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Finance Committee looks at raises, budget
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LAFAYETTE COUNTY - At a meeting with a lot of discussion about the budget and raises and a few interesting approved motions the Finance Committee meeting began at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.
    The committee and Lafayette County Finance Director, Lindsay Van Matre had two and a half pages of department requested raises that amounted to $189,119, plus six added positions that added up to $519,139. The committee went through each department and discussed the need for raises. The committee’s view is we just don’t have the money to be giving out these kinds of raises. In a compromise the committee is planning to give all of the county workers a 25¢ raise across the board. The Hospital Committee requested raises and they will be sent to the newly created Joint Finance and Human Resource committee include the hospital at $49,674.
    Jack Sauer, County Board chair, said, “We’re trying to get by with the least amount of pain for the taxpayers that we can and we thought the fairest thing to do would be to give something across the board to all employees, rather that pick a few out for big raises.
    Sauer continued, “We’re going to implement a joint committee of Finance and Human Resources, where all raise requests will go. That way we will have our finance director there and she can say either ‘there is no money’ or ‘where’s the money’ and that will cut down on the raises that happen throughout the year. So when we get to budget time we won’t look back and say jeez, this person got a $2 raise and now we’re over budget and where’s the money going to come from. I think that’s where we are this year.”
    Joe Boll, Lafayette County Register of Deeds, asked, “What do you say to workers that have been working for the county for 10, 15 or 20 years and don’t come in for a raise all the time? But new employees come in and start at $45,000 with no experience, with the promise of a raise in six months.” Sauer responded, “It depends on the position. I can’t legitimize what a new person makes in some positions. We try to post for what it’s going to take to hire a new person. I don’t like hiring a person at more then the last one.”
    Ted Wiegel, County Board member, said, “Where’s the money coming from? We have $700,000 in wage requests and we’re already borrowing $450,000. That’s over a million dollars short. State of Wisconsin just devalued Darlington by $7 million. With $7 million out of the City of Darlington, our gross was basically zero. Our tax levy was $43,000. Our insurance went up over $100,000. So when we started this budget, even if no one asked for a raise, we started $72,000 short.”
    •A motion was made and approved to implement a freeze on all wage increases and added positions for the remainder of 2017.
    •A motion was made and approved as follows: Raises will be requested and approved at budget time only with department committee approval. Hospital will need to follow this policy also. Sauer wants this motion to be acted on at the County Board as a resolution and the committee agreed.
    •A motion was made and approved to change the rate on IT charges from $26/hour to $35/hour.
    •A motion was made and approved for borrowing as follows: IT Department $80,000 to be used at the Multi-Use Building – ten year note; Highway Department $700,000 to be used to pay for the Multi-Use Building – ten year note; Highway Department $400,000 for fixed assets – one year note and Maintenance $49,000 for courthouse projects – one year note.
    •Housing Authority agreed to pay rent of $500 per month to be paid quarterly, starting in 2018.