By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — Dunn County is planning to increase the pay grid for county employees by 7.5 percent.
Gary Bjork, county board supervisor from Colfax, asked at the Dunn County Board’s October 18 meeting if it was true that employees at the Neighbors of Dunn County would be receiving a 7.5 percent increase in salary and benefits.
The increase of 7.5 percent would be across the county and represents an increase to the entire pay grid, said Paul Miller, county manager.
Additional pay is necessary to retain current employees and to attract new employees to Dunn County, Miller said.
“Head hunters are pulling our best people out from under us,” he said.
The increase in the pay grid would be a return to the “status quo” so that Dunn County can be competitive for the same shrinking pool of employees that other government entities and private companies are competing to hire, Miller said.
The county board learned at the June meeting that Dunn County Treasurer Megan Mittlestadt had submitted her resignation, effective July 14.
In her letter, Mittelstadt said she had been offered a great opportunity outside of the county.
The Dunn County Board appointed Doris Meyer as treasurer in September.
The Dunn County Board learned at the July meeting that Jesse Rintala, Dunn County director of public works and highway commissioner, had submitted his resignation, effective September 10, and that he had accepted a position in Portage County.
The county board appointed John J. Sworski as the director of public works and the highway commissioner at the September meeting.
The proposed budget for 2018 of $79.8 million is nearly $1.5 million more than the 2017 budget of $78.4 million.
The Dunn County Board approved a resolution at the October 18 meeting to pay public works employees scheduled to work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. an additional 40 cents per hour.
According to background information included with the resolution, currently, employees at the Neighbors of Dunn County and the Emergency Communications Center who work between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. are paid an additional 40 cents per hour, and employees of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department working between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. are paid an additional 40 cents per hour as well.
A service worker position in the Public Works Department would be regularly scheduled to work 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. from November 15 to April 1.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation also is requiring maintenance to be performed on I-94 at night because of the volume of traffic. The maintenance work is performed by public works employees scheduled to work from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Dunn County expects more night maintenance to be required on I-94 with more employees being scheduled for overnight shifts.
The resolution adopted by the Dunn County Board amends the county’s employee handbook to pay an additional 40 cents per hour for any public works employee scheduled to work overnight shifts. The additional pay does not apply to public works employees who are called out during night hours, such as those employees who are called out to plow snow.
Fees for prisoners
The Dunn County Board accepted for a first reading an ordinance amending the fees for the maintenance and board of prisoners in the county jail.
Currently, prisoners sentenced to serve time in the county jail are liable for the cost of their maintenance and board in the amount of $16 per day. The amended ordinance would increase the amount to $20.
The ordinance currently reduces the rate to $5 per day for prisoners who are unemployed but are looking for work.
Each Huber prisoner sentenced in another jurisdiction but who is confined to the Dunn County jail are liable for the cost of maintenance and board and currently pay $21 per day. The amended ordinance would increase the amount to $25.
The amended ordinance also would require Huber prisoners monitored with a GPS tracking device while on Huber release to pay an additional $5 per day.
In addition, any prisoner under the supervision of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department by means of electronic monitoring currently pays the sum of $22 with a one-time processing fee, per incident, of $25. The amended ordinance would increase the amount for electronic monitoring to $25 per day.
In other business, the Dunn County Board:
• Appointed Justin Jensen to the Dunn County Fair Board.
• Learned from Dave Bartlett, county board supervisor from Boyceville and chair of the judiciary and law committee, that Dunn County has received an $80,000 grant for a re-entry program to help prisoners transfer from jail to back to society.
• Learned from Sheila Stori, county board supervisor from Menomonie and chair of the community resources and tourism committee, that Dunn County’s 162-page broadband report has been completed and will be posted on the county’s website.
• Learned from Steve Rasmussen, chair of the county board and chair of the Neighbors committee, that the census at the Neighbors was at 88 percent at the time of the October 18 board meeting and that to date, the facility has had a cash loss of $300,000 for 2017. “It’s not the best but not terrible either,” he said.
• Approved an ordinance amending the text of the shoreland zoning ordinance to incorporate changes to bring the ordinance into compliance with state law.
• Approved an ordinance amending the comprehensive zoning ordinance in the Town of Tainter to rezone the location of the former town hall from Residential 1 to General Agriculture. The issue of zoning “fell through the cracks” when the land was transferred back to the farm from the township, said Jerome Prochnow, county board supervisor.
• Approved an ordinance amending the comprehensive zoning ordinance in the Town of Wilson to rezone 16 acres from Primary Agriculture to General Agriculture based on an application from Aaron Mittlestadt for a rezone.
• Approved a budget adjustment for the solid waste and recycling department. Solid waste and recycling will be using $12,742 from the county’s fund balance for the first phase of the Dunn County Sustainability Initiative in the Government Center and are also will be using $23,222 to outfit the remaining county buildings with the Recycle Blueprint.
The Dunn County Board meets next on Tuesday, November 14, at 7 p.m.