CRAWFORD COUNTY - At the Tuesday, July 13 meeting of the Crawford County Land Use Committee, Zoning and Sanitation Technician Jake Shedivy reported on workload and staffing issues his department has been experiencing.
“Last year was a 200 percent year in workload for our department, with revenue up 75 to 80 percent,” Shedivy said. “Our workload with implementation of the county’s new Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS) ordinance has been overwhelming, and I am not satisfied with the level of service we are able to provide under the current staffing conditions.”
Crawford County Conservationist David Troester supported Shedivy in his observations.
“The writing has been on the wall for the last year about the workload we have gotten ourselves into,” Troester said. “All of the in-depth conversations our department needs to have with citizens about the POWTS ordinance take up a great deal of time, and are an important part of what we do. I’d like us to be more proactive than we’re capable of being now - currently, we’re just putting out fires.”
Troester proposed adding another employee to the department to take the floodplain zoning management off Shedivy’s plate. He said the added employee could also help on the land conservation side of the department’s work with water quality initiatives, well testing, and working with municipalities on water quality trading projects.
“The state budget includes increased funds for staffing of county land conservation departments,” Troester pointed out. “This will mean an extra $25,000 to $30,000 will be available, as well as the increase in permit fees coming in from the POWTS program.”
Troester asked for the support of the committee in taking his proposal to the County Personnel Committee.
Committee member Bob Standorf asked if the committee could authorize temporary help for the department? Committee chairman Dave Olson responded that such a request would still need to go through the personnel committee. Committe member Kim Moret asked Shedivy what kind of position he envisioned for the added staff member.
“I think it would be good to recruit someone with a technical background,” Shedivy said. “But mainly what we’re going to need is a person who is passionate and is willing to learn.”
Bob Standorf moved, and Wade Dull seconded a motion for the Land Conservation Committee to support the Land Conservation Department in requesting the Personnel Committee to add an additional position to their department. The motion passed unanimously.
In other business
In other business, in the Soil and Water Concerns Committee meeting, the committee:
• heard a report from Troester about how he was working on getting reported acres from all producers with nutrient management plans in the county. His report is due to DATCP in early August
• heard that Troester has been working to prepare for the County Clean Sweep event, for the Youth Conservation Day, and the department’s booth at the County Fair
• heard that the 2021 Conservation Awards Ceremony will take place at the County Fairgrounds on Thursday, August 26, at 6 p.m.
• heard from USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Karyl Fritsche that CRP sign ups in the county are up, and that the planes for the Aerial Cover Crop program will be flying in the next month• heard from FSA representative Bob Standorf that interest rates have leveled out in July, and that his department is about 50 percent done with CRP applications, and is hoping that the July 23 deadline will be extended.