JEFFERSON, Wis. – On Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015 due to a slight debate regarding the rezoning dispute for 3.2 acres of land in the Town of Lake Mills, was the reason for the Jefferson County Board meeting being called.
The main property in question, belonged to Philip and Sandra Bittorf However, they requested that part of their 40-acre lot located at N7103 Stoney Creek Road be rezoned from A-1 Exclusive Agricultural to A-2 Agricultural and Rural Business to accommodate their business – Mid-State Traffic Control, which often supplies road construction item such as, traffic signals as well as highway signs.
There are 3 sheds, which currently takes up 3.2 acres of the land that formerly reside as horse stables. The sheds now hold Mid-Traffic Control supplies like; traffic signals, orange construction traffic control barrels, highway signs, barricades/stripping services that are often used during road constructions.
The Bittorfs simply petitioned that their land be rezoned. In addition, requested that the conditional used permit continues to allow them to store Mid-State Traffic Control equipment in the sheds however, legally.
Unfortunately, the zoning committee declined Bittorfs request. Seeing that by law, non-agricultural nature of Mid-State Control’s business strictly prohibits it from even fulfilling the requirements to rezone to A-2.
During the meeting there were 13 citizens that signed up for public comment. Some of the concerns that were brought forth were regarding, speed limits of trucks, blinking lights and loud noises while all being along the road.
According to county Corporation Counsel J. Blair Ward, in a vote of 3-24, the County Board rejected the decision that would have denied the Bittorfs zoning petition. The petition will now return to the Planning and Zoning committee for them to revise the Bittorf family request and then resubmit once they see fit.
Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Committee had prepared a preliminary vision that referred to the original zoning petition back in September of this year, which specifically occurred, after a site inspection. A public hearing was then held on Sept. 17 and on Sept. 28 a committee meeting advocated the petition in which was rejected.
Steve Nass, the chairman of the Zoning Committee, said the panel was very caught off-guard by the public views. He fairly expressed that for situations that will occur in the future, be respectfully sought out thoroughly with their neighbors before having the government officials involvement.
Supervisor Greg David, another member of the zoning panel, noted that the committee was not supposed to vote based on whether petitioners such as (Bittorfs) based on them being “nice people” but on whether their plans would generate jobs.
“It’s not our job to support business,” David said. “It’s our job to follow the zoning ordinance as enacted by this county.”
Other items that were discussed Tuesday, during the County Board Meeting:
- The 2016 budget tax levy for Jefferson County will reach approximately $70 million. Debt services will be used to pay for highways and law enforcement. The vote for the budget’s approval is in early November.
- Henry Gibbemeyer, first graduate of the Alcohol Treatment Court, spoke about his time throughout the course and the benefit he sees it will have in the community. This program serves to promote the treatment of alcohol addiction and offer participants the skills and resources needed to improve. He spoke on mandatory practices of the course including: breathalyzers, court dates and mandatory Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
- The United Way of Jefferson County and surrounding areas launched a new website “Get Connected” to help link volunteers to groups or organizations in search of assistance. The website is free and intended to be user friendly. For more information visit volunteermain.com.
2016 Democratic Presidential Debate
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015 five candidates participated in the first Democratic debate that took place this year in Las Vegas, Nev., hosted by Facebook. Those applicants were: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee. This actually was the first debate that was hosted by a social media website for presidency, which left it opened for live questions by the audience and viewers watching.
Before the kick off of the tremendous debate, we sat down at a Democratic Party with Tom Hankes, who is the President of the UW-Whitewater College Democrats. Hankes then gave us the entire run-down of what’s going on, up to the point of the 2016 democratic debate. When asked, “Who’s your favorite?” He replied, “Bernie Sanders.” It seems as though lot of young people are taking a huge liking to Sanders, simply because he is in favor of implementing a plan that demands colleges to either be free or more affordable for those who will like to extend their education.
The debate begins and host, Anderson Cooper starts the night with an introduction of himself and allowed the candidates to do the same within two minutes.
Governor Chafee stated that he is the only one running for presidency that has been a mayor, U.S. Senator and governor. Some things Chafee looks to address in the future are the income inequality, “to close the gap between the haves and the have-nots,” climate change, and he will like to put an end to conflicts overseas.
In Senator Webb’s professional life before the politics he was an author, journalist and a sole proprietor. Also, while in the government service Webb served as a Marine in Vietnam and also spent years as an Assistant Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration. Webb’s main priority is to focus on the working class who go out every day and to assure that the country is stronger.
Governor O’Malley was the former Mayor of Baltimore, former governor of Maryland and a life long democrat. Area of focus is the people within the economy and not the economy itself. He will like to open more doors for children in the economy and give them more opportunities to seek after. O’Malley said, “The future is what we make of it. We are all in this together. And, the question in this election is whether you and I still have the ability to give our kids a better future. I believe we do, that is why I am running for president, and I need your help,” He said.
Senator Sanders is one of America’s longest serving independent politicians in Congress. He was also the Mayor of Burlington, Vt., served four terms as the leader of Vermont’s biggest city and won a seat in the House of Representatives. Not only is he recognized as one of the country’s few independent legislators but also he was elected in 2007 for U.S. Senate and was re-elected in 2012. Sanders has stated that his platform focuses on “issues of equality in the U.S. Economically he is in favor of tax reform that increases rates for the wealthy, greater governmental oversight of Wall Street and balancing the disparity between wages for men and women,” He said. Also he believes in a state-administered health care system, more affordable higher education and an expansion of the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems. Also, Sanders is in favor of same-sex marriage and is pro-choice.
Lastly, we have Hillary Clinton. She has served as former First Lady of the United States, was also the Senator of New York and now serves as the Secretary of State. Clinton’s area of focus is raising minimum wage, making the tax system more equal, she wants to heal the divides (racial, LGBT community). She takes a lot of interest in supporting the children and allowing them to have equal opportunities in society. She also wants to do more to help people balance out their families and work by raising the taxes on the wealthy and intending the tax cuts for the middle-class.
As the debate went on, Cooper asked a series of questions leaving the candidates to defend for themselves and to retaliate against their peers.
One of the questions asked during the debate was from Sterling Arthur Wilkins a law student at Drake University he questioned the candidates by asking, “Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?”
The questioned was turned over to Sanders and he replied, “Black Lives Matter, and the reason those words matter is the African American community knows that on any given day some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and then three days later she’s going to end up dead in jail, or their kids are going to get shot. We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major, major reforms in a broken criminal justice system,” he said. “In which we have more people in jail than China, and I intended to tackle the issue. To make sure that our people have education and jobs rather than jail cells.”
Even though there were 5 candidates only two of them stood out the most and they were: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The debate solely became about those two instantly. As things heated up between the two of them, the Democratic Party started to get a little intense as well.
Being at the party, it was interesting to see the reaction of others and how they agreed and disagreed with the candidates. The culture in the beginning was exciting but then as the debate went on the demeanor of the students’ in the room changed. Just off of the people’s actions alone I could generally get a sense of which candidates were their favorite and which candidate they were not fond of. Senator Webb was definitely not the most popular candidate. The student’s in the room tended to laugh at Webb when he spoke up on certain issues, due to the fact that there was not a lot of support for his beliefs and he cared mostly about having the chance to speak during the time, either Secretary Clinton or Senator Sanders were trying to speak. It was just hard to follow through with understanding his logic.
The next Democratic Debate is schedule to be held on November 6, 2015 at Winthrop University in RockHill, South Carolina. Also, it was recently announced that Joe Bidden would now be running for President, which will make a total of six democratic candidates. It will definitely be interesting to see how the next debate unfolds.
On Tuesday Oct. 6th, 2015 the Whitewater Common Council met at the City of Whitewater Municipal Building at 6:30 p.m. Among the items discussed included the proposed 2016 annual budget.
City Manager, Cameron Clapper opened up the meeting with an overview of the proposed 2016 general fund budget on a quality PowerPoint. 2016 proposed budget was set at $9,777,798. 2015 budget was $9,472,401 which sets 2015 and 2016 budget at a difference of $305,397 basically a 3.12% increase. You may be wondering where does the money come from? The means come from these 9 revenue outlets such as: Intergovernmental Revenue, Property Tax Levy, Interfund Transfers, Public Fees for Service, Water Utility Payments, Licenses and Permits, other taxes & special assessments, Forfeitures and Fund Balances.
There were 3 top revenues sources for 2016, Taxes, Intergovernmental and Public charges.
Anytime you have revenues you have expenditures. Expenditures are normally where the budget money goes. For example in Whitewater this would be: The general government, public safety, debt service & sinking funds, DPW/Solid Waste/Recycling, Community Development and Cultural/Recreation/Education. However, the top 3 department expenditures are Public Safety (increase of $188,476), Transfers (increase of $95,311) and Administration (increase of $69,890).
During the meeting there was coverage on the highlighted budget changes, which included:
• The 27th Payroll
• Fund 450 to Operations
• Solid Waste Recycling more Toter
• Local, State and Federal Elections ← ($25,000)
• Fire Department Operational Costs
• Self-Insured Retention (SIR) Sinking Fund
• Whitewater Aquatic Center Capital Funding ← (40,000 tied all together with the fire department operational cost and self-insured retention sinking fund)
For the proposed 2016 budget there seem to be a few issues on the Horizon which includes:
• Fire Department Operations
• Whitewater Aquatic Center
-Matt Amundson, a board member of the parks and recreation spoke on behalf of the department and one thing that is mention is that currently there is an odd number of people that sit on the recreation board
-Also, I believe he discussed possible expansion due to the growth and use of the facility
• Wastewater Facility Improvements
• Water Utility Rate Increases
-Seems as though there is high amount of fluoride in Whitewater’s drinking water. The representative on behalf of the water utility said that, a sample was taken on Aug. 25th and still are waiting on better results.
-There also may be some remodeling done in the near future to the facility due to the wastewater treatment plant; being that this is the last building that needs to be connected to the other facilities.
• Stormwater Rate Increase
Overall, this concludes what was discussed during the Whitewater’s City Council Meeting.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct 20, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at Cravath Lakefront Community Center discussing the reconstruction of Center Street, Summit Street and Boone Court, the City plans to complete the rebuild in 2016. I highly recommend for people to attend these meetings just so that you can get insight of things that goes on in your own town or community that you are growing apart of.
September 19th, 2015 · No Comments
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