Jefferson county board meeting talks about 2020 budget and badger state solar project

The Jefferson County Board had a meeting on Tuesday, October 22, to discuss the budget for 2020 and the Badger State Solar Project.

Before the meeting was held, our class had the opportunity to meet with some of the board members to discuss important topics that were to be spoken about during the meeting. We mainly collaborated on the 2020 budget. The budget’s total is $85 million.

 Jim Schroeder, Chair of the Jefferson County Board stated, “The finance committee is made up of five people but the budget itself goes through a lot more people.” 

The Board of Supervisors plan is to spend a lot of the money on road construction, paying off debts and remodeling the Jefferson County buildings; heavily focused on the remodel of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The renovations for the Jefferson County Courthouse include maintenance and remodeling the look of the building itself. They board members want to not just update their files but also modernize the building. Since technology has become so prominent in our society, the board has noticed how far behind they are on updating everything. 

At the beginning of 2020, the members will decide what exact updates will be made to the building. There will not be much done on the exterior of the building, but it will take 2-3 years to make the changes that need to be done to the courthouse. 

The 2020 budget for Jefferson County also highlighted on property taxes. Property taxes are one of the major sources of revenue. Even though property taxes are one of the main sources of revenue, the taxes for Jefferson County have been dropping since 2017, which the board sees as an issue, especially with all of the money that will be spent within the upcoming years. 

Anita Martin from Lake Mills who is an employee for the Land and Water Department spoke at the meeting about the budget. She stated that the department is down a person and was asking if that position is going to be filled into the 2020 budget. The board will make a decision at a later date if someone will be added. 

Badger State Solar Project

The plan for this project is working with farmers and landowners in the area to start the developments, which is planned to be a 149-megawatt solar facility in the towns of Jefferson County, which will reach around 1500 acres.

The project will produce enough clean, low-cost energy to power tens of thousands of homes and will help Wisconsin meet its goals for in-state renewable energy. The Badger State site for the project is located close to existing electrical infrastructure, which minimizes the project’s footprint and avoids the needs for long transmission lines.

This project will create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase. Three to five full-time jobs will also be offered once this project is operating. The financial help for this project will go through taxes, receiving around $3,000 back. 

The public worries about losing the nature aspect worrying about the sound that will come from the solar project. The modernization seems to be something the public is not used to in their community.

On November 6 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Jefferson County Fair park grounds, there will be an open meeting to the public if interested on learning more about the Badger State Solar Project.

More updates from the Broadband internet access project:

  • Broadband can support environmental wellbeing and how it would incorporate into the 2020 budget
  • Support from the community and county board is necessary for the success of this project
  • The grant for this project must be turned in by Dec. 19, 2019. 

For more information on the Jefferson County Board, including meeting agendas and minutes, visit https://jeffersoncountywi.gov/

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