Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.
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Three St. Croix County elected positions -- the county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds -- will pay 9.6 percent more when the new officers take office after the fall election. Last week the County Board approved the raises for 2017, followed by 2 percent increases the next three years of the positions’ terms. The salaries for county clerk, treasurer and register of deeds will be $69,749 in 2017; $71,144 in 2018; $72,567 in 2019; and $74,018 in 2020. Those figure to a 9.6 percent increase for 2017 and two percent increases the next three years.
In a primary election set for Tuesday, Feb. 16, voters across the state will be asked to cut the number of candidates for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from three to two. The three candidates are Rebecca Bradley, a former Court of Appeals judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court last fall; Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg; and Milwaukee County Judge Joe Donald. The Spring General Election will be held Tuesday, April 5, at the same time as the Presidential Preference Primary.
State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) claims a proposed change in state law relating to the use of small all-terrain vehicles and utility terrain vehicles by children responds to consumer demand and encourages family enjoyment of trail rides. But the president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics argues that adoption of Senate Bill 381 and Assembly Bill 504 would be a step backward in protecting children from injury and death.
The St. Croix County Board agreed Tuesday to take the best of seven bids, voting to borrow the second $10 million for the Health Center project. Supervisors also formalized a State Trust Fund loan that allows the county to access another $5 million for other projects -- although there was agreement that only $3.7 million would be borrowed from that fund. The Health Center bond rate will vary from year to year, but the county will pay Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc. a true interest rate of 2.3114 percent for a cost of $3.136 million over the 20-year term.
Last week St. Croix County’s Administration Committee voted to recommend 9.6 percent pay increases for three elected officials, followed by two percent raises the next three years of their terms. The committee also endorsed a negotiated agreement that will give St. Croix County law enforcement officers two percent increases this year, in 2017 and in 2018. Both proposals will go to the County Board for a vote Feb. 2.
St. Croix County will spend about $350,000 to build a backup system to prevent a repeat of an incident that interrupted electrical service to the county’s 911 center, jail and Government Center. The transformer, which feeds the entire building, failed several months ago because it was not properly grounded when the Government Center was built, said Facilities Director Jim Elsbury, reporting to the Administration Committee Jan. 20.
A $300,000 grant from an Andersen foundation will cover most of the cost of a therapy pool for St. Croix County’s new nursing home. When county supervisors met last spring with the architects, the general contractor and market-study consultants for the $20 million construction and remodeling project, the therapy pool was discussed but set aside as costs were trimmed. In October the Fund to Benefit St. Croix Health Center Committee, under the umbrella of the New Richmond Area Community Foundation, applied for a grant from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation.
HUDSON – St. Croix County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday morning to indefinitely postpone, effectively killing, a proposal to bond to pay for $5 million in building and equipment projects. The county sold a $10 million bond issue in 2015 and plans to sell another $10 million this year for the new nursing home project, which is unrelated to the capital improvement projects that would have been covered by the $5 million. Advisors warned that bonding the $5 million in 2016 would increase interest costs for the Health Center project by $500,000.
As the filing deadline passed Jan. 5, contests had developed for one Ellsworth district and one Spring Valley district on the 17-member Pierce County Board of Supervisors. In River Falls, a former board member is running unopposed after the incumbent chose not to run. Countywide, 13 incumbents are seeking re-election with no opposition. The election will be April 5. In District 11 Neil Gulbranson is challenging first-term incumbent Brian O’Connell for the seat that represents Wards 2 and 4 of village of Ellsworth and Ward 1 of town of Ellsworth.
Filings were strong as the deadline approached Tuesday, and in the end races had developed for eight seats on the 19-member St. Croix County Board. Ten incumbents are running unopposed, and in another district, the incumbent is not running but a former board member is. The general election will be held Tuesday, April 5. No primary races are expected.