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Siemon resigns Walworth Co. Commission seat

Walworth County Commissioners Tuesday, Aug. 21, tabled the resignation of District 5 Commissioner Dave Siemon until the first meeting in September.
Because the resignation was not on the agenda for the Tuesday meeting, the commissioners could not act on the tendered resignation, which Siemon had wished to be effective immediately. Siemon was not present at the meeting.
The resignation presents several problems for the commission. They will need to appoint someone to fill the empty seat until January when newly elected, or in this case, unopposed in the November election, commissioners were to be sworn in.
Because Siemon is running unopposed and the deadline to withdraw from the election has passed, his name will remain on the ballot. If he chooses not to fill the seat in January, the commission will appoint an individual to fill that seat until the next election cycle (in 2021) for another two years. That seat will be up for election again in November of 2023 to get the election cycle back on the four-year track.
The commission will address the situation again at the meeting, which will be held Thursday, Sept. 6, because of the Labor Day holiday.

County Road 319
Walworth County Highway Superintendent Penny Goetz reported to the commission that problems with the work done on County Road 319 have halted the project.
Goetz told the commission several problems, including the thickness of the concrete surface, the height of the road and the grading problems have come to light.
She said samples of the concrete, which was designed at eight inches thick to handle the heavy truck loads, show that the pour is uneven and in some places less than seven inches thick.
The project, which is about half complete, has been put on hold until solutions to these problems are found.
A meeting between the engineers and Sharpe Enterprises of Pierre will be held in order for them to decide what will be done. The options include tearing out what has been already laid or find a corrective solution.
Commissioners declined a Sharpe Enterprises request for a pay estimate until the situation is resolved.

Jail budget
Commissioners also questioned Walworth County Sheriff Josh Boll and First Deputy Justin Jungwirth about accounting numbers that may be incorrect on the monthly reports for the county jail. Several examples of the number of meals served and the number of inmate days served did not correlate.
According to those numbers, the days billed for inmate serving were not what it should have been and the county could be losing thousands of dollars, up to as much as $10,000 a month.
Commissioners asked for clarification of which numbers were correct, the meal counts or the days billed for inmate housing.
That information was not available at the time of the meeting and will be brought to the next meeting.

In other business the Walworth County Commission:
• Changed the employee policy on family insurance coverage. Because of the cost, $438 per employee per month, the county can no longer afford to offer coverage for the family of employees, with the county paying half of that coverage.
Employees currently on the family coverage will be able to remain on the policy, but the coverage will not be offered to new hires.
• Approved probationary raises of 50 cents per hour for Walworth County Jail employees Mark Kaiser and Jake Lopez.
• Accepted a bid of $119,020 from B&B Contracting of Aberdeen for the culvert work on Sitka Road. It was the lowest of six bids submitted for the work.
– Katie Zerr –