County Board Update – February 10, 2013

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  “The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men”  Plato

Kewaunee County Board Activity Update

February 10, 2013

As you may recall from the last my last update, Board Members Heuer and Kirchman has submitted a resolution to the Board that could have passed on a minute increase of 2.8% of the healthcare costs paid by the county taxpayers to the employees of the county.  If this had passed, it could have moved about $78,000 back into the general fund.  Keep this in mind, the Kewaunee County Employees have been contributing 10% to their Health Care benefit for the last 20 years plus. (I have attached that resolution in PDF format)

Here is what happened at the Dec 18th Board Meeting with regard to the aforementioned resolution. Supervisor James Barlow, (District 14, Algoma) immediately upon reading made a motion to table the resolution (when a motion to table is on the floor, there is no discussion, simply a vote).  A vote was taken and it was a 10 to 10 vote, which then kept the motion on the floor.  Here are the people who voted in favor of tabling the motion – Koenig / Wagner / Swoboda / Reckelberg / Mayer / Barlow / Hutter / Paphlam / Abrahamson / Dax.  Then Supervisor Barlow in an impassioned ramble moved to have the motion sent back to the personnel committee.  At this time the floor should have been open for discussion on the motion, but it never was.  A vote was taken without discussion and this issue was sent back to committee, where, it will die.  Here are the supervisors who voted in favor of sending the motion back to the Personnel Committee – Koenig / Wagner / Swoboda / Reckelberg / Mayer / Barlow / Hutter / Paphlam / Abrahamson / Dax / Heidman / Garfinkel.  

Well, guess what happened at the Jan 23rd, Personnel Committee when this was taken up?  Chairman Weidner attempted to stimulate some discussion on the matter, but immediately Supervisor James Barlow, (District 14, Algoma) led the way to table any action on this issue for an indefinite period of time.  So, once again, when so much indignation was voiced by Supervisors Wagner and Barlow at the December Board meeting about the arrogance of individual board members to bring forth a resolution to the full board without the respective committee acting on an issue, nothing is once again accomplished.  Committee Member Supervisor Bruce Heidman had an excused absence from this meeting .  Chairman Robert Weidner, Supervisors Linda Sinkula and Kay Shillin voted in opposition to tabling the issue.  Supervisors James Barlow, Brian Paplham, Charles Wagner, Chuck Hutter, David Mayer voted in favor of tabling this issue indefinitely. 

So, here we are, February 10 and we have not been able to cut anything out of the budget.  Remember, we have $17.3 Million of structured debt and over the term of this debt, (the debt plus the interest combined) is in excess of $23 Million.  And with the Kewaunee Nuclear Plant being closed down there will be loss of hundreds of thousands of revenue that will be lost to the county and will have to be made up somewhere?

On a positive note, regarding the landfill, Highway, Solid Waste Committee Chairman Bruce Heidman has appointed Supervisor Kirchman to investigate all options available to the County with regard to the landfill and Supervisor Kirchman is now exploring all those options and by going through this process the “right decision” concerning our landfill continuation or closure will come to the surface.
Here are the current numbers on meeting wages and per diems for the County Board Members.

A couple of things you should be watching as we go forward, you may want to voice your opinion(s) on these issues in upcoming Board Meetings or at the Personnel Committee Meetings.

In the Jail Division, the state has ruled certain Jail employees could be reclassified which could change their status as to retirement benefits paid by the county.  This no doubt will become a contentious debate, I will be reporting on this going forward.  Also, the Personnel Committee must still deal with any 2013 Salary increases for the county employees.  Remember, in the approved 2013 County Budget, there was about $168,000 allocated for an across the board salary increase for county employees.  Committee Meeting dates, agendas and minutes are posted here:  http://www.kewauneeco.org/downloads/index.htm  

I am personally opposed to any across the board increases for our county employees, and given the votes on motions presented at the October Budget Approval meeting, there are a solid eight board members who agree with me.  Given our current financial position, it is time to start making some of those hard decisions I have discussed in previous updates.  It is time our Board supports the taxpayers in the county.  If you have been following the recent salary information reported by Gannett, the private sector has been made aware of how good the Public Sector has been treated by the Taxpayer.  It is time to change that.   We simply cannot afford this anymore.

Thank you,

Ron Heuer
District 12, Supervisor
Kewaunee County Board

Posted in County Update