County Board supports broadband expansion efforts

Posted 3/1/22

Elected officials’ salaries increased At the Feb. 22 Pierce County Board meeting, the board approved a resolution supporting broadband infrastructure expansion and voted to raise wages for elected …

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County Board supports broadband expansion efforts


Elected officials’ salaries increased

At the Feb. 22 Pierce County Board meeting, the board approved a resolution supporting broadband infrastructure expansion and voted to raise wages for elected officials.

Katie Pata, town of River Falls resident and founder of Western Wisconsin Needs Broadband, spoke during public comment.

“I’m here tonight to talk about a group that I founded about a year and a half ago, ‘Western Wisconsin Needs Broadband,’ and it is a citizen advocacy group, it is a not for profit, non-partisan advocacy group that is meant to support the community here in Pierce County and in neighboring communities,” Pata said. “It is a place to learn and organize and advocate for good quality, affordable and reliable broadband connection, for quality of life and economic prosperity.”

The board ultimately passed a resolution, that had gone before the Finance & Personnel Committee in a special meeting earlier in the evening, in support of broadband infrastructure expansion and availability. The board adopted the resolution on first reading.

“The reason this was brought before you relatively quickly is that within the last few weeks, there have been many phone calls from several utilities that are in the broadband industry that have expressed their interest to secure a public private public partnership with the county,” said County Administrator Jasson Matthys.

The county expressing support of broadband expansion in a formal resolution, or appropriating funds toward broadband expansion (which hasn’t happened yet), helps strengthen utilities’ applications when applying for state grant funds.


The board passed a resolution for salary adjustments for the elected clerk of court and sheriff positions for 2023-2026 on first reading. The F& P Committee recommended this resolution for approval.

“What is being recommended in front of you is it relates specifically to the clerk of court to try to keep our elected officials, with exception of the sheriff as even as possible, which would mean we suggest lifting that salary from $67,500 to $68,682 for 2023, then applying a percent and a half each year for 2024, 2025 and 2026,” said Matthys. “As for the Sheriff, it is recommended that the existing salary in 2022 be lifted by 6% in 2023 and 1.25% in 2024, 2025 and 2026.”

The salary increases will look like this: Clerk of Court – A 2023 base salary of $68,682, with a 1.5% increase effective Jan. 2, 2024 to $69,712, followed by a 1.25% increase in 2025 to $70,583 and in 2026 to $71,465. The Clerk of Court currently makes $67,500 in 2022.

Sheriff – F& P is recommending an increase of 6% from $88,445 in 2022 to $93,752 effective Jan. 1, 2023. The salary would then be increased by 1.5% in 2024 to $95,158; by 1.5% in 2025 to $96,585, and by 1.5% in 2026 to $98,034. Other business

•The board approved the purchase of a New Holland tractor with front-end loader at a cost of $119,500 ($34,000 will be knocked off the price for trade-in value) from Value Implement.

Highway Commissioner Chad Johnson said, “This is for a standard farm size tractor with a loader for loading trucks performing highway maintenance and mowing.”

•The board approved the hiring of Liz Dietsch as Fair Manager. The Fair Committee recommended Dietsch for the position, which became effective immediately after the vote.

Matthys said, “Liz brings to us a significant amount of prior fair experience, having served at the Washington County Fair for nearly 14 years in various roles and capacities.”

•The board approved a resolution to accept a $55,305 donation from Badger State Sheriff’s Association for a drone, 15 ballistics vests and five ballistics shields. The personal safety equipment will be used by sheriff’s office employees when managing or handling high-risk incidents.

Sheriff Nancy Hove said, “We are looking at purchasing a drone, some ballistic vests and ballistic shields, the anonymous donor made it clear on what he would buy and what he wouldn’t.”

•The board unanimously approved a resolution to use $73,322.31 from the Jail Assessment Fund to finish the licensing and conduit installation for the jail security camera project.

Hove said, “We are looking at adding ten cameras and updating nine cameras … we are taking the money out of the jail assessment fund to finish this project.”

•The board heard a first reading on an ordinance amending the Pierce County Code (Parks & Recreation) as it relates to ATV/UTV trails on county roads.

•The next county board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22.