Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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Human Services costs concern Dunn County

Department expected to be $1M over budget

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MENOMONIE — Dunn County Manager Paul Miller told the Executive Committee on Wednesday that it’s anticipated the Human Services Department will be about $1 million over budget.

This is a key area the committee and the County Board will address as the 2019 budget is being developed. Two Human Services programs have proved especially costly.

“The cost for our behavioral health and endangered child health programs has just been skyrocketing over the last couple of years,” he said.

The bump is likely due to an increase in mental health issues among county residents and inefficient state funding, Miller said.

He also addressed keeping county wages competitive in order to retain and attract employees. Some other areas that were discussed are cuts to custodial services and home health care.

A draft of the 2019 budget will be presented next week to the County Board. There will be a public hearing in November.

The Community Resources and Tourism Committee is recommending that supervisors create a point of contact for coordinating telecom opportunities with Dunn County.

This person will be responsible for updating the board on broadband expansion in the county, coordinate with providers and identify markets.

Designating a point of contact is a requirement for Dunn County to be a certified “Telecommuter Forward! Community.” The certification provides rural communities a way to promote themselves to telecom companies.

“It would put Dunn County on the leading edge,” Supervisor James Anderson said.

Dunn County is getting its legislative agenda in order for 2019 with a recommendation from the Executive Committee.

The agenda solicits insights from county supervisors and committees and sets the tone for what policies Dunn County wants to pursue in the near future for its residents.

Dunn County is targeting seven areas: judicial, land use, health, human services, nursing homes, broadband and financial.

Some actions the county is looking at include adding a judge, funding for child welfare services in the state, advocating for the state to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate and funding for rural broadband expansion.

The legislative agenda will be further discussed among supervisors during their November board meeting.

Contact: 715-830-5840, ben.rueter@ecpc.com, @BenRueter on Twitter

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