County Executive: Tough financial decisions ahead

County Executive Jim Kreuser

Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser delivered his state of the county address tonight, preparing the County Board for a tough look at its spending in the wake of the governor’s budget message also delivered today.

Said Kreuser:

We do not know the full impact of Governor Scott Walker’s budget, but we know it will require us to make extremely tough choices. I also know – and this County Board knows – that we are up for the challenge.”

It will likely be late this month before his office will know the full impact of the governor’s budget on the county, Kreuser said.

From Kreuser’s address:

We are funded by state and federal money for about 70% of what we do. Often times, they don’t give us enough money to run those programs.
One thing is clear: The state cannot give what the state does not have; The Federal government cannot give what it does not have. And, what do they not have? Money. What I hope to see from the details of the governor’s budget is flexibility for counties to reinvent government. We have been creative – we have thought out of the box – Department and division heads in this county are some of the most intelligent and creative people I have met … There has never been a time more important than now for us to all work together as we reinvent county government in this new era. Meanwhile, we await final word on the all important details from Madison on the other ways that county government will have to change. At the end of the day, we must embrace the challenge.”

One change headed for the next county budget will be the elimination of health insurance for County Board  supervisors:

I hope — I know eliminating County Board health insurance will not result in a backlash from those of you who support health insurance because I know you are better people than that. And you know, like I know, many people who have lost their jobs, health insurance and even their home. I know your priorities are a sustainable county government and, more efficient county services.”

Kreuser said the elimination of insurance for board member will save $200,000.

Kreuser also highlighted a number of positive aspects of the county and emphasized that Kenosha County remains well-positioned for what economic development might occur:

The State of Kenosha County is that we are in a good position — Good position financially, geographically and nimble enough to make the changes that will unfold to us in the coming weeks and months. We are in a good position to work together to tackle the adversities that may face us and to have good things happen in our communities. I look forward to the new businesses and new residents and families who will join us in the future and I am thankful to the businesses and families who now call Kenosha County home.”

The entire state of the county address is available here.


One Comment

  1. chris says:

    I think that Mr. Kreuser is fibbing to the constituents a little bit. He states that Kenosha County is in a good position financially. However, when speaking to the Highway Department employees, he’s said that there’s no money.
    In June, he had laid highway employees off and discontinued their insurance; however, the County Board, who are part-time, are still receiving the insurance. Then, he called the laid off employees back to work, just in time for snow plowing – yet, he cut their wages. How many of the “administration” had their wages cut? Right now, the highway department employees approximately 15 people LESS than it did 12 years ago, yet, there hasn’t been a lesser number of administrators – why???
    If there should be any recall in Kenosha County, it should be against Jim Kreuser.

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