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Kenosha County Executive To Spend $33 Million in Covid-19 Dollars Without Board Approval – Board Members Say “Not So Fast”

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Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser (D)

President Trump and President Biden singed into law the CARES Act and the Covid-19 Stimulus Package, respectively. These bills send millions of federal dollars to counties like Kenosha to help battle Covid-19. Kenosha is set to receive about $33 Million dollars.

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County Board Supervisor Laura Belski

Several county board members, including Health and Human Services Committee Chair Laura Belski, asked Kreuser’s administration for details on how he wants these funds spent. Kreuser won’t disclose what he is eyeing spending this large amount of money on. In fact, he is planning to spend every dollar without approval from the elected County Board of Supervisors.

This didn’t sit well with Belski. She told the KCE:

“As the legislative branch of county government and representatives of the citizens of Kenosha county, I believe that it is essential that the Kenosha County Board Supervisors have oversight of ALL county revenues and expenditures.”

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Many other board members we talked to agree with her. It is not clear if Kreuser’s unilateral spending of these dollars is legal. Belski drafted a proposal to be voted on by the board that would require Kreuser to get approval from the board for the expenditures, essentially codifying what is believed to be the proper and lawful way to spend these dollars.

To put this number into context, the annual budget for the City of Kenosha Government is about $87 Million. The Covid-19 funding is more than a third of that.

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This Week’s Board Meeting Canceled

County Board Chairman John O’Day

County Board Chairman John O’Day sent out an email last week saying that this week’s County Board meeting was “canceled” without explanation. Belski’s resolution, and other county business will be delayed. We asked O’Day if he canceled the meeting at the request of Kreuser and he told us “no”.

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Racial Equity Commission

Another order of business for the county is also being delayed. The Racial Equity Commission resolution, touted by many members as being the cure to a “public heath crisis” is also being delayed by O’Day. The Chairman, Jerry Gulley, doesn’t seem to mind though. He didn’t indicate to the KCE one way or the other about the delay.

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Finance Chairman Terry Rose, Esq.

Long-time board member and Chairman of the County’s finance committee, Terry Rose was irked about the meeting cancellation. He sent an email to Chairman O’Day and the rest of the board saying in part:

“I was surprised to read the County Board Meeting of May 4th, 2021 was cancelled. I urge we meet on May 4th. The Executive Committee met on April 27th and adopted the Racial Equity Resolution. It was to be on the May 4th agenda. This resolution alone is important enough for the Board to meet on May 4th and adopt the resolution without further delay.
Mr. Chairman, Please schedule the May 4th meeting.”

Opinion

When the County Executive battles with the board, we all lose. The idea of one man spending $33MIL without our elected representatives’ oversight is a scary thought. Kreuser needs to disclose to the community how he plans on spending all this money, and the board should scrutinize theses plans. Hopefully this money is well-spent and not used for pet-projects the Kreuser wants done before he retires. We asked Kreuser why he wants to spend the money in secret, and of course, he didn’t respond. Why would he?

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2 Responses

  1. Hurrah for L Belski & T Rose!
    Trickle Down Authoritarianism continues from the DC Swamp down to local leaders as they disregard the will of the people.
    O’Day is apparently colluding with Kreuser by cancelling the May 4 Board meeting so they can decide by themselves, which pet projects to spend our money on.
    Just how much influence will BLM have on their decisions?

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