Office of County Administrator
Memo To: La Crosse County Board of Supervisors
From: Steve O’Malley, County Administrator
Date: February 2,
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 Health & Human Services
Public Works & Infrastructure Aging & Long Term Care
Judiciary & Law Enforcement County Clerk, Finance, IT,
Corp Counsel & Child Support Printing, Personnel, Treasurer
PropertyTax Assessment presentation by Karl Green @ 5:30pm Monday February 8, 2010
Karl Green will make his presentation on the
Property Tax Assessment system ½ hour before our Planning Meeting that
night. This is the information he has presented to the Towns Association
Invitation to La Crosse City Council: County Policy Planning Meeting February 8, 2010
Reminder to all Board members, the upcoming Planning meeting next Monday will be presentations from this year’s County Collaboration Conference. La Crosse Supervisors should call their City Council colleagues who represent their same district to encourage their attendance. My presentation on “Challenging Trends in La Crosse County Facing La Crosse County” will set the stage for three presentations on potential solutions by Karl Green (UW-Extension), Larry Kirch (City Planning) and Jerry Kember (Superintendent).
Hillview Assisted Living Facility Timeline to go to Aging & Long Term Care Committee
After consultation with WIPFLI CPA and
Consulting, and extensive market study research, HV staff recommends there
is a need for a high quality, affordable, moderate income assisted living
facility in the County. A summary of the conclusions of the WIPFLI study
will be presented to the ALTC and County Board using the following timeline,
so that there is sufficient time for discussion, evaluation and debate:
Negotiate Contract for Biogas Utilization with Gunderson Lutheran Health Systems
Following submission by three different responses to the County’s Request for Interest (RFI), County Staff recommend that the County Board adopt a resolution authorizing the negotiation of a Contract with GL as the most experienced firm responding to the RFI.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail.
County Administrator direct line: 785-9789, cell phone 608-385-3316
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning, Resources & Development Committee
2009 Section and
Quarter corner observations:
Section and Quarter
corner monument maintenance for 2009:
Section and Quarter
corners re-established in 2009:
Projects for other
County Surveyor Files:
Bryan H. Meyer
La Crosse County Surveyor
As the Director of a bi-state agency which includes parts of both Wisconsin and Minnesota, I have the opportunity to participate in several groups planning or advocating for high speed rail between the Twin Cities and Chicago. At this time I’d like to update you on the status of rail planning efforts and what is likely to happen in the near future.
Much of the discussion in our area has been not on the possibility of high speed rail, but on the location of the corridor between the Twin Cities and Chicago. In December of 2009, the State of Minnesota released a draft version of the Minnesota Comprehensive Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan, with the final version expected soon. This plan identifies the “River Route” from the Twin Cities through Red Wing, Winona, La Crosse and on to Madison and Chicago as the priority corridor, with sustained speeds of 110 MPH. Wisconsin is currently in the process of writing a statewide rail plan, which will be required for future Federal Railroad Administration funding.
On January 27, 2010, the White House announced ARRA grants to stimulate high speed rail construction. Wisconsin was awarded $810M to construct the link between Chicago and Madison. Wisconsin and Minnesota jointly received $600,000 for a “Service Level NEPA” study of the corridor between the Twin Cities and Madison. This grant will be combined with $600,000 of state funds and will determine the preferred alternative for this portion of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative. Optimistically, this study will be completed by September, 2010, in time for the 2 states to apply for the $50M required for preliminary design of the preferred route.
Although there are groups advocating for corridors through Rochester and Eau Claire, I believe that the current Amtrak route through La Crosse, the “Empire Builder” route, is the most shovel ready and cost effective route for the first leg of high speed rail in Wisconsin and that I’ll be riding it to meetings in St. Paul and Madison before I retire.
The new credit/debit card system with PayGov has still not been implemented. Seems to be a hold up with the month to month contract & the problems were not addressed right away, my old contract with OPC for online copies expired on Jan. 19th. Hopefully the problems are getting ironed out & we can get started with PayGov soon.
US Imaging came into the office to look over ALL of the real estate books we have in our vault area, they are going to give me a price quote for converting the books to digital images. We have over 500 books that have no back up & if something would happen to them, the information would be lost forever.
RSVP volunteers continue to work in the office helping with the backscanning of filed documents. We have drawers upon drawers of old federal tax liens, lis pendens, ordinances, change of name, guardianship, annexations, partnerships, trusts, trade names, appointments, and notices to name a few document types. All of these documents are very old & in most cases the only copy in existence. We have 2 volunteers that work approximately 15 hours each per month.
2009 final statistics
The Department of Land Conservation staff is conducting nutrient management planning workshops for La Crosse County farmers who apply animal manure or commercial fertilizers to crop fields. Both animal and commercial fertilizers contain nutrients that are essential to plant growth. The workshops instruct farmers on how to manage the spreading of animal manures and fertilizers to meet the nutrient needs of crops and prevent the over application of nutrients. Too many nutrients applied to soils can leach through the soil profile and cause groundwater contamination. Excess nutrients that collect on the soil surface, in particular the nutrient phosphorus can be eroded away during storm events and end up in nearby lakes and streams. Once there, it can trigger excessive weed growth and algal blooms that interfere with water based recreation activities such as swimming and fishing. Excessive weed and algal growth can also create conditions that result in massive fish kills by depleting the waters oxygen levels from decomposition. The workshops also show farmers how to save money on purchased fertilizer costs by utilizing the nutrient value of manure and existing legume crops. By moving nutrients around the farm where they are needed most, farmers can reduce their commercial fertilizer costs and prevent over-application of nutrients thus reducing groundwater and surface water pollution. The workshops are free to La Crosse County farmers and are held for three weeks in January and February. In 2008, there were an additional 2,270 acres of cropland that was planned for nutrient management. That increases the total cropland acres in La Crosse County under nutrient management to 25,504. It is anticipated that another 3,000 acres will be added in 2010.
Land Conservation staff are also in the process of preparing to conduct on-site evaluations for 257 La Crosse County farmers who participate in the state’s Farmland Preservation Program. The state has created a new program called the Working Lands Initiative that revamps the old Farmland Preservation Program, creates a Purchase of Agriculture Conservation Easements (PACE) program and establishes Agriculture Enterprise Areas for qualifying farmers. Each of the programs offers direct payments or tax credits as incentive for participation. The Department of Land Conservation is responsible for assisting program participants in complying with the state’s agricultural performance standards which is a requirement for program participation. In 2009, there were 249 farmers in La Crosse County who received $ 227,560.00 in tax credit relief for participating in the Farmland Preservation Program. By the end of 2015, all Farmland Preservation Program participants must be in compliance with the state’s agricultural performance standards in order to receive the tax credit.
Staff continues drafting an update of the Zoning Ordinance. The 2010 Census continues to move forward. Jeff Bluske has formed a “Complete Count Committee” which has met and set as its goals to promote timely and accurate response from all residents of La Crosse County on the US Census. Aerial Photography is approved for purchase in 2010, to coincide with the Census Data. Thanks to significant funding from the La Crosse Area Planning Commission, DOT and Land Records funds. The comprehensive Planning legislation at the State requires that as of January 1st, 2010, all Land Use Decisions are Consistent with the Plan. All of our County Municipalities except for two have an approved plan, and one of the remaining has made significant progress on completing their plan. The Department staff met for a ½ day session on goal setting for 2010. Enclosed are our staff goals and projects for 2010.
· A horticulture program on energy conservation for greenhouses was held via Wisline at the UW-Extension office. The program was facilitated by the horticulture educator and was attended by seven educators and two commercial greenhouse workers. (JC)
· Thirty people enrolled in the Master Gardener Volunteer General Training program for 2010, which is an increase over 2009. The training begins in February and is facilitated by the horticulture educator. (SDH)
· A session was taught at the senior's meal site on the importance of physical activity on a daily basis and working towards a written goal. After filling out a goal form (83 submitted) the previous month, 35 of 40 (88%) returning participants stated they either had accomplished the goal or are now getting more physical activity.(SH)
· Students at LaCrossRoads alternative high school engaged in food label reading activities and preparing/tasting a healthy snack during a recent “choosing healthy snacks” presentation from WNEP educators. At the conclusion of the class, 87% (13/15) of the students indicated that they planned to choose healthy snacks more often. (SH)
JC – Joyce Cieleki, Horticulture Educator
JH – Jenny Holm, 4-H & Youth Assistant
KG – Karl Green, Asst. Prof., Dept. of Comm. Resource Dev., Community Resource Dev. Agent
MMS – Mary Meehan-Strub, Prof., Dept. of Family Living, Family Living Agent / Dept. Head
RM – Robert Matysik, Prof., Dept of Youth Dev., 4-H & Youth Agent
SH – Sheila Harding, Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program Coordinator
SDH – Steve Huntzicker, Asst. Prof., Dept. of Agriculture, Ag Agent
Public Works & Infrastructure
· Construction of the new landfill maintenance shop is expected to be complete in February. Construction is on budget and only minor change orders have been exercised under the contingency fund. Demolition of the old shop is slated for 2010 with removal of contaminated soil and some asbestos.
· Interviews for an account clerk and secretary are underway. Both positions should be filled by the end of February. The search and selection process for the HHM Manager is also underway with that position expected to be filled in April.
· An upgrade to the scale ticket and billing system was performed in December. Minor problems with billings did occur but were quickly resolved.
· Approval has been obtained from the DNR for the low hazard beneficial use of ground shingles as a road sub-base material.
· An amendment to the Xcel contract was finalized that adjusts the fuel credit calculations. Also, a memorandum of understanding was established for 2010 which lowers the thresholds for penalty on tonnages received at the Xcel plant from 73,000 to 70,000. Because of a similar agreement in 2009, no penalties were received since the waste tonnage received was 68,000 (due to a three week shutdown and the recession).
· The HHM facility serviced 6082 La Crosse County households, 612 businesses and disposed of over 562,000 pounds of materials in 2009. 2009 marks the first time the HHM program exceeded $100,000 in small business user revenue. 2010 marks the first year that DATCAP has approved the La Crosse County HHM facility for medical grant funding. The 2010 DATCAP Grant was accepted and temporary employees according to the approved budget will be utilized to deliver services required during the summer months.
· A work scope for services to develop a Solid Waste Evaluation aimed at enhancing collection and recycling services and evaluating alternative solid waste funding mechanisms has been finalized. The work scope was developed in collaboration with Dale Hexom, City of La Crosse, and Jason Gilman, City of Onalaska. A presentation will be made to the two city Mayors and County Board Chair. Approval will be requested to conduct the evaluation during 2010 so that the City of La Crosse can make more informed decisions regarding the 2012 collection contract renewal.
· Three responses to the RFI for a gas to energy project at the landfill were received. Evaluations of the three projects are being completed.
· The La Crosse Sustainability Commission has been filled with local elected officials and community representatives and will start meeting on a regular basis. This group will help guide the City and County in implementing the numerous projects that were part of the Strategic Plan on Sustainability approved last year.
Henry A Koch, PE
Judiciary & Law
The areas of concern that this group will address are the Federal Communications Commission’s mandated move to narrow-banding of VHF radio frequencies by 2013; Tactical Interoperability Communications planning; and future radio system needs. Numerous meetings with planners and presenters occurred during this reporting period including regular group meetings on the first and third Thursday of each month.
9-1-1 Calls 27,994 (average of 77 per day)
Answered within 10 seconds: 95.1%
Answered within 20 seconds: 99.4%
Answered within 40 seconds: 99.9%
* 19 calls more than 40 seconds
National Emergency Number Association Standards:
§ 90% within 10 seconds (during the busy hour)
§ 95% within 20 seconds.
Total Calls (Emergency, Non-Emergency and out-going calls)
300,439 (average of 823 per day)
Calls for Service
Law Enforcement 113,354
Fire Fighting 1,999
Emergency Medical 6,004
9-1-1 Calls 2,259 (average of 75 per day)
Answered within 10 seconds: 97.9%
Answered within 20 seconds: 99.7%
Answered within 40 seconds: 99.9%
* 2 calls more than 40 seconds
Total Calls 22,262 (average of 742 per day)
Calls for Service
Law Enforcement 8,220
Fire Fighting 167
Emergency Medical 498
9-1-1 Calls 2,450 (average of 79 per day)
Answered within 10 seconds: 95.6%
Answered within 20 seconds: 99.6%
Answered within 40 seconds: 100%
* 0 call more than 30 seconds
Total Calls 23,751 (average of 766 per day)
Calls for Service
Law Enforcement 7,979
Fire Fighting 208
Emergency Medical 484
In 2009, Public Safety Communications experienced less total phone calls than 2008, but still dealt with more than 300,000. There was a 3% drop in 9-1-1 calls, with 777 less than last year. This is despite more calls in the summer months of 2009 then there were in 2008.
Even with the drop in phone calls, actual calls for service increased by 2%, up to 121,357. Although fire-related calls for service decreased, both law enforcement and emergency medical calls increased. 2009 was the first time there has been more than 6,000 EMS calls for a year. Just 10 years ago, there were approximately 3,500 medical-related calls.
Public Safety Communications answered 95.11% of 9-1-1 calls within 10 seconds. This is an improvement over 2008 by nearly two percentage points and the 9-1-1answer times exceed both National Emergency Number Association and National Fire Protection Association standards. On average, one out of every 161 9-1-1 calls takes longer than 20 second to answer, or one every 2.1 days.
Calls from wireless phones accounted for 65% of the 9-1-1 calls made to the Communications Center. This is two percentage points higher than 2008 and continues an on-going trend. Statistics show that last year was the first time that households in the United States using only cell phones outnumbered those with traditional landlines only.
Emergency Management (Keith Butler)
· The La Crosse Radio Group prepared a taped interview with the EM Coordinator on December 2 regarding winter weather preparedness. A major winter storm struck the La Crosse area on December 7 – 10, resulting in over $300,000 in road maintenance expenses. Public Works and municipal officials were solicited to provide disaster situation reports to the County EM office where they were compiled and submitted to Wisconsin Emergency Management. FEMA first approved, and then denied a claim for a snow emergency disaster declaration, which could have provided some reimbursement.
· Officials from the Coulee Region Humane Society met with the County EM Coordinator and Brenda Hanson from the Health Dept at the Hillview garage facility to determine the usefulness as an animal evacuation site on December 14. This is part of a larger Private/Public Sector Partnership grant program to encourage organizations and businesses to cooperate in disaster preparedness planning.
· County EM met with organizers for the 2010 La Crosse Fitness Festival Marathon on December 16 and learned the event will be expanded this year, requiring additional public safety support.
· County EM participated in the WI Homeland Security Advisory Group in Madison on December 17 and the WI Radio System Management Group meeting in Fond du Lac on December 18.
· Multiple National Weather Service and Wisconsin Emergency Management conference calls were needed in anticipation of the Christmas week storms on December 22.
· EM Coordinator met with Town of Holland officials on January 5 to plan for an Emergency Operations Center exercise in April.
· EM Coordinator conducted a site visit at Crown Cork & Seal on January 7 to prepare an update to the facility’s emergency plan.
· The Local Emergency Planning Committee met on January 20.
Medical Support Incentives. I bright spot on the funding horizon: The State has received additional funding from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to provide counties incentives funds for identifying private health insurance available to cover children. In 2010, La Crosse County CSA will receive approximately $9576.00 in incentives under this provision. These funds generate an additional 66% in federal funding ($18,588) for a total amount of additional funding of approximately $28,000.00 in 2010.
The following press release was issued January 14, 2010:
Child Support Change Provides Nearly $130 Million to Custodial Parents
A recent change in federal child support disbursement policy will ensure more money will be going to support the children of low-income, single parents. Under the new policy, parents receiving public assistance, who also had child support owed to them, can collect the entire past due amount of child support and receive public assistance benefits. This new approach also makes it possible for nearly $130 million in unpaid child support to be collected by custodial parents who either currently receive or previously received public assistance.
“Child support is an important source of income for single parents especially in these tough economic times,” said DCF Secretary Reggie Bicha. “The receipt of previously owed child support will help parents gain financial stability and will play an important role in raising families out of poverty.”
As part of the federal Deficit Reduction Act, this change is intended to increase child support payments and improve the lives of children because custodial parents will now receive more money to provide for their children and assist families in transitioning off public assistance. Non-custodial parents have the reassurance that they are contributing directly to their child’s care and research shows that parents are more likely to pay child support when they know the money is directly supporting their children.
“Child support is paid to provide the essential economic support that helps children thrive,” stated Bicha. “With this change, we are making sure children will benefit from 100% of that money.”
Water Patrol Statistics – 2009 Season (Capt. Horstman & Sheriff Helgeson)
As provided to the Judiciary & Law Committee, the Water Patrol had a successful season in 2009. Reasons for citations were primarily equipment violations, registration violations, and speeding. There were no injuries. Two deputies received a letter of commendation for a boat rescue. Sheriff Helgeson also reported that two deputies took the Sheriff’s Department drug dog to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Mississippi River islands where there had been reports of drug use. Drugs and paraphernalia were seized, and there were five arrests. They received positive feedback from other sandbar users.
Total hours: 422.5
Total citations: 28
Total warnings: 74
2009 K9 Deployments (Sheriff Helgeson)
The board may be interested in the success of Cliff, the Sheriff’s Department K-9. Of course the handler, Deputy Brandon Stoughtenger, also deserves credit for the success.
Days worked: 185
Deployments: 233 COP Hours: 43
Tracks: 18 / 8 Successful Tracks 6 Endangered Person Tracks
Drug Searches: 182 Drug Warrants: 3
341 items of