By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
County Board Finance Committee approves spending of ARPA funds
Crawford County
CC admin building

CRAWFORD COUNTY - Crawford County received $3,133,258 in local fiscal recovery funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) approved by the U.S. Congress. The funds were paid to counties in two payments in 2021, and 2022.

A significant portion of the funds have been used to cover salaries of county employees engaged in extra work in the COVID response effort, with significant chunks also spent or allocated toward funding broadband expansion projects in the county.

At the January 18 Crawford County Finance Committee Meeting, it was reported that $114,000 of the county’s ARPA funds remain unspent or unallocated.

Crawford County Clerk Robin Fisher reported that she had a bill of about $20,000 for the second installment of payments on a new keyless entry system for county buildings. It is the second of three installments.

The committee voted unanimously to pay the second and third installments for the project out of remaining ARPA funds.

The committee also voted to spend $7,808 on 20 IPads for county board supervisors, and $3,238 for a software program that will allow official board documents such as agendas and supporting documents, and meeting minutes to be sent to board members electronically. This will save the county money in postage. The software contract will be has a one-year trial duration to ensure the system works for supervisors.

The committee voted unanimously to fund the purchase and software contract out of remaining ARPA funds.

Fairgrounds buildings

Crawford County Supervisor Wayne Jerrett addressed various issues relating to maintenance of buildings on the Crawford County Fairgrounds.

Jerrett told the committee that the Fair Committee plans to hold a raffles for a four-wheeler purchased from Prairie Motor Sports to raise funds for fairgrounds building maintenance. He said the  committee plans to sell raffle tickets from February through August, with the drawing taking place at the 2023 Crawford County Fair.

Jerrett also asked the committee to pay for needed replacement to the doors on one of the buildings at the fairgrounds where the Crawford County Highway Department stores some of their equipment. Jerrett said the old doors presented safety issues for workers. He asked the county to pay the bid amount of $11,900 to replace the doors.

“I have asked that all proposed capital projects of greater than $25,000 in the county be sent to the County Clerk to be maintained on a list and considered all together at budget time,” Finance Committee Chairman Gary Koch said. “That way, we can look at all the requests and prioritize versus responding to them one at a time throughout the year.”

The committee agreed that Koch’s suggestion was the right approach to requests for capital expenditures. They also voted unanimously to pay for replacement of the equipment shed doors at the fairgrounds out of the county’s contingency fund.

Command Center

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Jim Hackett reported to the committee that the county had received $24,446 from the Wisconsin Disaster Fund for an event on June 24, 2021. Of those funds, $14,106 was specifically for Emergency Management for emergency personnel costs and material/equipment costs (the majority, $10,000, was for use of the county’s command post).  The other $10,341 went to the Crawford County Highway Department for qualifying expenses for emergency debris removal, usage of equipment, and overtime.  According to Hackett, this constituted a 75 percent reimbursement.

Reached after the meeting, Hackett explained that the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department Command Post is controlled by Emergency Management, and is a mobile office that has communications and office space built into it.

 “We use it whenever we need an office to be set on a scene.,” Hackett explained.  “We used it during COVID to run operations for Emergency Management and Public Health.”

The sheriff’s department’s current command post is outdated because it is a 2002 Ford E450 camper converted into a command and communication post.  It is high  in miles, the electrical system is outdated and uses 35 AMP, which is under powered for new equipment. Further, the generator is on its way out, according to Hackett. The emergency lights had to be disconnected due to an electrical shortage, the gas gauge currently is not working, and the speedometer cluster does not work. 

“For right now, this meets our needs, but I foresee in the future this command post will stop being safely operational,” Hackett explained.  “That is what prompted us to start trying to save money for a replacement when needed.  I foresee this project being another 5 to 10 years down the road. “

The Emergency Management has a ‘Command Post and Communication’ account set aside for the maintenance of this vehicle.  The Public Safety and Finance committees have agreed to allow for this account to roll over the unspent funds yearly, and to save for when the department needs a replacement.

“The $10,000 allocated from the recent disaster reimbursement will add to saving toward a new command post, and future planning,” Hackett said.

In other business

In other business, the Crawford County Finance Committee:

• heard from Koch that there is a new draft of the law enforcement agreement between the county and the City of Prairie du Chien, and that agreement should be available for committee review soon. Koch said progress had been delayed due to a personal situation with City Corporate Counsel Lara Czajkowski-Higgins, but is moving forward now

• considered a request from Crawford County Supervisors Mary Kuhn and the late Don Stirling to publish county board minutes in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout newspaper. The committee tasked the county clerk with securing an estimate of what the cost would be, and agreed to consider placing a vote on the next Crawford County Board meeting agenda

• reviewed a new quarterly financial report generated by the Crawford County Treasurer, detailing revenue and expenses

• heard a report from Crawford County Board Chairman Tom Cornford that the organizing committee for the 350th Anniversary of the Marquette & Joliet Voyage of Discovery event was requesting a donation from the county. Cornford explained that the total budget for the event was projected to be $250,000, and that the City of Prairie du Chien had donated $20,000, and the Prairie du Chien Chamber had also donated funds. The committee agreed to put this on the agenda for their next meeting.