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Metz to remain board chair during reorganizational meeting

Metz to remain board chair during reorganizational meeting
Larry Brandl (left) was recognized for 42 years of working with Taylor County. He began working as a limited term employee in human services in 1981 and transitioned to full time in 1982, becoming general accountant in 1986 and finance director in 2016. Brandl praised the current and past boards for being progressive in looking out for the county good. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS
Metz to remain board chair during reorganizational meeting
Larry Brandl (left) was recognized for 42 years of working with Taylor County. He began working as a limited term employee in human services in 1981 and transitioned to full time in 1982, becoming general accountant in 1986 and finance director in 2016. Brandl praised the current and past boards for being progressive in looking out for the county good. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS

Jim Metz will continue to be county board chairman and the leadership structure of the county will remain largely intact for another year.

Following the spring election, the county board holds a reorganization meeting each April where they swear in the new board and elect new leadership and committee appointments. Board members also vote on members to the county highway committee and the extension and land conservation committees.

In one of the rare exceptions where nomination and votes are done by ballot, the board members nominate and vote for leadership positions using ballots.

For the nomination of chairman, Metz received 16 nominations with one blank ballot turned in. A motion was approved to unanimously reelect Metz as board chairman.

For first vice chairman Scott Mildbrand, Chuck Zenner and Lynn Rosemeyer were nominated. Rosemeyer declined the nomination and Mildbrand was elected with 11 votes to Zenner’s 6 votes.

Second vice chairman had Zenner, Mike Bub and Tim Hansen nominated with Zenner elected with 9 votes, Bub received 6 votes and Hansen had 2 votes.

The five person highway committee is also elected by ballot.

Jim Gebauer was elected committee chairman with 14 votes to Bud Suckow’s two votes and Darrell Thompson’s 1 vote.

The second position on the committee went to Rod Adams after three ballots defeating Thompson 10 to 7. Other nominees were Suckow, Rollie Thums and Zenner.

The third seat went to Thompson who edged out Zenner 10 to 7 on the third ballot. Other nominees were Lorie Floyd, Rosemeyer, Bub, Hansen and Bud Suckow.

The fourth seat went to Zenner who beat out Hansen 9 to 8 on one ballot with Mildbrand and Suckow also nominated.

The fifth seat on the committee went to Tim Hansen with 11 votes edging out Mildbrand who had six votes. Catherine Lemke was also nominated.

For the UW-Extension committee, Hansen won over Lemke with 9 votes to 8 votes for the chairman position. Other nominees were Scott Mildbrand and Floyd.

The second member of the committee is Lemke who got 13 votes to Floyd’s four with Mildbrand, Thums and Cummings all also nominated.

Cummings is the third member with 11 votes over Floyd’s six votes after three ballots. Suckow and Mildbrand were also nominated for that seat.

Following the committee elections, the committee on committees and rules met in a different room and brought back a slate of recommendations for the county board standing committees.

After being combined two years ago, the start of this term saw the finance and personnel committees separated once again. Zenner was named chair of the finance committee, with Mildbrand, Lemke, Bub and Lisa Carbaugh the other members.

On personnel, Zenner is chair with Mildbrand, Thums, Rosemeyer and Gebauer the remaining positions.

There were few major changes to the committee structure from the previous term with the major changes being adding Thompson and Cummings in place of former board members Ray Soper and Myron Brooks.

Housing Authority

Taylor County affirmed its ongoing partnership with the Taylor County Housing Authority as a partner in working to improve housing options in the county.

Board members Swiantek and Carbaugh, who also serve as the county representatives on the TCHA board, introduced the resolution which includes the county continuing to support and provide space for the office and current finance support levels with the request in return for the TCHA to establish annual goals and objectives of the office and ensure that in the future the office is self-sustaining.

Swiantek noted that there had been discussion at the county level about turning over the housing services to Northwest Regional Planning Commission. Swiantek said she would like those services to remain local so that people with housing needs could come to the courthouse and meet with a person directly rather than having to call someone from Spooner, rwhere NWRPC is based, to get help.

Board member Mike Bub said that he has learned that there is already a very good relationship between the local housing authority and NWRPC and that he had not been aware of that. He said the county residents have access to the funds from NWRPC’s program. Bub said he supported keeping TCHA here with its new director.

“I think it is better to have local control,” Zenner said, agreeing with Bub on keeping the relationship with TCHA.

Thums disagreed. He is the county board’s representative to NWRPC and said there could be just as much service by having a phone bank and computer terminal set up in the courthouse. He said many people coming to the courthouse

See HOUSING on page 9 can’t find the housing office or when they do, it may not have someone in there at that time.

He said NWRPC could handle all the functions of that office and could do it without any additional cost to the county. The county currently subsidizes the office by about $30,000 each year. He said they would not have to pay that by working with NWRPC for housing. “You are already paying for the services,” Thums said.

While $30,000 may not be much in the overall county budget, Thums said the board needs to start somewhere and has to look at ways to do things better. “I am not trying to take anything away from the citizens of Taylor County,” Thums said.

Swiantek noted that part of the resolution is that TCHA has the goal of becoming self sustaining.

In the end, the resolution passed with Albrecht, Adams, and Thums opposed.

In other business, board members:

 Approved a resolution recognizing June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Representatives from the Taylor County Health and Human Services departments spoke about the dangers of elder abuse. Especially as the county’s population begins to age. They also noted the importance of having care plans in place for when people may no longer be able to live or make decisions on their own.

 Approved minor changes to the county board’s rules to clarify that the meetings begin at 9 a.m. rather than 10 a.m., and a change in the review and reporting requirements of committees for it to read “may” rather than “shall” to give additional flexibility and reflect what is actually happening. Rosemeyer made a point to note

that Section H of county’s rules regarding powers of the law enforcement committee addresses the ambulance service specifically stating “The committee shall have charge of the ambulances owned by the County. The County Board reaffirms its commitment to provide equal ambulance service to all parts of the County.”

Fred Ebert (left) received recognition for retiring after 22 years with Taylor County and was presented with a plaque by chairman Jim Metz. Ebert said his goal over the years was to treat each tax dollar as if it was his own and try to get the best investment and the best return for the taxpayers. He had worked in the highway department before becoming the airport supervisor in 2012. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS

A memorial resolution was approved for former county board member Darla Jochimsen who died in December. Jochimsen served District 9 from 1992 to 1996. He daughter, Gail Mildbrand accepted the framed resolution honoring Jochimsen. She is pictured with county board chairman Jim Metz. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS

Medford Area Middle School Student Council recently held a penny war competition between the grades and raised $1,638 for the Our Village Inclusive Playground project. Here student council members along with their advisor Elizabeth Rachu present the donation to Jennifer Buskerud and Joseph Greget of the Our Village Playground project. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS

Ray Soper was recognized for serving 14 years on the Taylor County Board and chairman Jim Metz presented a plaque recognizing his years of service. Soper said the key to the county board working was that they would all listen to one another. “That is what it takes to have a board,” he said. In addition to Soper, the county also had a plaque for former member Myron Brooks, but Brooks was unable to attend the meeting. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS