The Polk County Board of Supervisors kept the “status quo” when fixing their compensation for the next four years at the Dec. 17 meeting. The board discussed two options, ultimately deciding that the first, with a minor change in language, would be implemented by a 10 to 4 vote in the April 2020 term.
The first of two options discussed was to keep the existing resolution with minor changes to the language.
The resolution for board and citizen committee member compensation currently states that each supervisor will be compensated $100 “as a per diem for each County Board meeting, Committee of the Whole, and Standing Committee meetings attended” and that “each Supervisor shall be entitled to receive mileage and travel expenses in accordance with Polk County’s Travel Policy as if they were County employees.”
The only recommendation made to the board was to change the language of “per diem” to “per meeting” and to “clarify that mileage is only paid for traveling to approved meetings/conventions that are out-of-county.”
The second of the two options discussed would have set a $5000 annual salary to cover all meeting requirements including county board and sub-committee meetings. An additional $1000 would be added for supervisors who become a member of an organization that holds multiple meetings outside of the county. The travel policy would govern approved out-of-county travel upon informing the board of the intention to travel, and attending a meeting to request permission from the board Chair.
Second Vice Chairperson, John Bonneprise, spoke first on the matter stating his belief that the first option already in place is working and fair overall.
“I think we’re under a very fair system,” he said. “I think it’s very fair paid per mile and per diem at $100… In 16 years of being on the county board I think it’s the fairest system we’ve had.” Bonneprise then made a motion to “keep the status quo” with the two amendments to the language from per diem to per meeting and maintain the IRS reimbursement rate for travel.
After a second to the motion, further discussion was continued by members of the board including supervisor Chris Nelson, who opted for the second option and salary-based compensation.
“To me, I think a fairer system would be if we all had a base pay,” he said. “We have some supervisors making $2800 dollars a year, and we have supervisors making over $10,000 dollars a year. Why does that happen? I think if you take the average mileage paid, and you take the average of what all of us make then the county can just cut that same check every month.”
In regards to mileage compensation, Nelson continued, “If you’re going to travel around the county, you should take a county vehicle. The county taxpayers paid for the vehicles, they’re already insured, they’re sitting out back, and we should be using them.”
While some conversation continued for a short time, the motion was called into question and a role call vote was made with 10 voting yes and 4 voting no for the first option of compensation. The resolution was adopted with the two aforementioned amendments.
The new Economic Development Director, Terry Hauer, introduced himself to the board of supervisors stating that he was “excited to start this new position” and that he looked forward to meeting everyone. The board later appointed Hauer as a voting member to ITBEC for the remaining term to August 2020.
The board passed a resolution to adopt the 2020-2024 Polk County Outdoor Recreation Plan. The plan is set to assess the recreation system in Polk County and evaluate further needs, goals, and projects for the next four years. Submission of the report to Wisconsin DNR gives Polk County eligibility for Federal and State Aids and allows the general public, non-profits and other foundations to use the document for private efforts in developing outdoor recreation facilities.
A vote passed for a change in language in the Polk County Smoke Free Air Ordinance that would now include vaping and any “electronic delivery device” of vaping products to be included in the ordinance.
Kraemer Company was the contractor awarded the custom crushing two year contract for the Polk County Lime Quarry after bids were opened for contractors Dec. 5. Some discussion from the board was had regarding hours of operation with some stating that the quarry should be opened on Fridays and was ultimately left to Vince Netherland and Emil “Moe” Norby to discuss and set hours appropriately.