COUNTY NEWS: Redevelopment draws money; county funds dwindling

Redevelopment group granted a budget

The Brown County Redevelopment Commission is getting $30,000 to start paying for projects it’s been working on this year.

The Brown County Council approved the appropriation March 20. RDC President Dave Redding said the commission had a budget of zero for this year; the budget for 2016 was $30,000.

So far the group has entered into commitments totaling about $20,700 for 2017, Redding said. Those are related to Brown County applying for the Hometown Collaboration Initiative, funding a grant administrator, helping fund a “coding academy” for local students in May, paying for Web page work, and helping cover fees for the regional sewer board’s sewer engineering report.

He said it’s likely the group will ask for more money once it has a firmer hold on the Helmsburg revitalization project, which residents of that community have been leading.

The $30,000 appropriation came from money from the sale of the For Bare Feet sock factory in 2013.

County budget lines need replenishing

Three months into the year, Brown Circuit Court has gone through about half of its budget for psychiatric services.

Some years, the court doesn’t use its $10,000 budget for these services at all, Judge Judith Stewart told the county council March 20 when she asked for more money.

But this year there have been some “unusual cases and circumstances,” said Keith Baker, a county council member and volunteer sheriff’s deputy.

The council gave the court an additional $10,000. Stewart said some of the money the court has already spent she expects to be reimbursed by the state.

The county’s health insurance costs are also looking larger than expected.

Auditor Beth Mulry told the council that the county commissioners’ health insurance budget was already half-depleted for the year. The county is self-funded; it provides its own health plan instead of purchasing one from an insurance company.

Mulry said about $280,000 of “reinsurance” money is coming in from a backup insurer, but the commissioners still might need to dig into other funds later in the year.