Jefferson City Council Discusses Winter Emergency Plan, Other Topics

Christopher Clapper
Jefferson County Board Story
3/17/2015
Dr. Kates
The Jefferson County Board meeting was held last week and the discussion focused on purchasing new satellite shops for the county with hopes of reducing snow plow overlap during the winter season. These shops will be used to house salt and other snow plowing equipment during the winter season.

Currently the county has a plan in place to spend $875,000 to build a new satellite shop and salt shed.

According to the council the Jefferson satellite shops already in existence was built in the 1970’s and when other satellite shops around the state were being refurbished, the ones in Jefferson County were not. This has made the current satellite shops irreparable and therefore they must completely rebuilt.

For these repairs the city currently has a $4 million bond that could be expanded to as much as $17 million. Then $15 million of that would be used for building, reparations and the development of a salt shed among other things. Highway Commissioner William Kern said many other counties around the state have updated satellite shops.

“As you go around the state you’re going to see that a vast majority of counties have satellite shops,” Kern said. “They developed them many years ago and the primary reason, that you’ll see is winter response and emergency response.”

Winter and emergency response basically means that when there is a snowstorm in the middle of the night, Jefferson county could plow the snow before work the next day or, if an accident were to occur, they would be able to get there quickly to help.

Another benefit of these satellite shops would be improved efficiency for the snow plows who often come from far away and have to travel over roads already plowed in order to get to their own routes. These additional shops will help prevent that overlap.

If they were to build these new satellite shops versus repairing the old, it would save the county more money over a longer period of time.

According to Kern, the existing satellite shops are “in very inefficient spots” and would be better suited to help in the community in new locations.

Supervisor Amy Rinard however, questioned whether or not adding two new satellite shops was really the most efficient way to spend the county’s money when it already had four existing ones.

Others who weighed in on the conversation were Mike Kelly and George Jaeckel who voiced their opinions that sometimes you cannot put a price on safety and that possibly saving someone’s life outweighs all other costs.

The final item on the agenda was the discussion of the new main highway shop being 90 percent complete and barring some minor details will be completed by the end of March. The old highway shop will either be sold or demolished based on what may be most profitable to the county.

Other important points of the county board meeting are as follows:
• City Coroner wants to hire four more people in order to help cover the amount of work needing to be done.
• April of 2015 will be known as Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness month
• Approval of new radio equipment to have 911 systems updated or replaced
• K-9 Veterans Day will be March 13

Proposed budget cuts would hurt city, school, town council says

At the Whitewater, Wisconsin, common council meeting last Tuesday the city legislature had one major item on the agenda, the proposed budget cuts by governor Scott Walker. While political affiliations between the council members varied, the opinions on the proposed budget cuts did not.

“This (the proposed budget cuts) would be a major hit to our students and our city,” Alderman Stephanie Abbot said.

City planner Cameron Clapper outlined the finer points of the proposed budget in a power point that highlighted most of the major alterations the new budget would cause to the school and city. The university in particular, would take hits of $6.4 million and $8 million in the first two years.

With the university being the major source of revenue in the city, the local government fully supports it in all its goals and that includes fighting the proposed budget cuts in any way they can although as councilmember Ken Kidd puts it “this is more of a symbolic gesture.”

Whether the gesture is symbolic or not , the fact remains that this council will profusely not support the governor in his new budget and are determined to find a better way to spend state money.

“I sincerely believe this council will find a better way and a better middle ground,” Abbot said.

Not only would the university lose money but the Whitewater elementary schools also would lose about $150 per student in “categorical aid” which would cause them to lose about $290,000 in the coming school year.

With the biggest item of the night fully debated and discussed the conversation was steered toward the other problems facing the city.

A new ramp or electric chair lift will have to be installed in order to bring the current local armory ramp up to state code and Parks and Recreation director Matt Amundson was at the podium to explain the finer details of that project.

“The proposal lays out that they will bring the armory ramp and stairs up to ADA compliance as well as repair the structural concerns with the ramp,” Amundson said.

Perhaps the biggest item on the agenda not including the proposed budget cuts was the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Partnership for Prosperity Agenda. This group puts together businesses and other opportunities for city economic stability and growth. Specifically in Whitewater those changes include improvements upon the way the city establishes a levy, assuring the city gets its promised share of state revenue and improving public transportation. Clapper and council President Patrick Singer were both in Madison on Friday to lobby state lawmakers on the issue.

“The Partnership for Prosperity Agenda really proposes ways to improve or modify these systems in Wisconsin,” Clapper said.

The other items that were discussed during Tuesday’s meeting were:
o The purchase of property that is directly next to the city water works in Starin Park.
o An approval of the Wisconsin Independent Network to used city-owned conduits for fiber optic cable.
o An agreement with the university to allow the school to access the city’s emergency operations center in the event of an emergency.
By Christopher Clapper

About the Author

Christopher Clapper is an uncomplicated person who has many interests. He cherishes his family above all else and credits them with developing him into the man he is today. His favorite hobby is reading because it allows him to escape into the problems of someone else’s life, if only for a little while. He also loves how we fall in love with characters, not for how they look, but for how they make us feel and wish reality was as simple. His favorite book (currently) is “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini because of how beautifully the story is told. Lastly, he loves Wisconsin sports and will continue to do act like a complete baby if they lose no matter how old he becomes.

“I intend to live forever, or die trying.”

Groucho Marx