Help on way for Calumet child care

Calumet County Board members approved funds at their meeting Tuesday morning, Dec. 21 which will provide assistance to state-certified child care providers in the county.

Board members approved two expenditures using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. According to the resolution passed by supervisors, the COVID-19 public health emergency highlighted and exacerbated the fragility of the child care system and the urgent need for resources to mitigate the negative effects placed upon the industry by the pandemic.

Calumet County has coordinated with Child Care Resource and Referral to develop a proposal that will mitigate these negative impacts on a county-wide basis. The project cost for Child Care Resource and Referral is $689,783 and will include sign-on bonuses and training for new child care workers, hiring new quality control employees to assist and back up daycare centers, etc.

Mary Kohrell, community economic development director in the county, said child care is the top concern among employers with whom she speaks, and that Calumet County is a “child care desert.” Supervisor Emily Voight said she had to leave her employment because of child care concerns.

The second ARPA expenditure is $50,000 to coordinate with the Fox Cities Chambers to provide economic development services related to negative economic impacts of COVID-19 on a county-wide basis.

County officials said these two projects are time sensitive in nature and ready to implement. After these expenses the county still will have over $6.1 million available in ARPA funds.

In other actions at last Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved a resolution entering into an opioid settlement agreement with McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuitca. Any funds Calumet County receives from this settlement must be used for drug programming/education. Funds are expected to start being available this coming summer.

An ordinance was approved to amend the Calumet County Farmland Preservation Plan 2020-2030. The amendment was initiated because inconsistencies were noted between the plan and the proposed Town of Chilton zoning ordinance during the town’s recertification process. The amendment will correct the existing inconsistencies and allow the Town of Chilton to submit their ordinance for recertification with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Approved in 2019, the Calumet County Farmland Preservation Plan 2020-2030 serves as a guide with the goal of maintaining the operational efficiency and productivity of Calumet County’s agricultural areas for current and future generations.

The County Board also approved the reappointment of Chilton’s Ray Mueller to the Manitowoc-Calumet County Library System Board. His new term will run through Jan. 1, 2025.

See the 12/30 Tri-County News for the rest of the story.

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