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:   April 30, 2009 

Re:  May Monthly Report to the County Board 

Attached is the May  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.



Hillview Assisted Living Facility    Upon further reflection after the discussion at the County Board meeting and after consulting with Chairman Doyle, County staff will provide more background information at the next Policy Planning meeting May 11, 2009.  In addition, I am seeking a meeting between myself and Pete Eide with Todd Wilson of Bethany Lutheran Homes and Tom Rand of Bethany St. Joeseph to learn more about their concerns.   

Joint Finance Committee   While we continue to lobby for County interests in the deliberations on the State Budget, Rep. Shilling co-sponsored a significant victory for County 911 systems along with Senator Lena Taylor.  If eventually passed as part of the budget bill, the change would impose a long term funding stream of a .75 cent per month surcharge on phone service to pay for the on-going capital equipment expenses of the County dispatch operations and the private providers.  The action represents an historic agreement between Counties & the private phone providers, brokered by the WCA that ensures relief for property tax payers in the operation of our public safety dispatch centers.   Rep. Shilling showed a great deal of leadership on our behalf.  

 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

May 2009 

Lakeview Health Center  

County Home Lobby Day 

On April 22, 2009 both Lakeview and Hillview representatives attended the County Home Lobby Day in Madison.

We met with our legislators or their representatives to discuss our significant concerns with the Governor’s budget proposal. 

While we have several issues that concern us, the most significant issue is the proposal to eliminate our certified public expenditures beginning this year! 

For La Crosse County nursing homes that is a loss of $1.1 million dollars that we have counted on in 2009. 

We are asking that you as county board supervisors and county tax payers contact Representative’s Huebsch and Schilling and Senator Kapanke as soon as possible to express your concerns regarding this portion of the proposed Governor’s budget.  It is especially important that this message get passed on to Representative Schilling as she is a member of joint finance who will essentially “make or break” our proposal.  We have also asked her to take the “lead” on this issue on joint finance. 

Attached is a one page issue statement prepared by W.C.A.  Feel free to refer to this when you call. 

If you have any questions regarding this significant financial issue feel free to call me at Lakeview Health Center any time. 

Hillview Health Care Center

Carroll Heights

  • As of now, we have a one bedroom and a two-bedroom unit open;

  • Carroll Heights discharged 8 people to assisted living and 13 to Hillview Health Care Center over the last year


Hillview Health Care Center

  • Census at Hillview remains on track for our planned census and we are beginning the budget process for 2010.

  • Hillview Health Care Center discharged 40 residents to assisted living facilities Since January 2009.

  • We will celebrate Nursing Home Week May 10 - 16.


County Homes Lobby Day

Please see report Lakeview did on both nursing homes behalf.


Hillview Health Care Center Satisfaction Survey-We completed a resident and a family satisfaction survey covering all aspects of the nursing home. We asked 29 questions to our current residents and/or families.  The highlights include a satisfaction rate of 94% in many areas including, “Would you recommend Hillview to a friend or loved one?” We will share the data with our committee and anyone other board member who wishes to receive it. 


La Crosse County Aging Unit


The Aging Unit’s annual report was sent out in the County Board packets.

Veterans Service Office 

  • A thanks to Steve O’Malley, the ALTC Committee and the entire County Baord for approving an increase in hours for our part-time position.  I have Julie Sylha starting her employment with La Crosse County on April 28, 2009.
  • May 25th is Memorial Day and as usual we are assisting the La Crosse Memorial Day Association and all county veterans’ organizations with lists of wartime veterans buried in county cemeteries.  The list grows by almost 200 annually now and there are over 7,700 veterans’ graves that are recognized with a U.S. flag on Memorial Day, dating back to a veteran who served in the War of 1812.  Hundreds of volunteers will assist with flagging of all of these graves on Wednesday, May 20th at cemeteries within the county.  A thank you to all of our volunteers.
  • The Milwaukee VA Regional Office (VARO) is part of a pilot project that accelerates disability claim processing if the VARO receives a certification from the veteran and the county veterans service officer that all available medical evidence is being submitted with the claim.  This started in January 2009 and results here show that this certification process is effective.  We have had several claims processed and completed within a 30-day time period vs. the usual 4-6 months.
  • In 2008, La Crosse County veterans received a total of $15.3 million in VA compensation payments.  This is a per capita amount of $1,533 per veteran.  The Wisconsin per capita average is $1,279.
  • In 2008, 41 federal VA home loans were approved for a total of $6.9 million.  Average mortgage amount was $167,979.  Currently there are 377 total active federal VA guaranteed loans in La Crosse County.  Historically, there have been 4,933 VA guaranteed loans closed in La Crosse County since this program began after World War II.


Health & Human Services

May 2009


Human Services Department

Over the past few months, a great deal of attention within the Human Services Department has been focused on the impact of the Governor’s biennial budget on counties and specifically on human services programs.  Areas that have substantial reductions in funding within the Governor’s budget include: Economic Support, Family and Children’s Services, Juvenile Justice and Behavioral Health.  Members of the Health and Human Services Board, the County Administrator and the Human Services Director have had opportunities to express our concerns with the state budget to the Joint Finance Committee and special committees of the legislature dealing with human services areas.  The hope is that some of the cuts in the Governor’s budget would be restored to counties and this would happen prior to some of the work in preparing for the 2010 budget.  More about the impact of the Governor’s budget can be obtained by calling the department at 785-6095 or emailing us at

The county has been seeing the impact of the economic downturn within the county’s Economic Support Section of Human Services.  Caseloads have been increasing for some time in this Section but much more rapidly in the past three to four months.  The Department has worked with Personnel, the County Administrator and the Union to increase some of the hours for Economic Support staff to address the number of new recipients of service and benefits offered by the Department.  The Economic Support Section will be monitoring these increased hours and workload demands monthly and also see if the state’s new initiatives regarding centralized eligibility for certain recipients of public assistance will take some of the workload demands off of county Economic Support staff.  A new program within Badger Care is to be introduced in July for childless adults who qualify for the program.  The state is assuming that these new enrollees will be able to go through a centralized enrollment process with the state and not have to come in to the county to apply.  There is some skepticism within counties if this will work but evidence of how this is working will likely be seen quickly over the summer months.  More information on the impact of the economic downturn and its relationship to rising caseloads in Economic Support is available through Lorie Graff, Program Manager of Economic Support, at  

Within the next few months the county will be receiving a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the new Department of Children and Families regarding the Wisconsin Works (W2) program.  The county has administered this program, which is the State of Wisconsin’s welfare to work program, since its inception in 1998.  There are real concerns that the W2 program may be irrelevant in an economy that is rapidly losing jobs since the program is designed to support those on public assistance to get back into the workforce.  The county likely will only have a month or two to determine if it chooses to remain involved in the W2 program once the RFP is issued by the state.  More information on the W2 program, its benchmarks, and the next RFP can  

be obtained by contacting Lorie Graff, Program Manager of Economic Support, at

Finally, the Human Services Department is continuing its work on what we have termed “Life after long term care”.  Since October of last year, the Department no longer administers the Managed Care Organization of Western Wisconsin.  It still manages the Aging and Disability Resource Centers for four counties in Wisconsin.  A number of strategic initiatives have been examined by the Human Services Management Team to create greater integration of services and respond to some of the issues associated with state cutbacks in funding.  More on the reorganization structure of the Department will be shared with the Health and Human Services Board over the next few months and going into the 2010 budget process.



 Internal Departments

May 2009

County Clerk’s Office 


April 7th Spring Election:  There were 54 ballot styles in April and we had 41,691 ballots printed, including the mandated sample ballots and test ballots, at a cost of $11,295.15.  We will recoup some of that from the Municipalities and School Districts.  County wide there were 21,441 ballots cast, which was only 26% but in the City of La Crosse, where there was a high profile mayoral contest, the turnout ranged from 9% to over 50% depending on the District.  The Towns and Villages ranged from 13% (Town of Holland) to 69% (Town of Burns).  Unfortunately, we can only guesstimate turnout and have to order plenty of ballots of each style to ensure that no municipality or school district runs out.  In SVRS (Statewide Voter Registration System) we recorded voter participation for 2,555 voters from our 8 relying Towns, 65 of which were EDRs (Election Day Registrations).  There are no more elections scheduled for 2009 so unless someone calls a special election, I will stay considerably under the dollars Marion budgeted for both printing ballots and publications.  Part of this is due to my change from retail publications to legal at a considerable savings.  I don’t have the bill for the April ballot publication yet but was assured it will be significantly less than previous years.

County Directory

We are gathering information from all of the County Departments, Municipalities and School Districts for our 2009-2010 County Directory of Public Officials.  With increased access to the internet, we print about half as many books as we used to.  Pre-payment, which covers the cost of printing, is required from all departments, individuals, businesses and government agencies who request a directory. 

Marriage Licenses

Marriage licenses are starting to pick up some as they usually do in April.  We recently sought out advice from Judge Bjerke regarding some incorrect data in a translated Arabic birth certificate.  I learned at the WCCO Conference in Madison that other County Clerks often rely on their Judges in situations such as this.  We never have so I appreciated Judge Bjerke’s assistance;  he was very helpful and it is good to know that I can contact him if I have similar concerns in the future.  As it turned out, the applicant, who was born in Saudi Arabia, was able to get a corrected translation in time so we did not have to rely on the judge’s opinion in this instance.  Despite a recent news story that marriages were down our #s have stayed fairly consistent. 

County Board

Voting Equipment:  I am working with John Parshall and his team to investigate a more efficient and reliable voting system for the Board as well as the possibility of offering live streaming video of each meeting on our web site.  We are still in the preliminary stages of this investigation but have seen some promising and economical possibilities. 

Approved Minutes:  My Deputy and I met with Dana Riniker from I.T. to fine tune the process of getting approved committee minutes published to the web site.  Bill Shepherd and I addressed the Department Head Meeting regarding these changes and what will now be required of the minute recorders.   

Dog Licenses

In 2009, we have entered about 7,000 sold tags into the system, with another 1,000 waiting to be processed.  Many of these are new owners and/or dogs that require the creation of new records.  On April 2nd we began selling late tags and have already sold 138 as of April 25th.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda Stone, County Clerk 

La Crosse County Library  

  • Renovation at the Onalaska location is complete and the building was re-dedicated on Sunday, April 19th.  A special thank you to Board Chairman Steve Doyle who provided a wonderful speech as part of the ceremonies.
  • Following the November flooding at the West Salem location, a new boiler system was finally installed in April to bring the heating system back to full operation.  The total collection loss was 1, 709 items at a value of $26,859.02.  An insurance claim was filed and a settlement has been received.
  • With direction and assistance from the County’s IT Department, the Library’s website was re-designed and updated.  The web address is
  • The Holmen Area Library was re-carpeted in March.  The project entailed closing the facility to the public but was completed on time.
  • Final plans continue for the annual Summer Reading Program.  This year’s theme will be Space Quest.
  • Mindoro Library planning continues with the Town of Farmington.  Road blocks have prevented finalizing the survey on a potential land donation so the Town is also pursuing alternatives options.

La Crosse County Library            March 2009

























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 Information Technology Department  

In Progress Projects:

VMware – This software will enable us to combine several computer servers onto one physical computer server.  This will minimize the footprint in the existing computer servers, save energy and reduce costs.  VMware provides tools that will enable us to more rapidly create computer servers for testing and disaster recovery.

Firewall Replacement – The County’s current firewall will go end-of-life in December 2009.  A replacement product has been selected based on cost and function.  The new product will be installed by the end of June.

Highline ePersonality Upgrade - The current High Line Corporation Payroll and Human Resources management software (P2K) is being upgraded in 3rd quarter of 2009 to the new ePersonality web based interface. This is a product upgrade due to technology advancement and license changes within the product. The upgrade to eP will position the County for future implementation of Self Service tools (online time entry, pay stubs, and benefits administration).

Two New Websites – The Transportation website will be use to find and coordinate transportation.  The Historical website will be used to inform and share information on existing historical sites and will give the public the ability to nominate a new site.

Economic Support Workflow  - This Project  will implement an automated workflow tool that the Economic Support staff will use to process, manage and store scanned images as part of their client management and State reporting needs.  The project was initiated as a means to automate a process that previously was completely manual and reliant on paper.  The successful conclusion of this project will result in an greater work processing efficiencies (to be determined later), a complete electronic record of all client paperwork, and a realized savings of approximately $15,000/yr in reduction of paper, printing/copying, and shredding costs. 

Connect Software - We are beginning the next phase of the Connect Software.   The prior two phases that are complete included new software to support the ADRC regionalization initiative and a universal client screen to help centralized client information for all Human Services departments.  This phase will be focused on client management, scheduling, tracking services and reporting.  

Balanced Deployment and Document Imaging/Workflow - We continue to work on Scanning/Imaging projects to reduce costs, increase efficiency, save paper and aid in business continuity.  To date we have 11 implementations up and running and 7 departments utilizing document imaging.  We have several more planned for the rest of 2009 and more in 2010.  With each implementation we look at ways to reduce costs and make processes more efficient.     

Important Completed Projects:

IBM iSeries OS Upgrade – IBM ended support on the operating system that we use to operate and run the County Tax System on and the Human Services Core Client Billing system (DRI).  This upgrade involved testing by IT, Treasurer, Land Information, Land Conservation, Environmental Health, and the City of La Crosse Assessor and Treasurer Depts.  The new operating systems was implemented allowing for continued use and support for the departments that use it.

Sheriff Website Enhancement “Who’s in Jail” – An inmate locator website was created to provide citizens the opportunity to identify current jail inmates, determine their bond/bail amount, visiting schedule and associated booking information.  It is believed this website will help alleviate the high call volume received from those inquiring about persons in jail.  Along with the “Who’s in Jail” site, an active warrant list will be available to view from the Sheriff’s website.

Enterprise Backup System – A new tape backup system installation has been completed.  This replaced the old tape unit that is end-of–life.  Is a faster system and uses higher capacity tapes.  The new tape unit is strategically located in a separate building for better disaster recovery.  The backup software was also upgraded to the most current version utilizing a new blade server.

Blade Server System – The new HP blade server installation has been completed.  This includes an enclosure that can contain up to 16 blade servers.  Blade servers utilize shared resources and minimize the server footprint.  Blade servers will be added as IT replaces older inefficient servers and adds new services.

Provider Contract Software – This system was developed to assist Human Services with the management of vendors, providers and contracts.  The process, as it is today, is entirely manual and paper driven.  It currently takes a maximum of 200 days to work through a contract from start to finish.  The new Provider Contract Software will eliminate the need for much of the paper and manual processing.  The new system will track all vendors, providers, services, rates and contracts.  It automates the contract creation and approval process, allowing the user to see where the contract is and who the bottlenecks are at any point in time.  With this system, it is estimated it should take a maximum of 94 days to work through a contract from start to finish.

GIS Mapping Site – Staff added a zoom-to-scale tool to the County’s GIS mapping website.  This allows users to size the map at common scales.  We also added a tool to enable map printing, and when used in conjunction with the zoom-to-scale tool, users are able to print a scales map that is accurate using an architect’s scale.  The mapping site’s Help document was updated to add layer information.  And image of the selected parcel was added to the Land Records Information site. 

Bonds Application - The Bonds Application, replacing the current paper bonds (signature and cash) issued by County Law Enforcement and Courts, went live January 2, 2009. This system was put in place to increase accuracy of information on the bonds, reduce maintenance efforts related to the paper bonds, and reduce the risk of lawsuits resulting from incorrect information or misinterpretation of the existing bonds. The application allows law enforcement, emergency dispatch, court, DA, and Justice Sanctions staff immediate access to up-to-date information on bond activity. A Bonds Standards Committee meets regularly to address changes needed in the application and changes needed in ancillary bond processes.