New satelitte facilities approved by County Board

March 17th, 2015

JEFFERSON – The Jefferson County Board approved the construction project for two new satellite facilities in Lake Mills and Concord on Tuesday.

Jefferson County was granted a $17.89 million bond back in 2014 for city construction.  Of the $17.89 million, $1.5 million was set aside for the construction of the two satellite shops.

Supervisor George Jaeckel

Supervisor George Jaeckel

The price for construction of the two, 12,500-square-foot facilities was reduced from $1.2 million to $500,000 thousand.

Originally, $3.5 million in bonds was placed toward the project.  The Jefferson County Board put forth that the amount must not exceed $4.39 million.  It was compromised on Tuesday that $3.98 million would be put toward the project.

The use of the satellite shops will be used for the storage of emergency highway traffic patrol vehicles.  The facilities are being built to reduce to the response time to emergency situations.

Highway Commissioner Bill Kern explained that adding two new satellite shops at the corners of the county will significantly reduce the response time for weather emergencies.

While the county already has four satellite shops, Supervisor Amy Rinard questioned the motive to add two more.

“The existing sites were placed many years ago,” Kern said. “The sites are in very inefficient spots.”

Kern explained how Jefferson County was the only county to keep its original satellite shops while other counties had built new ones.  He continued to explain that the current satellite shop locations are in inconvenient locations and are missing key factors that the new facilities will have.

Supervisor John Kannard was concerned about the cost, stating how they won’t break even in 50 years.

Supervisor Carlton Zenter expressed his agreement with Kannard, stating the costs would outweigh the potential for savings.

Supervisor and Highway Committee member George Jaeckel showed his agreement toward the proposal, stating how dangerous the current satellite shop locations actually are.

Supervisor Walt Christensen agreed, explaining that the facilities being built are expected to last 20 years and will more than likely last longer than that.  He continued by saying that the benefits would outweigh the costs.

Supervisor Greg David stated that the costs shouldn’t be an issue, pointing out that the costs were already reduced back from $1.2 million to $500,000 thousand.

Jaeckel explained that construction on the new main highway shop is 90% complete.  The project should be completed by the end of March and can be moved into around the first week of April.

The Jefferson County Board has yet to determine what will be done with the old highway shop.  The county may sell or demolish the building or sell the land.  The only location that will remain is the Concord location.

The approval of the two new satellite shops passed in 25 to four vote.

Other discussions Tuesday included:

-An agreement authorized for transportation for a portion of Jefferson County including the Milwaukee urbanized area.
-A proclamation to make March 13 K-9 Veterans Day.
-An agreement to approve new radio equipment for the 911 systems, converting it from analog to digital.
-A proclamation to make the month of April Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
-Gave a memorial for former Jefferson County Board Supervisor Kathleen Grosskoff.

Council moves for resolution in Walker’s budget

February 24th, 2015

The Whitewater Common Council passed, in a unanimous vote Tuesday, a resolution to the recent proposed budget by Governor Scott Walker, asking the local government to ensure the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has enough funding to fulfill “it’s educational mission and to support the vitality of the community.”

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker

The resolution put together by the council was aimed toward the support of the University of Wisconsin System and toward supporting the community in the City of Whitewater.  With substantial cuts to the university’s budget, it is presumed that the community will take a cut as well.

Earlier in February, a new budget was proposed by Gov. Walker for 2015-17.  The budget calls for a $300 million cut in the UW System’s budget.  The money is set to be divided up to the taxpayers of Wisconsin and to funding for the Milwaukee Bucks new arena.  If the Milwaukee Bucks fail to build a new arena by 2017, the franchise will be taken over by the National Basketball Association.

The budget proposal was analyzed by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and they concluded that UW-Whitewater would face the largest percentage of cuts amongst the 26 campus’ in the UW System.

If Gov. Walker’s proposed budget were to be passed, UW-Whitewater would take a hit of 18.6 percent or about $6.4 million.

In comparison, UW-Eau Claire faces a 17.9 percent budget cut while UW-La Crosse and UW-Stevens Point are both facing a 17 percent budget cut.

Meanwhile, the top university in the UW System, UW-Madison, will see an 11.6 percent budget decease but will lose the biggest dollar amount, which is around $57 million.

Listed below is the resolution that the Whitewater Common Council has presented to Gov. Walker:

“Whereas, since 1904 the Wisconsin Idea has reminded us that the University of Wisconsin System serves as a primary, and often the primary, intellectual and economic engine for our state, whereas, in the City of Whitewater, we realize that the fiscal and cultural health of our city is closely aligned with the health of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, whereas, an approximate $6.4 million-dollar-decrease in the budget of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater would have significant negative consequences both for the university and for the city of Whitewater; Now, therefore, be it resolved as follows:  The City of Whitewater Common Council encourages our Governor, Senators and Representatives to ensure that the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has adequate funding to fulfill its educational mission and to support the vitality of our community.”

The resolution was brought forward by council members Ken Kidd and Lynn Binnie, in which they stated their concern towards the budgets effect on the city.

Councilperson Stephanie Abbott also stated her concern towards the recent budget proposal.

“I have been apart of Gov. Walker’s party for most of my life, and most of you know that; but I consider myself more Whitewater than anything else,” Abbott said.  “I hope and sincerely believe that the people who represent Whitewater at the state level will make the right decision and find some better way.”

Councilperson Brienne Diebolt-Brown also addressed the proposed budget.

“This has been very emotional for me,” Deibolt-Brown said.  “Chancellor Telfer announced today that professors will not get sick leave, they will not tenure, and they will not have a chance for sabbatical to do their research.  These are the things that attract amazing professors to Wisconsin.”

City Manager Cameron Clapper would later present a presentation on the recent budget cuts, stating the effect it would have on the UW System and the City of Whitewater

While councilperson Phil Frawley did not attend the meeting, the resolution passed in a unanimous, 6-0 vote.

Elsewhere during the meeting, the council also:

-Approved a resolution adopting the League of Wisconsin Municipalities (LCM) and the Urban Alliance joint legislative agenda called “Partnership for Prosperity”.

-Approved an installation of fiber in agreement the Wisconsin Independent Network (WIN) in which conduit will be placed at the intersection of Fremont and Main streets.

-Approved an engineering contract with Strand and Associates for ramp and stair replacement, not to exceed $20 thousand.

-Approved an agreement with the UW-Whitewater Police Services (UWWPS) for use of the city’s Emergency Operations Center in the event of an emergency.

-Began a closed session for 10 minutes before moving to approve, in an open session, the purchase of 330 N. Fremont St. for $79,280.

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January 23rd, 2015

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