WKEB Local News

Homeless Shelter Could Be Coming To Taylor County 

Homeless Shelter Could Be Coming To Taylor County   11/13/19

 

  The possibility of Taylor County being the site of a homeless shelter will be decided by the Taylor County Board.  The issue was a topic for discussion by the Human Services Board.  

  MSA representative Dave Rasmussen told the board that Wisconsin has about $100 million in unspent CDBG federal funds.  Taylor County had about $600,000 which according to Rasmussen, “needs to be spent”.  The Gilman Library received $300,000 for their library remodeling project.  Rasmussen told the committee that they needed to get rid of the remaining $320,000 some how.    Chairman Rollie Thums told the board that he needed more information regarding future costs to the county.  The committee was told that a new nonprofit group called Taylor County Supportive Housing would take ownership of the facility and secure grants to provide future funding once a facility is purchased.  The Salvation Army would pay utilities.  

  Mike Bub indicated that the city would need to be engaged.  Mr. Bub asked whether the addition of a homeless facility would promote homeless individuals from outside the county to relocate to Taylor County.  He was told that in the first 8 months of 2019 a total of 61 individuals were given hotel vouchers for overnight stays.   In addition, a number of homeless young people are currently “couch surfing” staying at various homes of friends. 

  Human Services was hoping that a single family house on the market could be purchased for the homeless facility. 

  With one dissenting vote the Taylor County Human Services Board voted to forward the resolution to the full county board.  The resolution would be for MSA to provide a grant application seeking the $300,000 in CDBG funds for a homeless shelter in Taylor County.  A date for the next county board meeting has not been set.

TAYLOR COUNTY BUDGET LOWERS TAX RATE

TAYLOR COUNTY BUDGET LOWERS TAX RATE  10/30/19

 

  The Taylor County Board met on Wednesday, October 30th,  and approved the 2020 budget.  To open the meeting Chairman Jim Metz introduced his grand-niece Marissa Pope who provided an impressive rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.  David Krug was recognized for his 14 years of service to the county.  Through tears, his widow Juanita Krug accepted the recognition and she told the board how she recalled Dave’s last words to fellow board member Ray Soper; Mr. Krug told Mr. Soper:  “You get broadband into this county”.

  The board expressed their appreciation to former county employees Dorathy Nelson and Carol Ziemer who recently retired.

  Tourism has a significant financial impact on Wisconsin.  The Regional Tourism Specialist Jeff Anderson reported that it is estimated that $49 million was spent on tourism in Taylor County last year.  He spoke of what’s called the “Halo Effect”.  This occurs when people visit from outside the area, and ultimately may decide to live and work here.  He mentioned the financial assistance grant program which is available to help promote new events.

  Dealing with financial matters the 2020 Highway Department equipment schedule was approved with total resources of $897,000.  Supervisor Hanson voted no.  The county bridge aid for townships upgrading bridges was approved with the county kicking in $121,929 toward 10 projects.  Legal services for the county have been provided by Schmiege, Graff & Koch Law Firm and the board approved their 2020 contract.

  The pay scale for county employees is based on a grid concept. The county board approved increasing the classification and compensation plan steps providing a 2% increase for non-represented employees effective January 5, 2020.

  With the 2020 election date drawing near, municipalities have to deal with the burden of purchasing the required new election equipment.  The cost for small municipalities is $5,300 and ranges up to $9,000 for larger towns.  The county board felt it appropriate to assist in paying for the equipment but voted against using powerline impact money.  Instead the board approved paying each Taylor County municipality $3,000 to help pay for the new election equipment.  The total will be $81,000 and taken from the county’s general fund reserve.

  The Whittlesey Lions Club is upgrading the playground at their park.  The board approved allocating $5,000 from the Powerline Impact fund toward the playground improvements.  Two board members who are also Whittlesey Lions abstained from voting.

  All county owned motorized vehicles must now be marked.  With the exception of the Sheriff’s Department and Human Services, a Taylor County decal must be placed on vehicles owned by the county.

  The board approved participation in the DNR municipal dam grant program.  The governmental responsibility for targeted runoff management and notice of discharge grants was approved. 

  The annual workplan for the Taylor County Forest was approved.  In forest business the county forest will increase in size by 40 acres.  A split board voted 12 yes and 5 no to pay $60,000 for land adjacent to the county forest.  Board member Gene Knoll expressed his support indicating that a preliminary logging project and grant could pay for the parcel.  Revenues from logging in the Taylor County forest average about $350,000 per year.

  County attorney Courtney Graff updated the board on the opioid class action suit which the county is involved in.  Taylor County is grouped with hundreds of municipalities.  Upon settlement of the suit, the county would share in any monetary award.

  The 2018 Human Services report was presented by interim director Liza Daleiden.

  The 2020 county budget was approved.  According to county accountant Larry Brandl the  actual levy was set at $11,854,825 which compares to the 2019 budget levy of $11,529,365 which is an increase of $325,460, or 2.8%.  Because the county’s equalized value increased by 5.7%, the net result of the 2020 budget is a decrease in the county tax rate.  On a property with a $100,000 equialized value, the tax rate will decrease by $22.  The budget passed with supervisor Bub voting no.

  Looking at the current Taylor County debt, the county is in excellent financial shape.  The state has indicated that based on the county’s equalized value, Taylor County could borrow over $75 million for operations.  Currently the debt is at $2,100,000, or 2.8% of the allowable debt.  Larry Brandl indicated that many Wisconsin counties carry a debt load of 40 to 60% of their allowed maximum with some in excess of 60%.  With some large scale projects on the horizon, the need for Taylor County to increase their debt may be approaching.

Gun Shots in Medford

Gun Shots in Medford

 

On Friday September 13th 2019, at approximately 11:58 P.M. a 911 call was received at the Taylor County Dispatch Center reporting gun shots being fired at an individual and into the air on South Main Street in the City of Medford.

 

Officers from the Medford Police Department and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.  Upon their arrival they were provided with a description of the suspect and shortly thereafter a male suspect was taken into custody without any further incident.

 

No injuries were reported and there is no further danger to the community from this incident.

 

The suspect remains in custody pending his appearance in Taylor County Court.

 

The investigation is ongoing and the case will be referred to the Taylor County District Attorney’s office for charging consideration.

 

The Medford Police Department would like to thank the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office and their deputies for their assistance in this matter.

Vestal Arrested

 

The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office was called out Tuesday, September 4th at 10:43am to search for a person considered to be armed and dangerous.  The subject identified as 33 year old Randolph Vestal of Eau Claire was taken into custody at approximately 2:24pm Tuesday.  Sheriff’s Deputies made contact with Vestal when he exited a wooded area and ultimately were able to take him into custody.

 

Earlier Tuesday the subject was near a residence located at N1307 State Highway 73 near Lublin Wisconsin.  According to a Taylor County Sheriff’s Press Release, Vestal pointed a semi-automatic handgun at the land owner before leaving on foot and he appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Gilman Police and Wisconsin DNR assisted in the search for Vestal. At the time of this release, no report of injuries to either Vestal or law enforcement have been made.

 

The incident remains under investigation.

 

Boots On The Ground Unveils New Culver's

Boots On The Ground Unveils New Culver’s    7/30/19

 

  The Medford Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Foundation hosted a “Boots on the ground” event on Tuesday.  The event featured tours of highway 13 commercial parcels which are available for development.  The new owners of the former Happy Joes were introduced.  They are Steve & Rachel Lawrence who told the group that they have been approved to bring a Culver’s Restaurant to Medford.  Steve Lawrence indicated that there will be extensive remodeling with the new Culver’s expected to employ 50 people and opening for business in February 2020.

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