Satellite Shops Approved in Jefferson

JEFFERSON-The County Board of Supervisors approved construction Tuesday of two new satellite facilities in Lake Mills and Concord.

An initial proposal of $1.2 million by Highway and Infrastructure committees was reduced significantly.

The county’s 2014 budget included $17.89 million in general obligation bonds to fund construction of the new main facility. Of that total, $1.5 million was budgeted for the satellite shops, roughly $750,000 per site.

In the new 2015 approved project the two facilities are 12,500-square-foot buildings, costing $500,000. The final total cost for both facilities is one-third of the original proposed cost.

Supervisor Amy Rinard questioned the need for two new satellite facilities when the county already has four sites.

“If having two satellite facilities increases response time and efficiencies, why doesn’t having four satellite facilities result in greater efficiencies and greater reductions in response time,” Rinard said.

Highway Commissioner Bill Kern responded to Rinard and said the efficiencies in response time is found by looking at the site locations.

“The existing sites, based on where they were placed many years ago, are in very inefficient spots,” Kern said. “Not only are the facilities old facilities that are not working out, but they do not have salt at them and they are at locations in the corner of the county, so you are not going to see the benefits of having a site in a more central region.”

Supervisor Carlton Zentner thinks the timing is bad due to the highway shop project.

“I think the timing is particularly bad,” Zentner said. “We have already hooked up 83,000 people that pay taxes to paying for the original, big shop, and now to tack on a couple little guys at the end. We don’t have to spend all that money.”

Supervisor Dick Schultz is thinking long term and how beneficial these shops can be.

“In 20 years, the county could see savings of up to $1.4 million,” Schultz said.

“That’s a pretty substantial amount.”

The most important need for the updated satellite shops is reduction in critical response time during winter storms and emergencies. Also “the planned locations would reduce the manpower required for winter maintenance and minimize overlap of the current snowplow routes,” Kern said.

Also on Tuesday, county supervisors issued $3.98 million in general obligation bonds to fund the final piece of the highway shop project. The grand total for the highway shop project comes out to $17.22 million.

Construction of the new highway shop is still ongoing but close to being finished. Supervisor George Jaeckel stated that the project is 90% complete and the facilities will begin to be moved in the first week of April.

The old highway shop in Jefferson has yet to be determined for demolition or remodeling. The county may sell or demolish all of the old buildings as well as sell the land. The only location that will remain will be the Concord location.

Other discussions during Tuesday’s meeting:

•Transportation planning agreement authorized in the portion of Jefferson County including the Milwaukee urbanized area.

•Approval of new radio equipment to have 911 systems replaced and converted from analog to digital.

•Memorial for former county board supervisor Kathleen Grosskoff.

•Proclamation of K-9 Veterans Day for March 13.

•Proclamation of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month to be in April.

Budget Cut

 

U-W Whitewater “Most Important” In Budget Cut

 

Whitewater Common Council unanimously voted Tuesday for a resolution towards the proposed state budget cut by Gov. Scott Walker. The resolution by the 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 common council voiced support for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater specifically. “ The university is a very significant driver in our economic health,” Council Vice President Lynn Binnie said. “Not to mention the other benefits that we’ve gained for having the university here in terms of culture life and the student population.”

 

If the proposed budget were to pass, UW-Whitewater would see the largest percentage-based cut of any campus. Funding would be cut 18.6 percent, which amounts to about $6.4 million that would be lost.

 

Other universities close to UW-Whitewater will also see a decline. Universities include UW-Eau Claire at 17.9 percent; UW-La Crosse and UW-Stevens Point, both at 17 percent; and UW-River Falls, at 16.4 percent. UW-Superior is the lowest, at 9.6 percent.

 

But the proposed budget would lose more than just money. “Professors wont get roll over sick leave, they wont get tenure, they wont have a chance to have sabbatical,” Councilperson Brienne Diebolt-Brown said. “These are things that attract amazing professors to Wisconsin, and this means amazing professors won’t come and wont teach our children and kids.” “They will go to places that actually respect education,” she added.

 

During the meeting city manager Cameron Clapper provided a power-point presentation to everyone about other effects the proposed budget will have on the city and the school districts. “When you remove various restricted funding costs like utilities, debt service, financial aid, etc. from UW-Whitewater, the university has an operating budget of about $95 million; of that, $79 million is from tuition and the roughly remaining $15 million is general purpose revenue,” Clapper said. “It is that $15 that would be cut by $6.4 million.”

 

Basically the state is cutting that payment and making the university cover that payment themselves. “Instead of getting about $400 thousand from the state, UW-Whitewater will have to foot the bill for that amount, on top of the other cuts,” Clapper said.

 

There are always options when budget cuts happen and Clapper said “in theory, the university could recover some of the reduction by raising tuition on out-of-state students by $5 thousand a year.”

 

Other affects from the proposal is the city’s ability to purchase land due to reductions in the urban forestry and stewardship grant funding, and cuts to the recycling grant program. Clapper added that there is no change in levy limits or shared revenue in the proposal.

 

Many of the council expressed how bad this proposed budget cut would be. “This community has an incredible economy due to a large part of the students who spend their money here, work here, and chose to live in the city,” Councilperson Stephanie Abbott said. “But I do share the fear that this proposed budget cut would be a major hit to not only the university but to the city and the people who live here.”

 

The council approved other business during the meeting that includes, approval of a resolution adopting the League of Wisconsin, approval of an engineering contract to not exceed $20 thousand with Strand and Associates for ramp and stair replacement at the Downtown Armory. Lastly, the approval and agreement with the UW-Whitewater Police Services department for use of the city’s Emergency Operations Center in the event of an emergency.