Supervisors approve electronic timekeeping, broadband grant resolutions
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MERRILL – The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors this week gave the thumbs up to a pair of resolutions focused on electronic timekeeping for county employees and broadband internet expansion.
The board approved the resolutions during its meeting at the Lincoln County Service Center in Merrill on Tuesday, July 18.
A resolution given the green light by the board will allocate $148,500.00 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the implementation of an electronic timekeeping system for county employees, many of whom currently use paper timesheets.
In May, the board approved a resolution directing $101,000.00 to the purchase of electronic timekeeping software. The resolution approved this week requested an additional $47,500.00, with the cost increase attributed to areas of improvement within the system that were identified during implementation.
According to the resolution approved this week, the switch to the MUNIS program will allow for the elimination of the currently-used BAMBOO human resources software.
“The upfront purchase is expensive, but the annual costs are covered through the removal of BAMBOO,” the resolution stated.
The implementation of electronic timesheets through MUNIS will eliminate most manual time entry for 250 county employees, enable employees to enroll in their own benefits and update personal information, reduce workload and human error of human resources and payroll specialists and increase telecommuting opportunities and oversight of real-time supervision, according to the resolution.
Utilizing ARPA funds for electronic timekeeping has the potential to reduce expenditures and tax levy obligations while creating a “more attractive organization for recruitment” by modernizing county procedures, which could “potentially increase revenues through relocations,” the resolution said.
“The electronic timekeeping will also help create efficiencies within our organization that reduce the county’s liability, as well as allow management more effective supervision tools,” the resolution stated.
The board also gave its stamp of approval to a resolution accepting $18,171.15 in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program grant funds from the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (WPSC).
The funds will go towards supporting broadband internet expansion in Lincoln County.
According to the resolution, on Feb. 1, WPSC established funding allocations for the BEAD grant program to assist Wisconsin counties and federally-recognized tribes to define the need, vision and strategy for deploying broadband in communities.
Later that month, the board approved a resolution declaring its intent to participate in the BEAD program, and in March, the county informed WPSC of its plan to take part in the program.
The county participated in the program collaboratively with Centergy Inc., the local Regional Economic Development office.
The resolution said WPSC awarded a total of $100,855.75 on a reimbursable basis to Centergy Inc. for Lincoln, Adams, Marathon, Portage and Wood counties to “support local broadband planning efforts and build local capacity that will be needed throughout the BEAD planning and initial implementation period.”
“Funds will support planning activities that include, but are not limited to, outreach initiatives, conducting local needs assessments and developing local plans for broadband development,” the resolution stated.
Lincoln County’s total share of the BEAD funds amounts to $18,171.15 on a reimbursable basis for the period of Feb. 1, 2023 through May 1, 2025.