Lori Stottler: Of Rock County's $200 million budget, residents might ask, 'What's in it for me?'
As I settle midway into my second term as Rock County clerk, I've only begun to understand the complexity and depth of county government.
As citizens, we often only glimpse at county government. We might get called for jury duty, go to the treasurer's office to pay taxes, work out an estate in probate or check on a property in the register of deeds office (you might grab a copy of your birth certificate while you're there!). For the very fortunate, you might come to the county clerk's office to apply to get married or get a passport in preparation for a vacation out of the country.
Other minor encounters might include: giving thanks on that snowy day for the roads being plowed and safe to drive on (Oh yes, we hear from you when they are not!); inquiring at the health department about immunizations, an encounter with a dog bite, or a kit to test your well water; or visiting your mother at Rock Haven and taking comfort in the care and facility she is blessed to have just been transferred to.
But what about the services the average citizen might never see? The court system is massive in its diversity. Our youth services center aims to use diversion and rehabilitation to redirect troubled youths so they don't become adult inmates at our local jail.
What about the safety matters on any given day that use emergency management, 911 communications, sheriff's office personnel, the district attorney and, on the really bad days, our coroner's office? Do you take those services for granted like I did? There isn't enough room to tell you about the county's human services personnel who are out interacting with the disabled, the mentally challenged, the economically broken and families in crisis.
What I can tell you is that Rock County government really is $200 million big and that the impact on our daily lives, in ways seen and unseen, is worth every penny. I know it's not fun to pay taxes, and I know we all tend to ask, “What's in it for me?” when we sign those checks, but I sleep better at night knowing that county employees strive to live up to their lofty mission: To enhance the quality of life, health, safety and trust of all citizens by providing top-quality public services through a creative and responsive team committed to excellence, integrity, accountability and respect.
You don't have to take my word for it. Log on to www.co.rock.wi.us to learn about the spectrum of services we offer.
Lori Stottler serves as elected clerk of Rock County. She can be reached at 608-757-5660; email STOTTLER@co.rock.wi.us.