News and HOT TOPICS


Washington County Hires Ethan Hollenberger as Public Affairs Coordinator

County works to accelerate collaboration and innovation

West Bend - Washington County Administrator Josh Schoemann announced the hiring of Ethan Hollenberger as the County's first Public Affairs Coordinator.

Hollenberger most recently served as Communications Director for State Senator Duey Stroebel and the committee clerk for the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Consumer Protection and Technology. He will serve as the County's ambassador with area legislators, municipal officials, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders.

"Over the past five years, Washington County has established a culture of delivering economical and effective core government services by partnering with key stakeholders," stated Administrator Schoemann. "We are excited to have Ethan on our team to even more proactively demonstrate our core values of 'Innovation' and 'Collaboration' in pursuit of our mission to 'create an environment for residents and businesses to enjoy our authentic quality of life..."

The Public Affairs Coordinator position was authorized by the County Board at its August meeting. The position is charged with relationship building as the County leads Wisconsin local government in collaboration and consolidation of services with public and private sector partners alike. The County Board will look to the Coordinator to help build upon recent collaboration successes, and has set a goal to propose $400,000 in new taxpayer savings by the end of 2020.

Recent collaboration successes in Washington County include:
Washington and Ozaukee Counties merged health departments (2015)
County partnered with West Bend Mutual Insurance to build the Silver Lining Amphitheater at the Washington County Fair Park (2016)
The County and City of West Bend opened an onsite health clinic with QuadMed (2017)
Washington County Parks launched its "Counties without Borders" campaign with Waukesha County Parks (2018)
The County, in partnership with five local municipalities and the State of Wisconsin are finalizing a jurisdictional transfer of over ten miles of road (2018)
"Having worked in the legislature for two sessions, it is exciting to start a new role," said Hollenberger. "In the three plus years with Senator Stroebel, I worked with many of the same local leaders and officials. I look forward to working with our partners to continue to lead Wisconsin local government in collaboration and consolidation of services."

Hollenberger began his duties on Monday, September 10 and was introduced to the County Board on Wednesday, September 12.



Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department Achieves Level III Designation

Shared Health Department Offers Residents a Higher Level of Service

This August, the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department officially achieved a Level III Designation from the State of Wisconsin - something that was never achieved by the previous Washington County Health Department or Ozaukee County Health Department independently. Level III is the highest designation of infrastructure and program capacity that demonstrates the level of service being provided by the department.

"I appreciate the support of the Joint Washington Ozaukee Board of Health for maintaining a strong public health department," said State Health Officer and Administrator Karen McKeown. "I am sure that with ongoing support, the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department will continue to protect and promote the health of the people."

In addition to providing all six basic public health services to the community, a Level III department provides at least 14 programs and services that address at least 7 health priorities in Healthiest Wisconsin 2020, the current state health plan. The department's consolidation allowed for expanded programming in the form of more robust county health coalitions, the licensing and inspection program and specialized services for the clients.

"This achievement by the department is the culmination of our two county's vision," said Washington County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. "It serves as concrete evidence that you can successfully deliver services across county borders while improving service levels, and that county 'borders' are self-imposed."

When Washington and Ozaukee consolidated departments in 2016 saving taxpayers at least $300,000 by reducing overhead costs and sharing operational excellence, demonstrating the ability to deliver services at an overall lower cost to residents at the same or better service level was a continually stated goal.

"Our staff's commitment and dedication to continuously improving the department has made us successful at providing excellent comprehensive services," stated Interim Health Officer Amanda Wisth. "We are honored to see this work recognized by the state and the community through this designation."

The Health Department provides a variety of services that include communicable disease control, emergency preparedness, environmental health, food safety and recreational licensing, immunizations, community health and promotion and general public health services including services for women, infants and children.

Contact Amanda Wisth, Interim Health Officer at Amanda.wisth@washozwi.gov for more information.


Family Court Services Conference Registration

Registration for the 2018 Washington County Family Court Services Conference is open! This year focuses on exploring the opioid crisis in our community and the intersection of this with human trafficking. It will be a comprehensive day with an amazing group of professionals who work right here in our community. The conference is open to professionals and community members who want to be informed about these important issues! There are only a limited amount of spots, so sign up today!
Featured Speakers:
Alay Health Team
Washington County Medical Examiner's Office
Exploit No More
Lacy's Hope Project


2018 Full Service Clean Sweep

2018 Full Service Clean Sweep
 
October 6th (Saturday - 8 am - Noon)

Washington County Highway Facility  
 

900 Lang Street

West Bend, WI 53090

The Full Service Clean Sweep is an opportunity for 
Washington County residents to properly dispose or recycle unwanted
Hazardous Waste, Electronics, TV's and Large Household Appliances 
Pharmaceutical Medication and Used Tires.

There is a $30.00/Vehicle Pre-Registration Fee charged for disposal of Hazardous Waste, Electronics, TVs and Large Appliances. Pharmaceutical Medication Collection is FREE of Charge.
Disposal Fees Apply for Tires. 

www.co.washington.wi.us/cleansweep




Energy Assistance Program

If you have a utility bill and need financial assistance, check out our program guidelines!


Washington County Board Approves 'dark store' referendum

Voters in Washington County will be asked on the November 6, 2018 ballot whether the state Legislature should take action to close the 'dark store' property tax law loophole.

"Wisconsin's entire property tax system is based on equity," said County Administrator Joshua Schoemann. "The current 'dark store' loophole is a threat to this system and risks continued shifting of the property tax burden from commercial and industrial properties to residential taxpayers."

'Dark store' refers to the practice of commercial taxpayers appealing their property tax assessments and, in many cases, owing less in taxes as a result. Commercial retailers argue on the grounds that their buildings should be assessed the same as a vacant building of the same size.

"Our County Board thought it was necessary to ask voters if the equity of the property tax should be preserved and dark store loopholes be eliminated," added Schoemann.

For voters in Washington County, the question will ask:

Should the state legislature enact proposed legislation that closes the Dark Store loopholes, which currently allow commercial retail properties to significantly reduce the assessed valuation and property tax of such properties, resulting in a substantial shift in taxes levied against other tax paying entities, such as residential home owners, and/or cuts in essential services provided by an affected municipality?

According to County Clerk Ashley Reichert, the Advisory Referendum - Property Tax 'Dark Store Loopholes' will be located on the back of the November 6th, 2018 General Election ballot. "As this referendum is advisory, it will empower the citizens of Washington County to share their opinion, in a non-binding manner, on the specific topic of Dark Store Loopholes," she added.