RHINELANDER – Oneida County Board supervisors Tuesday increased the 2019 budget by 89-thousand dollars to continue the county’s broadband program that will bring high-speed Internet to more homes and businesses in Oneida next year.
Bundled with 11-thousand dollars from this year’s contingency fund, the 100-thousand dollars will match the state Public Service Commission’s rural broadband grant of 100-thousand dollars. The goal is to significantly close the broadband gap in the county. ‘Dave Noel of the county broadband development committee, gives an update on their progress:
“We are one of the -- if not the only county -- in northern Wisconsin that has what we refer to as 90 percent coverage across the county, or will have when we are finished with it.”
The 2019 budget and the property tax levy to support it was the main focus of Tuesday’s meeting. The board set the levy at $16,646,281, which is a 1.9-percent increase or $313,662 over the prior year. The tax rate will be $2.42 per $1,000 equalized valuation, for an increase of three cents. If you own a 200-thouand dollar home, the county portion of your tax bill will be $484. The 2019 total budget is $49,881,136, up about a half percent over 2018.
Supervisors were generally on board with the budget, with one exception.
Supervisor Robb Jensen complains the county didn’t follow its own code in selecting Lisa Jolin for the new position of county solid waste director.
“This may be the best candidate. We don’t know. We have not gone through the proper process to ensure we are hiring the best people. And that’s my concern. It has nothing to do with the person on here. It may be very well be that if this (resolution to hire) gets defeated we’ll come back in January with the very same person. But we won’t have gone through the process to verify that this individual has the knowledge and skills to be successful in this position and/or the potential through the training process to ensure the person will be successful. It’s interesting when I look at the very next resolution. The very next resolution there was an interview committee. We’ve got to become consistent with what we do. Why do we have a county code if we don’t follow it?”
But Jensen picked up only three other votes as the appointment passed 16-4 with one supervisor abstaining.