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Monday, January 23, 2006

By Anne Serpe: Pay close attention

Dear Editor:
I am writing at this time to encourage all residents of Walworth County to pay close attention to the decisions and actions of the Walworth County Board and to require their elected supervisors to be accountable for the actions that are taken.

I initially became interested in the actions of the board when the director of Health and Human Services chose to cut funding to a program offering academic and counseling support to students who are expelled from schools in the county. After attending several county board and health and human service committee meetings, I became aware that services to many of the more needy of the county were being discontinued without any effort made to assess the needs or evaluate the services provided.

I witnessed the actions of 21 of 25 county supervisors as they accepted these cuts without question or response to the appeals of many residents attending the meeting.

A resident and taxpayer could look at this and applaud the actions of the board in that $2.2 million was cut from health and human service and analysis shows a net decrease of 35 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation.

This decrease was possible even though county board members voted themselves a 10 percent pay increase and the chairperson was awarded an almost 50 percent increase. Cuts in the budgets of human services and the sheriff’s department budget have made possible extravagant building programs and state-of-the-art facilities to be used at county board meetings. These cuts continue to support an inflated county administrator’s salary and the salaries and fringe benefits paid to 25 supervisors.

I believe that all residents should make every effort to be informed of the actions of the board and their elected supervisors. There should be some accountability for the actions taken in establishing the 2006 county budget.

Ann M. Serpe


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