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By Cara L. Dempski
HUDSON — On April 6, 2021, the Saint Croix County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from research partners Yengyee Lor and Eric Giordano of the Wisconsin Institute of Public Policy regarding strategic planning for the year. The presentation occupied a large chunk of time during the April regular meeting. Lor and Giordano explained to the Board the necessity for coming up with specific, measurable goals for the county and the Board of Supervisors. The two researchers then assigned homework to the supervisors in attendance.
They asked supervisors to create a new county mission and vision statements. Part of the strategic planning process will include doing what is known as a “SWOT” analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a method of identifying what an organization is good at or could improve upon.
Supervisor Bob Fiedler recalled working on a previous strategic plan 18 months ago, and indicated his hope for a more realistic set of objectives this time. Fiedler said the goals generated 18 months ago lacked specificity.
Lor and Giordano suggested completing some community outreach to determine needs. An unidentified supervisor mentioned involving county public information officer Adam Kastonek by asking him and his department to put a link on the county website where members of the public could submit ideas.
After discussion of the strategic planning closed, the Board moved on to the annual report from the finance department, presented by Leah Simington. Simington reported the finance department handles things such as county investments. She also indicated the department has 22 employees spread between the highway building, the Service Center, Health Center, and Health and Human Services. Simington said the department’s primary customers are county employees seeing as her department processes payroll, vending invoices, and billing of customers.
Next the Board chairman asked for items to include in upcoming agendas; then, Clerk Cindy Campbell informed the board there were no correspondence or rezoning items that needed the Board’s attention.
Earlier in the meeting, Public Health officials Kelli Engen and Ellie Klassen informed the Board coronavirus cases were on the rise in the county, saying St. Croix County had seen an increase in hospitalizations due to the illness over the previous three weeks, topping out at 39 new cases. Additionally, Engen explained the Northwest region of Wisconsin had seen hospitalizations increase from 14 to 32.
Both said vaccinations continue to be administered around the county, including through public health. They advised individuals to contact their healthcare providers for more information regarding obtaining vaccination through those providers, or to determine which vaccine was in use through the provider.
Engen said the county has received some of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, and explained most clinics had the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines available for patients. She also said it would be easier for patients who choose vaccination to specify if they’d like one company’s shot over the other through a private healthcare provider.
Board members also learned that future standing committee assignments will be determined by the Board of Supervisors Chairperson instead of via election, which several supervisors said tends to turn into a popularity contest with the most desirable committee assignments going to the most popular Board members. It was also announced that supervisors will now be allowed to miss up to two meetings per term year if the chairperson is notified of the absence.
County Administrator Ken Witt said the week of April 11 through the 16th is National Telecommunicators Week, and he took a moment to recognize the county telecommunications workers.
A resolution approving $80,000 of contingency fund money for completion of a broadband assessment passed unanimously. This may be changed in the future, once the federal treasury releases the emergency money package signed by the President. what that means is depending on the amount the county receives, the money from the contingency fund may not be used. Right now, supervisors are waiting to hear from the government about how that emergency funding money can be used. Kastonek was commended by several Board members for his work keeping the Board informed of public comments.
The St. Croix County Board of Supervisors will meet again at 5 p.m. on May 4.