By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — Dunn County has now completed the sale of 5.5 acres between U.S. Highway 12/29 and the Neighbors of Dunn County to Prevea for $651,000.
The sale was completed at the end of August, said Paul Miller, county manager, at the Dunn County Board’s September 19 meeting.
Miller reported to the county board at the May meeting Dunn County had been approached by Prevea about purchasing the property.
Prevea (Sacred Heart Hospital of the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis) is a statewide healthcare provider and has expressed an interest in building a medical facility in Menomonie.
The bulk of the money from the sale will be used to build a frontage road parallel to Highway 12/29 from Churchill Tire to the Neighbors, Miller said.
At the May county board meeting, Miller had said about $400,000 would be used for the frontage road, and that the City of Menomonie would continue the frontage road.
For people trying to turn onto Highway 12/29 from the Community Services Building or the Neighbors, the frontage road will allow them to drive to the traffic light on Red Cedar Street to access 12/29, Miller told the county board at the September 19 meeting.
At certain times of the day, with heavy traffic going in both directions on 12/29, the option of taking the frontage road to the traffic light will be advantageous, he said.
After the frontage road is built, the balance of the sale price will be applied to the debt for the Neighbors, Miller said.
The City of Menomonie has already rezoned the acreage from residential to commercial, he said.
Dunn County sold the property for $110,000 per acre, Miller noted.
At the May meeting, the motion to sell the land to Prevea passed on a vote of 16 “yes” to 11 “no.”
County board supervisors Gary Stene of Colfax (District 5) and James Tripp of Menomonie (District 23) were absent from the May meeting.
In other business, the Dunn County Board:
• Received the annual report of the Dunn County corporation counsel. The corporation counsel’s office handles a variety of issues, such as contracts, land use and environmental issues, legal counsel to the Board of Adjustment, guardianship and protective placement, child support legal services, tax foreclosure and property sales, public records law compliance and open meetings law compliance.
• Received the annual report of the Dunn County Fair Board. Attendance numbers for the Dunn County Fair were about the same as last year with almost 40,000 people attending the five-day event. Next year’s Dunn County Fair will be July 24-28 and will be the 134th Dunn County Fair.
• Received the annual report of the facilities and parks division. Dunn County has 545,000 square feet of buildings; 580 acres of grounds; and 3.5 miles of sidewalk and paved trail. Some of the partners the facilities and parks division works with are the Northwest Rod and Gun Club for the Boyceville shooting range; the Colfax Sportsmen’s Club for the Colfax shooting range; the Menomonie Rifle and Pistol Club for the Menomonie shooting range; the Dunn County Sportsmen’s Alliance for conservation aid projects; the Town of Sand Creek for Myron Park and Campground; the Dunn County Historical Society for Caddie Woodlawn Park; 4-H and K-12 students county wide; Friends of Caddie Woodlawn and Sunrise Rotary for Caddie Woodlawn; the Eau Galle Sportsmen’s Club for parks in the Eau Galle area.
• Approved a resolution reorganizing the environmental services department, effective January 1, 2019, to have one department head, the environmental services director, instead of a self-directed management team consisting of the managers of planning and zoning, solid waste and recycling, surveying and land and water conservation. Funding for the new position will be included in the 2019 budget. The ENS department has not had a department head since 2006.
• Approved amending the county’s code of ordinances so the pay grid consists of 25 grades and 11 steps rather than the current language of 21 grades and nine steps and also including a provision for equity pay adjustments, which are mid-year adjustment to employees’ salaries. The increase in grades and steps means employees will not “max out” on the pay scale as soon, said Vaughn Hedlund, county board supervisor from Boyceville and chair of the committee on administration. The equity pay adjustments also will help the county to retain high-value employees when higher offers are made by competing employers, Miller said.
• Approved a resolution amending the inventory of job classes to include “case manager.” The case manager classification is designed to be an almost exact replica of the social worker classification, allowing individuals with related backgrounds, such as psychology, sociology or criminal justice, who would be able to perform the same function as a social worker without a social worker certification. The case manager would not be able to complete custody intake actions.
• Approved a resolution amending the employee handbook regarding compensatory time to say “no compensatory time shall be accrued or used in the last three payroll periods of the calendar year. Compensatory time that is not used during the calendar year will be paid out as cash on or before the last payroll period of the calendar year in which the time is earned.” The change is necessary because of changes in state law regarding the reporting and recording of comp time and payment for comp time, Miller said. Gary Stene, county board supervisor from Colfax, objected to not allowing county employees to use comp time in the last three pay periods of the year. Miller pointed out the employees could use their comp time earlier in the year and then save their vacation time for hunting season and Thanksgiving and Christmas.
• Approved a budget adjustment of $125,000 for project management and architectural services as well as the installation of necessary fiber to the Dunn County Community Services Building as part of the project to relocate county offices from the Government Center to the community services building. The remainder of the project costs will be included in the 2019 budget.
• Approved a resolution dissolving and reforming the Dunn County Fair Board so that instead of six citizen members, the fair board can have up to eight citizen members.
• Approved a rezone for two 40-acre parcels in the Town of Red Cedar requested by Dan and Paula Buckley, owners, from general agriculture (GA) to residential (R2) for a housing development to be developed by Jamie Winsand. The parcels are located close to the southeast corner of Menomonie. The area needs more residential lots where young professionals can build homes, Dan Buckley told the county board.