Tag Archives: Washington County Board

County Board Debates Golf Course Improvements

Heh.

Members of the Executive Committee voted during their Tuesday meeting to approve the expansion of a deck and patio area at the Washington County Golf Course. Supervisors Rick Gundrum and Mark McCune voted against the measure.

Another supervisor, Michael Bassill, supported the proposal, but only to allow his colleagues to weigh in when it appears before the full County Board in a few weeks.

“Basically, what we charged parks (staff) and the golf course with is, ‘Find a way to make yourself fiscally independent of the tax levy,’” County Administrator Joshua Schoemann said. “That is exactly what Craig (Czerniejewski) and Jamie (Ludovic) and their team have worked on over the last several months.”

[…]

“One of the only times I will have a bloody mary is after a golf game,” he said. “I can’t — because of some ridiculous rule that says I cannot have a bloody mary because I am at a county golf course. Treat me like an adult. It is not going to keep me playing golf there … By having a deck there, I don’t think we are committing this horrendous thing that is going to lead to some ridiculous amount of outings.”

So the County Board is debating how to pay for some capital improvements to the club house and how the golf course can operate without using tax dollars.

WHY THE HELL DOES THE COUNTY OWN A GOLF COURSE!?!?

In a county that has several golf courses – a couple of them that are world class – why do we need the taxpayers to run one? Sell the dang thing and then we don’t need 26 (yes, 26!) county supervisors debating whether or not they should be able to have a bloody mary after a game of golf at the county course.

If Washington County would actually cut some spending like this, it would be easy to eliminate the county sales tax.

Washington County Board Decides to Not Decrease Pay

I know… I’m shocked too.

The new proposal would have eliminated the per diem allotment and instead offered a $550 per month salary. When the proposal reached the Executive Committee, Supervisor Mark McCune made a motion to reduce it to $500 per month, and also applied the reduction to the county board chairman’s salary.

“My concerns with this ordinance is if and individual spends a lot of time on different committees, and you are asked by the county chair and leadership to serve on those committees, that you be rewarded for the extra time you put in,” Supervisor Michael Miller said. “It is like having a company and you have an employee working 60 hours aweek and an employee working 40 hours a week. You would want to compensate the employee for working the 60 hours.

Supervisor Marilyn Merten agreed when she referenced supervisors who are members of multiple committees and allocate additional hours to studying the issues and attend the meetings.

“When you are putting in additional time, you

should be recognized for that and compensated for it,” she said. “I have no problem with the compensation reduction and showing a good faith effort that we too are reducing things, but I think the per diem is something to make a fairness out of what committee assignments people have.”

The opponents framed the issue as a fiscal one.

“We just created a committee in the consent agenda that’s geared toward moving off of county tax levy, the History Center, AIS (Agricultural Industrial Society), the EDWC (Economic Development Washington County) and the Visitors Bureau,” Supervisor Christopher Bossert said. “Last month we voted to implement park stickers. All of that is for fiscal reasons so we should be looking at our own pay, our own practices and sharing in that pain.”

Supervisor Timothy Michalak agreed.

“As an individual who has been on salary for years, you put in the time and you just get the work done,” he said.

It’s not a ton of money, but it sure is symbolic.

Washington County Board Moves to Evening Meetings

Good. While I wouldn’t expect to see a flood of people attending meetings, this certainly makes it more likely that working people can attend if they so choose.

For the second instance in 12 months, Washington County officials will modify the meeting time for County Board meetings from the morning to the evening with the hope increasing public participation.

Supervisors voted during their June 13 meeting to change the meeting time for the County Board of Supervisors meetings from 7:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of the month to 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month. Supporters claim it would not only allow additional residents to attend the meetings, but also increase the applicant pool for elected office.

“The way I look at it is that we should afford our constituents every opportunity we can,” Supervisor Denis Kelling who spearheaded the effort to move the meeting time. “I mean I may not be a religious person, but I have the freedom to practice my religion. I may not own a gun but I have the freedom to carry a gun.”

Kelling spoke to address issues opponents mentioned, including that meeting times do not drive attendance and potential overlap with municipal gatherings.

“Selfishly I am going to vote against this,” Supervisor Jeffrey Schleif said because the time conflicts with another obligation. “As for being available for people, I think if the issue is something that is important for people, we do public notices, people come if they need to come so I discount the 6 p.m. a little bit.”

Washington County Board Extends Sales Tax

Once again, the Washington County Board extends the sales tax that was supposed to be temporary, thus confirming the maxim that “there is no such thing as a temporary tax.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, members of the Executive Committee voted to approve a resolution that extends the 0.5 percent sales tax for qualified items. The resolution was amended such that it would be reviewed every five years. The original allowed the tax to continue indefinitely unless there was a concern.

“It is pretty important,” Administrator Joshua Schoemann said. “It is a significant portion. Well over 10 percent of our total operating budget comes from the sales tax. In addition to that, the sales tax precludes us from having to borrow specifically for road improvements.”

According to the accompanying committee report, a sales tax was adopted in 1998 by County Board supervisors and implemented in 1999. Nearly all products are included in the resolution, but there are exceptions, such as food.

“At that time, it was primarily about Fair Park,” Schoemann said. “When they developed Fair Park, that is the revenue source they used to pay off the debt.”

Yes, it is very convenient for Washington County Government to have more money. How nice for them /sarcasm.

The newspaper soft sells it, but for those who don’t know the history… the county had a few major and “urgent” capital projects for which they did not have the money. To address this, they enacted the county’s first sales tax. The tax was supposed to be implemented until those specific projects were paid off, and then sunset. Instead of doing that, when those projects were done, the County Board just decided to keep the tax going and use the money to pay for whatever they want.

Never. Ever. EVER trust a politician who tells you that a tax will just be a temporary measure to cover emergency expenditures.

Washington County Board Votes to Keep Meetings During Day

Closer, but not there yet.

During this week’s Washington County Board meeting Dist. 3 County Supervisor Christopher Bossert put forward an amendment that would move county board meetings to the evening. The amendment was just two votes short, but closer than the board has ever been towards moving their meetings to the evening.

Holding the meetings during the day limits both the public’s ability to attend meetings and the ability of many working people to become supervisors.