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County Lowers Tax Rate Another Dime

Increases Investments in Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Public Safety

A dime: that is how much the county property tax rate was reduced when the Washington County Board of Supervisors adopted County Administrator Josh Schoemann's 2020 recommended budget and tax levy.

The County's general levy property tax rate will decline from $2.39 per $1,000 in 2019 to $2.29 per $1,000. The budget reduces the tax rate for the sixth consecutive year while the levy itself, the amount of total taxes collected, remains lower than a decade ago. The table below shows the 2020 tax reduction for average home values.

2019 2020 $ Change % Change
$150K Home $359 $344 $(15) -4.18
$225K Home $538 $516 $(22.50) -4.18
$350K Home $838 $803 $(35) -4.18

"All new property taxes collected, plus some, in this budget have been allocated to the Sheriff's office." said County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. "Our highest priority is 'safe and secure communities' so we invested in public safety. We also reallocated property taxes from parks. Now users of the parks pay for new amenities ready to be built in 2020.

These budget also is designed to:
• Ensure all roads are adequately maintained through a fully-funded thirty-year plan
• Not issue any new debt
• Invest in opioid treatment and a new drug treatment court
• Partner with the state on new prosecutors
• Maintain a one-day mental health evaluation for uninsured or state insured residents
• Utilize park fees to add new amenities and increase investments into our park system
• Increase funding for elderly meal programs providing a safe, nutritious lunch
• Provide safety and new programing for our children in foster care
• Reduce the reliance on the County's savings account

"By focusing on our priorities, this budget lives within the taxpayer's means," added Schoemann. "Since I have been County Administrator, the Board has cut the levy nearly $3 million, reduced the number of county employees, and reprioritized spending to areas such as the Sheriff's Office and Highway Department"

The County also has a local bridge aid and library services levy; both of which remain flat and also see a reduced tax rate. The 2020 budget summary and full adopted budget is available on the County's website.




Press Release: County Seeking Committee Members for its Land & Water Resource Management Plan Development

For Immediate Release: November 11, 2019

Contact: Ashley Reichert, County Clerk – 262-335-4301

County Seeking Committee Members for its Land and Water Resource Management Plan Development

Washington County is seeking applications from a broad spectrum of public interests and perspectives to serve on a local advisory committee overseeing the development of the County’s Land and Water Resource Management Plan. Interested candidates should be able to attend 2-3 evening meetings between January and April 2020 likely to be held early evenings. Ideal candidates should have interest and be able to represent agriculture, farming, agriculture business, conservation, education, surface/groundwater including lakes, development/ realtor or local government generally.

The Land and Water Resource Management Plan guides the annual work plans to implement conservation throughout Washington County. The Committee’s role includes reviewing, developing goals and objectives, and assisting with prioritization of local conservation efforts. The plan is ultimately approved by the Washington County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.

To apply: Email applications to Ashley Reichert, County Clerk at ashley.reichert@co.washington.wi.us

Subject: LWRM Interest

                                                                 Or

Mail or drop off applications to P.O. Box 1986, 432 E. Washington Street, West Bend, WI 53095 Attn: Ashley Reichert – LWRM Interest

 Applications may include a resume and statement of interest but at a minimum, must contain an address and brief biography. The deadline for applications is Monday, December 2, 2019, at 12:00 p.m.

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Washington County creates an environment for residents and businesses to enjoy our authentic quality of life through a well - governed and administered county dedicated to safe and secure communities; economic growth and vitality; effective mobility and reliable




Tough Mudder Returns to Wisconsin

Washington County Parks will host Tough Mudder Wisconsin June 13th and 14th, 2020

Heritage Trails County Park has roughly 250 acres of varied landscape of hills, wooded trails and open fields that will be the new home of Tough Mudder Wisconsin. Washington County and Tough Mudder have reached an agreement to host the obstacle mud run which will be the first-ever sporting event agreement of its kind for Washington County Parks.

The sporting event is expected to draw thousands of participants resulting in a total economic impact of $2.6 million for the region. The events include the Tough Mudder 5K, an untimed, teamwork-focused event with 13 obstacles and the Tough Mudder Classic, an 8-10 mile loop of mud-soaked mayhem with 25 best-in-class obstacles. The Tougher Mudder - a competitive, timed event with exclusive challenges - is also available to participants on Saturday, June 13th.

"This event will bring action to Heritage Trails," said Central Services Director Jamie Ludovic. "We have so many beautiful areas in Washington County and it will be a privilege to welcome avid competitors from other parts of the world, other regions of the United States and bring fellow Wisconsinites to our scenic kettle moraine terrain."

Tough Mudder also allows Mudders to participate for free if they commit to a minimum fundraising target for a participating charity or a charity of choice. Washington County plans to work with the local veterans community in establishing their cause for the event with expected details to be announced early next year.

"We thank Visit Washington County for their support on this project and Tough Mudder for their vision to bring the 'much-requested return to Wisconsin' to our community," said County Administrator Schoemann. "Washington County continues to bring these events to our parks so that citizens find recreation activities to live their authentic quality of life."

For more information on the event, please visit https://toughmudder.com.



County Mental Health Center is Now Offering Same Day Assessments

New Walk-In Clinic Hours Improve Service for uninsured and underinsured clientele

West Bend, WI - The Washington County Human Services Department now offers same day access for assessments in the Mental Health Center at the Public Agency Center - 333 E. Washington Street.

"Two years ago, we had a two to four month wait for initial access to our Mental Health Center for uninsured and underinsured individuals to receive therapy and psychiatry in Washington County," said Human Services Director Julie Driscoll. "After a nine-month process and quality improvement cycle, we are proud to say that we have fully implemented same day access for assessments, serving over 100 individuals on the same day they walk through the door, since July."

Walk-In Clinic Hours are offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30-2:30pm and Fridays 9:30 - 11:30am. Residents are encouraged to call 262-335-4600 to confirm hours, as they may change. To qualify, an individual must be a Washington County resident and have state insurance or no insurance. Individuals should plan to be in the clinic for up to 2.5 hours and early arrival is not necessary, as it will only add to the wait time.

"Providing the opportunity for individuals to leave our campus with an initial treatment plan and recommendations for follow-up care is a tremendous step forward toward providing access to basic needs in our community," said County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. "Congratulations to our Human Services Department for this quality advancement helping our residents enjoy an authentic quality of life."

The Washington County Human Services Department is an active partner and leader in the mental health and substance use services in our community. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call us at 262-335-4600.



County Library Services Board Citizen Member Needed

At the present time, we are seeking an individual to serve as a member of the Washington County Library Services Board for a three-year term, effective May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2023. This individual must be a County resident in a municipality that is not served by a library. The County Library Services Board normally meets quarterly at the Washington County Courthouse - Government Center.

For information regarding serving on the Washington County Library Services Board, contact the County Clerk Office located at 432 E. Washington Street, Room 2027, West Bend, WI or call (262) 335-4301, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

If you are interested in serving on a Board, please complete the Interest Form and return the form to the Washington County Clerk, 432 East Washington Street, West Bend, WI 53095 or email to CLKagenda_dg@co.washington.wi.us. Additional information may be submitted as you wish (i.e. resume).

Citizens may also choose to apply for any of the 12 committees that accept non-County Board Members. Applications will be kept on record in the Administration office in the event there are positions that become available for appointment.




County Awarded $500,000 to Implement Adult Treatment Court

Human Services Department continues efforts to treat substance abuse disorders

When the Washington County Board convenes on October 9, it will vote to accept a $500,000 federal grant to implement the county's first official drug treatment court. The county has been funding Treatment and Diversion programs with state support for over a decade. The drug court will expand a long standing county partnership with Elevate Inc.

The four-year grant will effectively integrate evidence-based substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in a judicially supervised court setting. A pilot court is expected to begin in January.

"We are thrilled to have an additional avenue to allow individuals to overcome and manage their disease symptoms and address their mental health needs," said Human Services Director Julie Driscoll. "When individuals are incarcerated, treatment is not adequate and the ability for the individual to find a stable and safe place to live, conduct meaningful life activities - such as employment, school, and volunteerism - while having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love and hope is nearly impossible following incarceration."

To qualify for drug treatment court, individuals are charged with a felony drug offense, have an identified substance use disorder, and exhibit a high risk to act criminally again. It is estimated that 65 to 75 clients would be served over the life of the grant, approximately 16 to 18 clients annually.

The work toward a treatment court requires strong partnerships. The Washington County Circuit Court Judges, District Attorney's Office, Human Services Department, Sheriff's Office, the Department of Corrections, Public Defenders Office and Elevate Inc. worked collaboratively to help make a drug court in Washington County possible. Washington County joins the ranks of nearly 50 other counties operating a similar drug court program.

"We commend Judge Todd Martens for his judicial support, leadership and political advocacy around this project as it is critical to the success of this initiative," added County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. "The project is a direct result of his commitment; in addition, the Washington County Board has been steadfast in their support of priorities which ensure safe and secure communities and access to basic needs."

The drug court is a culmination of added grants and services to Washington County Human Service Department's toolbox in 2019. The department received grants to begin medication assisted treatment or Vivitrol in the county jail and provide increased substance abuse treatment for uninsured residents.

The Washington County Human Services Department is an active partner and leader in the community for substance use care and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use and ready to take that first step towards recovery, please call us at 262-335-4600.



Press Release County Executive Election

 OFFICE OF THE COUNTY CLERK
Ashley Reichert, County Clerk
Linda Doro, Chief Deputy Clerk

For Immediate Release: 9/25/19

Issued by: Ashley Reichert, Washington County Clerk

PRESS RELEASE

County Executive Position

 Washington County, WI – NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that at an election to be held in the several towns, villages, cities, wards, and election districts of the State of Wisconsin, Washington County, on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the following office of County Executive is to be elected.

Interested candidates will need to complete and file a Campaign Finance Registration Statement (ETHCF-1), Declaration of Candidacy and Memorandum Regarding Felony Convictions (EL-162), and Nomination Paper for Nonpartisan Office (EL-169). Forms are available here: https://elections.wi.gov/candidates/local/non-partisan.

The first day for candidates to circulate nomination papers for the 2020 Spring Election is December 1st. The required amount of signatures is at least 500, but not more than 1,000. The deadline for candidates to file nomination papers, declarations of candidacy, and campaign registration statements for the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary and Spring Election with the filing officer, the County Clerk, is 5:00 p.m. on January 7, 2020.

The County Executive will serve a term of 4 years, taking office on the 3rd Tuesday in April following the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary and Spring Election.

For more information, contact the County Clerk’s office at (262) 335-4301.

 




Washington County releases video depicting need for foster families in our community

In an effort to raise awareness about the need for foster parents in Washington County, the Human Services Department is taking a new approach. The Foster Care Program recruits, licenses and trains foster parents to provide loving and stable homes for children and youth when it is not safe for them to remain in their natural home.

The video highlights the staggering fact that since 2017, the need for foster parents in Washington County has increased by 35%. During that time, 167 children have been removed from their home because of abuse or neglect by a primary caretaker, including 36 children in 2019. Most often, the children in need of foster homes are teenagers, sibling groups, or children with special needs, such as mental health, behavioral, or emotional difficulties.

"Currently, there are no foster homes in our community who are licensed to take placement of teenagers and siblings are often split up and placed into separate homes," said Coral Kline, Children and Families Manager. "This results in kids being placed outside our community where they cannot remain in their schools or near their families."

The needs in Washington County are aligned with state and national trends that kids are staying in out of home care longer because parents need time to get treatment services and stabilize their ability to access basic needs such as housing or employment. In 2017, The WI Department of Children and Families identified substance use treatment as a significant parental need in 21% of all CPS cases statewide. In addition, children and youth have a higher level of need than we have previously seen or understood. Exposure to trauma (parent's substance use, domestic violence, neglect, etc.) has contributed to mental health and developmental delays that often appear to be behavioral concerns. This creates additional challenges for parents and caregivers who are trying to create safe environments for kids to grow and develop.

"Our greatest need is foster parents who are willing to open their homes for boys of any age, girls ages 7 to 15 and for families who are able to keep sibling groups together."

For information on becoming a foster parent or to support the foster parent community, contact the Washington County Human Services Department at (262) 365-5100 or at FosterCare@co.washington.wi.us

VIDEO LINK


Energy Assistance Program

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