Douglas County's highest priority projects will get done this year, but not all of its capital needs will be met.
With more than $2.4 million in proposed projects, the county only has about $670,000 to spend this year. The spending plan approved by the Executive and Administrative committees this week includes funding for the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse, and Superior Vocations Center at 2018 levels, $20,000 and $27,500 respectively.
In past years, the county also provided funding for the Lake Superior Community Health Center, but the health center notified Finance Director Candy Holm-Anderson that they would not seek funding this year.
"They sent Candy an email saying they understood the county's predicament so they didn't want to put a further burden on us," County Administrator Ann Doucette said.
The county was able to fund its merit rewards program for employees, and projects that will get done this year includes fuel system upgrades and a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the county highway department.
The sheriff's office will be able to replace laptops in squad cars in advance of the operating systems becoming obsolete. Starting in January, none of the existing laptop computers, last replaced in 2012, would be able to connect to the county network due to security and compatibility issues as Microsoft ends support for its Windows 7 operating system.
In fact, computer upgrades and new computers are necessary as the county makes the shift to Windows 10. The anticipated cost for purchasing new computers and upgrading existing computers is $79,900, not including the $90,054 for the new squad car computers. Currently only about 30 of the county's computers operate with Windows 10.
Supervisor Rosemary Lear questioned whether the county's Information Services Division will be involved in all the computer-related issues so the county can get the best price.
Doucette said while policy doesn't require that - something she is proposing to change - the plan is to have information services involved in all of the purchases.
Other projects include subsidizing well-water testing for private property owners to continue building a countywide water quality database, funding land services projects that include funding, setting aside funding for courtroom sound system upgrades, and the St. Croix Scenic Riverway land acquisition - purchasing 440 acres from a private seller for $220,000.
"We were looking at $110,000 over two years," said Mark Liebaert, County Board and forestry committee chairman.
However, many capital projects had to go unfunded this year including park projects, equipment purchases for the highway department and rifles for the sheriff's office sought to replace malfunctioning weapons.
Equipment requested for the jail will be funded through the jail assessment fund, Doucette said.
The Douglas County Board considers the plan when it meets June 20.