Dunn County still struggling with budget shortfall

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE —  Dunn County is still looking for ways to eliminate a nearly $350,000 projected budget shortfall for 2015.

Gene Smith, county manager, and Tonya Kusmirek, the county’s chief financial officer, reported on the status of the budget at the Dunn County Board’s September 17 meeting.

Budget requests for 2015 amount to $74.7 million.

The projected levy for next year’s budget is $20.9 million.

The highway department is requesting another $317,000 because the winter maintenance budget “is in the hole already,” said Jerome (Pete) Prochnow, county board supervisor and chair of the highway department committee.

Budget requests for the highway department total $12.5 million for 2015.

Bob Walter, Dunn County Board Supervisor and chair of the planning, resources and development committee, said he plans to make a request at the executive committee meeting on October 1 for an additional $100,000 for the environmental services budget to allow the county to hire a water conservationist.

With an additional $100,000 for a new position, that would bring the budget shortfall to about $450,000, Smith noted.

The $350,000 budget shortfall remains even after applying $1.8 million to the budget from the county’s general fund, according to a levy summary distributed to county board members and the news media.

The Dunn County Board will take action on the 2015 budget in November.

New website

Krista Vind, Dunn County’s social media coordinator, reported that the county’s new website had been launched on Monday (www.co.dunn.wi.us).

Vind, who also coordinates the county’s Facebook page and LinkedIn accounts, said she has been working on the county’s new website for about a year.

The new website is designed to make it easier for Dunn County residents to find the information they are looking for, Vind said.

On each department’s web page, there is a section on the right with contact information, including the telephone number and e-mail address, she noted.

All of the pictures that are featured on Dunn County’s new website were taken by photographers in Dunn County, Vind said.

Other business

In other business, the Dunn County Board:

• Approved a rezone from Agricultural 1 to Agricultural 2 for Thomas Loken and Rachel Christenson in the Town of Lucas for five acres to divide the five acres with the residence from a 45 acre parcel.

• Approved a rezone from Agricultural 1 to Agricultural 2 for Alice Yellowega-Rude in the Town of Grant to separate the residence from the remaining acreage.

• Approved a rezone from Agricultural 1 to Agricultural 3 for 2.8 acres requested by Henry and Carol Gates in the Town of Lucas.

• Approved a budget adjustment of $1.48 million for the new Dunn County Transit facility and a new compressed natural gas bus for Dunn County Transit. The county has been awarded a state and federal grant that will cover 85 percent of the cost of the building and the bus. The compressed natural gas bus replaces a 19-year-old bus with 750,000 miles on it.