and one for the Rural Public Transit provider, Running, Inc.


  • Gifted Hands has had a successful holiday season.  88 checks were issued to area seniors totaling $ 4697.45  This holiday season included 5 less shopping days than last season.


  • The RFP for the MiniBus is in the approval process




Health & Human Services

January 2009 


Human Services Department


2008 Summary of Accomplishments for Human Services


This past year has been one of major accomplishments and transitions for the Human Services Department.  In summary, these include:


1)                 Following 7½ years of piloting the Family Care Program and over 2 years of planning for regional expansion, the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Western Wisconsin (ADRC-WW) and Western Wisconsin Cares Managed Care Organization (WWC MCO) became a reality in Fall 2008.  The regional ADRC-WW serves La Crosse, Monroe, Jackson and Vernon Counties with La Crosse providing the administrative oversight in the contract with the state.  WWC MCO will serve its members who live in La Crosse, Jackson, Monroe, Vernon, Buffalo, Clark, Pepin and Trempealeau Counties.


2)       The creation of the commission for Mississippi Valley Health Services became closer to a reality in Fall 2008 after a long period of negotiation with the State of Wisconsin.  Lakeview Health Center is a critical part of the Department’s provider network and the commission will assist in bringing in additional revenue to support the services in which Lakeview provides.


3)       The Department of Human Services worked with the new Department of Children and Family Services at the state to get authorization to develop what we term Community Response Plus in child welfare services.  This program, once implemented, will allow the county to respond to less egregious cases of child maltreatment in a manner that is less adversarial and built on looking for families’ strengths.  The program will also allow the county additional staff time to provide more intensive case management to more egregious cases of child maltreatment and assist the county in meeting federal outcome standards for these families.


4)       The Department piloted the expansion of Adjusted Work Schedules for staff and developed the policies and procedures for the program with the assistance of a multi-departmental committee.  Evaluations of the adjusted work schedule for the Human Services Department have been quite favorable for the first year of the program.


5)                 The Family & Children’s Section developed the new Adolescent Center in the Juvenile Detention Facility. Staff have been hired, the facility has been licensed, and the center is ready to open up in January 2009.


6)                 The Department contracted with The Carey Group to do a comprehensive review of the county’s Juvenile Justice Program.  The final report was shared with staff and community members in December and a work plan will be developed outlining implementation timelines for each of the recommendations.


7)                 The Justice Sanctions Program implemented the Women’s Jail Alternative following a great deal of community input during its development.  The program began with residences on the north side of La Crosse and will move to its permanent location at 127-129 South 7th Street in 2009.


8)       The Department has been involved in Business Continuity Planning with other departments in the county in case of disaster. The Department has also begun its work in planning to address the needs of vulnerable populations in responding to disasters in the county.


9)       The Department has continued to work with IT in developing the Human Services software HS Connect and has the first few modules completed and is planning the next stages of development for 2009-10.


10)     The Department has been very involved with the Process Improvement projects related to billing, contract management, and Clinical planning.  The Department plans to have more staff trained in the Process Improvement process over the next year.


11)     The Economic Support Section successfully processed the new applicants for Badger Care Plus and began planning for program development of the new Food Stamp and Training Program to be implemented in 2009.


12)     The Department of Human Services in 2008 began a focus on succession planning and developing career paths for staff who are interested in supervision and management.  The goal of this effort is to retain quality staff and better plan for retirement and unexpected absences of key personnel.


Health Department


Mission:  Improve the quality of life and health of all people in La Crosse County.  The following five goals were approved by the La Crosse County Board for special emphasis in 2008.  A brief summary of some of the activities completed over the last three months to accomplish these goals is included.


Goal 1:  Provide public health services to meet changing needs.

­        Approximately 6,000 influenza vaccinations were provided to the public.

­        A study released by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health identifies La Crosse County as being the 14th healthiest county in the state.

­        Water samples were collected in the Midway area as part of an ongoing groundwater quality study in the area.

­        Funds were received from the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services to conduct HIV/AIDS follow up in the region.

­        The Home Health Nursing case load remained constant at approximately 50 clients.

­        Fifty-seven children participated in the Safe Routes to School walking program.

­        Approximately 200 people registered for the Nutrition Division’s fall walking challenge.

­        The Homeless Coalition hosted approximately 200 persons at a panel presentation on providing needed services to the homeless.

­        A region-wide public health preparedness conference was held for approximately 80 persons.

­        Planning began for the phase out of the Coulee Region Public Health Consortium by December 31, 2009.

­        A public health legislative forum was held for approximately 50 persons in the region with presentations from candidates for Wisconsin Senate and Assembly positions in the County.

­        FEMA reimbursement of about $17,000 was received for flood related mosquito control services.


Goal 2:  Utilize technology to improve public health services.

­        The second phase of indexing over 50,000 documents into an electronic format is under way.

­        Planning and additional training to enable staff to better utilize electronic conferencing equipment is under way.


Goal 3:  Maintain the current State of Wisconsin designation as the highest level of Public Health Department.

­        The Health Department Laboratory passed the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture certification inspection on water testing.

­        The Environmental Health Program audit of its community well testing program was successfully completed. 


Goal 4:  Expand partnerships to develop public health services in high priority areas.

­        The Alcohol Prevention Task Force, having accomplished its first goals, is reorganizing to move forward to accomplish tasks in two areas

­        The La Crosse Healthy Living Partnership successfully sponsored Mark Fenton in La Crosse to provide guidance on ways to improve exercise opportunities and good nutrition.

­        The La Crosse Area Dental Access Committee met to continue its efforts to improve levels of fluoridation in the County and public awareness of dental access shortage.


Goal 5:  Hire and retain high quality staff by providing positive work environment.

­        Health Department staff is undertaking training in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System on how to respond to public health emergencies or business continuity emergencies.           




Internal Departments

January 2009 


County Clerk Office



The Presidential election has consumed our office for the past 5 months.  Yes, from preparing

for the Partisan Primary to wrapping up the General Election, the election functions make up

a majority of our workload for that period of time.  The turnout was not quite as heavy as

expected, but still there were 63,703 ballots cast, which constituted 83% of registered voters

in the system by 11/3/08.  However there were many Election Day Registrations (EDRs), so

the turnout with those EDRs included was actually only about 77%.  Our two employees,

Ginny and Carrie, worked on entering the EDRs into SVRS for our 8 relying towns almost

constantly to meet the 30 day deadline.  There were over 2,000 EDR’s this fall for

our reliers alone.  Unfortunately, many of them are incomplete, so there is a lot of time

spent contacting the municipal clerks and/or the voters for the required information in order

to complete the process, balance with the poll books, and eventually close out the election. 

That being said, we are finally feeling like the SVRS data base is more user friendly now that

many of the bugs have been worked out.  Though it is more tedious than necessary in some aspects,

for the most part the system works quite well.  In addition, the Voter Public Access (VPA) site

is now up and running.  You can go to to check out your own voter record!


Elections are expensive.  Just the cost of ballots and publications alone for the November

election was over $25,000 (not counting the many additional expenses such as employee

hours, software & hardware contracts, Board of Canvass pay, photo copies, etc). 

Fortunately, this year approximately half of that will be reimbursed by the participating

municipalities and the La Crosse School District, which isn’t usually the case in the Fall.


Of course we can’t wrap up elections without mentioning that Marion did not choose to run

for re-election and I, her Deputy of 8 years, was unopposed on the ballot for the position of

County Clerk and I actually won J.  This will be a big change for Marion, for Linda, for the

office, and for all the departments the County Clerk’s office interacts with.  Linda knows she

has big shoes to fill and hopes she can live up to expectations.


Marriage Licenses

We issued 82 licenses in November and December.  In 2008, to date (12/29/08), we issued

the following, which resulted in $19,145 in County Clerk revenue:


Marriage Licenses


Waivers (This waives the 6 day waiting period)


Reissues (Lost, had cross outs or wrote in blue ink)


Void or Unused Licenses


County Board

Marion had her last Board meeting on December 18th.  At that meeting she was presented with

a plaque for her 33+ years of service.  She also testified at the hearing held at that meeting

as a result of La Crosse County’s first verified complaint – culminating her career with yet

another adventure to add to the stories she could tell. J


Dog Licenses

Deputy Linda Stone and clerk Ginny Dankmeyer had a meeting, requested by the Clerk of

Court, with the D. A., the Clerk of Court and Dave Geske from Animal Control regarding

the notification and citation process for unlicenses/unvaccinated dogs.  The current process

is to send out courtesy reminder notices in late February to those owners whose dogs are still

unlicensed.  This notice includes deadlines and fees for late penalties and court citations. 

The Clerk of Court requested this meeting because they felt these citations were being handled

differently than others and were looking for some legal guidelines and consistent procedures. 

The DA took this information back to the Judges and they agreed not to reopen any defaulted

cases until the Clerk of Court had conferred with our office regarding the notifications sent/and

or returned and any other applicable background information.


Filling our Vacancy

We are currently interviewing applicants for the vacancy created in our office when Marion

retires.  We have 2, possibly 3, potential candidates.  Due to the Holidays, there are still

several reference checks to make & 2nd interviews to conduct.  However I am confident we

will be able to come to a decision shortly after my term begins on January 5, 2009.


COUNTY CLERK REVENUES FOR 2008 (as of 12/29/08)

Timber Cutting Permits......................................... $200

Parade Permits.................................................... $900

Petty Cash Drawer (copies etc.)............................ $514

Dog Late Fees................................................ $11,904

Wisconsin DNR.................................................... $343

Iowa DNR........................................................... $134

Marriage Licenses............................................ $19,145



Linda A. Stone

County Clerk Elect 


Treasurer’s Office


The Clerk/Treasurers meeting in November went well and the municipalities have sent out the 2008 Tax Bills and are collecting the first half or payment in full. The County settles with the municipalities in February. The Delinquent Taxes at this time are $2,268,933.27. We are working on the 2005 taxes before the county would start any foreclosure.


See TAX Collections below.



MONTH/YEAR  TAX              INTEREST                TOTAL

Jan-08                    103,358.98    23,788.52                127,147.50

Feb-08                    202,956.87    45,409.97                248,366.84

March-08                126,501.65    31,641.44                158,143.09

April-08                    54,371.28    15,317.87                  69,689.15                      

May-08                   157,748.47    45,399.99               203,148.46

June-08                  116,111.98    34,497.63                150,609.61

July-08                     86,530.86    27,020.75                113,551.61

August-08                 61,552.80    23,265.97                    84,818.77

September-08          560,333.18    82,042.25                642,375.43

October                  177,375.69    33,170.44                210,546.13



MONTH/YEAR  TAX              INTEREST                           TOTAL

Feb-08                   344,808.72      3,375.18                  348,183.90

March                     527,314.96    10,181.83                  537,496.79   

April-08                   258,478.88      5,485.59                 263,964.47

May-08                   460,566.21      5,503.68                 466,069.89

June-08                  940,757.59      7,620.06                  948,377.65

July-08                 11,640,950.26     8,272.58             11,649,222.84  

August-08              3,544,050.51    17,257.91               3,561,308.42