County Board approves adding five highway department positions
On Aug. 20 the Waushara County Board of Supervisors approved five new highway department positions at the regular board meeting held at the Anna Follett Memorial Center in Coloma. The Coloma meeting location was part of the summer board tour throughout the county to give residents an opportunity to attend a board meeting.
The five positions added to the county are a result of Brian Freimark, Waushara Highway Commissioner, adding a 3 year contract for year-round road work for the Townships of Oasis, Coloma, and Rose. In addition to the five positions, Freimark has secured used equipment, two quad axle dump trucks and four snowplows, to service the added townships. “All Waushara County Highway equipment is paid through revenue earned by doing work for townships and other areas outside the county,” Freimark said.
Presently in addition to the three townships added they also are contracted in the Townships of Wautoma, Bloomfield, and Springwater. All of this contracted work helps reduce the burden off tax levy and adds revenue to the department. Since Freimark became the commissioner in 2015 the department has added seven employees and 249 miles of roadwork.
In his monthly report, Robert Sivick, County Administrator, said that he is continuing to work on the 2020 budget. He said the demand for service and cost for service is increasing and the tax base remains the same. This brings challenges on implementing programs and the need to do things more cost efficient, he added.
He also addressed the Building Renovation Committee and the need to take care of buildings especially addressing the efficiency of heating, cooling, and lighting. Sivick said that the initial goal is to discuss what we want to do and hiring a consultant to shepherd the committee through the process.
Sivick also said the Census Committee has been formed and stressed the importance of counting each and every person within our county. The 2020 Census count will be good for 10 years and if persons are missed in the count, it effects the amount of revenue received by the county.
Two events Sivick highlighted included the successful first annual Augustfest Children’s Carnival held on the courthouse lawn coupled with the Back to School Bash and the record attendance on Saturday at the Waushara County Fair.
Human Services Interim Director, Greg Erickson, gave his annual report including recognizing his department heads for their leadership and the Human Services Board for their support. Waushara County continues to have school based therapy services in five locations including Westfield, Berlin, Wautoma, Tri-County, and Wild Rose. In 2018 the outpatients therapists provided 3972 mental health therapy sessions.
Adult Protective Services had 166 referrals; the AODA managed 125 OWI Assessments; and 16 youth were cited for underage drinking in Waushara County; 242 clients were seen in the Outpatient AODA Counseling and there wer 11 participants involved in court in 2018 with 7 graduations and 2 terminations.
Erickson reported that Child Protective Services had 484 Child Abuse and Neglect Referrals; 113 Child Abuse and Neglect Referrals screened in for Assessment; 13 Licensed Foster Homes; and 14 Children were Placed in Substitute Care. The Economic Support Team averaged serving 4,593 per month and the Salvation Army assisted 120 applications.
Erickson concluded with a quote that he believes is perfect for Human Services from Leo Tolstoy, “The Sole Meaning of Life is to Serve Humanity.”
Melissa Zamzow, Clerk of Court, gave her annual report including and an increase in debt collection, a total of $50,470.06 in 2018. She also said case filings were up in 2018 including: Probate 85; Mental Commitments 56; Guardianships 34; Juvenile-Criminal 26; and Chips 15. All case filing showed an increase except Juvenile-Criminal which went from 36 in 2017 to 26 in 2018.
There were 276 felony cases and 648 misdeamor cases and 501 Small Claims Civil Case Filings, Zamzow reported that 2018 Traffic & Ordinance cases decreased with 4053 and in 2017 there were 4609; Ordinance Cases rose from 349 in 2017 to 372 in 2018.
Zamzow said she continues to improve e-filing and recently went through a restructure of the Clerk of Court office. They have added two new staff members – Collections Deputy and Family/Paternity Deputy and are working on cross training and have installed a Chief Deputy.
In other business the supervisors approved a resolution to authorize a second Assistant District Attorney Position to be funded by the county through a contract with the State.