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Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 was big year for Evansville

Just a brief review of the headlines here in Evansville for the past year strikes the Observer as a year marked by energized involvement by Evansville citizens:

USA Today comes to town to cover the War in Iraq Debate at the Eager Library, The election of April 2006, Mayor Decker elected, Fred Juergens and Mason Braunschweig become alderman, the Streetscape Plan is begun in design and awaits construction,the construction of Madison Street and Main intersection is completed, the Planning Commission reviews the "Family Entertainment Center" as well as the Mourning Annexation matter, the New Economy Store Concept is endorsed by the Planning Commission, with 5 conditions subsequent, the Half-Day Kindergarten is debated and supported twice in one year, the 4K proposal is considered and defeated twice in one year, The biodiesel Plant plan is welcomed by the entire community, more commercial is added to Brown School Road, details of TIF #6 and TIF #7 are worked out......and the final headline for 2006------

"Evansville awaits new City Administrator Appointment on January 2, 2007." With Economic Development moving to the front burner, it is perfect timing to have a new administrator that has experience in this area.

O.K. Now that the recap has ended. Let the Party Begin. Happy New Year!

(Orig Date--11-7-2006)--Speech of the Week: Jamie Fellows: "What's the Point?"

Current Daycare providers serve 142 children of a possible 150 in Evansville. Thus, the 4K proposal is duplication of services.


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(Orig Post--11-19-2006)--Classic AudioObserver: "Mr. Steve" speaks: On Compromise: On Why Compromise can be better than winning in the school setting

(Mr. Steven Hoffenberg urged the board and citizens to reach compromise on this issue and work together. His remarks preceded the school boards compromise resolution on Monday night.)

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Classic AudioObserver: Mr. Connors Speaks: On the Numbers of Half-Day Kindergarten

(Ed.note. This is the unedited remarks of former City Administrator Bill Connors at the Evansville School Board meeting on November 13, 2006. He reviews the various financial representations of the administration over the past 6 months and sheds some light on the data. Feel free to download this audio if you like. Just click the download icon. )


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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Classic Speeches of 2006:---August 2006--Michael Pierick Speaks to Evanvsville Common Council-----

This is the speech that I have referred to as "On Blueberry Ice Cream." It stands out as clearly articulating the importance of our city representatives considering the impact of their decisions on our citizens and the educational consequences of poor choices.

Click on the post for the entire speech.

"Grumps" begins the nostalgic 2006 news review---1st Quarter 2006

"Grumps", the politico blogger, recaps the stories he has covered in 2006. The Observer has come to rely on him for the political mudwrestling and hand to hand combat that requires agility that the Observer cannot match. Thanks, "Grumps."

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gazette Corner: Police Beat: Let the recording begin

On January 1, Wisconsin will follow states such as Minnesota in requiring in the cases of interrogation of serious crime suspects that the interview after the Miranda warning be taped. The failure to follow the proper recording procedure will result in a note for the jury, but not disqualification of evidence as in the case of juvenile suspects. '

Click on the post for the full story in the Janesville Gazette.

Health Beat: Q: How much does this cost? A; "That Depends."

Here is the assignment. Before any health procedure....yes even a dental procedure...just ask the simple question, "How much does this cost?" The answer will most likely be either "I do now know...in which case you simply respond "Find out.", or else the answer will be "That depends."

It depends on....who is paying the bill.

Click on the post to see the article in the Janesville Gazette today on the agreement between Mercy Health Systems and the State of Wisconsin that will grant the uninsured a discount from gross charges equal to the average discount from commercial insurance that Mercy allows.

Now we will see if this will be applied to all hospitals, dental clinics across the board. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Best of The Evansville Observer 2006

(Ed. note: The Best of the Evansville Observer is nearing completion. It will feature cd recordings of the very best of the fiction....and the fact from the past year.

The "Tales from the Normal School Board" covers the fictional school board of Normal,Mn. The "Dateline Normal" Cd covers the fictional politics of Normal. In addition to the fiction, there are two cd's covering the very best of speeches heard at City Hall, in the Redevelopment Authority or School Board. Maybe you have a favorite speech that you wish to have included. Now is the time to let us know your favorite. Click on the comment line and confidentially let us know. And Relax. The "Fiction" and the "Real" recordings will be on separate cd's so you can clearly tell the difference.

The Observer wishes to thank the folks at Sunrise Packaging who designed the attractive package that holds 5 cd's. It makes economic development marketing so much easier. Thanks, Mark.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Economic Development: Mr. Decker explains status of Economic Development Grant; Meeting this week with principals

At last week's Economic Development meeting, Mr. John Decker explained the current status of the Economic Development Grant of $280,000, and told of the meeting this week, week of Dec. 26th, to clarify the scope of the Economy Store project, the financing, the procedures necessary to comply with the funding-------click on the audio icon to listen in as Mr. Decker explains.

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WSJ: Nurses will meet to discuss Working Hours limits

Click on the post for a story that is long overdue in addrssing----how to limit excessive nursing work hours to prevent errors.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gazette Corner: High Nitrate Levels in Magnolia move water contamination to front burner

Click on the post for the article by Gina Duwe on one land owner who has had to install filters to drink the water.

This story, as it develops, may be one of the biggest for 2007. If agribusiness has dreams of large dairy farms surrounding Evansville-----the fastest end to the dream will be unsafe drinking water and polluted groundwater. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

"The Christmas Story"---a true story

Some years ago, I had the pleasure of being a computer salesman in a retail store. It was a cold and snowy Christmas Season, and as of December 15th, I had not seen the surge of Christmas Shoppers that I had expected. Then it happened.

One night right before closing, a young man entered the store and announced, " I am looking for a computer to give my child for Christmas."

"Alleluia," I silently exclaimed.

"Well " I said, "What are you looking for?"

" I want nothing but the best for my child," he replied.

So, I went and showed him the very best computer I had. I told him of the need for extra ram memory and also why a super resolution graphics card could be a big plus for him.

He was enthusiastic.

"I like what I see," he said. "I want the best."

I then went over monitors, and explained why a child might like a larger monitor so if several kids were playing at the computer, both could comfortably see the screen.


"I want the best," he exclaimed. "That high res. one looks best."

Then I happened to be playing a space rocket game and showed him how the high quality joy sticks worked and why they were expensive, but well worth it.

He tried his hand at the controls, and was impressed. " I want the best joy sticks you have."

I carefully wrapped all the equipment up and containing my excitement processed his Mastercard------it was approved. Bravo! It was the largest sale I had ever made. In my mind, I began ordering Chinese from the neighborhood restaurant for a special treat for the family.

Then I helped him load the equipment into his car.

"Merry Christmas," I exclaimed. "And by the way, how old is this lucky child of yours?"

"Two months," he said, "But he'll grown it. I want nothing but the best for my child. "

Happy Holidays from The Evansville Observer and Staff

WSJ: End of Era: McDonalds on Lake Street Closes

Click on the post for the history of the McDonalds on Lake Street. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"The Warmth of A President"--the weekly radio satire

Click on the post for the podcast of the weekly radio address ala SNL. Click subscribe to get the updates sent each week. Enjoy.

"Nathan" has a reflection on Christmas

"Nathan" has a description of Christmas in modern style, and some memories of the past. Click on the post.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Agenda; Water and Light: December 27th, 6:30PM--Weatherization Assistance on the Agenda

NOTICE

The regular meeting of the Water & Light Committee for the City of Evansville will be held on the 27th day of December 2006, at 6:30 p.m., at City Hall, 31 South Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance.
Water & Light Committee Meeting
Regular Meeting
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
City Hall, 31 South Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin.

6:30 p.m.

REVISED

Agenda
1. Roll Call

2. Approval of November 29, 2006 Water & Light Minutes

3. Citizens concerns

4. Presentation by Forester Engineering on system study

5. Recommendation by Public Benefits Committee to provide low-income weatherization assistance to Evansville Town homes

6. Discussion and possible motion on low-income weatherization assistance to Evansville Town homes

7. Approval of the bids for two Water & Light pick-up trucks

8. Committee Reports - Chairperson Thomas Cothard

9. Committee Reports - Superintendent Scott George



10. Any other legal action to come before the committee

11. Motion to adjourn

Thomas Cothard

Committee Chairman

NOTICE: Final Public viewing of Streetscape plans for Reconstruction TONIGHT

CITY OF EVANSVILLE

PUBLIC NOTICE

There will be a viewing of Main Street reconstruction plans by downtown business proprietors on Thursday, December 21, 2006, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Hagen Insurance Agency, 15 North Madison Street. Businesses will provide comments and ask questions regarding the project. The Public Works Superintendent and City Engineer will be in attendance.

There may be a quorum of the Evansville Public Works Committee and/or the Evansville Common Council in attendance. There is no agenda and no City actions will be taken.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gazette Corner: Bill Hammann announces will not seek reelection to council

Click on the post for the latest from Gina Duwe of the Janesville Gazette.

School Board Election Update

The following is noted on the Evansville School web site:

"School Board Election Update Posted 2006-12-18 by Kelly Mosher
The deadline for filing school board member papers is 4:00 p.m. January 2, 2007, in the District Office with Kelly Mosher. Our two incumbents, John Willuoghby and Dennis Knudson, have filed papers indicating that they will not be running for school board. With the District Office being closed from December 23 - January 1, you may contact current board members, John Willoughby or Michael Pierick if you would like to take out papers during this time. Please feel free to contact Kelly Mosher, 882-3387, for school board election information or to drop off papers."

Access the school web site to download the proper papers to complete.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monroe cuts sports; Keeps AG ; Makes 1.3 million cuts

Click on the post for the latest from the Monroe School Board cuts.

Economy Store Project faces challenge

At the Economic Development meeting at City Hall tonight, it was revealed that due to conditions of the Economic Development Grant for $280,000 that were not spelled out initially, it is unclear whether the developers of the Economy Store project will be able to utilize this money, and thus the scope and financing of the project are under review.

Developers, city officials as well as consultants and financiers will be gathering next week to discuss what it possible. At this time it appears that the financing as well as the scope of the project are in flux.

Stay tuned.

"Tales from Normal" now available at Itunes--free podcasts

The classic tales from "Normal, Mn." are now availabe for free from the Itunes store. You can download one, many, or even subscribe for daily update so the very latest from the fictional land of the frozen tundra is right on your computer on a daily basis.

The best thing----is that these are FREE.

Go to www.itunes.com and click podcasts, and then search for "Tales from Normal"---double click the ones you want to listen to. Click "subscribe" to have newly published audio sent to you daily. Stay in touch. With the land of Normal.

Remember when you think of Evansville---think of the Evansville Observer. Where there is fiction.....and where there is reality.....and sometimes it may be hard to tell the difference.

Dateline Minnesota: Drug Courts and How they work

Hennepin County, which covers the greater Minneapolis area, has reconfigured their drug court mission. Click on the post to see how this may affect the judicial system and recidivism there.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Macalester College Prof Discusses Ex-KGB affair and impact

Click on the post and note the podcast of the Macalester prof who is a specialist in Russian affairs who has a podcast that can be downloaded. In his short lecture he reviews what the poisoning means for US-Russian relations. Enjoy.

Gazette Corner: High Rock County Jail Population is a Budget Buster

Click on the post for the full story in the Janesville Gazette by Gina Duwe.
It appears that the stategy is to wait till January when a new electronic monitoring system might reduce inmate population. Stay tuned.

Minutes: TIF #7 Creation: December 14, 2006

JOINT REVIEW BOARD

CITY OF EVANSVILLE, WISCONSIN

TAX INCREMENTAL DISTRICT NO. 7 CREATION

December 14, 2006, 9:00 a.m.

City Hall, 31 South Madison Street, Evansville, WI

MINUTES

The meeting was called to order at 9:05 a.m. by Chairperson, Sandy Decker. Present were Dick Shikoski, Blackhawk Technical College; Deb Olsen, Evansville Community School District; Sandy Decker, City of Evansville Mayor; and Rebecca DeMarb, Public Member. Steve Eager, Rock County Supervisor, arrived at 9:18 a.m. Also present was Dave Wagner, Ehlers & Associates.

Motion by Mr. Shikoski, seconded by Ms. Olsen, to approve the November 6, 2006 minutes as corrected (Ms. DeMarb was not in attendance at the November 6 meeting). Motion carried.

Mr. Wagner reviewed the planning documents, public record, Plan Commission resolution adopting the project plan and Common Council resolution approving the creation of Tax Incremental District #7. He explained the Joint Review Board must make the findings that: the development expected in the District would not occur without the use of tax increment financing and the creation of a tax increment district; the economic benefits of the District, as measured by increased employment, business and personal income and property value, are sufficient to compensate for the cost of the improvements; and the benefits of the proposal outweigh the anticipated tax increments to be paid by the owners of property in the overlying taxing district..

Motion by Ms. Olsen, seconded by Mr. Shikoski, to approve the Joint Review Board Resolution Creating Tax Incremental District #7, City of Evansville, WI. The Resolution includes the required findings. Motion carried.

Motion by Mr. Eager, seconded by Ms. DeMarb, to disband the Joint Review Board. Motion carried.

Motion by Ms. DeMarb, seconded by Mr. Shikoski, to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried.

Prepared by:

Sandra J. Decker, Mayor
How peace and tranquility was achieved in the Normal School District though a simple decimal point adjustment


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Saturday, December 16, 2006

(Orig Post 8-16-2006) : Dateline Normal, Mn.: "The Quiet"--the tale

(Ed.note: Due to popular request I have republished this classic post from the tales from Normal. The tales from Normal are now available on podcast---at no charge in the Itunes store. Kick back and listen at your leisure, while running etc., or email them to your friends. Stay up to date on the latest from Herman and the gang from Normal.)

Recently just to get a little break from the hectic growth pace of Evansville, I broke away and drove up to northern Minnesota, up Hwy 10, to the now famous Normal, Mn., to visit my old friend, Herman, the country boy lawyer.

After a good night's rest at the Spruce Goose Motel, I settled in at the local diner with a large, black, no sugar coffee but with lots of whipped cream in the Minnesota Viking mug, and asked Herman a question that has been bothering me for a long time:

"Herman, How do you handle all the public meetings up here in Normal? Is anything actually recorded for the public record up here?

"Shucks Wolfman, (that's what he always called me), we've been recording all public meetings in DIGITAL AUDIO for almost a decade now. It's just NORMAL. It's the natural way to operate up here in God's country. In fact, it's almost a religious experience!"

"HUH?", I responded.

"Well," he went on, "If you could see all those large hulking fisherman types in these meetings. They just like to whisper real soft so the audio cannot pick up what they say. It's like a bunch of pious worshippers in church. It is really almost a religious experience. A real moving event.

"Wow," I thought. "Thank goodness I don't live in Normal. Thank goodness all the folks in Evansville speak up nice and loud so we can hear and record the items of public interest.

It sure is good to be back home.

"The Quiet--a tale from Normal, Mn. about digital recording of public meetings--about the open meeting law and much, much more...


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School Beat: Board meets Dec. 21st to Consider Expulsion

BOARD OF EDUCATION EVANSVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Special Meeting Agenda
Thursday, December 21, 2006
District Office Conference Room
340 Fair Street
4:30 p.m.

Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard Elementary School
Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle School Office, High School
Office, Evansville School District Web Site: Evansville.k12.wi.us, and by forwarding the agenda to the
Evansville Review, M&I Bank, Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free Public Library.

I. Roll Call: Michael Pierick Dennis Knudson
John Willoughby Dennis Hatfield
Arthur Phillips Tina Rossmiller
Mike Larson

II. Executive Session – Under Wisconsin Statue 19.85(1)(a)(f)(g) to Consider Expulsion
Proceedings.

III. Adjourn.
More specific information about agenda items may be obtained by calling 882-5224, ext. 3386.
Posted: 12/14/06

School Beat: Video Gamer Beat: Video Games in the Classroom

Is education slow....and linear? Are video games fast and three dimensional? Are they mutually exclusive?

Click on the post for an article on USA today, which includes a contribution from a UW Madison Professor. He suggests that what kids are learning about digital media at home....is critical for their future success.

Click on the post and enjoy.

Friday, December 15, 2006

School Beat: Evansville Finance Committee Meets Monday, 5:30PM

EVANSVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Budget Finance Committee Meeting Agenda
Monday, December 18, 2006
District Office Conference Room
340 Fair Street
Evansville, WI 53536
5:30 p.m.

Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard
Elementary School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle
School Office, High School Office, Evansville School District Web Site:
www.evansville.k12.wi.us, and by forwarding the agenda to the Evansville Review, M&I Bank,
Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free Public Library.
“Using the budget to drive the best education possible for every child.”
Committee Members:
Heidi Carvin Mike Larson Michael Pierick
Dennis Hatfield Deb Olsen


Agenda:
I. Old Business:
A. Approve November 20, 2006, Minutes.
B. Program Based Budget Process.
C. Summer School.

II. New Business:
A. Policy for Designating Fund Balance Accounts.
III. Set Next Agenda Items and Date of Meeting.
IV. Adjourn.

This notice may be supplemented with additions to the agenda that come to the attention of the Board prior
to the meeting. A final agenda will be posted and provided to the media no later than 24 hours prior to the
meeting or no later than 2 hours prior to the meeting in the event of an emergency.
Persons needing special accommodations or more specific information about agenda
items may be obtained by calling 882-5224, ext. 3386.
Posted: 12/11/06
School Election in Normal faces crisis


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Monroe Times: Wind Turbine Coming to Monroe Schools?

Click on the post for the latest on wind turbines for school districts.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Monroe Times: OP Ed. -- Rep. Davis to head key education committee

Click on the post for an article in the Monroe Times that explains that the appointment of Brett Davis to a key Education committee chair position will put him in a key leadership position at a time of need for all school districts.

Dateline Monroe: Monroe Times: Downtown Walmart in Monroe?

Click on the post for the story in the Monroe Times on the impact of a possible WalMart Superstore in Downtown Monroe.

The Community Development Block Grant----Dept of Commerce

If you click on the post, you will see the description and requirements of the Community Development Block Grant through the Department of Commerce that was recently applied for by the Evanville Common Council.

In the case of the Economy Store project, the net amount applied for is $280,000 and there is an additional $20M that goes to the Housing Authority to administer it. The requirements of the grant are interesting in that there are requirements of job creation and specifically requirements as to employees hired. Also required are detailed financial statments.

I have provided this info as a public service. There was some notion that this was "free money." It is not free. It is repaid with interest and terms negotiated between the city and the applicant.

Stay tuned to The Evansville Observer. We actually go to the meetings.

Open Meeting Laws Under Review

Currently open meeting laws apply to development entities that are part of city government. There has been some discussion of limiting open meeting laws in some development corporations. Click on the post for the disussion in the Milwauke Journal Sentinal.

On "Backup"--Growing need for computer users

Click on the post for an article in the Wisconsin State Journal about a firm that provides for backup of audio and video.

This is a sore point with The Observer. A firm that had provided audio discontinued it's service nationally, and did not support the old audio as it had promised. Luckily I have saved much of the audio on cd for backup. However....I had hoped to save every..little...word. Forever. What a loss! Anyway.

The new service cited in the Wisconsin Journal article is part of a growing need---the need to place pictures and audio and video on a separate storage device and also saved at a separate remote site.

So----I had hoped to save everything on audio forever----however...I do have to make the proviso that it depends what the storage costs are. Eternal life for the audio could be really costly. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Classic AudioObserver: A Christmas Tale or "The Sugar Daddy Chrstmas"--a true story.

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Classic Audioblogger: Nightmare 2026: The Enforcement Action---a dream

(Ed. note. This is a post from July 2006. It is one of my favorites from the past year. I will be reposting several of these oldies. If you have a request, just email The Observer.)

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Classic Audioblogger: The Case of the "Roundabout"

(Ed. note. The following audioblogger is from March, 2006. In the days before the New Year, I will be republishing some of my favorite posts from the past year. If you have a favorite you wish reposted, just email the Observer.)

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Interest Only Mortgages lead to record foreclosures

Click on the post for the latest on the rapidly accelerating pace of foreclosures.

School Beat: Monroe Times: Monroe faces cuts in AG, Language etc.

Click on the post for the latest from the Monroe Times.

School Beat: Monroe: Frustration rules as 1.3 million in cuts considered

One frustrating meeting after another. Click on the post for the details.

Redevelopment: "Developers Agreement necessary for TIF money and Commerce Grant "

In her comments at the Redevelopment Authority last week, Mayor Decker referenced the minutes of the Evansville Council, printed below, and noted that the Council was quite clear that these conditions must be met, and in addition, the satisfaction of all these points is a precondition of the Dept of Commerce Grant of #280,000 to be granted.


"Motion by Eager, seconded by Aikman, to recommend to Common Council that it commit to making a grant for 25% of the cost of acquiring and renovating the property at 7 E. Main St., estimated to be $1.9 million, subject to the following conditions: (1) the developers must provide the city with financial data and projections about the project to show there is need for the city to provide financial assistance, (2) David Wagner of Ehlers & Associates must provide projections of the tax increment that will be generated by the project, (3) the developers must provide financial data and renovation plans to the city assessor to allow her to refine her estimate of the equalized value of the property at completion, (4) the parties must enter into a written development agreement acceptable to the city, and (5) the developers must agree that if the city assessor determines the equalized value of the property at completion is less than $1.9 million, they would pay on an annual basis the difference between the increment that would be generated by $1.9 million of equalized value and the increment actually generated by the value assigned by the assessor. Motion passed."

It is unclear from the text of the Common Council resolution which legal entity would guarantee the increment stream, but it would appear that the developers would have to guarantee this personally since the value of the property would already be covered by the bank financing and hence only a personal guarantee would be an enforceable promise. It would be binding on their heirs and assigns. The devleopers did say that they had no intention of an exit strategy when asked about one by Mr. Otterstein. Mr. Otterstein did say that such a promise was enforceable.

TRIS (Theodore Robinsin Middle School) and Levi Leonard Focus Groups meet tonight

Check the school schedule for these two meetings tonight. The TRIS meets at 6:00PM at the TRIS conference room.

I had the pleasure of attending the TRIS focus budget group meeting last week. One of the members did bring small DOVE bars, but I pledge this did not influence my reporting of the meeting.

First the larger picture: Of 50 NEW students expected to be enrolled next year in Evanville Schools----43 of this increase is going to occur at the TRIS. (There will de a decline of 18 in the Middle School The TRIS is where the stress is going to occur.

The Administration has proposed two alternatives for the focus group to consider---either a "Status quo" amount of $131,742 or a 4% Increase of $237,174.

The problem of course with the status quo is that given the assumption that the group was asked to assume, namely that each teacher would cost $70,000, they would be unable to even hire two teachers to cope with the 43 student increase.

The TRIS sub group meets again tonight at 6:00PM. I am unsure whether the DOVE bars will be available again. HOWEVER----I do hope that the allocation of funds of the Evansville School District which will have a 24% increase in Tax levy due to increase in construction etc. will allocate the increase funds to meet the increase student needs as the number one priority. Currently, it seems to The Observer that the allocation is overweighted to the high school, which will not experience any material increase in enrollment---- at least according to how I read the applied population study--for the next ten years.

Stay tuned to The Evansville Observer as we get more details in the January Evansville School Board meeting.

Evansville Common Council to consider Allowing Vehicle Storage Yards

On the agenda for tonights Evansvlle Common Council meeting is the following item:

"First reading of Ordinance #2006-42, amending Chapter 130 of the Municipal Code by allowing motor vehicle storage yards in certain zoning districts provided certain conditions are met [sponsored by Ald. Braunschweig and Ald. Hammann]"

Finance Committee: Dean Community Center reaches budget limit for remodeling

The Evansville Finance Committee on Monday night indicated that it looked like the bills for the remodeling of the old Farnsworth building on First street into the new Community Center had exhausted the budget and thus there was no further money in the budget to consider for a transfer for equipment needs.

Finance: Committee recommends change to Assessor II--rejects low bid as not meeting needs

At the Monday night Evansville Finance Committee meeting, the committee discussed the RFP, or Request for Proposals, that had been submitted for assessment services for Evansville. The request had stipulated it must be from a firm that had Assessor II credentials.

In testimony from the current head of the Evanville Board of Review, the lowest bid was not realistic and in his experience would not have been best for the city. The next highest bid had the stipulation that at the end of the contract, the software that was used would be withdrawn, which would be a problem.

Mayor Decker explained that by obtaining an assessor with Assessor II credentials, she hoped that the concerns raised in the past two years regarding commercial assessments could be avoided in the future and also that there would be more commercial coming to Evansville, and it was important to have a qualified assessor for these properties. The current assessor is an assessor I.

Click on the audioblogger for the discussion. The Finance Committee did vote to recommmend to the Common Council to accept the high bid.


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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wisconsin State Journal: Tax Surprise in Oregon

Click on the post for the story in the Wisconsin State Journal about the combination of reassessment plus tax increase plus State tax error in computation. The result is higher tax bills and school tax bills this year for residents of Oregon, Wi.. The adjustment in the next year will provide little relief to those facing post Christmas tax bills.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

WSJ: Housing Corner: Plunge in Building permits noted in Dane Co, and Oregon

Click on the post for the latest in the Wisconsin State Journal on building permit activity in Dane County and also in Oregon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Agenda: Evansville Common Council: Tuesday, December 12, 2006, 6:30PM

Common Council

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 12 2006, 6:30 p.m.

City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI

AGENDA

Call to order
Roll call
Approval of Agenda
Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of November 14, 2006, regular meeting and approve them as printed
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed
Reports of Committees
Evansville Community Partnership
S.O.L.E. Committee

Plan Commission Report

Motion to adopt Resolution #2006-43, creating, describing and making certain findings and approving Project Plan for Tax Incremental District No. 7, City of Evansville, Wisconsin
Motion to adopt Resolution #2006-50, authorizing the submission of a Wisconsin Department of Transportation Facilities for Economic Assistance (TEA) Grant Application for the North Prairie Productions biodiesel facility project
Finance and Labor Relations Committee Report

Motion to approve W&L bills and authorize their payment
Motion to approve the City bills and authorize their payment
Motion to adopt Resolution #2006-8, amending the adopted 2006 city budget to increase the appropriation for the youth center for equipment
Motion to approve agreement with YMCA of Northern Rock County for operation of youth program

Motion to approve the write off of the remaining balance on the Robert Schaefges account

Discussion of Nonn zoning case settlement
Motion to adopt Resolution 2006-48, authorizing the City to purchase property in the Town of Union for a substation
Public Safety Committee Report
Public Works Committee Report
Motion to adopt Resolution #2006-51, authorizing the submission of a Community Development Block Grant Public Facilities application for the Main Street Brick Restoration project

Water & Light Committee Report
Economic Development Committee Report
Evansville Redevelopment Authority Report
Motion to adopt Resolution #2006-49, authorizing the submission of a Community Development Block Grant Public Facilities application for the Eager Building Conversion

Parks and Recreation Board Report
Historic Preservation Commission Report
Fire District Report
Unfinished Business
Communications and Recommendations from the Mayor
Motion to waive the seven-day notice requirement on citizen appointments
Motion to approve the mayoral appointment of Associated Appraisal Consultants, Inc. of Appleton, WI, as City Assessor for a three year term ending on December 31, 2009
New Business
Introduction of New Ordinances
First reading of Ordinance #2006-42, amending Chapter 130 of the Municipal Code by allowing motor vehicle storage yards in certain zoning districts provided certain conditions are met [sponsored by Ald. Braunschweig and Ald. Hammann]
First reading of Ordinance #2006-43, amending Chapter 110 of the Municipal Code by requiring the payment of real estate taxes before a certified survey map (CSM) may be recorded by the Rock County Register of Deeds [sponsored by Ald. Braunschweig and Ald. Hammann]
First reading of Ordinance #2006-44, rezoning territory (39 West Church Street) from Residential District One (R-1) to Community Business District (B-3) [This is an applicant-initiated ordinance]
First reading of Ordinance #2006-45, amending stop sign location [sponsored by Ald. Juergens and Ald. Sornson]
Motion to adjourn
Sandra J. Decker, Mayor

Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible.

Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you.

Agenda: Finance: Monday, December 11, 2006 4PM City Hall

NOTICE

The regular meeting of the Finance and Labor Relations Committee for the City of Evansville will be held on the date and time stated below at City Hall, 31 South Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance.

Finance and Labor Relations Committee

Regular Meeting

Monday, December 11, 2006, 4:00 PM

City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI

AGENDA
Call to order.
Roll call.
Approval of Agenda.
Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the November 11, 2006, meetings and approve them as printed.
Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.
Motion to approve the W&L bills and authorize their payment.
Motion to approve the City bills and authorize their payment.
Unfinished Business
Monthly report of City Attorney and City Engineer expenditures for preparation of future Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce grant applications
Resolution #2006-8, Amending the Adopted 2006 Budget
Motion to remove from the table the motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Resolution #2006-8, amending the adopted 2006 city budget to increase the appropriation for the youth center for equipment
Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Resolution #2006-8, amending the adopted 2006 city budget to increase the appropriation for the youth center for equipment

New Business
Motion to recommend to Council approval of agreement with YMCA of Northern Rock County for operation of youth program

Discussion regarding Employment Contract language for Department Heads and other Professional Employees

Motion to recommend to Common Council to approve the write off of the remaining balance on the Robert Schaefges account

Discussion on marking all city vehicles with signs

Discussion of carry-over of 2006 vacation time to 2007
Motion to recommend to Common Council the mayoral appointment of Associated Appraisal Consultants, Inc. of Appleton, WI, as City Assessor for a three year term ending on December 31, 2009

Discussion of Nonn zoning case settlement

Motion to recommend to Common Council to approve Resolution 2006-48, authorizing the City to purchase property in the Town of Union for a substation
Motion to adjourn.
Thomas Cothard, Chair

Finance & Labor Relations Committee

Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible.

Dateline Normal: "Shared Governance--the Tale--FICTION

A short tale of shared governance from Normal, Mn. "Can't we all be in charge"


MP3 File

Mailbag: Monroe Times: Letter to Editor says it is up to Supr. and School Board

Monroe Schools is facing the choice of referendum passage or drastic cuts to programs. Click on the post for a letter to the editor of the Monroe Times. It is written by a member of the Monroe City Council. Enjoy.

Dateline Monroe: School Beat: Golf, Tennis and Swimming slated for elimination--questions asked

Everything is on the cutting block in Monroe Schools. Click on the post for the story in the Monroe Times.

School Beat:Evansville: Agenda: December School Board Meeting, Monday, December 11, 2006, 5:30PM

Board of Education Evansville Community School District
Regular Meeting Agenda
Monday, December 11, 2006
High School LMC- 640 S. Fifth Street
5:30 P.M.

Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard Elementary
School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle School Office,
High School Office, Evansville School District Web Site: www.evansville.k12.wi.us, and by
forwarding the agenda to the Evansville Review, M&I Bank, Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free
Public Library.

I. Roll Call: Michael Pierick John Willoughby Tina Rossmiller
Dennis Hatfield Arthur Phillips
Mike Larson Dennis Knudson

II. Board Development: MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Testing Presentation.
III. Public Announcements/Upcoming Events.
A. Prospective Board Member Workshop. December 14th, District Office, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
IV. Public Presentations. Regarding Items Not on the Agenda. Items Related to the Agenda May
be Presented at This Time.
V. Spotlight on Learning.
VI. District Administrator Report – Assessment and Curriculum Coordinating Council Training.
VII. Principals'/Administrators' Report – Staff Development, Celebrate, and Assessment.
VIII. Information & Discussion:
A. Endorsement of Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES).
B. School Board Election Update.

C. 4K Update.

D. Program Based Budget Process Update.
E. Facilities Study Update.
F. WASB Resolutions.
G. Open Enrollment Class Size Limits.

H. First Reading of Policies: #151-Board Policy Development (Rules and Policy
Implementation); #151.1-Definition, Adoption, Amendment and Termination of Policy;
#253.1-Development and Review of Administrative Rules; #374-School Fund Raising
Activities; #374.1-Fund Raising for Co-and Extra-Curricular Programs; #374.2-Fund
Raising by Outside Organizations; #374 Exhibit 1-Fund Raising Form; #374 Exhibit 2-
Post Fund Raising Form; and #374 Exhibit 3-Fund Raising Activities.
I. Second Reading of Policies: #342.63-Procedures for Testing English Language Learners;
#351-Summer School; #423-Form 1-Confidential Information Form; #428-Public School
Open Enrollment; and #428.1-Procedures for Decisions on Public School Open
Enrollment Applications.

IX. Business (Action Items):
A. Approval of Membership in WAES.
B. Approval of Open Enrollment Class Size Limits.
C. Approval of Coaching Resignation.
D. Approval of Special Meeting.
E. Approval of Minutes.
F. Approval of November Bills and Receipts.
X. Committee Reports.
XI. Financial Report.
XII. Set Next Agenda.


XIII. Executive Session – Under Wisconsin Statute 19.85(1)(c)(e)(f) to Discuss Personnel and
District Administrator Evaluation.


XIV. Adjourn.
This notice may be supplemented with additions to the agenda that come to the attention of the Board prior to the
meeting. A final agenda will be posted and provided to the media no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting or no later
than 2 hours prior to the meeting in the event of an emergency.
Persons needing special accommodations or more specific information about the agenda items
should call 882-5224, Ext. 3387 at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.
Re-Posted: 12/7/06

Thursday, December 07, 2006

RDA; Eager, Decker, Wyse, Hammann discuss Dysis II developers agreement for Economy Store


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The Economy Store: Part I: Dec. 7, 2006; Chris Eager, John Decker, Bill Hammann, Tony Wyse

RDA: Evansville 2007: Developers Agreement provisions discussed.


Download File

School Beat: Population Analysis and Forecast now available for Evansville Schools

Click on the post for the text of the recent applied population study performed for Evansville Schools.

RDA: Part IV: Developers Agrement:

Final portion of Redevelopment meeting regarding the Economy Store held on December 7, 2006 to discuss developers agreement between City of Evansville, RDA, and Dysis II partners.


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Minutes: Housing Authority: November 2006

Housing Authority of the City of Evansville
455 S. First Street ! P. O. Box 205 ! Evansville, WI 53536-0205 ! 608-882-4518 ! Fax: 608-882-0432

November 10, 2006

The Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Evansville met on

November 8, 2006 at 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the South Meadow Apartments. Commissioners Skinner, Miller, Sperry, Hagen, and Wilbur were present. Also present was Toni Coats, Executive Director.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Skinner. “Missing Section 8 rent checks” was added to the agenda. A motion was made by Commissioner Miller and seconded by Commissioner Sperry to approve the agenda as amended. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A motion was made by Commissioner Hagen and seconded by Commissioner Miller to approve the minutes of October 11, 2006 as received. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

A new accounts payable list was distributed. After a discussion, a motion was made by Commissioner Wilbur and seconded by Commissioner Sperry to accept the accounts payable list as presented. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Old Business:

There was no old business to discuss.

New Business:

The Housing Authority invited four Insurance companies to bid on the Business Owner’s Insurance for 2006-07. American Family Insurance Company, our current insurer, provided the only bid. Two others wrote us that they could not be competitive with American Family’s bid based upon past bids. The Executive Director met with the new American Family Insurance agent, Andrew Peart, and he suggested that optional coverage be added to the policy to cover Money & Security coverage for $5,000.00. A bill for that coverage was presented to the Board in the amount of $30.00. Commissioner Hagen reviewed the insurance policy and suggested that the optional coverage of Employee Dishonesty be added, also. A motion was made by Commissioner Hagen to accept the bid from American Family Insurance in the amount of $3,108.00 plus the cost of the two optional coverages. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Miller. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Some landlords are offering rent concessions to new and renewing tenants. A question arose as to how this one time concession should be handled. There are no regulations at this time; therefore, each Housing Authority is responsible to adopt their own policy for how it will be handled. After reviewing ways other Housing Authority’s are handling rent concessions, a motion was made by Commissioner Wilbur to treat the rent concession as a one-time gift. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Miller. The motion was carried by unanimous vote. Any tenant receiving a concession must notify the Housing Authority of such. The concession will be entered and waived on the government report – 50058. There will be no impact on the tenant’s rent.

A discussion was held on this year’s Housing Assistance Payment and Administrative Fee budget. It appears that there will be sufficient money to cover the rents this year; however, we may run short on administrative money. If so, it was agreed that we will use our pre-2003 administrative fee reserve to pay for any shortfall.

The Executive Director informed the Board that the Personnel Policy is not up to date. Job titles and duties are outdated, as well as other sections. The Board will begin reviewing and updating the policy during future meetings.

The Executive Director informed the Board that there has been a problem with the delivery of some rent checks in the past two years. Four landlords have reported not receiving their checks after they had been mailed to them on the first of the month. One landlord received her check three weeks late. It had gone to California. Two landlords have never received their original checks and the latest received their check after 7 days, even when it was addressed to Evansville. The problem began when all mail from the Evansville post office started being sent to Madison to be sorted and coded. The Board agreed that we would ask the landlord’s to wait at least one week for their checks before asking us to stop payment on the checks and re-issue them. The Evansville Postmaster has been informed of this problem.


Having no other matters to discuss, a motion was made by Commissioner Miller and seconded by Commissioner Hagen to adjourn the meeting. The motion was carried by unanimous vote. The next regular meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 at 6:30 p.m. in the community room of the South Meadow Apartments.

Respectfully submitted,

Toni C. Coats

Executive Director

Equal Housing Opportunity

RDA: The Economy Store; Part III, 12-7-2007

RDA: John Decker, Chris Eager, Bill Hammann, Roger Roth and Tony Wyse review Developer's Agreement for Eager Building


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AudioObserver: Sparks Fly at Redevelopment: Chris Eager, Jeff Farnsworth, John Decker, Bill Hammann, Roger Roth discuss Developer Agreement

Last night the Evansville Redevelopment Agency met to discuss the developers agreement rough draft for the Economy Store project, otherwise known as the Old Ace Hardware.

At stake in the discussion of the details of the project----well----Everything is at stake and dependent on proper submission of the budget for the project so that the city can pay 25% of the estimated 1.9 million dollars and also dependent on the budget details is the Commerce Dept grant of $300,000 which in addition to documentation of project details, requires that the city pay the 25% as a condition of the grant. So---about $800,000 is at stake in the developer meeting the requirements listed in the previous post.

Click on the audioblogger for 45 minutes of the discussion. "The Economy Store--the Movie" will also be available at a later date. Stay tuned.

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MP3 File

For the final 25 minutes click on the audioblogger below:
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MP3 File

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Spotlight Corner: Developer Agreement in focus in Redevelopment meeting TONIGHT

The minutes of the Redevelopment Agency for January 2006 contained the following text in the official minutes:

"Motion by Eager, seconded by Aikman, to recommend to Common Council that it commit to making a grant for 25% of the cost of acquiring and renovating the property at 7 E. Main St., estimated to be $1.9 million, subject to the following conditions: (1) the developers must provide the city with financial data and projections about the project to show there is need for the city to provide financial assistance, (2) David Wagner of Ehlers & Associates must provide projections of the tax increment that will be generated by the project, (3) the developers must provide financial data and renovation plans to the city assessor to allow her to refine her estimate of the equalized value of the property at completion, (4) the parties must enter into a written development agreement acceptable to the city, and (5) the developers must agree that if the city assessor determines the equalized value of the property at completion is less than $1.9 million, they would pay on an annual basis the difference between the increment that would be generated by $1.9 million of equalized value and the increment actually generated by the value assigned by the assessor. Motion passed."

It is not clear from the meeting notes whether it was the intention of the RDA that January night to pay 25% of 2.3 Million as the current project cost is estimated. I thought that the stated amount of $450,000 was the limit granted by the city for the project.

Secondly, the language of the developers agreement must be seen to protect the taxpayer interest so that the increment to the taxpayer is achieved even as the prinicpal investment is vaporized. The problem of the "surprise" cost overruns was discussed, and the city was not to be the party that these surprises were put on. Grants or the developer group or the banks would have to step up. After all, this is no small concern---the project is already $400,000 higher in estimated costs than originally thought. More surprises are possible....and probable.

Stay tuned for full coverage of The Evansville Observer as we cover this important and historic meeting tonight. Better yet. Plan on attending and join in the discussion.

Minutes of Evansville Redevelopment Authority meeting--1-19-2006

(Ed. note. These are the minutes of the RDA for January, 2006. This was posted on January 20th, 2006. This is background for tonight's meeting of the RDA.)

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Thursday, January 19, 2006, 7:30 PM

City Hall, 31 S. Madison St., Evansville, WI

MINUTES
Chairperson Hagen called the meeting to order at 7:34 PM. Present were Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Aikman, Ald. Anderson, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold, and John Decker. James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, and Bill Connors, Executive Director, also was present.

At the start of the meeting, Executive Director Connors distributed corrected 11” X 17” maps of TID No. 5 to the commissioners and Mr. Otterstein and copies of email messages from Ald. Juergens expressing concern about the application of Nelson-Young Lumber Co. for financial assistance with the cost of constructing a decorative fence along USH 14.

The agenda was approved as presented by the executive director, except the date of the meeting was corrected to January 19, 2006.

Motion by Ahner, seconded by Decker, to approve the minutes of the December 20, 2005, regular meeting as presented by the executive director. Motion passed.

There were no citizen appearances on items not listed on the agenda, and no public hearings.

Unfinished Business
Executive Director Connors noted that he had distributed a spreadsheet from the amended project plan for TID No. 5 projecting possible cash flow for the district and a memorandum discussing the spreadsheet at the December 20, 2005, meeting. He said that, in his opinion, the most important message to take away from the memorandum and spreadsheet is that the financial plan for the district is predicated on the occurrence over the next few years of some large redevelopment projects that produce substantially more tax increment than they consume, to provide tax increment to cover the substantial cost of public infrastructure improvements. Mr. Decker said it appears construction work has begun on the site for the new First Community Bank building at the corner of the new Exchange St. and E. Main St. Mr. Connors said he believes the work that is occurring is clearing the site of remnants of the former improvements, and that the bank has submitted an amended site plan for review and approval by the Plan Commission at its February meeting, so he hopes these are signs that construction of the bank building will begin in the spring. There were no questions from the commissioners about the memorandum or spreadsheet.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Aikman, to approve the revised Redevelopment Authority policy and application form included in the meeting packet. Motion passed.

New Business
Brad Fahlgren presented the request of Nelson-Young Lumber Company for financial assistance with the cost of constructing a decorative fence along Union St. The fence would consist of brick columns every 20 feet with wrought iron in between. In response to a question, he said using all wrought iron would be less expensive, but was advised that because of the long span of the fence, using all wrought iron without brick columns would compromise the strength of the fence. The fence would be six feet high, and the pillars would be a few inches taller. The space under the fence will be a maximum of five inches. The cost of the fence is estimated to be $33,000. In response to a question, Mr. Fahlgren said he is not sure what the owners would do if the city decided not to contribute to the cost of the project. In response to a question, he said the state did not provide any compensation for removal of the wooden fence that used to boarder the property along Union St., nor has the state provided compensation for the cost of the temporary fencing that has replaced the wooden fence. In response to a question, he said David Wartenweiler, City Building Inspector, told him the new fence would not require a site plan review, and that the new fence was sufficiently open so as not to block the vision of drivers approaching the intersection of Union St. and E. Main St.

Motion by Decker, seconded by Arnold, to recommend to the Common Council approval of a grant to Nelson-Young Lumber Co. of one-third of the actual cost of the decorative fence or $11,000, whichever is less, with payment to be made after Nelson-Young Lumber Co. provides the city with documentation of costs actually incurred to construct the fence.

Mr. Decker said he supports providing assistance for this project because there has been lumber yard at this site for 100 years, the city would give incentives to attract a business like Nelson-Young if were not already here, the operation of the lumber yard is the only thing that kept the rail line to Evansville in operation, Nelson-Young suffered a loss as a result of the state’s USH 14 project, safety at the intersection would be improved by the decorative fence, and the appearance of this highly visible corner would be improved by the decorative fence. Vice-Chairperson Eager said he agreed with what Mr. Decker said, but he would feel more comfortable if the new fence were part of an application for assistance with the larger project Nelson-Young is contemplating, so he could see the full amount of assistance Nelson-Young will be requesting and the amount of tax increment their larger project will generate.

Motion passed.

Roger Berg presented the application of Roger Berg, Paul Brunsell, Jeff Farnsworth, Ed Francois, and Rick Francois for financial assistance with redevelopment of 7 E. Main St. Mr. Berg provided some history of the construction the Eager building, aka the Economy Store, at 7 E. Main St., and the Grange Store building during the first years of the last century. He observed that 100 years later, we have an opportunity to renovate one of these great buildings, and the task of doing so is much easier than the task of constructing 100 years ago. He said his group of investors need the city to commit to giving a grant of 25% of the cost of the project (site acquisition, professional fees, and construction costs), estimated to be $1.9 million, to make the project financially feasible. He said that the investors soon will have spent $20,000 on structural analysis, “as built” drawings of the current building, and sketches of possible new layouts within the building. The developers do not want to invest in construction drawings, which would cost about $55,000, without first getting a commitment from the city to pay 25% of the cost of the project. He said the bricks on the front of the building are bowing out, and they need to find out from the structural engineer whether this can be fixed without taking off all the bricks on the front of the building, which would make the project more expensive. In response to a question, he said their financial calculations are based on market-rate financing. They are working with Virchow Krause to see if there might be sources of less expensive financing, such as WHEDA, but they have been told they probably do not qualify because this project is mixed use. In response to a question, he said their financial calculations include a tax credit for historic restoration.

Mr. Berg said some of the big costs of the project include installing an elevator, which may need to have four stops (one of them at the level of the parking lot in the rear), and fire protection sprinklers. There would be office/retail in the basement, retail/office on the first floor, and probably eight apartments on the second floor. The apartments along the front would be “Chicago studios,” probably more attractive to young professionals rather than senior citizens, and the apartments in the rear, where there are more window openings, would be more conventional apartments. The apartments in the rear might include spiral staircases down to the mezzanine. The decks and railings in the rear, which were destroyed by the fire years ago, will be replaced. The investors have hired an appraiser to appraise the building in its current condition so they can show that they are not over-paying to acquire the site.

Mr. Berg said it is critical to the success of this project that the building reopens on the same day Main St. reopens at the end of the 2007 street reconstruction project. Construction on the front façade must begin in August or September 2006, so that phase of the project can be completed before street reconstruction begins in spring 2007.

Mr. Berg said the investors do not need to do this project—there are better investments available to them. But they want to do this for downtown Evansville and the city as a whole. He said even if the city now commits to paying 25% of the cost of the project, the investors might need to back out of the project if they discover significant additional costs they had not anticipated.

Jeff Bahrs, 15 S. 6th St., asked Mr. Berg to clarify that the developers want the city to commit to paying 25% of $1.9 million before they developers would go forward with incurring more costs. Mr. Berg said that is correct.

Mason Braunschweig, 590 W. Main St. asked if anyone is interested in leasing space in the building after it is renovated. Mr. Berg said they have received some inquiries, but that does not mean much at this point in time. They need detailed construction drawings in order to be able to market the space. He said the developers’ financial plan allows for taking three years after completion of the project to lease out all the space in the building. Jeff Farnsworth said he intends to move his insurance agency office into the building, and has had conversations with a woman who is preparing a detailed business plan for a new business that would be located in the building.

Kevin Sam, 122 Gunther Dr., asked why they are not considering condominiums rather than apartments in this building. Mr. Berg responded that there will be no parking other than using the municipal lot behind the building, and it would be difficult to market condominiums that do not included parking.

Wayne Steinlein, 243 E. Main St., said business in downtown Cambridge has not recovered from the street reconstruction project there, so he wonders if it make sense to invest in this project when many downtown businesses might fail and spaces become vacant as a result of Evansville’s 2007 Main St. reconstruction project. Mr. Berg acknowledged that some businesses might fail, but he said it is imperative that the business community pull together and plan what they will do to help each other make it through the street reconstruction project.

Dick Woulfe, 255 E. Main St., commented it appears this project will not be a tax increment “win” for TID No. 5, and worries this will increase the pressure to hit some tax increment “home runs” with projects in the near future, based on what Executive Director Connors said earlier about the development assumptions underlying the financial plan for TID No. 5.

Mr. Otterstein asked if some of the investors have a strategy for exiting the project a certain number of years after the renovation is complete. Mr. Berg responded “no.”

There was considerable discussion about what would happen if the after renovation, the city assessor decided the property had an equalized value of less than $1.9 million. Based on the limited amount of information the developers provided to Mr. Connors, the city assessor estimated that the value of the property might be between $890,000 and $1.2 million after renovation. Mr. Connors said the assessor might change her opinion once more information is available.

Vice-Chairperson Eager said he would be willing to commit to pay 25% of the cost of the project if he were sure that the project would generate enough tax increment so that other projects would not need to feed tax increment into this project. He would be willing to commit to paying 25% of the project cost even if that meant feeding tax increment from other projects into this project if that were justified by the financial projections for the project, because he believes this project is extremely important to the downtown. But at this time, he does not have any data in front of him to support either of those conclusions.

Ms. Ahner said she supports the project, but agrees with Mr. Eager that they need to receive financial data and projections about the project from the developers before making a hard, fast commitment.

Mr. Decker said he would be willing to commit to paying 25% of $1.9 million if the developers would agree that if the city assessor determines the equalized value is less than $1.9 million, they would pay on an annual basis the difference between the increment that would be generated by $1.9 million of equalized value and the increment actually generated by the value assigned by the assessor. Mr. Berg said the developers would be willing to make such an agreement, because the developers’ financial calculations assume they will pay property taxes on $1.9 million rather than on some lesser value. Mr. Decker said he also wants everyone to understand that this would be a rare exception to the Redevelopment Authority’s policy that the maximum contribution to a project is 20% of the cost.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Aikman, to recommend to Common Council that it commit to making a grant for 25% of the cost of acquiring and renovating the property at 7 E. Main St., estimated to be $1.9 million, subject to the following conditions: (1) the developers must provide the city with financial data and projections about the project to show there is need for the city to provide financial assistance, (2) David Wagner of Ehlers & Associates must provide projections of the tax increment that will be generated by the project, (3) the developers must provide financial data and renovation plans to the city assessor to allow her to refine her estimate of the equalized value of the property at completion, (4) the parties must enter into a written development agreement acceptable to the city, and (5) the developers must agree that if the city assessor determines the equalized value of the property at completion is less than $1.9 million, they would pay on an annual basis the difference between the increment that would be generated by $1.9 million of equalized value and the increment actually generated by the value assigned by the assessor. Motion passed.

Jeff Farnsworth presented the application Lewis B. and Marion A. Farnsworth for financial assistance with façade improvements to 12–14 E. Main St. Mr. Farnsworth said he wants to restore the storefronts to their historical appearance, when they were symmetrical, but he does not need to do that to keep the property rented. The estimated cost of the project is $30,000, which does not include the cost of painting the façade or any improvements above the storefronts. The reopening of the transom windows would require some modifications to the ceilings on the interior, as was done with the space currently occupied by the Mexican restaurant. In response to a question, Mr. Farnsworth said the historic restoration of the exterior of the buildings where the Mexican restaurant is located has not generated increased rents, but he does receive more inquiries for space, making it easier to keep space in the buildings fully leased.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Decker, to recommend to the Common Council approval of a grant to Lewis B. and Marion A. Farnsworth of 20% of the actual cost of the façade improvements or $6,000, whichever is less, with payment to be made after the applicants provide the city with documentation of costs actually incurred for façade improvements. Motion passed.

Professor Georgia Duerst-Lahti of Beloit introduced two of the students in her political leadership course, Tess Gruenstein and David Harriman. Tess is an Economics and Political Science major, and David is a Political Science major. Each will perform a practicum of 90 hours or 45 hours for this course. The idea is to give each of them a project that will produce a useful result for the city and to require them to create written records of their work that would allow someone else, possibly another student from Beloit College, to perform more work on the project in the future. Executive Director Connors will supervise their work for the city. Prof. Duerst-Lahti asked that the Economic Development Committee and Redevelopment Authority quickly communicate to Mr. Connors the projects they think should be the highest priority, so he can work with the students to develop a clear statement of the assignment for each of them, because they need to get started right away. Prof. Duerst-Lahti said one of the ideas she and others, such as Mayor Ringhand, are most interested in is how to bring a motel to Evansville. Some commissioners suggested that is too large a project to take on in such a short amount of time. Sandy Decker, 143 W. Main St., suggested a possible project would be to interview owners of Main St. businesses and commercial buildings to find out what they would like the city to do to help them survive the 2007 Main St. reconstruction project. Many commissioners liked that idea, and suggested that the project also include interviewing owners of businesses affected by the USH 14 project in 2005 to find out what worked and what did not and to interview owners of businesses in other communities, such as Stoughton, about how things worked during their street reconstruction projects.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Decker, to adjourn. Motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 10:20 PM.

Prepared by

William E. Connors, Executive Director

The Minutes of meetings of the Redevelopment Authority are not official until approved by the Authority.

Agenda: Redevelopment Authority--TONIGHT----Wed, Dec. 6, 2006,7:30PM

NOTICE

The meeting of the Evansville Redevelopment Authority for the City of Evansville will be held on the date and time stated below at City Hall, 31 South Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance.

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Wednesday, December 6, 2006, 7:30PM

City Hall, 31 S. Madison St., Evansville, WI

AGENDA

Call To Order
Declare Quorum
Approve Agenda
Approve Minutes of November 21, 2006 meeting

Old Business

Approval of $6000 grant reimbursement to Lewis B. Farnsworth for 12-14 East Main Street restoration based on submitted documentation of costs.

Discuss rough draft of development agreement for 7 East Main Street (Eager Building).

New Business
Motion to recommend to Common Council Resolution 2006-49, authorizing submission of a Community Development Block Grant Public Facilities application for the Eager Building Conversion.
Other Business
Adjourn
Christopher A. Eager, Chairman

Orig post 1-20-2006)The New Economy Store; Bold Vision or Impossible Dream? Stay Tuned.

(Ed. note. It has been almost a year since this first RDA meeting on 1-20-2006 on the Economy Store. Many issues have been solved. Some remain. This is a nostalgia post in preparation for the meeting tonight of the RDA. The Observer will be provinding full coverage of the event. See you there.)

First, I want to thank all those citizens and readers of the blog who came to this meeting. It was an important meeting for the future of Evansville. It was also important because even if the answers were not there, many of the key questions were asked.

The meeting opened with Mr. Connors passing out the spreadsheet mentioned in the previous post. He provided an overview by saying that the objective of TIF #5 was to provide substantial capital projects in the first couple years of the life of the TIF that would provide substantial tax increment to complement the infrastructure projects in the later years of the TIF that would not have increment. This would be the WIN-WIN situation.

Then the meeting commenced and the first two projects, namely the Nelson-Young fence request for assistance of $11,000 of a $33,000 fence project cost and the Berg, Farnsworth, Brunsell et al project of the Economy Store which had a request of 25% of 1.9 million or $450,00 which did not have any increment that one could measure---at least from the figures presented, which were none in the case of the Economy Store. Observers were just a little stunned by the developer's request to commit by the Redevelopment Authority on such sketchy info, but they did, with many stipulated conditions----namely all the details.

The most stunning fact, or possible fact, was that although the total expense of the project was 1.9 million, it might only appraise out at 1.2 million. The developer group stated that they would guarantee that they would agree to pay taxes on the total amount, despite the possible lower appraisal. Legal types observing wondered whether that might be struck down quickly. It was not clear that the project would generate increment or when. Observers wondered whether this would be a LOSE-LOSE project because the risk to the developers was also large. Mr. John Decker went over the numbers on the risk to the developer group on such an investment.

The vision of this project is not of 20 years in the Observer's view. But more like 100 years.

Mr. Berg stated that it is realistic to see that the impact of the closed upper East Main street would be even worse than that of the Hwy 14 project and that little if any business might survive. The New Economy store would be the anchor of the new beginning.

The question was posed whether this new beginning at "ground zero" should be new or restored construction. Nobody wanted to really face the question although all realized that this was the bottom line.

Mr. Berg explained that the number of apartments possible on the upper floor has been cut to eight. There is also a concern about the structural integrity of the building in that one side may be "bowed." He said that it is possible that a negative "surprise" in the next phase of design and costing might just doom the project. So. Is it a bold vision or an impossible dream? I cannot say. Stay tuned to the Observer for details as they develop.

If you attended the meeting, and wish to add to these minutes or clarify or rebut parts of these minutes, feel free to use the comment line.

Word On the Street: Real Estate--dateline Minn.

Last weekend I was on assignment in Minnespolis-St. Paul. One of the friends that I had a chance to visit with is a very successful realtor of upscale homes. A special conference of all realtors was held on Friday. Two things were recommended:

1. New real estate brokers without an established book of business clients should exit the business.

2. The market will not recover till 2008 at the earliest.

One additional observation I have is that the market in the Twin Cities was very overvalued in some areas----and the resulting plunge in value is both stunning and shocking in the pain it has and will cause young homeowners. In short----if you are a buyer, watch and wait. There are going to be some values on the buy side.

I do hope that since Rock county is not the same speculative market that the Twin Cites is that thus we can avoid some of the horror stories I have already heard on visits to the tundra of Minnesota. I will keep you posted on this developing story.

Gazette Extra: UW Corner: Badger Herald Paper fires editor for plagarism

This article in the Janesville Gazette is interesting because it goes over what plagarism is----that in today's clip and paste computer world, the source of the material still has to be noted for the reader.

Usually in covering the government area, it would be pretty easy to spot non attribution of source if there was indeed was someone supervising the editor--rarely is one the only source of facts at a meeting ---but in this case there was no supervision since the Badger Herald is independent.

I would suggest that the real problem may be structure of the Badger Herald. I wonder how many university newspapers are independent and have nobody at the University reviewing copy content. I will check some sources on that. More later.

Gazette Corner: The million mile car

It is amazing what synthetic oil and fanatical maintance will do. What a role model huh?

Minutes: Redevelopment: November 2006

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, November 21, 2006, 7:30 PM

City Hall, 31 S. Madison St., Evansville, WI

MINUTES
The meeting was called to order at 7:55 PM by Chairperson Eager. Present were Chairperson Eager, Ald. Wyse, Betsy Ahner, and John Decker. Mayor Sandra Decker and Jeff Farnsworth were also present. Absent: Ald. Hammann, Tom Calley, Roger Roth

The agenda was approved as printed.

Approval of Minutes
Motion by Ald. Wyse to approve the minutes of the October 17, 2006 meeting. Second by John Decker. Motion passed.

Citizen Appearances Other Than Agenda Items Listed None

Public Hearings None

Unfinished Business None

New Business

Motion by Ald. Wyse that the Evansville Economic Development Authority recommend to the Common Council that it provide a resolution in support of the Community Development Block Grant – Public Facilities for the purpose of obtaining additional funding for streetscape enhancements for next year’s Main Street Reconstruction project. Second by John Decker. Motion passed.
7 East Main Street- a vote could not be taken on this item because Chairman Eager removed himself from the voting and a quorum was not present. A discussion was held on what the agreement between the building owners and the RDA should include. Mayor Decker will contact the City Attorney about this. A special RDA meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, December 6, 2006 to discuss this issue further and to approve the TIF commitment to the project funding. It was suggested the Mayor arrange to send Roger Berg copies of all RDA meeting minutes in which the project was discussed.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn. Motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM.

Prepared by

Betsy Ahner

The Minutes of meetings of the Redevelopment Authority are not official until approved by the Authority.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blog Corner: The dedicated gamer:

Click on the post for the observations of one dedicated gamer on how gaming helps one cope with a cold, or the cold in winter.

Dateline WKOW--27: Madison Discussing Streetcars

" Ed. note. This is a copy of a WKOW-27 story on their web edition.)

Committee Discusses Streetcar Routes
Imagine being able to get from Madison's Eastside to Downtown without driving a car, or taking a bus.

If Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has his way, the isthmus will be connected by streetcars.

Mayor Cieslewicz met with the Streetcar Study Committee Wednesday night to discuss possible streetcar routes.

The committee showed maps with possible tracks the streetcars may take. The streetcars could run from Union Corners on the Eastside through Downtown and possibly down State Street.

Some residents we spoke with say streetcars would make downtown travel more convenient.

Andy Graettinger and his family live a few blocks off State Street. He says, "It would be great if we had visitors in town to jump on it and take downtown or even for the farmer's market or something like that."

The streetcar study is only half-way through.

The final study should be completed by next spring.

The committee will hold a neighborhood workshop next month to get input from residents on possible routes.
The meeting is Thursday, December 14th from 6PM to 8PM at Monona Terrace.





Visit The WKOW-TV 27 Website

A Lesson In Weather Accounting: Ditto Running Accounting; Ditto School Accounting

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Staffing Crisis Coming? Till Death Do Us Part

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Dateline Minnetonka, Mn.----Zero Hour in High School----Kids CHOOSE it.

One of the proposals talked about in the past for Evansville High School was adding the zero hour. This would add options for scheduling which is limited due to the modified four period day.

Click on the post for a description of zero hour in Minnetonka, Mn. where I recently visited on my way up north to Normal.

Big Box Corner: Monroe: Letter to Monroe Times asserts citizens do not want Wal Mart Supercenter

Click on the post for a letter to the editor of the Monroe Times on the new WalMart Supercenter for Monroe.

Dateline Monroe: Letter to Editor of Monroe Times--Discusses School Funding crisis in Monroe

Click on the post for an letter to the editor of the Monroe Times regarding the recent effort of the Monroe School System to go to referendum or make drastic cuts. The writer of the letter is a member of the Monroe City Council.

New York Bans Transfats-----other states to follow?

click on the post for the latest from Yahoo news. Could Wisconsin live without transfats? Stay tuned as The Observer follows this developing story.

Gazette Corner: Evansville Crushing Plant would require additional players says Landmark

Click on the post for the latest from the Janesville Gazette on the crushing plant.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Election Notice

NOTICE OF SPRING ELECTION

City of Evansville

Tuesday, April 3, 2007
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that at an election to be held in the City of Evansville, on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, the following offices are to be elected to succeed the present incumbents listed. The term of the alderpersons begin on Tuesday, April 10, 2007. All terms are for two years unless otherwise indicated.

OFFICE INCUMBENT

Alderperson District 1 Bill Hammann

Alderperson District 2 Thomas Cothard

Alderperson District 3 Diane Roberts

Alderperson District 4 Dennis Wessels

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the first day to circulate nomination papers is December 1, 2006 and the final day for filing nomination papers is 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2007 in the office of the City Clerk.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that if a primary is necessary, the primary will be held on Tuesday, February 20, 2007.

Dated this 28th day of November, 2006.

Jim Beilke, City Clerk/Treasurer

Planning Commission Meets TONIGHT 6:00PM Biodiesel on the Agenda

The major subject on the agenda of the Planning Commission tonight will be the biodiesel plant---the conditional use permit approval, the site plan presentation and approval as well as some variances for height of buildings etc. If you have an interest in the biodiesel--this would be the meeting to attend.

Also, as a side note, in the notes in background for the meeting, Ehlers and Associates, the financial consultants for the city, have adjusted the cash flow of TIF 7 to reflect the earlier implementation of the soy crushing plant. They say that "it is more likely to be constructed in 2010 or earlier. In the draft TID 7 project plan dated November 2, 2006, Phase 2 was proposed to be constructed in 2012."

The result would be "the additional projected increment in Phase 2 results in a projected closure of TID #7 district in 2026, as opposed to 2027 in the draft project plan."

So--it appears that everyone wants the crushing plant and sooner than originally planned. This would be another huge plus for the Evansville community. Stay tuned.

Gazette Corner: Wisconsin ranks 40th in charitable giving

Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette.

School Beat: Evansville School Cluster Meetings Begin Today

(Ed. note. There are various committee's that will discuss budget items within an area. These are public meetings. If you have an interest in a specific grade level, or if you are considering running for school board, these meetings are a good way of informing yourself on budget matters.)

Day Date Time Committee Location

Monday 12/4/2006 6:30PM District District Office--Fair street
Tuesday 12/5/2006 6:30PM Theodore Rob TRIS Conference Room
Wednesday 12/6/2006 6:00 J.C. McKenna J.C. McKenna Library
Tuesday 12/12/2006 5:30PM Levi Leonard Levi Resourse Room
Tuesday 12/12/2006 6:00PM Theodore Rob TRIS Conference Room
Monday 12/18/2006 5:00PM J.C. McKenna JC McKenna Library
Monday 12/18/2006 6:00PM High School High School Conference Room
Thursday 12/21/2006 5:15PM Levi Leonard Levi Resourse Room
Wed 1/3/2007 4:15PM Levi Leonard Levi Resourse Room
Monday 1/8/2007 6:00PM High School High School Conference Room
Tuesday 1/9/2007 6:30PM District District Office
Tuesday 1/9/2007 6:30PM Theodore Rob TRIS Conference Room
Wednesday 1/10/2007 5:00PM Levi Leonard Levi Resource Room

Christmas Past Corner: The Ginny Doll

Click on the post for a story of Prof. Althouse on "The Ginny Doll."

Recently we had a Big Band Bash as the Evansville High School where the Evansville Jazz Band played two sets of wonderful tunes from the 30's and 40's. I mentioned in the article on this that I wished that we could also have a special week of oldies where we did the movies too. Now, Prof. Althouse has written about the dolls of old---The Ginny Doll. Another bit to add color to the picture of life in the 1930's, 40's and 50's.

One of the inner secrets of The Observer, is that one Christmas many, many years ago, to earn some extra cash, I actually did work in the packing line of the famous doll company of Middleton, The Pleasant Company. One of my observations was that with the price tags of the dolls and the added clothes that were purchased, it would be hard for a parent to purchase several for a child to set at a table and play or talk to each other. Yes, some multimillionaires did. But then I observed where most of the orders came from----California and New York. The Prairie Home Companion Doll it was not.

Prof Althouse points to a time when dolls were affordable and not just collectable, and kids did make the clothes for them. Do any of you out there remember this?

Minutes; Traditional Neighborhood Design; Nov. 28, 2006

Evansville Traditional Neighborhood/Residential Design Advisory

Committee

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 6:00 PM

City Hall 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI
Meeting called to order at 6:03 PM by Chairman Bill Hammann. Present were

Ms .Gwen Walker, Mr. Tim Schwecke, Mayor, Sandra Decker, Mr. Tony Wyse, Ms. Sharel Surles and Mr. Bill Hammann. Not present were Mr. Gil Skinner and Mr. Matt Brown.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read. The agenda was approved as printed.

Discussion relating to amending the entire table of land use in the City’s zoning code.

Mayor, Sandra Decker asked if the committee wanted to take-on the rezoning committee needs. All agreed. It was agreed that the TND committee will fulfill it’s obligations within 3-4 months and then would be renamed as the “ZONING” “ ad hoc committee. The TND committee would become a sub-committee of the Planning Commission. The original charge of TND was to look at design standards. The new committee will look at existing codes, make changes and create new zoning districts.

Review initial draft code.

Discussion of Draft #1 from October, 2006: Section 4. Land uses. It was suggested that Pg 2, #4 be changed from 15% to 20% and #7 be changed from 90% to 75%. We must define mixed uses better and Mr. Tim Schwecke agreed to look into this.

Set next meeting date

The next meeting of the TND Committee will be Thursday, December 28, 2006

at 6:00 PM. Discussion will continue with Draft #1, Section 6. Blocks (page 3)

Motion to adjourn

The meeting was adjourned at 7:20 PM

Submitted by Sharel Surles

Happy Holidays to All

Madison Beat: The battle for affordable housing--the IZ, Inclusionary Zoning rules

Developers do not like the IZ rules that had as their objective to create a percentage of new construction that would be affordable. Click on the post for the story of one of the first couples that bought a condo on this program.

Good News: Volunteering at highest in 30 Years

Teens and Baby Boomers are stepping up to volunteer. Click on the post for the story in yahoo news.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

School Beat: Rare Sunday School Board Meeting Held

BOARD OF EDUCATION EVANSVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Special Meeting Agenda
Sunday, December 3, 2006
School District Conference Room
340 Fair Street
5:30 p.m.
Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard Elementary School
Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle School Office, High School
Office, Evansville School District Web Site: Evansville.k12.wi.us, and by forwarding the agenda to the
Evansville Review, M&I Bank, Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free Public Library.

I. Roll Call: Michael Pierick Dennis Knudson
John Willoughby Dennis Hatfield
Arthur Phillips Tina Rossmiller
Mike Larson

II. Executive Session – Under Wisconsin Statute 19.85(1)(c)(e)(f) to Discuss District
Administrator Evaluation.

III. Adjourn.
More specific information about agenda items may be obtained by calling 882-5224, ext. 3386.
Posted: 11/29/06

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dateline Normal: "The Normal Mutual Bank"---fiction

(Ed. note. This is one of a long series of fictional tales of a land up in northern Minnesota near the Land of Lake Woebegon. These tales are available on cd and are shipped in a brown paper cover, clearly marked, FICTION. They are also available by Podcast RSS feed. Any resemblance to reality is purely accidental.)


Usually I never enter the state of Minnesota after Thanksgiving, due to the frigid weather. However, with the wonderful weather warm up, on Monday, I headed up that long and winding road, Hwy 10, up to my favorite town just this side of Garrison, Mn.---- Normal, Minnesota.

Over the long drive I had a chance to review in my mind the many meetings recently....and.... I called ahead on my cellphone and told Herman, my old country boy lawyer friend to meet me at the coffee shop---right across from the bait shop---for a cup of coffee. I needed his counsel.

After settling into the comfy booth, I just got right to the point---"Herman, back in Wisconsin, banking seems like it is so complicated. There are Redevelopment Authorities, Economic Development committees, Banks, financial advisors, and more. This reminds me of the time that I went on a long bus trip with the school kids to New York. Afterwards, I told my youngest that it was good we could share some of the experience of high school. She looked at me and smiled. "Well, just because you were there does not mean you are well informed." Yes. It dawned on me that I did not really understand a lot of what happened. But then, all the guys were wearing those cool shades like the blues brothers==== that made it pretty mysterious to an old guy like me.

Herman interrupted-----"Get to the point, Wolfman....you digress.."

I went on, "Anyway.....in the recent banking meetings here in Evansville...I have felt likewise. That there were a few things I did not understand. Yes I had the audio. Yes, I had the video. Beautiful color. But still....there was just a little something that I was missing in the "understanding" area.

"What is it like up here in God's country Herman. How do you do banking in Normal?"

Herman smiled. "Up here we keep it real simple. We have "Mutual" Banking." Then he let out one of those chortling laughs.

'I still do not understand, Herman. I know that there used to be "mutual" insurance companies back in the 60's and 70's in Wisconsin, but most of them were converted into "stock" companies. "Mutual" companies are a real dinasour." There is no such thing as mutual banking anymore."

Herman just laughed. "Wolfman,(that's what he always called me)----- you are dead wrong. Up here in God's country we take our "Mutual" companies REAL seriously. It's all about committment. "Mutual" ranks right up there with fishing and whiskey. In a mutual company, the "customer" is the owner. Up here----- we take our religion and our "mutual" banking real literal like."

" I still do not understand, I wondered aloud. How does this make a difference?"

Herman grew impatient, "It makes ALL the difference in the world, Wolfman. Up here we just walk in and TELL the banker what the terms are. We are the boss. It is just real natural. Real simple. It's really the natural law up here in God's country.

Thank goodness I'm back in good old Wisconsin. Where we don't have any "mutual" banking. Where customers are customers, and bankers are bankers. Alleluia.

Gazette Corner: Corn Prices Double in one Year--On Demand plus speculation

It should be interesting to watch corn prices in the coming years---everyone is quite concerned when gasoline prices double, or natural gas doubles in a short period of time....due to speculation, options trading....Click on the post for the full story on corn prices in the Janesville Gazette.

I sure like the idea of burning corn as a fuel----but if speculators make all the money, at what point will the demand for regulation begin----will it be after a disaster like Enron or before.

I suppose we should go over some hedging techniques---like buying the June 3.00 Call and then trading it for profit to act as a hedge on rising prices for our home heating. But---as a general rule, when each person in America turns into a daytrader of corn options just to keep heating bills low---it is a bad sign. I still like tango dancing as an obsession rather than option trading. Make a note of it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Campion's Champions

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Minutes: Redevelopement Authority--Regular Meeting--Nov. 21, 2006

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, November 21, 2006, 7:30 PM

City Hall, 31 S. Madison St., Evansville, WI

MINUTES
The meeting was called to order at 7:55 PM by Chairperson Eager. Present were Chairperson Eager, Ald. Wyse, Betsy Ahner, and John Decker. Mayor Sandra Decker and Jeff Farnsworth were also present. Absent: Ald. Hammann, Tom Calley, Roger Roth

The agenda was approved as printed.

Approval of Minutes
Motion by Ald. Wyse to approve the minutes of the October 17, 2006 meeting. Second by John Decker. Motion passed.

Citizen Appearances Other Than Agenda Items Listed None

Public Hearings None

Unfinished Business None

New Business

Motion by Ald. Wyse that the Evansville Economic Development Authority recommend to the Common Council that it provide a resolution in support of the Community Development Block Grant – Public Facilities for the purpose of obtaining additional funding for streetscape enhancements for next year’s Main Street Reconstruction project. Second by John Decker. Motion passed.
7 East Main Street- a vote could not be taken on this item because Chairman Eager removed himself from the voting and a quorum was not present. A discussion was held on what the agreement between the building owners and the RDA should include. Mayor Decker will contact the City Attorney about this. A special RDA meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, December 6, 2006 to discuss this issue further and to approve the TIF commitment to the project funding. It was suggested the Mayor arrange to send Roger Berg copies of all RDA meeting minutes in which the project was discussed.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn. Motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 PM.

Prepared by

Betsy Ahner

The Minutes of meetings of the Redevelopment Authority are not official until approved by the Authority.