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
www.co.la-crosse.wi.us

Planning, Resources & Development

Public Works

Judiciary & Law

 

Memo To:  La Crosse County Board of Supervisors

From:  Steve O’Malley, County Administrator

Date:  October 1, 2009 

Re:  October Monthly Report to the County Board 

Attached is the October  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

 

“OF INTEREST” 

During regular committee meetings this month, we will review the Top Budget Issues by Committee and answer any questions that County Board members have about the 2010 Proposed Budget.

At the October 6, 2009 County Board Planning meeting, the agenda will include:

  • 2010 Capital Improvement Plan, including an update on the Women’s Community Based Alternative

  • 2010 Budget Proposal, Review and discussion of Top Budget issues, including a presentation of alternatives to the Budget proposal that address many of the major challenges as outlined.

 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  steve.omalley@co.la-crosse.wi.us

 

MONTHLY REPORT TO THE COUNTY BOARD

 

Planning, Resources & Development Committee

October 2009 

 

Metropolitan Planning Organization 

 

In this report I’ll follow up on previous information on the I-90 Dresbach Bridge replacement construction planned for 2013 – 2015.

 

I serve on both the Technical Advisory and Policy Advisory Committees for the bridge replacement and am pleased to report that there has been significant progress made in bridge planning this summer.  The “Gateway Crossing” preliminary design and environmental study is just about done, with a public hearing planned for November, 2009 in La Crescent.

 

The public hearing will highlight the final design for the bridge and approach roadway interchange in Minnesota.  The new Mississippi River bridge will be concrete box construction, with a profile similar to the current bridge.  The new I-90 / USH 14/61 interchange will address geometric design safety issues and will includes enhanced access to the rest area, boat launches and lock and dam site from I-90 eastbound.  The interchange will also include safe bicycle accommodations along the Great River Trail connecting Winona with La Crescent.

 

Here are pictures of the proposed bridge and interchange design:

 

 

Construction of the new bridge and interchange will occur in 5 stages over about three years; the actual starting time for construction has not been determined.  No long-term detours are planned.  There may be short-term traffic detours or delays as the new bridge is tied into the existing highway.  During construction, four lanes of traffic will remain open over the Mississippi River, using the existing bridge until new lanes are available.  This will keep traffic flowing for commuters between La Crescent and La Crosse.

 

I am working with the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin to ensure that sufficient financing is available in the LAPC Transportation Improvement Program to cover the anticipated bridge and roadway cost.  The 2010 – 2013 improvement program was adopted at the September 16, 2009 LAPC meeting.   Included is $20 million in Wisconsin funding and $150 million in Minnesota funding, thanks to Minnesota’s 2008 gas tax increase partially dedicated to “budget buster” bridges.

 

La Crosse County UW-Extension

 

  • Over 100 youth participated in the Wisconsin State Fair and exhibited projects in a wide variety of areas including dairy, beef, sheep, goat, llama, woodworking, arts, clothing, demonstrations, music and drama. Youth participating in the State Fair are evaluated by certified judges and practice communication skills through their interaction with the many people that visit the Fair each year.

  • Fifty-three youth participated in the Summer At-Risk program.  The program, based in experiential learning methodologies, offered a variety of activities that helped youth to build positive relationships with others and animals, increase their awareness of self and others, and increase their trust and respect of self and others.

  • Eighty-eight members attended 4-H camp in June.  Post-camp surveys indicated 100% of those surveyed enjoyed camp and learned things about birds, reptiles, the Wisconsin River and other environmental education during the camp experience. A parent survey indicated the experience was positive and that their children gained skills in self-confidence, group dynamics and teamwork, new friendships, and gained independence.

  • Presented local research results, comparing municipal assessment values to property sales data, to the County PRD Committee, La Crosse Towns Association summer meeting and the Town of Campbell’s September 8th Board meeting.  Attendees gained knowledge on what happened between resident’s assessments as the average assessment ratio dropped from the municipality’s full value.

  • Promoted stormwater education through the coordination of rain garden signs for the local municipalities that have created rain gardens through the UW-Extension office.

  • Corn Fungicide plot ratings were taken at four locations this month and showed small amounts of leaf diseases (rust and northern corn leaf blight were the main two diseases found) were present is our local corn crop. Yields from these plots will be taken at harvest to determine if the application of a corn fungicide resulted in greater yields versus those that were untreated.

  • A dairy outlook and financial strategies webinar was held in August.  Producers and professionals in attendance were able to gain perspective on where the dairy industry is headed for the months to come and what marketing tools are available for them to use to help whether these tough economic times.

  • WNEP educators are teaching four Healthy Eating Club workshops for 12 special needs adults, in collaboration with the Park and Recreation Department.  At the first session 100% (8/8) thought that the class on Healthy Food Fiesta was “very helpful” or “helpful” and indicate they will use the MyPyramid model when planning or selecting a meal.

  • Nutrition Educators, in cooperation with the La Crosse County Aging Unit, are assessing their effectiveness with food safety as the most recent topic.  The results of a customer satisfaction survey at 8 of the 9 senior meal sites showed that out of 103 questionnaires returned, 78 (76%) marked that the monthly sessions were “very helpful” or “helpful” and in regards to the two safety questions it showed that 62 more seniors will avoid washing meat and poultry and/or not thaw meat on the counter.

  • The Family Living Agent/Department Head is one of thirteen members appointed by the Dean of Cooperative Extension to serve on the UW-Extension Cooperative Extension Council for Strategic Change. This Council is responsible for oversight and guidance for the efficient implementation of the Cooperative Extension Strategic Plan and coordinating those activities with ongoing organizational improvement efforts.

  • As a part of the Public Relations and Marketing promotion for September the UW-Extension Department hosted UW-Extension on the Move – an outreach effort to take the educational resources of the Department to the people of Onalaska. The staff hosted hours at the County Library in Onalaska for people to bring in their questions, meet and talk with the staff, and to learn about the varied and numerous educational resources available through their local Extension resource.

 

Register of Deeds

 

We have started scanning plats into our computer system.  Printing dept. is doing the actual scanning on our new large format scanner & then I import them into our IDOC system.  This is great because our customers will be able to view the plats online and there is an actual back up to the paper documents in our office.

 

2009 statistics

 

Birth Certificates

Real Estate Documents

Total Revenue

Jan.

474

2115

$51,529.53

Feb.

512

2657

$57,694.16

Mar.

558

2613

$51,361.20

April

431

2749

$55,865.86

May

484

2540

$61,491.68

June

515

2679

$63,172.45

July

458

2393

$61,254.12

Aug.

617

1860

$50,402.06

 

Zoning, Planning and Land Information Department

 

Staff continues drafting an update of the Zoning Ordinance.  Staff welcomed new County Board Member, Tina Wehrs to our Planning, Resources and Development Committee with an orientation on zoning and planning ordinances.  Staff is working with Towns who have completed their comprehensive land use plans to bring them forward for consideration of an amendment to the County’s Comp Plan.  The 2010 Census continues to move forward.  Jeff Bluske will be forming a “Complete Count Committee” to promote timely and accurate response from all residents of La Crosse County for the US Census survey.

 

Zoning permits issued through September 30, 2009:

 

Permits through 9/2009                          285 structures with a value of $ 15,141,753

 

Through the same period in 2008              401 structures with a value of $ 23,630,207

 

It’s hard to determine when the freefall in the housing market will subside, maybe when unemployment goes down! The unsold homes market is still in competition with those foreclosed homes and those homes that have been taken off the market and changed to rentals.  Even though housing starts are slow in the towns, our cities and villages are not showing that steep a decline; being aided better by tax incentives, low interest mortgages, short commutes and access to mass transit as ways to lower costs.  The towns tend to see more existing home improvements than new home construction in depressed times.            

 

Land Conservation

 

Mission Statement

Department of Land Conservation

 

The La Crosse County Department of Land Conservation develops strategies, implements programs and provides technical assistance to protect and enhance the soil and water resources of the county.

  

The 2009 construction season for conservation practice installation has come to a close. September 15th of each year signals the last day in which a construction site can safely be seeded and mulched to stabilize the site and protect it from future erosion. To do this any later in the growing season greatly increases the chances that the new seeding will “freeze out” or “winter kill” leaving the site vulnerable to erosion by wind and/or water. Another annual deadline that halts conservation construction is October 1st when the DNR prohibits any in-stream or adjacent stream bank work on state waters that are classified as trout waters. This deadline is imposed because trout spawn in the Fall of the year and their spawning habitat needs to be protected from disruption or destruction from construction activities. This construction prohibition also protects the trout eggs from being buried under sediment which can suffocate the developing embryos and lower in-stream fish populations.

 

2009 was a good construction season considering the recent economic slow down in the farming sector. Record low milk prices have caused farmers to put off expenditures this past year, including costs for installing soil and water conservation measures. Because most of the conservation programs provide cost share assistance to landowners, we were able to continue conservation work in selected project areas by offering financial assistance. The following agricultural conservation practices were installed during the 2009 construction season;

 

Burr Oak Watershed Project

 

1 ea          Barnyard Runoff Control System with Roof Runoff Management

150 ft       Underground Outlet

1 ea          Grade Stabilization/Rock Chute

3 ea          Cattle Crossings

1 ea          Machinery Crossing

839 ft       Grassed Waterway

230 ft       Cattle Lane

2,926 ft    Protective Fencing

 

Gill’s Coulee Creek Watershed Project

 

5,773 ft       Stream bank Protection Rock Rip Rap

500 ft          Stream Crossings

4 ea            Rock Lined Outlet

2 ea            Grade Stabilization Structures with Diversions

1 ea            Plunge Pool

4,060 ft       Protective Fencing

310 ft         Cattle Lane

49 ea          In-Stream Vortex Weirs 

 

Soil and Water Resource Management Program

 

1,075 ft       Grassed Waterway

1 ea            Rock Machinery Crossing

1 ea            Rock Cattle Crossing

2 ea            Grade Stabilization/Rock Chute

134 ft          Underground Outlet

 

All of the above conservation practices were cost shared using funds from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and the La Crosse County Environmental Fund.

  

MONTHLY REPORT TO THE COUNTY BOARD

 

Public Works & Infrastructure

October 2009 

 

Highway Department

 

  • The bridge replacement project on CTH B just east of West Salem has been completed which was about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. The weather cooperated

and everything went well on the project. The old narrow bridge was replaced with a double barreled concrete box culvert which now allows for a wider shoulder and up to date beam guards. This project was funded with 80% Federal Bridge Replacement Funds.

  • The reconditioning project on CTH G will be completed by the end of the month. This project was just over 5 miles in length and consisted of re-claiming the existing pavement, replacing culverts as needed, adding base course, paving a new hot mix mat and shouldering.

  • The Vernon County Highway Department has completed our centerline striping. We striped our new construction and seal coat areas as well as re-striping other various roads as needed. Out of the 285 miles of county trunk highways we striped just over 100 miles.

  • Crews doing DOT work have been working on STH 162 (Dutch Creek). The work consists of cutting slopes, replacing and adding onto culverts, widening the west side of the highway slopes and pavement patching. This has been about a three year on going project in advance of a DOT reconstruction project scheduled in the coming years. This has been a good project as the funding does not come out of the routine maintenance area and is funded by extra discretionary funds.

  • Salt deliveries for the season have started and our storage sheds should be full starting into the winter. Shop crews are beginning to ready equipment for the winter season.

  • Our Annual Safety day is scheduled for Friday, November 6, 2009. We will conduct our Plow Truck Safety Roadeo and other safety training sessions. Stop out and view the activities.

 

Dennis Osgood  

 

Solid Waste

 

  • A $7.10 per ton DNR fee increase has been imposed on all landfills.  A public input process  involving haulers, major customers of the landfill, and the cities of La Crosse and Onalaska was utilized to develop a recommended increase to the Solid Waste Policy Board, which will be forwarded to the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee, and then to the County Board.  The recommendation which is a blended rate will raise fees less than the $7.10 required by the DNR.

 

  • A review of the St. Joseph landfill operating contract was presented to the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee.  Positive and negative points were discussed.  The Solid Waste Department is providing continued oversight of the St. Joseph operating contract.

 

  • Construction of the new landfill cell has been completed.  Total change orders during construction have amounted to less than 6% of project costs.  Oversight of the construction contract, work activities, and change orders was facilitated by the Solid Waste Department and properly reported to the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee. 

 

  • Construction is underway for a new landfill shop and maintenance facility.  Construction activities are on schedule and within budget. 

 

  • Clay is being received under the Bahr/St. Joseph clay contract.  Quality assurance and oversight is being provided by the Solid Waste Department.  This project should be completed in mid October. 

 

  • A feasibility report for utilizing landfill gas for energy production has been completed.  Review of the report by County departments, administration, and committees is underway. 

 

  • The annual meeting of stakeholders of the La Crosse Solid Waste Disposal System was held on August 12, 2009.  Positive comments were received on the information presented.  The next meeting will be held in April of 2010. 

 

  • The Solid Waste Department Special Waste program has exceeded 2009 budget tonnages by approximately 270%.  Much of the special waste material has been used for beneficial site construction such as roads, daily cover, etc.  Greater attention to the management of the special waste program has resulted in improved compliance and increased revenue. 

 

  • HHM - With Clean Sweep Grants reinstated through the State budget process, the HHM program has quickly reestablished a regional collection program.  Program staff will provide collection service to five area counties and will receive $75,000 in grant funding.

 

  • Sustainability – A presentation to all County department heads and managers on the sustainability program and what it means in helping out their individual budgets was made on September 24, 2009. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) have just opened up for applications. La Crosse County is eligible to receive up to $225,000.00 for alternative energy projects. We have researched several projects, and we will be submitting our application within the next several weeks.

 

Respectfully submitted, 

Henry A. Koch, PE

 

MONTHLY REPORT TO THE COUNTY BOARD

 

Judiciary & Law

October 2009

 

 

Emergency Services 

 

Public-Safety Communications

 

July

Telephone Calls

9-1-1 Calls       2,682 (average of 87 per day)              

          Answered within 10 seconds:      94.5%

          Answered within 20 seconds:      99.4%

          Answered within 40 seconds:      99.9%

·         1 call more than 40 seconds

 

Total Calls      27,479 (average of 886 per day)

 

Calls for Service

          Law Enforcement      10,007

          Fire Fighting                    197

          Emergency Medical         561

 

August

Telephone Calls

          9-1-1 Calls       2,488 (average of 80 per day)

                   Answered within 10 seconds:    93.9%

                   Answered within 20 seconds:    99.3%

                   Answered within 40 seconds:    99.9%

·         2 calls more than 40 seconds

 

                   Total Calls      26,105 (average of 842 per day)

 

Calls for Service

          Law Enforcement        9,783

          Fire Fighting                 182

          Emergency Medical        516

 

National Emergency Number Association Standards:

o    90% within 10 seconds (during the busy hour)

o    95% within 20 seconds.

 

What affects call answering times?  There are many factors, most of which are out of the control of the 9-1-1 dispatchers.  On average, the call volumes are manageable when you look at an average of under 90 9-1-1 calls for a 24-hour period.   However, the ability to answer a 9-1-1 call diminishes when multiple 9-1-1 calls ring at, or near, the same time. 

 

As an example, take a fairly routine two and half minute period on August 5, just after 4 p.m.  Three of the four dispatchers on duty are answering phone calls, including one 9-1-1 medical call.  Another 9-1-1 call rings in reporting a multiple-vehicle accident.  Within the next 17 seconds, five more 9-1-1 calls ring in.  The longest answering time of these calls was 21 seconds and all five were reporting the same accident.

By the time the two and a half minutes were up, there had been 13 phone calls, including 10      9-1-1 calls.  In addition, the staff had dispatched three police units, two fire apparatus and notified an ambulance for the accident, plus sent police to two other non-emergency calls for service and made another request for an ambulance transport.

 

The result - six of the 10 9-1-1 calls had an answering time ranging from 11-21 seconds.  For all of 2009, 9-1-1 calls have been answered within 10 seconds nearly 95% of the time.   However, with the popularity of cell phones, visible incidents can create challenging moments in the 9-1-1 center.

 

Al Blencoe’s job has been reclassified as the Public Safety Communications Manager.  Al had served nearly six years as the county’s coordinator for public safety technology.  Now his focus will be on all the services provided in communications center.   Al started with La Crosse County in 1984, working as a telecommunicator for five years and as a supervisor for 14 years. 

 

Emergency Management (Keith Butler)

 

August began with extensive efforts to prepare the 2010 budget and to complete the remaining Emergency Management Performance Grant and EPCRA grant Plan of Work deliverables.  The NIMSCAST report, a Federal project designed to inventory the current status of training and implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System, was updated during this period.  Several gaps remain in the implementation phase for   La Crosse County and were noted in the updated report.

 

Local Public School systems and the three area Higher Education campuses worked diligently with the Public Health Department and Emergency Management to prepare for the anticipated influenza outbreak that may elevate to a global pandemic this Autumn and early winter. 

 

Several new initiatives were either developed or moved along during these two months:

  • Participation in the State System Management Group for radio interoperability

  • Exhaustive testing and configuration adjustments to the West Central Interoperability system that links Dispatch Centers and Emergency Operation Centers

  • Appointment to the State Homeland Security Advisory Committee

  • Co-Hosting of the three-day Tri-State HazMat Group Oil Spill Response Workshop (September 15 – 17, 2009)

  • Acceptance of a Homeland Security grant to install the necessary Dispatch radio channels for a new MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) Division that would provide enhanced mutual aid coordination for area Fire Departments

  • Preparations for a state-wide Long Term Power Outage plan and training

  • Planning for the Wisconsin Emergency Management Association annual conference

  • Working with the Aging Unit to complete the Prepare Now! campaign to link area EMS providers with self-identified special needs persons.  The disaster kits were purchased and arrangements are now focused on the delivery to over 50 persons.

  • Replenishing all of the oxygen tanks on the Mass Casualty Team supply trailers as well as replacing decade-old tires and heavy wooden spinal immobilization boards with lighter plastic boards.

  • Participation in the National Weather Service office open house by demonstration of the Communications & Command Vehicle and SkyWarn (storm spotter) emergency communication equipment.

  • Continued the La Crosse County Radio Interoperability planning group efforts by meeting with radio system vendors and representatives from the Minnesota state system (ARMER) and preparing for a Tactical Interoperability Communications Plan workshop funded through Homeland Security.

 

 

Clerk of Courts

 

September is Juror Appreciation month throughout the State of Wisconsin.  In LaCrosse County, we celebrated by putting posters up, an article in the tribune, the county board adopted a resolution, and treats for the jurors.   The State Senate also adopted a joint resolution proclaiming September juror month also.  The Courts feel everyday is time to appreciate or jurors. 

 

In August, La Crosse County was the pilot county for the State for processing substitute judge requests.  CCAP created an interface with the District Court Administrators software and the Court software to allow the process to be done electronically. 

 

In September, the Seventh Judicial District, which includes La Crosse County, started the interpreter pilot program for the State of Wisconsin.  The District Court Administrator is now coordinating the district in scheduling and paying for interpreters.  The hope is to reduce expenses for each of the counties by coordinating resources.   

 

Corporation  Counsel

 

Child Support Report

 

ARRA Update:

In the last board report provided in June 2009, it was reported that the agency would be receiving funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the period 10-08 through 9-10.  The conditional use for these funds requires that child support agencies do not supplant spending already earmarked in the budget (including tax levy amounts.)  The Board approved use of these funds and the agency is in the process of hiring a Support Specialist.  This position will replace one of two staff who plan to retire in 2010.

 

Medical Support:

DCF 150 provides that Child Support agencies in the State of Wisconsin make determinations about health insurance for children that is available at reasonable cost and/or reasonable contribution by the non-insuring parent.  This new provision will have a performance measurement attached to it in the future which will provide performance funding for the child support agency.  This will create another layer of information gathering and calculation for Support Specialists, but could have a  positive effect in reducing  tax payer’s expense related to Badger Care/Medical Assistance program. 

 

Sheriff’s Department

 

VINE Program

 

On September 22nd, we launched the WI-VINE service, an automated service that notifies registered crime victims and other concerned citizens when offenders are released from jail, and also provide around-the-clock access to offender information either by telephone or use of the Internet.  In addition to crime victims, the VINE system can be used by family members, neighbors, business owners, law enforcement officers, criminal justice professionals – anyone impacted by crime – who is interested in knowing the location and custody status of criminal defendants and offenders housed in the County jail.  The WI-VINE service is funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice and is in more than a dozen other WI counties. 

 

Boat Patrol

 

Our boat patrol ran from Memorial Day through Labor Day; as it has in past years.  We encountered no major issues.  A full report will be presented at the October Judiciary and Law Enforcement meeting.

 

Oktoberfest Weekend

 

The opening weekend of this festival went smoothly.  Our call volume was comparable to what we see on a typical weekend and the jail bookings were down from what we have seen in the past few years.  A breakdown of the bookings/releases can be seen below.

 

OCTOBERFEST

BOOKINGS 

Shift

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Friday 2nd shift

15

5

11

5

10

Friday 3rd shift

7

8

15

16

7

Saturday 1st Shift

5

5

4

8

2

Saturday 2nd Shift

6

7

12

5

10

Saturday 3rd Shift

21

19

14

15

11

Sunday 1st Shift

2

3

0

1

2

Sunday 2nd Shift

2

2

4

2

2

Sunday 3rd Shift

1

4

4

2

0

Total

59

53

64

54

44

RELEASES 

Shift

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Friday 2nd shift

5

5

3

2

4

Friday 3rd shift

3

4

5

6

2

Saturday 1st Shift

7

5

3

5

4

Saturday 2nd Shift

1

7

5

1

4

Saturday 3rd Shift

12

6

2

5

4

Sunday 1st Shift

12

9

10

6

7

Sunday 2nd Shift

5

3

5

2

3

Sunday 3rd Shift

0

0

0

1

0

Total

45

39

33

28

28

Jail Transition Update 

In August the jail transition team, composed of three jailers and one Sergeant, was organized to plan for the move to the new direct supervision pods and remodeled jail facility.  The Sheriff requested technical assistance support from NIC (National Institute of Corrections) to assist the team in development of an efficient approach to transition planning.  The request was approved and a four-day HONI (How to Open a New Institution) program was presented by two trainers from NIC.  The training provided the team with the tools needed to implement the Jail Occupancy Action Plan Timeline, begin creation of scenarios designed to assist all staff in understanding how the new facility will operate and set in motion the plans for policy and procedure updates.  Jailers on the transition team are dedicated full-time to the project and are looking forward to the opportunity to solve problems, develop written procedures and maintain a safe and secure facility.