Administrator eyes CapX funds to boost economy

Trempealeau County’s administrator is proposing to spend the county’s final CapX payment primarily on economic development, especially for small businesses.

Administrator Rebecca Glewen told the executive finance committee Monday that the $167,000, along with a possible additional $40,000 for an award for energy saving in the new justice center, could be matched by a grant. She suggested a portion of the funds could also go to small park and recreation programs or a study of the county’s housing needs.

The committee requested more details on the proposal, some of which may be provided at a special committee meeting at 6 p.m. July 15, just before a county board session.

“My interest is in small businesses,” Glewen said. “Maybe seed capital for new ideas or filling the gap in the (former state) main street project. I’ve seen very good success with façade improvements.”

After a question by committee member Bridgette Turner, Glewen noted that spending on parks and recreation can translate into economic development.

The CapX fund is the final payment to the county for environmental mitigation for electrical transmission lines in southern Trempealeau County.

The committee also heard from Government Solutions consultants that the county should consider a new accounting system and that the highway department’s budget should be restructured. The committee approved an extension of the company’s services to advise county staff about budget and accounting practices.

Consultant Steve Corbeille told the committee the county’s general fund balance is adequate and that the Trempealeau County Health Care Center is “very efficient and well run.”

Corbeille said highway funds need to better reflect their source and purpose, a change that would be in keeping with practices recommended by the state Department of Transportation. Corbeille called the county’s fund to help towns with road work “unusual” but said he wasn’t judging the concept following questions by committee member Robert Baecker.

“It should have a separate fund, is what we’re saying,” Corbeille said. 

Glewen said she will be implementing several of the consultants’ recommendations, including establishing an internal financial advisory team, assessing the accruing paid sick and vacation time of county employees and putting into writing accounting practices.

Glewen will also seek bids from architects to design renovations to the courthouse. She said the price quoted by Venture Associates, the company that designed the new justice center, was “quite high.” 

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