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Most St. Croix County administrators and managers won't get a salary raise in 2009. Instead 157 of them will each get a flat $520 lump sum. The 2008 salary grid will carry over to 2009. The lump sum payment will go to those who are at Step 7, the top of their pay grade. The 21 employees who aren't at the top of their pay grades will get their scheduled step increase. As Finance Committee members struggled to prepare a balanced 2009 budget and asked departments to look for every spending cut they could find, the issue of pay increases came up.
"The economy is tough. The (real estate) market is tough. Why aren't my taxes going down?" St. Croix County Treasurer Cheryl Slind said that's the question she has been hearing ever since property tax bills went out earlier this month. While the market value of many houses probably has dropped, it takes time for the assessment and equalized value processes to catch up, said Slind.
The goal of the experiment was to determine if local public records are truly accessible to ordinary citizens. Thirty-eight UW-River Falls students who took part in an open records aud3it learned the answer is nearly always yes. But that doesn't mean all area officials give up the information graciously. "The hardest part was having to deal with authority figures," said Assistant Professor Andris Straumanis, one of two UW-RF instructors who teach the Journalism 201 course on information gathering.
In a decision released Tuesday morning, a district court rejected a second appeal by a former River Falls man convicted of raping and imprisoning a woman in March 2003. In June 2003 a Pierce County jury found Joseph P. Hipler, now 26, guilty of first degree sexual assault -- use of a dangerous weapon and false imprisonment. Hipler is serving a 10-year sentence at Stanley Correctional Institution.
It wouldn't be honest to say Glenn Nelson lives in the past -- far from it. But it would be fair to say the past lives with the 85-year-old World War II combat veteran. Nelson was a college sophomore at River Falls in the fall of 1942 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
A collection clerk is making a dent in delinquent court fines and, just as important, encouraging defendants to pay current fines, reports St. Croix County Clerk of Court Lori Meyer. For the first nine months of 2008, net revenue from the position was nearly $139,000, said Meyer. "Looks like we did something right," said County Board member Buck Malick, commenting on the decision to add the clerk.
St. Croix residents voted nearly 2-1 to continue using tax dollars to support the county-owned nursing home, but County Board members are divided on exactly what that vote means. The tally last week was 27,425 to 14,765 in favor of operating the nursing home using property tax money. The 2009 budget calls for tax levy support of $1 million. The question carried with at least 57 percent of the vote in every municipality, said Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting. Highest rates of yes votes were in the New Richmond area and the northern tier of towns.
Disappointment and annoyance are good words to describe St. Croix County Board members' reaction to a referendum that will eliminate more than a third of their positions. Last week county residents voted 31,460 to 9,358 -- better than three to one -- to cut the number of supervisors on the board from 31 to 19. The county has until Nov.
Contractors preparing to replace the roof on the St. Croix County Government Center got a nasty surprise -- the walls are deteriorating too. If the problems continue around the building, repair costs could be about $750,000, guessed Facilities Manager Art Tobin. An engineer who examined the building said the leaking may be due to improper design or to poor workmanship.
ELLSWORTH - The Pierce County Board voted last week to reprioritize projects that will be paid for with $3.9 million borrowed in January. Building Committee Chairman Dan Reis said prioritization is a must because estimated costs keep climbing, and, in all likelihood, the board won't be able to do all the work it planned. "All along the question has been asked: Are we going to go over our budget?" said Reis.