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Cameras in the Juneau County Jail are about to get an upgrade. The Juneau County Sheriff’s Committee approved a $5,900 transaction to repair and replace some of the jail cameras at their March 12 meeting.

The funds will come from the the jail maintenance account.

Jail Captain Gary Pedersen estimated 17 out of the jail’s 60 cameras will need to be replaced — about 28 percent.

“Our cameras are starting to get wavy and in some cases you can’t see,” Pedersen said. “They’re still operational, but they’re not where they should be in terms of quality.”

Pedersen said he will schedule a time for representatives from the camera company to come and make repairs and replacements. He said the current cameras have lasted longer than expected.

“We have right now numerous cameras that are starting to fail,” Pedersen said. “They’re actually extended well beyond their life expectancy.”

Overtime pay impacting 2018 budget

Juneau County Sheriff Brent Oleson said he is continuing to meet with Finance Department officials regarding the payouts of retired deputies and the effect on the 2018 budget.

“We had seven deputies that left or retired last year, actually eight if you count Craig (Stuchlik), the (former) undersheriff,” Oleson said.

Payouts are contractually obligated pay to employees who have accrued sick days and other valued time over the course of their career. The eight payouts totaled to $112,951.

Oleson said the impact on the budget is amplified by the unusually high number of employees leaving and retiring the department in 2018. “

We’ve never had turnover like that, really,” Oleson said. “Usually you can absorb one or two of them per year.”

The overall budget for the Sheriff’s Department 2018 was $3,639,513 while the Juneau County Jail budget was $1,675,403.

Juneau County Assistant Finance Director Katie Steinke said final figures on where the budgets stand will not be available until the county’s audit is finished in late May.

Upham Woods discussion tabled

The Committee tabled discussion on the controversy surrounding fencing and access at the Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center near Wisconsin Dells because the committee member most involved in the issue, Ray Feldman, was not present at the March 12 meeting.

Dispatcher applicants interviewed

In a closed session, the Committee interviewed seven applicants for a full time dispatcher job and a permanent part time dispatcher job at the Juneau County Justice Center.

A motion to make a new hire was approved by the Committee. Oleson said he was confident hirings will be made for the positions after background checks and other steps in the hiring process are finalized.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl or contact him at 608-697-6353

Reporter

Juneau County Star-Times reporter