St. Croix County authorizes application for $451,000 Targeted Runoff Management Grant
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by LeAnn Ralph
HUDSON — The St. Croix County Board has authorized the Community Development Resource Management Division to apply to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for a $451,000 Targeted Runoff Management Grant (TRM).
The grant funds are available in areas that are under a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), and Lake St. Croix is under a TMDL for phosphorus and includes eligibility for the Willow River watersheds, according to background information provided to the St. Croix County Board at the March 7 meeting.
Another TRM grant project is currently being completed in the South Fork and Black Brook sub-watersheds in the Willow River Watershed.
The new grant application will focus on the Paper Jack Creek sub-watershed.
The Paper Jack Creek TRM would provide $129,000 to support a Limited Term Employee watershed technician for 2024 and 2025 and also would include $322,500 for cost sharing of best management practices with landowners.
St. Croix County would match the funds with in-kind costs for a variety of activities, including supervising the projects, office space and computer supplies.
According to the resolution authorizing the application, the $322,500 in TRM grant funds can be used to reimburse the county for up to 70 percent of the cost to implement conservation practices, and landowners and operators will provide the remaining 30 percent of the cost for the conservation practices.
St. Croix County will match with $55,300 for the $129,000 in TRM funds used toward staff support and would include the in-kind contribution for supervisory costs, office pace and computer supplies.
The St. Croix County Board unanimously approved the resolution.
In other business, the St. Croix County Board:
• Learned during the library report given by Monica LaVold, director of the Friday Memorial Library in New Richmond and Tori Schoess, director of the Hazel Mackin Community Library in Roberts, that St. Croix County had a total circulation of 767,502 in 2022. The total number of library visits was 412,152, and the total number of programs was 1,997.
• Learned during the library directors’ report that the 22 hotspots funded by the St. Croix County Board for checkout for Internet access were part of the 85 total hotspots available in libraries across the county. There is a need for more hotspots because 90 people were currently on the waiting lists to check out hotspots, the library directors said.
• Learned from County Administrator Ken Witt that St. Croix County, once the audit is completed, is expected to end 2022 with an approximate surplus of $3.5 million, which is “on target” for what the county has had historically for a surplus.
• Approved an update for the personnel handbook regarding the Paid Time Off (PTO) donation policy. The changes include updated language related to employees electing to donate PTO to the PTO Donation Bank during the last 10 business days of the calendar year. Deductions of donated PTO to the donation bank will take place on December 31 and will count toward the current year’s annual donation limit.
• Approved a resolution authorizing St. Croix County to enter into opioid settlement agreements with a list of retailers, including Walgreens, Walmart and CVS Pharmacy, and to authorize entry into a memorandum of understanding with the attorney general.