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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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County Board Faces Sales Tax, Zoning Decisions On Sept. 20

Marinette County Board will be faced with a number of important decisions at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20. They include possibly converting the existing half a percent county sales tax from its current sunset in 2021 to permanent status, adopting revisions to the Shoreland/Wetland Zoning Code to bring it into compliance with NR115, and possible approval of the negotiated employment agreement with County Administrator Shawn Henessee. As it did last month, the board may go into closed session to discuss the employment agreement.

The major discussion will probably be on extending the sales tax. If there is no change in the ordinance the county's half a percent sales tax is scheduled to end, or "sunset", in 2021, but as the current debt is structured, payments on money borrowed in the past few years will continue until 2029.

Henessee has asked County Board to decide the future of the sales tax soon so that he and Finance Director Pat Kass can start planning now for ways to deal with what will either need to be a huge increase in property taxes or drastic cuts in the county's operating budget if the sales tax is not extended beyond 2021. Conversely, he said, if the sales tax is to continue after the debts are paid they should be planning now for constructive ways to use the money.

In response to a request from Board Chair Mark Anderson, Henessee is expected to report in some detail on budget trends from 2011 to 2015. Anderson is attempting to learn exactly what changed when the county began its policy of borrowing to pay for capital improvement projects, particularly road construction, that formerly were provided for in the regular property tax levy.

Henessee is also expected to report on the 2017 budget format. The board is expected to approve the amended 2017 Budget Policy with the structural deficit identified and addressed in accord with the handout Henessee presented at the August meeting. The handout included Henessee's plan for maintaining county services while getting the county out of debt by 2029, provided the sales tax is not allowed to sunset in 2021. In line with that plan, which provides for borrowing an additional $12 million for capital improvement projects between now and 2029 while moving gradually back to a pay as you go program, the board will be asked to approve the revised 2017 Capital Improvement Plan.

The board also is being asked to approve some temporary committee assignments of supervisors to replace Peshtigo Supervisor Mike Behnke until he is able to resume his duties on the board. Behnke has been absent for several months due to health issues, and the timeline for his recovery is uncertain.

Recommended appointments include Supervisor Don Phillips to fill in for Behnke on the Law Enforcement and Emergency Management Committee, Supervisor Ken Keller to the Building and Property Committee, and Supervisor Bob Holley to the Personnel and Veterans Service Committee. Reappointment of Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz as a member at large on the Tourism Alliance Committee for a new term expiring in April of 2018 is also on the agenda.

There will be annual department head reports from Information Services Director Kevin Solway and Emergency Management Director Eric Burmeister.

Easy approval is expected for the 2017 MarOco Landfill budget as drafted by Landfill Administrator John LeFebvre, who heads the Marinette County Land Information Department, and approved by the landfill's joint committee with Oconto County. Oconto County Board is to act on the landfill budget at its meeting on Thursday, Sept. 22. There is to be no increase in tipping fees, but as it stands there could be a draw of slightly more than $100,000 from the landfill's reserve funds to cover an income versus revenue shortfall.

On recommendation of the Building and Property Committee the board is expected to approve agreements with SGTS Inc., for a building access control system at a cost of $114,563 for automatic locks and key fob entry system on doors at the courthouse and the Health and Human Services buildings, and with Camera Corner/Connecting Point for replacement of jail video system cameras and software at a cost of $140,972.85. Funding for both projects is to come from money borrowed for the 2016 Capital Improvement Plan.

As recommended by the Finance and Health and Human Services Committee, the board is asked to approve transfer of $49,075.20 from the Health and Human Services Department Fund Balance to its Youth Aids account for juvenile foster care placement.

Entering an agreement to purchase liability, property, and/or third party administrator for excess worker's compensation insurance is expected.


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