Jefferson County Board – 2020 Budget and Badger state Solar project

The Jefferson Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, October 27 in the Jefferson Courthouse at 7 p.m. to discuss the upcoming changes to Jefferson County. Some major topics of discussion included in the County Board Meeting are; Increasing broadband service, road reconstruction, the Badger State Solar Project, and renovations to Jefferson County buildings. The most important discussion brought by the Board of Supervisors was the calculated 2020 budget. 

The 2020 budget is a total of $85 million, and most of the spending is focused on building updates in Jefferson County. The Board of Supervisors presented a plan to renovate The Jefferson County Courthouse and make it more modernized for the new tech savvy society. The building renovations will not take place until 2020 and will span over the next two or three years, and plans to renovate other buildings within the area will be included.

Jim Schroeder, the Chair of Jefferson County Board stated that, “if you have a car that is nickel and diming you to death, it isn’t worth it… We are focused on the long run because then your money will be spent more wisely.” Schroeder is using this to refer to the major changes in Jefferson County and the Courthouse as they want to make changes that will last long term, and appeal to the new era. He also states that, “changes nowadays accept technology; going digital helps communication and is better financially.” 

The Board of Supervisors made it clear that their major focus when thinking about their budget is directed towards Human Resources. The Human Resources department is the largest by far, and each year they focus on that department as their first priority. With over 26 departments and 800 programs, the County Board breaks down each and decides how much of their budget they need to spend on each. Schroeder stated, “we break down the program cost to look at the long-term impacts, and also focus on the programs and what the outcomes of each program will bring.” 

Ben Waymire, the County Administrator, stated that, “the process includes Inventorying all of the upcoming projects and ranking them from most important to least important and do the programs that we offer match the strategic plans, are they aligned and if not then what should we do?”

Badger State Solar Project

The Badger State Solar Project is a project that is looking to be placed in the Oakland district in Jefferson County and has plans to expand throughout the rest of the County in years to come. This area in Jefferson County is approximately 1,500 acres, and there is plans to build a 149-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility there. 

This project hopes to produce low-cost energy to tens of thousands of homes in the Jefferson area. There are could be many downsides with building this new Solar Power facility, as it may cause glare to neighboring towns, new technology may affect old-fashioned people, and hills may affect connection. Yet, they hope to outweigh the negatives with the positives. This Badger State site is located near an existing electrical infrastructure, which benefits these plans for construction, and avoids the need for long transmission lines. 

Waymire explained that, “a couple of companies across the state have been using Solar Power to various areas and have been saving a lump sum of money from their budget by doing so… We focus on bringing that change to the Jefferson County area.” 

This project is a new private investment that will bring in a large revenue added to the Wisconsin Shared Revenue Program. This Badger State Solar Project will create over a hundred jobs during the construction phase, and many full-time jobs once it is operational. 

A meeting will be held on November 6th, at the Jefferson County Fair Park grounds in the activity Center from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. for all who are interested in this upcoming project and others to come. 

More updates from the Broadband internet access project:

  • Broadband service supports environmental wellbeing and how it may be incorporated in the 2020 budget
  • Support from the County Board and the community is needed 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 times, agendas, and upcoming projects, please visithttps://www.jeffersoncountywi.gov/

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