The Walworth County Commissioners, Monday, Oct. 1, set two dates on which they will hold public meetings to inform taxpayers about the proposed jail project coming to a vote on Nov. 6.
The commissioners, Walworth County State’s Attorney Jamie Hare and Walworth County Sheriff Josh Boll will be present to answer questions presented by residents.
Two public meetings regarding the $10.5 million Law Enforcement Center bond issue will be held, one in Selby and one in Mobridge. At these meetings the public will be allowed to address the officials with questions.
The first meeting will be on Monday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Selby Area School Auditorium. The second meeting will be held on Monday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. at Scherr-Howe Event Center in Mobridge.
Commissioner and Jail Committee member Kevin Holgard told commissioners on Monday, he thought it very important that the public be able to ask individual commissioners questions about the project. He said the residents of the county need to know about the project and for what they are voting.
The commission decided there would be an opening statement concerning the project, explaining what will be included in the scope of the project. They will then let those attending ask questions.
The taxpayers of Walworth County will be asked to vote on a bond to fund the $10.5 million project in the November election.
The commission held an election to fill the seat left vacant when District 5 Commissioner Dave Siemon resigned in August.
Three residents submitted their names for consideration, Rick Cain, Justin Jungwirth and Davis Martin. Commissioners voted on a secret ballot and Martin was elected to fill the seat for the year left on Siemon’s term.
Renae Tisdall, representing the group that has formed to keep a senior care center operating in Selby, met with the commission to explain the non-profit group and ask for help from the county.
The Walworth County Care Center group (WCCC) was formed when the Good Samaritan Society announced it was closing the Selby facility. The center has a staff of about 40 people (this is not a verified number) that would be out of a job if the center closes. The residents would have to be moved to another facility in the area.
Tisdall explained the group has already hired a management company that is working with the Good Samaritan group in making a smooth transition. She told the commissioners, the group is trying to raise $500,000 for the purchase of several operating systems, (computer programs, telephone system, etc.) needed to operate the facility. The $500,000 is starting capital for taking over the facility.
The management company has said it will be ready to take control of the center by Dec. 1, although Good Samaritan would like to hand it over a month earlier.
“I know this puts you in a tough spot because if you do this for the WCCC, Mobirdge is going to be knocking on your door,” Tisdall told the commission. “I would like you to remember that this for the underserved members of our county.”
Walworth County State’s attorney Jamie Hare said the center means too much to the city of Selby and Walworth County to let it go. He said the state’s failure to deal with the Medicaid reimbursement situation has caused problems with many facilities.
“This is too big to let it fail,” he said. “Medicaid reimbursement has had an impact on other communities. It is a statewide crisis.”
Commissioner Jim Houck said he would like to find a way for the county to help out, but thinks the commission should take some time to research the request.
Commission Chairman Scott Schilling said even with the cutbacks to the 2019 budget, he would like to see the county find someway to help the center.
Tisdall told the group she would know more after a Thursday, Oct. 4 meeting and will meet with commissioners again.
– Katie Zerr –