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Sauk County Board to consider referendum on money in politics

The Sauk County Board is slated Tuesday to consider adding two non-binding advisory referendums to November ballots countywide.

Action by the Sauk County Board on Tuesday night could result in two more advisory referendums being placed on November ballots.

In May, the board voted 21-10 in favor of running a countywide advisory referendum that will ask voters whether they favor non-partisan reforms to Wisconsin’s redistricting procedures.

The board adjourned before it could consider another referendum involving the influence of money in politics, postponing the matter to this month’s meeting.

That referendum would ask whether voters support amending the U.S. Constitution to say that only human beings — not corporations, unions, nonprofits or other artificial entities are endowed constitutional rights.

The ballot initiative also would gauge voter support for another constitutional amendment stating that “Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting speech.”

The board’s Executive and Legislative Committee is slated to meet just prior to Tuesday night’s meeting to consider another advisory referendum involving the so-called “dark store loophole.” That one would ask whether voters want state lawmakers to close a loophole that allows large retailers to reduce their property tax bills, shifting the burden to residential homeowners.

If the committee puts its stamp of approval on the tax loophole referendum, it would be forwarded on to the board for consideration later in the evening.

Raises considered

In other business, the board will consider a recommendation from its finance and personnel committees to give most county employees a 2.5 percent across-the-board raise next year.

A fiscal note from Sauk County Accountant Kerry Beghin says wages and overtime would grow by about $947,000 if the increase is approved. That figure factors in performance-based raises for which the affected employees would remain eligible.

If the 2.5 percent increase is approved — and anticipated increases to employee benefits such as health and life insurance come to fruition — labor costs funded by the county’s $30 million property tax levy would grow by nearly $1.3 million next year.

Other business items on the board’s agenda include the following:

  • Authorizing an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture to extend a project position that will continue work on the Baraboo River watershed improvement program.
  • Accepting the low bid of the

Reedsburg Independent

  • , and naming it the official county newspaper for the purposes of publishing legal notices.
  • Designating the

Reedsburg Independent

  • ,

Star News

  • ,

Home News

  • , and the

Baraboo News Republic

  • as newspapers in which election notices shall be published.
  • Accepting a Wisconsin Department of Justice grant and approving an agreement with the Sauk Prairie Police Department to create a case manager position that will oversee a new jail diversion program.
  • Authorizing $134,000 in upgrades to video and paging systems in the county’s courthouse and West Square building.
  • Approving distribution of $236,000 in economic development revolving loan funds to Sharratt Warehousing and Distribution LLC to support its construction of a temperature-controlled warehouse in Reedsburg.

Follow Tim Damos on Twitter @timdamos

Baraboo News Republic reporter