Monday, December 18, 2006

New Board Map

Thursday, December 14, 2006

12/19/06 Board Agenda and Thoughts

Click here for the Agenda & Resolutions

Here is the specific agenda

My thoughts:

RESOLUTION NO. 137-122006: Instruct County Executive to Prepare a Zero-based Budget for 2008
It is not our job to tell the County Executive what to do. The County Executive is an elected official. Our job as a board is to either approve, deny or override his actions. I will not vote for this. If this or any other County Executive wants to budget in any matter of ways they feel is best, I encourage them to. We will then go over it line by line and amend as needed.

ORDINANCE NO. 136-122006: Amend Section 2.01 of the General Code of Winnebago County
This will be the one everyone will be talking about in the morning - the new map. I am inclined to vote for it., simply on the basis that it seems to have been drawn fairly. I understand that some supervisors may have a second map that they have worked on. If so, I reserve the right to vote this one down if the other map is more equitable.

While I voted against the shrinking of the board, it passed. And, as such, we need a map to reflect this fact.

I still am happy with 38.

RESOLUTION NO. 135-122006: Authorize Request for Legal Expense Coverage from the Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation
I want to know what this is for. I have not had a chance to open my packet yet (it arrived in the mail yesterday). Is this to cover costs for the board size lawsuit? I don't know. I have questions to be answered before I make a call on this.

RESOLUTION NO. 134-122006: Transfer $3,300 from Salary Contingency Fund to Corporation Counsel's2006 Wage and Benefit Budgets to Cover Projected Cost Overrun as a Result of Temporary Help Needs
We discussed that this was coming in the budget workshop. I will support it.

RESOLUTION NO. 131-122006: Accept $10,000 Donation for Renovation of a Steinway Piano at Park View Health Center
I will be abstaining from this vote, as I work for J. J. Keller. I am proud of my company, however.

RESOLUTION NO. 128-122006: Authorize Beverage Pouring Rights Agreement Between Winnebago County and Pepsi Americas Inc.
My knee-jerk is to support this. I am OK with recreational areas being sponsored (I would vote against it if it were a school). I want some more info. If there is a soccer or rugby tournament, are they required to sell only loose cans of Pepsi? When we have our Democratic Party Corn Roast, we give away soda free as part of admission - is this to be Pepsi only (will I have to deny myself my grape Jolly Good)?

RESOLUTION NO. 126-122006: Support Revision or Repeal of Section 70.11(21), Stats.
Due to a recent court ruling, all paper companies in Winnebago County could declare themselves free of property taxes. This is a resolution recomending the state fill in that loophole. I will be voting for it, and I am a co-sponsor.

As I get answers, I will post them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A view from a former County Board Member and Current County Employee:

A letter to the Oshkosh Northwestern:

County employees good value for taxpayers
As a newly minted homeowner (and landlord), I was stunned when I opened my first property-tax bill. Wow, that's a lot of money!

Then I considered what I'm paying for. From my nearly two decades with the county government in two branches, I'm convinced I'm getting my money's worth.
Winnebago County is frugal. Tax dollars are spent carefully and wisely. Your county government does what it should do — and must do — and no more. You are served by more than 1,000 dedicated employees. By the way, we're also your neighbors. And I gladly will pay for this vital work. I have extensive contacts in other local governments, and I'm convinced they also are careful with our money.

Cynics will say this is a self-serving letter from a guy who makes his living at taxpayers' expense, rather than seeking his fortune in a "real" job. But consider this: Without going into detail, I know precisely what I'm worth in the private sector. Yet I've chosen to remain a public servant and government employee. I am not "stuck" in a government job. I truly enjoy public service, and serve proudly.

My political record speaks for itself. I wouldn't sit quietly and watch tax dollars
get squandered. I know I'm getting my money's worth.

During the last two budget sessions, there was a lot of foolish talk of letting the government practically shut down just to see what would happen. That was the position of many of my fellow conservatives. But it's not conservative to let crime increase, poverty and other social ills balloon, schools crumble (ala California and Colorado) and streets turn to dust, only to realize the horrible mistake years later. The cost to fix neglect in the future would only multiply manifold. That's neither wise nor conservative.

Ron J. Montgomery Oshkosh

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It didn't have to be this way....

From the Oshkosh Northwestern:

Tax bills sent out from the city ultimately will bring in more than $70 million in tax levy dollars for the city, county, Fox Valley Technical College and Oshkosh school district. The city levy – just under $25.6 million – is the largest dollar amount of the taxing entities. The Winnebago County portion of the tax bill has the biggest percentage increase from last year, up 5 percent from last year.

The County levy is for Oshkosh property owners is $5.47/$1,000 in 2006, it was $5.21/$1,000 in 2005.

The original budget proposed with the sales tax had about a $4.80/$1,000 rate (I will update this later when I find the exact number.

Just a reminder to those who said the sales tax would not reduce the property tax.