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ELLSWORTH: Last week the Pierce County Board amended its floodplain ordinance and adopted a zoning amendment that will allow campgrounds to build permanent shelters. The major change in the floodplain ordinance exempts flood-proofing measures from a standard that limits improvements to 50% of the value of the structure, said Administrative Coordinator Mark Schroeder.
ELLSWORTH: Ron Anderson, a four-year veteran of the Pierce County Board, was elected its chairman when new supervisors met to organize Tuesday morning. Anderson, who lives in the town of Martell, and River Falls Supervisor Rod Rommel were both nominated for the chairman position. Anderson defeated Rommel on an 11-6 vote. Anderson was patrol superintendent for the county Highway Department before retiring about four years ago.
ELLSWORTH: After nearly 15 months of discussion, Pierce County officials expect to have a pilot home detention system for county prisoners in place around June 1. Sheriff Everett Muhlhausen said Friday that he is still fine-tuning a contract with a private firm to keep track of prisoners with a global positioning system (GPS).
Elise O'Meara Nooney - a former Navy nurse, retired library circulation supervisor and mother of five grown children - has announced that she is a candidate for the District 10 state Senate seat now held by Republican Sheila Harsdorf. O'Meara Nooney, 61, River Falls, is the second Democrat to declare candidacy for the seat. Liz Jones, Woodville, announced earlier this year that she is running. The filing period for the seat opens June 1. A primary will apparently be necessary in September. The election will be in November. "We're pretty much detached from Madison.
St. Croix County's largest property taxpayers are "big-box" retailers while Pierce County's are out-of-county landlords and developers, according to information released recently by county treasurers. The Fleet Farm, Home Depot, Target, Menards, Wal-Mart and EconoFoods stores in Hudson take six of the top 10 taxpayer slots in St. Croix County, according to Treasurer Cheryl Slind.
ELLSWORTH: There were amendments to amendments as the Pierce County Board - in the final meeting before a new board is seated - restructured county committees. Following lengthy discussion and numerous votes at last week's board meeting, these were the end results: The Finance and Personnel committees were combined to one seven-member committee. The board chairman and vice chairman will automatically serve on this group. The other five members will be elected from the board. Citizen members of standing committees will be paid per diems.
ELLSWORTH: After draining a $360,000 budget for boarding Pierce County prisoners in other jails, the County Board transferred another $21,000 to cover 2003 boarding costs. Last week the county supervisors voted to cover the $20,670 deficit by taking money from the General Fund. In 2002 Pierce spent over $400,000 to keep its prisoners in other counties' jails. Since then county administrators have negotiated a lower per-day price with other counties. Pierce County contracts with Pepin and Dunn counties to board prisoners.
ELLSWORTH: The Pierce County Fair Committee is looking for a consultant to develop a master plan for the county fairgrounds in Ellsworth. The intent is to develop a plan for expanding the use of the fairgrounds during non-fair time and tie that into to potential facility improvements, said Administrative Coordinator Mark Schroeder. He said there have also been inquires from groups that want new or expanded fairground buildings and the committee would like a plan to accommodate those requests. The fairgrounds need "significant redevelopment," said Fair Coordinator Diane Bau
HUDSON: Once the books are closed, St. Croix County's Health and Human Services Department will apparently show a 2003 loss of well over $300,000 - a deficit the county will have to cover. HHS Director John Borup broke the news to Finance Committee members last Thursday, using a chart he had put together at home the night before. Actually the department's deficit is $650,353. But Borup asked for reimbursement for $104,000 of employee expenses that the county had agreed to pay, to apply $93,000 in other funds to the deficit, and to attribute $125,000 in pending collections.
Pierce County Human Services supervisors have made questionable decisions about leaving at-risk children in their homes and those decisions could have disastrous consequences, say law enforcement officials and a child protection worker who resigned in frustration. "It's going to take a child fatality to wake the public up," said former county Social Worker Amy Johnson in an interview last week.