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Friday, March 31, 2006

Minutes of Common Council describe sequence of TIF#6 development; first commercial, then industrial

(Ed note. This is a section of the common council minutes of 3-13-2006)

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, to approve the Proposal for Creating Tax Incremental District No. 6 by Ehlers & Associates, Inc. Mr. Connors reported the proposal from Ehlers & Associates, Inc. is regarding their fees for creating Tax Incremental District (TID) No. 6. Mr. Connors reported territory of TID No. 6 would include the more than 96 acres of land owned by D&D Development, which was applied to be annexed, located at the southeast corner of CTH M and USH 14. To comply with state law, at least half of the territory of TID No. 6 must be zoned industrial. It appears the remainder will be zoned commercial, and the commercial zoning will be adjacent to USH 14. The city intends to use the tax increment generated by any commercial development within TID No. 6 to pay debt service on the cost of constructing streets, sanitary sewers, water mains, and other infrastructure for a new industrial park within TID No. 6. Using the tax increment from the commercial development to pay debt service on the industrial park infrastructure, rather than to subsidize construction of infrastructure for the new commercial lots along USH 14, would reduce the risk the city will undertake by issuing bonds to finance infrastructure construction in the new industrial park. Motion passed unanimously on a roll call vote.

The Station Agent; Or, The Legend of "W"

The Station Agent

When you look at the Railroad Station in Evansville, take a moment to think back in time as to what the lives were like back in those days. It was a different time with no internet and paypal. As trains came into Evansville, there was the small cart on wheels that was wheeled up beside the train with refreshments. There were railway mail clerks. There were conductors. There were engineers. And yes, there were the Station Agents. The following is the story of a very famous station agent----"Mr. W." of Evansville, Wisconsin.

He began as a station agent in 1951 in Greenwood, Wisconsin. The station agent ran the railroad station and had assistants called "operators". The operators were responsible for directing the train traffic. They had printed orders that detailed what happened when. These were the days when telegraph was king. The very experienced telegraph men could carry on a conversation and receive and send telegraph at the same time. Without making a mistake in the numbers and names of the cars, weight, cargo etc. Some operators only used the hunt and peck method on the teletype. In a small station where one had no operators to help, one had to do it all.

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play


The agent once hired, was bonded, and had the responsibility of every bit of the traffic and the contents. They handled a system of freight bills and bill of lading that ensured payment before delivery. If a shipment was dispersed without being paid properly, the station agent was on the hook. The bank had to approve that the bill was paid for before the locks could be taken off the car.

Each morning, the very first thing the station agent did was check that all the cars were on the siding. If you as a station agent allowed someone to unload a car prior to payment, you would lose your job or be restricted to handling stations that did not handle freight. So, as a station agent you had to know the financial situation of the community.

If anyone broke a seal to a car without authority, it was a federal offense and it brought jail time.

Once truck traffic came to compete, the station agent also became a salesman. In addition to all the freight, there was also the telegraph business. One got paid a commission on the telegrams if they were not prepaid. On prepaid telegrams, they got nothing. One of the worst duties was to deliver the notices during the Korean War for deaths of serviceman. The agent was not paid for taking the telegram much less for the personal delivery. Usually, the local preacher was asked to help on these deliveries.

Then there was the railway express business. The station agent received a commission for all the freight that was shipped through the station. It is like parcel post today. So, depending on where the station agent was located the agent could make quite a bit of money. The best jobs were bid for depending on seniority.

Between 1951-1953 W was located in North St. Paul working for the Northern Pacific. This is right off HWY 36 right near my home on Minnesota. It is a small world. Near the N. St. Paul was the station called Glouster---this was a small station in what is now Roseville that kept the agent just switching trains 24 hours a day, nothing else. What a nightmare assignment that was. That was for rookies. One had to move on and up to make some money.
.
After he was married, “W” bid on a job in Grey’s Lake full time. Prior to this time he owned a wrecking yard and several other small businesses. This was 1958. Bought a little trailer honeymoon shack and began his full time career. Then he got a chance to take the station in Appleton, when the agent there had heart attack. The railroad gave the Appleton station to W and thought that W’s wife could handle the Grey’s Lake station. So, she went in to the station and yes brought the kids. This caused a little sensation with the union. After three months they got another agent to handle the station. But this is a little known fact about Mrs. “W.”

Whenever there was a claim for lost or damaged freight, the station agent was responsible for doing the initial investigation of the claim and the facts of the case. Usually these cases were brought were brought in federal court.

“W” eventually became the director of tarifs and enforcement for the State of Wisconsin. Mrs. W by this time was in social work.

So---who is this man of mystery….this statistician and station agent who has seen the Main Streets all over the Midwest?

It is “W”---Mr. Gill Wiedenhoeft.

 
  Posted by Picasa

Gov. Doyle signs bill restricting eminent domain

It has been a seeming eternity since Kelo v. New London, but the bill signed by Gov. Doyle today provides some restriction on the broad power of eminent domain that was possible after Kelo.

Click on the post for the article in the Janesville Gazette. Enjoy.

The Station Agent: The Story of "W" : Audioblogger version

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

USA Today----Nationwide coverage of Evansville Debate

Click on the post for the USA Today coverage of the debate of the war referendums in Evansville recently. Enjoy.

The New Ace----

Last night at the private pre-opening party at the New Ace Hardware----- contractors, employees, city officials and friends gathered together with the backdrop of Angela Wyse on piano and feasted on pizza and snacks and toured the beautiful new facility.

At the end of the speeches citing the many folks who made the project happen, one official from Ace Hardware stood and told the "rest of the story."

Of all the 4500 stores in the Ace Hardware chain, there is ONE store that is ranked number 1 in customer service. It is Dave's Ace here in Evansville. Customer service has been a way of life for Dave and not just a mantra. Anyone who has shopped at the Ace since Dave came to Evansville knows how his employees treat those seemingly small questions one has -----with courtesy and respect. It has been wonderful to experience as a customer and it is the key to Dave's plan of success in his new Ace which is twice the size as the old.

The new Ace will open on Monday, April 3rd. Be there.

Evansville Observer Experiences record volume as Citizens search for candidate response

The Evansville Observer site is undergoing record volume as citizens diligently check in daily, hourly etc. to review the responses of candidates of last Saturday's candidate forum.

Two New Internet Telephone Services Debut on Monday

Click on the post for the latest on internet telephone. Soon will everyone be using telephone via internet?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Delphi Strike could cripple GM; Stay tuned

Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette about the possiblity that a strike by Delphi that would cripple GM. The Janesville Plant would be affected.

"Nail Tech"

Click on the post for the "Nail Tech" program in Monroe. Enjoy.

Meeting Notice

The entire staff of The Evansville Observer will be meeting sometime during the week of March 26, 2006 between the hours of midnight and 4am to conduct various business matters and engage in strategic planning. Matters that may or may not be on the agenda will or will not include development of the video Observer component, repair and replacement of the transmission of the 1989 Lincoln, launch details of the new Evansville Observer print edition, and/or the 1 million step fitness program of Observer staff. Following the regular session, the staff will move to super secret session to engage in debate on purchase of capital equipment or maybe just a good meal after the meeting.

Advance notice of this meeting has been accomplished by publication in the Peoria Star and the Keokuk Reporter.

Janesville School Board: Cut and Fee Increases on Table

Click on the post for the artice in the Janesville Gazette covering the Janesville School board discussion of cuts and fees necessary to cover the 1.8 million dollar "gap".

One of the interesting things about these sort of meetings is that when one asks the question "What fees would you increase?" there is dead silence. Most are simply mute. Even with their own job on the line, it seems one is speechless to propose a fee increase to cover any of the shortfall. Ditto for the question "What would you cut? Again silence.

Click on the post for the full article.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Classic "Grumps":

(One of the highlights believe it or not, of the Real and Virtual Candidate Forum was the introduction, where "Grumps" summarized the revolution that has happened recently, nationally and locally. "


Good morning and my thanks to you all for coming out this morning.

This week President Bush said, “One of the things that we've got to value is the fact that we do have a media, free media, that's able to do what they want to do. -- there's word of mouth, there's blogs, there's Internet, there's all kinds of ways to communicate which is literally changing the way people are getting their information.”

That’s part of the reason we are here today. Weblogging is changing the way Americans interact. In an increasingly busy society the Internet gives people the chance to get news and comment on it on their own terms. Our candidates are here this morning to answer our questions and will expand on their answers to these and to a few others later on The Evansville Observer. The voters of Evansville will then have the opportunity to weigh in on those answers and to move the debate forward.

I was tempted to show up here today in my pajamas. There are those who feel that bloggers never leave their basements. They are mistaken. Bloggers are your neighbors, your daughters, sons and coworkers. Some estimates say that one new weblog is started every second. Bloggers are the pamphleteers of the 21st Century, just hoping to get the word out to help voters inform their choices.

Thank you for being a part of this. Now I’m proud to turn over this conversation to our current mayor, Janis Rinhand.

Absentee Balloting Begins----NOW--Evansville City Hall

Absentee Balloting has begun at City Hall in Evansville for those who choose. You can go to City Hall between 7:30AM and 4:30PM, show identification, fill out your ballot and then place it in an envelope that will be taken to the polling place on election day.

You do not have to list or give any reason why you choose to vote early. None is required.

If you have any questions on this, contack the Evansville City Clerk.

Election Day--April 4th---What you need to know

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

March 28, 2006 Ima Clerk, 800-555-5555

Requirements for Registering on Election Day
Elections Board Adjusts Rule to Avoid Voter Confusion
GENERIC, WI – Voters who plan to register on election day April 4 need to know the new requirements prior to heading to their polling place.

To register, a voter needs to provide a driver license or Wisconsin State ID number, as well as personal information such as name, address and date of birth. If a voter has no driver license number or state ID card, she can use the last four digits of her Social Security number. Also, if she has neither a driver license number, a Wisconsin state identification number nor a Social Security number, she can check a box on the form attesting to that.

Questions have come up about the registering voter who has a Wisconsin driver license but arrives at the polling place without the driver license number.

The State Elections Board (SEB) recently decided that if a registering voter arrives at the polling place on election day, April 4, without her driver license number she will be allowed to register using the last four digits of her Social Security number.

The Board based its decision on Wisconsin’s current transition to statewide voter registration, and the premise that no registering voter ought to be turned away because she/he is not able to provide a driver license number. This specific exception to the driver license number requirement is only for the April 4 election. The SEB will reconsider the requirements at a future meeting.

All other same-day voter registration rules still apply, including providing proof of residence.

For more information about Wisconsin voter registration and election procedures contact the Wisconsin State Elections Board at 1-866-VOTEWIS (868-3947) or seb@seb.state.wi.us, or visit its website at http://elections.wi.gov.

NR.SVRS.MC10.April 4 registration

###

The Party

(The following story is true, and is in memory of Art Buchwald, who was on PBS21 last night and in an interview from a hospice, announced he was disconnecting from dialysis.)

It had been a rough week in the hospital business. Right in the middle of the busiest time of the year, the auditors had decided to ask lots of little questions, most of which were not important, a fact that one could not mention even in hushed tones to anyone.

In the midst of all this, I left the business office to get lunch and as I approached the general information desk, I noticed the hospital entrance----filled with balloons to the ceiling and a crowd of 40 folks gathered around laughing and chatting.

They had a certain high tone of voice that I vaguely remembered from family gatherings when I was a kid, when everyone had come from neighboring states and the chit chat had begun, and yes, after the first martini's had been served, shaken not stirred.

So, I said to the volunteer. " I really would like some of what they are drinking."

"Oh no, Mr. Woulfe, they're not drinking. Mr. Johnson is having his party because he has gone off the machines."

"Oh", I said. Looking at Mr. Johnson, I noticed his joy in reveling with all his friends that day, and also a tinge of pride in having a choice in the details of his life right at the end. It was a picture I have never forgotten.

I noticed that pride last night in Art Buchwald's eyes on channel PBS21 McNeil Leher Report. He said that ever since he has been in hospice he has had friends come from all over the country to see him. "I never thought dying could be such fun," he quipped.

(Art buchwald is the author of 20 books, over 5000 columns, which appeared in 550 newspapers worldwide. He claimed that since Henry Kissinger departed from Washington, he was the only sex symbol left in Washington. )

Watercooler: DOT says it faces budget crisis?

The DOT has said that there is a budget crisis because of the high costs of road construction projects and also because last year some 310 million dollars was taken from the gas tax revenue to help schools avoid total crisis.

Click on the post to read the article in Channel 15 news.

The Observer diagrees. The Observer thinks this is just the beginning of allowing another revenue stream, namely gas tax revenue, to provide revenue to desparate Wisconsin schools. Not only that, but the higher the gas prices go, the more Wisconsin residents will realize the necessity of making the changes necessary to become energy independent. So----

My take on this is that the DOT is just whining. What are your thoughts on this article? You make the call.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Albany: Groundbreaking for new Albertson Memorial Library

Groundsbreaking has been completed for the new Albany library, named the Albertson Memorial Library after the late Wayne Albertson Sr. Wayne Jr., a well known auctioner and Jan his wife, a well knows realtor. Members of the Albertson family were in attendance as well as much of the Albany community.

The Observer knew Wayne Albertson Sr. well since his home was purchased from Wayne Sr. and Geneva Heffel in 1990. For many years, the front door had the letter A on it in honor of the Albertson legacy. Once he had passed on, I felt it was o.k. to replace it.

The Observer joins all in Albany in their celebration of the groundsbreaking and looks forward to covering the grand opening in December.

Click on the post for the full story of the library and the history of Wayne Albertson Sr.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Gazette Corner: Gina Duwe reports on "Real" and "Virtual" Candidate Forum in Evansville

Click on the post for Gina Duwe's article on the first ever "real" and "virtual" candidate forum in Evansville last Saturday morn at The Eager Free Public Library. Candidates can still weigh in on the questions of the forum and also residents can give their opinions.

Society: Minnesota: Marriage Amendment may have broader effects on domestic partner benefits

Minnesota is considering a marriage amendment. Once it defines marriage, it may also void some other domestic partner benefits, such as health benefits etc. Insurance companies normally do not extend benefits to relationships that are not legally sanctioned.

Click on the post for the discussion of several legal profs.

School: Minnesota: Legislation to require "lock down" drills 5 times a year

Recently our own Evansville High had a lock down drill. In Minnesota, legislation is proposed to require schools to have lock down drills 5 times a year.

Sign of the times. Click on the post for the full story.

FEC rules that bloggers be treated identical as regular media

In a big relieve to bloggers, the Federal Election Commission has ruled that all unpaid advertising and political speech on the internet will have the same protection as afforded to regular media.

Click on the post for the full story in Yahoo News. There was some fear that if this had not been the case, it would have led to censorship of the internet community. Relax.

Bankruptcy filings skyrocket in Rock and Walworth Co.; Some too poor to file?

There was a mad rush to file for bankruptcy for many in Rock and Walworth Co before the bankruptcy law was changed. The new law is hostile to consumers and the costs to file itself are high, infact so high, some may not be able to even file.

Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette. What are your thoughts on all this?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Evansville Real and Virtual Candidate Forum--Instructions

The Questions below are for the city candidates and the school board candidates----and just as importantly---FOR YOU the citizen. The first three of each have been answered "live" at the Eager Free Library this morn. The candidates will summarize their live answer and also answer the second three.

All the visitors to the Observer who want to participate-----Click on the comment icon. In the comment space list your name and your comment on the issue. Then click anonymous as the type and fill in the letters displayed and then click publish.

The candidates will publish their answers in their leisure this weekend. Feel free to contribute your answer and watch others weigh in on the issue. All comments are moderated. All comments must address the issues and not the person.

This is not a debate as such. Candidates need not post additional to their original post but may if they wish. Not all candidates have chosen to participate in this forum and that is completely up to them as each conducts their campaign as they deem appropriate. All have been invited.

Have fun.

Mason Braunschweig----alderman candidate for the "new folk" of West Side



At the "Real" and "Virtual" Candidate debate, Mason positioned his aldermanic campaign as one that appeals to the new, young, folk of the West side. Some of those attending with grey hair, such as the Observer, had a hard time disputing his market niche. We decided to let a picture decide.

Candidates and Voters Participate In the Physical and Virtual Forum(Click on picture for large version)


Candidates for School Board, Mayor and Aldermanic Positions answer questions by moderator Jim Brooks aka "Grumps"

After the forum there was time for just visiting

Saturday, March 25, 2006

City(Mayoral and Aldermen) Watercooler: What is the biggest problem facing Evansville today and--how do you solve it?

City( mayoral and alderman): What is the best way for the city to survive the Main St. project with a viable business base intact?

City: M&A Watercooler: Health care and energy costs continue to rise out of proportion to other costs. How can the city affect these costs?

Watercooler; M&A, On bringing industry to Evansville:; How can our city affect the decision of business to locate here? Be specific.

Watercooler: ALL CANDIDATES; When you offer new ideas to solve problems, how do you convince others to join with you in these projects?

Watercooler: M&A; What differences to you see in store for Evansville in ten years?How do you propose to achieve that vision?

Watercooler: School Board: "The budget problems that school districts face today are the fault of our state legislators." Agree, Disagree? explain.

School Board: Watercooler: What innovative approaches can be implemented to resolve or prevent budgetary crunches?

School Board: Watercooler:Is the school district presently staffed adequately or inadequately with administrators and support staff?

School board: Watercooler: In budgetary decisions, what are your funding priorities? What can and cannot be cut?

School: Watercooler: What is your vision of the school district in ten years? How do you propose to achieve that vision?

Friday, March 24, 2006

New Home Sales Plummet Nationally---Midwest rises 5%--bucks trend

Click on the post for the latest in February home sales. California got hit the hardest, sinking over 25%.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Agenda--Public Works Committee--Monday, Mar. 27th, 6PM

Public Works Committee

Regular Meeting

Monday, March 27, 2006, 6:00 p.m.

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

AGENDA

(revised March 22, 2006)

1. Call the meeting to order.

Roll Call
Approve minutes of February Meeting
Citizen appearances
Lake Leota Restoration Update
Downtown Streetscape Plan Public Hearing
Discussion on Downtown side street parking, municipal lot parking and off-site parking.
Discussion and possible motion to approve Main St. Street & Sidewalk design.
Discussion and possible motion to approve the following one-way streets: Maple St. going south, Railroad St going north & Mill St. going west.
Discussion and possible motion to approve and changing Montgomery Ct. one-way street degsnitination during Main St. construction in 2007.
Discussion on use of Paving Bricks in Main Street Reconstruction in 2007
2006 Public Works Smart Growth Plan Action Items
Transportation #5.2 – Discussion on adopting a Class B Highway Ordinance
Communications from City Engineer
Communications of Public Works Director
New Business
Upon the proper motion and approval vote, the Public Works Committee will convene in closed session pursuant to Sec. 19.85(1)(e), Wis. Stats., deliberation or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reason requires a closed session, and will not reconvene in open session. During the closed session, the Public Works Committee will discuss possible acquisition of real property along S. Madison St.
Adjourn
Bill Hammann Chair, Public Works Committee

The Tornado; Or, Tornado Marketing Technique

Recently at our own high school, students have been going through drills for lock down, and other emergencies. The practice, practice, and more practice really pays off when the time comes.

As a young man, I worked in a meto hospital and one of the key drills was the "Orange Alert"----the drill for a disaster. Every department and every employee knew what to do. Each department head had a "Call list," so that if one was not at the hospital, one could call in the needed staff to respond. That list had to be in your billfold at all times. I supervised Admitting and had my list, but never expected to use it.

The essence of the "Orange Alert" is that all the normal admitting operations---admiting paperwork---- ends and patients are given simple numbers, and a triage nurse or Mash unit determines what is most critical and treats the most critical first. That afternoon the disaster happened at 3:35pm or shift change when a tornado smashed a trailer park 6 miles away and 20 casualties were on the way in ambulances.
After the tornado had struck, a broken gas line had exploded and there were burn injuries coming.

Maybe you have watched the old "MASH" tv series. The humor of the folks in emergency care is depicted quite well. When the real event strikes however, the smoothness and skill of doctors and nurses in trauma care was the really stunning thing for me to see. They quickly knew what were the critical cases and what was not. After it was all over, we had the "review" where we went over it in slow motion to see where it could have been done better.

The two big things I took from all this was that: 1) One can and MUST determine the order of importance if one is forced to, and 2) The Importance of the call list.

So---it is time to implement the call list. You have friends that share your concerns whether it be for the school board election or the city offices. I am running for the school board because I believe this is an important moment for Evansville Schools. I also believe that by listening to the community, we CAN determine the order of importance and act accordingly.

Re: Bill Connors writes: Clarifies Long Term Budget : Dredging Lake Leota



Bill Connors <bill.connors@ci.evansville.wi.gov> wrote:
Dick:
 
The five-year capital plan includes $4.5 million for dredging Lake Leota in 2009.  This amount is not yet budgeted.  The city only budgets one year at a time.  The most recently adopted city budget covers 2006.
 
The city uses the five-year capital plan for planning purposes.  We try to identify all of the purchases and projects that will need to be made, determine which ones are time sensitive, and try to spread them out over the years so we do not need a spike in property taxes to finance them.
 
If I recall correctly, the $4.5 million in 2009 was added by the Common Council at the end of the process of adopting the 2005 budget (in late 2004).  At that time, we were putting the final touches on the five-year capital plan for 2005 through 2009, and the lake dredging project was added in 2009 because that was the last year of the plan (at that time).  At the time this project was added to the plan, everyone acknowledged that we have no idea how the city is going to finance this project and the other projects and purchases in nearby years without a substantial increase in property taxes.
 
Bill Connors
Evansville City Administrator
31 S. Madison St.
P.O. Box 76
Evansville, WI 53536
(608) 882-2263
fax: (608) 882-2282



(Ed. note. The Observer was surprised to hear the question of an approved 4.7 mil for the Lake Leota in the Long term Capital budget as mentioned at Monday nights candidate debate----- precisely because I was at the finance meetings and did not recall this approved amount. I thought maybe I had dozed off for a moment. Bill Connors writes to clarify for all interested citizens the status of the project. Even the Observer can be startled and confused when the facts are not correct. Thanks, Mr.Connors.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

School Board Beat: Cost Accounting 101; On Change of Financial Position; Or, It wasn't raining when Noah began building the ark.

(This is one of several posts covering the 7am Evansville School Board meeting on Tuesday, March 21st.)

Yesterday while on the way to Janesville, I saw a sign that said, "It wasn't raining when Noah began to build the ark." I have to admit I tend to watch for the chinese fortune cookies as well as billboard signs for direction. Anyway, the sign is relevant......

At the opening of the Evansville School Board meeting on Tuesday, a budget analysis was passed out detailing the expenditure Decreases last year: They totaled $180,123. They are listed as follows:

Administrators: -43,065.
Custodial Staff -34,232.
Special Ed trans -25,995.
Substitute costs -25,051.
Temp Borrowing -21,078.
District Office,CESA-14,071.
Maintenance -11,570.
Inaurance,Liability -5,011.

Total Decreases -180.123.

Even given these expenditure decreases, there was a net increase of expenses of 1,040,527. To cover some of this amount, $279,964 was taken from the "Fund Balance."

In essence, in taxpayer terms, this was taken from the saving account. Of the increaes of expenses, it is notable that utiilties alone increased by 22% or $236,771. So---the district did what they said they were going to do and took the hit of energy costs out of the savings. That is not news.

What is news is that one cannot continue that way. Even Noah had to look ahead and began to build the ARK before the rains came.

One of the building blocks for a good ark is knowing what things cost. The first portion of the meeting was spent reviewing how athletic events are budgeted and how the costs of overtime for maintenance and custodial are accounted for. This is important so one can determine what "fee" is right so one does not lose money(in a commercial business). The surprise was that the athletic department gets the revenue from events but the maintenance department pays the expenses, and it turns out an increasing amount of overtime.

This way of accounting is a little like having your older children live at home and keep their paychecks and have you pay all the expenses. Anyway, the bottom line of the discussion was that the true "cost" of an event is not easily seen in the accounting and the board asked that the expenses be matched with the revenue in the future--however no formal board resolution on this was passed so we will see.

In light of this, Art Phillips, asked that the whole matter of increasing the custodial and temporary grounds positions be delayed till the public could be at the meeting. He said that in light of the fact that the Review is not even published till Wednesday, the public was not properly informed of the meeting. He asked that the issue be tabled until the complete numbers could be retreived by Deb Olson. This was voted down.

Mr. Pierick went over the necessity of not taking one item of "saving" and moving it to another budget category. The days of that type of thinking are gone in his view. He offered a compromise proposal that would essentially hold spring and summer grounds costs even with last year. That passed on a 6-1 vote, with Art Phillips dissenting.

As usual, if you attended the meeting and wish to offer corrections or comments, feel free to do so on the comment line.

(Audio of portions of this meeting is coming.)

Minutes--Finance Committee--3-13-2005--Dean Center, Skate Park, TIF #6 and more covered

Finance and Labor Relations Committee

Regular Meeting

Monday, March 13, 2006 5:30 PM

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

MINUTES
Chairperson Aikman called the meeting to order at 5:30 PM. Present were Chairperson Aikman, Ald. Cothard, and Ald. Roberts. Staff present: Bill Connors, City Administrator, and Jim Beilke, Clerk/Treasurer. Ald. Sornson was present in the audience.

Approval of Agenda.

The agenda was approved as printed.

Approval of Minutes.

Motion by Cothard, seconded by Roberts, to waive the reading and approve the minutes for the regular meeting on February 13, 2006, as printed. Motion passed.

Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed. None

Water & Light Department Bills.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, to approve the Water & Light bills in the amount of $533,559.89 and authorize their payment. Motion passed.

City Bills.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, to approve the City bills in the amount of $2,039,748.96 and authorize their payment. Motion passed.

Unfinished Business.

The committee reviewed the status of insurance/collateral covering city’s deposits.

New Business.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, to recommend to Common Council adoption of Resolution #2006-5, amending the adopted 2006 city budget to increase the appropriation for converted farmland tax penalty. Mr. Conners reported Resolution #2006-5 would increase the appropriation for payment of the converted farmland tax penalty. Farmland is assessed at a lower value based on “use value.” When farmland is converted to non-agricultural use, the owner of the farmland must pay a penalty to the county, which pays half of the penalty to the city or township within which the property is located. If the property was recently annexed, the city or village must pay half of the amount it receives from the county to the township. In 2004, the city received converted farmland tax penalty revenue from Rock County, but failed to pay to the Town of Union its share of the revenue. Resolution #2006-5 would amend the budget to appropriate money to make the overdue payment to the Town of Union. Motion passed.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, to recommend to Common Council adoption of Resolution #2006-6, amending the adopted 2006 city budget to increase the appropriation for Phase 1 of the skate park. Mr. Connors reported Resolution #2006-6 would increase the appropriation for Phase 1 of the skate park from $10,000 to $20,000. Before the 2006 city budget was adopted, the Parks and Recreation Board had recommended appropriating $15,000 for this project, but as the result of a miscommunication, only $10,000 was appropriated. The additional $10,000 will come from an unallocated amount of un-earmarked capital funds for parks projects. Barbara Jacobson, 55 S. 6th St., a member of the Park Board, said it was not clear that the Park Board ever had requested a $15,000 appropriation for this project instead of $10,000. Committee members also wondered why the total cost of the project had increased from $15,000 or $20,000 to $25,000. The consensus was to wait amending the budget until a final project cost could be determined.

Motion by Cothard, seconded by Roberts, to table the motion. Motion passed.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, to recommend to Common Council adoption of Resolution #2006-7, amending the adopted 2006 city budget to increase the appropriation for clerk/treasurer computer equipment. Mr. Connors reported Resolution #2006-7 would increase the appropriation for clerk/treasurer computer equipment by $1,250 to purchase a projector and screen for projecting graphics and text during presentations. Mr. Connors reported that the projector and screen could be used to display graphics and text at public meetings, such as the annual public hearing on the city budget, but conceded the equipment would not be used often. Motion passed.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, 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. Mr. Connors reported Resolution #2006-8 would reduce the appropriation for renovating the building at 209 S. 1st St., a capital project, by $5,000, and increase the appropriation for the Dean Community Center cost center by $5,000 for equipment purchases, an operating expenditure. The city is renovating the building at 209 S. 1st St. to be the new home of the youth center and AWARE Agency. Because of contributions of building materials and skilled labor the Dean Community Center Advisory Committee has obtained, it appears that the building renovation project will not cost the full $50,000 appropriated. The Dean Community Center Advisory Committee would like to use the savings on the renovation project to purchase equipment for the new youth center. David Rossmiller, 413 S. Madison St., Chair of the Dean Community Center Advisory Committee, said that the contributions of building materials and skilled labor his committee anticipates obtaining could reduce the total cost of the renovation substantially below $45,000, in which event the savings to the city on the project would more than offset the $5,000 his committee is requesting for equipment for the youth center. The consensus was to wait amending the budget until a final cost for the renovation could be determined.

Motion by Roberts, seconded by Cothard, to table the motion. Motion passed.

Motion by Aikman, seconded by Roberts, to recommend to Common Council approval of the Proposal for Creating Tax Incremental District No. 6 by Ehlers & Associates, Inc. Mr. Connors reported that the city has in the past used the services of Ehlers & Associates to create other tax incremental districts. Mr. Connors reported territory of TID No. 6 would include the more than 96 acres of land owned by D&D Development, which was applied to be annexed, located at the southeast corner of CTH M and USH 14. To comply with state law, at least half of the territory of TID No. 6 must be zoned industrial. It appears the remainder will be zoned commercial, and the commercial zoning will be adjacent to USH 14. The city intends to use the tax increment generated by any commercial development within TID No. 6 to pay debt service on the cost of constructing streets, sanitary sewers, water mains, and other infrastructure for a new industrial park within TID No. 6. Using the tax increment from the commercial development to pay debt service on the industrial park infrastructure, rather than to subsidize construction of infrastructure for the new commercial lots along USH 14, would reduce the risk the city will undertake by issuing bonds to finance infrastructure construction in the new industrial park. Motion passed.

Mr. Connors led a discussion on the city’s policy regarding approval, if any, required for attendance by city administrator and department heads at educational seminars and any associated travel/lodging expenses. The consensus was that Finance and Labor Relations should review and approve the City Administrator’s educational seminars and any associated travel/lodging expenses, and the City Administrator should review and approve department heads’ educational seminars and any associated travel/lodging expenses. Mr. Connors said he will include these policies in the revised Employee Handbook he is working on.

Adjournment.
Motion by Cothard, seconded by Roberts, to adjourn at 6:20 PM. Motion passed.

Prepared by:

James Beilke

City Clerk/Treasurer

Monday, March 20, 2006

Re: Dean needs list



Tracy Schroeder <deanyouthcenter@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
Dick,
 
Here is our list. Thank you so much for putting it in for us!  We really appreciate it.  Our biggest need right now is a new or very gently used, VERY sturdy pool table!
Thanks!
Tracy
Dean Youth Center Manager

Richard Woulfe <fre2observe@yahoo.com> wrote:
Please send me a list of your current needs for the
transition so I can put it on The Evansville Observer.

Thanks,
Dick Woulfe
The Evansville Observer


Observer Corrects Record: All questions on Real and Virtual Forum written and signed: Not "faceless" as Sandy Decker charges

Sandy Decker charged at the Monday night candidate forum that the internet "Real and Virtual" forum will be "faceless." Huh? The questions will be written and signed and submitted at the live session at the Eager library on Saturday and because of time constraints not all questions will be able to be answered in the live session. Candidates will be able to answer the signed and written questions over the weekend. The big benefit will be that all in the community can see the dialogue.

She also charged that there will be censorship. Huh? It will be moderated just as the session at the J.C. McKenna School. There even was a merging of questions that were duplicative. No ad hominum will be allowed at the forum on Saturday.

The city of Evansville operates in hyperspace. All of the city has email and communicates together to get the job of government done. It is a little late to go back to the Royal typewriters. The Evansville Observer has offered Sandy Decker and still offers her space for position papers on her campaign as well as audio posting on her positions. She has refused.

Gazette Corner: Judge rules against teachers union in matter of virtual schools

Click on the post for the full story in the Janesville Gazette about the ruling today against the teachers union in the matter of virtual schools.

Dean Center Move, Police Move downtown seen as WIN-WIN transaction

Years ago when I played MONOPOLY with my younger brother in the garage, we had some real tough rules about that game. First, we had tough rules about any breaks leaving the board unattended etc., and even today we have some dispute about who won an extended play session. We still quibble about it 40 years later.

Yet, even an experienced MONOPOLY player like myself had trouble following the move of the Dean to the new building on 1st street, the move of the police to the old Dean, and all the accounting and paper invoices and invoices in flux that are not in yet. Yes---last Monday nights meeting at Finance was hard to follow. Here is the bottom line. The Dean needed more space. The old building needed a new roof. The city wanted the police back near the center of town. Bill Connors put it in a letter to The Observer:



>
> --- Bill Connors
> wrote:
>
> > Dick:
> >
> > The Dean Clinic gave the building on Church St. to
> > the city to be used for
> > any public or community purpose. So the city's
> > police department is not
> > taking the building from anyone for $0. The city
> > has decided to make a
> > different public use of the building.
> >
> > The idea to purchase the building at 209 S. 1st St.,
> > to renovate it, and to
> > move the youth center and AWARE Agency there did not
> > come from the Dean
> > Community Center Advisory Board. It came from the
> > Common Council, which saw
> > this as an opportunity to move the police station
> > downtown.
> >
> > When all of the moves are finished, the city will
> > sell the current police
> > station.
> >
> > The Common Council sees this as a win-win situation.
> > The youth program and
> > AWARE Agency get more space. The police station
> > gets moved downtown. And
> > the cost of acquiring and renovating 209 S. 1st will
> > be largely covered by
> > the proceeds from the sale of the current police
> > station."
> >
>
At the time of this letter, only about $2500 of invoices for repair for the new Dean space were on the city computer. Yet, the Finance Committee was concerned that repairs might go over the $45,000 they had reserved for repairs. Relax, dear readers, I will report on the other $42,250 when I get the detailed list of them.

Mr. Rossmiller had asked the Finance Committee that $5,000 be moved from structural expenses to assessory expenses since a lot of items had been donated such as carpeting and lumber. The Finance Committee preferred to wait till the picture is clearer on the final costs for repairs to the building.

If you are able to help with contributions to the Dean, they are looking for cash donations and items. Their funding requirements are rising as they expand their space to serve more kids in their mission. They are a non-profit and need your help.

On "Sale"; On "Saving"

Officially the word "sale" has meant nothing for many years now. The word "sale" is all over stores nationwide. The other night when my eldest daughter came home for a birthday, she was excited about a "special sale" at a upscale womans store where she works part time. It was the year that she spent in Italy that gave her a thrist for fine clothes that has been hard to recover from. She is kind to me on my style choice. She says that I am "classic" not "trendy." That means that I wear sweatshirts and stuff that would be banned in Europe, but that she understands. Anyway----

She explained what the net cost after the 20% discount was---- and it startled me. It seems that one can get a wonderful deal and yet still be far out of my range of purchase price.

Another word that is far out of fashion is the word "saving." I recently got excited about a coupon that I got at the local grocery store for $1 off my favorite coffee. The bag of regular grind was about $2 and I treasured the coupon till the next trip to the store. Only to find out that presto---the price of the $2 bag had mysteriously gone to $3. In an earlier time of yesteryear when the Lone ranger and Tonto roamed the earth, this was called "fraud." It seems that it is just normal business now. I call it "The Coupon Con." The savings are always ZERO.

Alas "sale" and "saving" are not only lost words, but the whole idea of saving has been lost. Consider that currently Americans have dipped into a "negative savings rate" which has only happened in one other time---namely 1933.

It seems that Americans probably know deep down that they are in the red. It's just too painful to confront it.

Anyway----those are two words that I always enjoyed----"sale" and "save." I will really miss them. And yes, the Lone Ranger and Tonto too.

Additional Details Emerge on School Board Meeting--Tuesday--Mar 21--7:00AM--340 Fair Street District Office

After the emotional session at last weeks Evansville School Board meeting, a proposal was put on the table to add two seasonal summer outdoor employees and continue two employees for a cost of $26,050. Realizing the irony of adding at the same time student teaching was being cut, Supr. Carvin asked that the item be tabled for later consideration.

The "cost" for the past summer use of employees was $30,023, according to the media packet. I am including these details since "notice" to the Review will not reach the public till Wednesday.

The proposal on the table for the special meeting is to hire two non-union landscape-turf employees at $12 per hour with no benefits. In addition there would be two summer positions at $9 per hr or $9,350 for the season. The proposed total cost for the upcoming spring-summer season would be $26,050.

The difference between the past and the proposed cost is $3,973 and is termed a "Savings".

There was no listing of any alternatives to this proposal or what the costs of alternatives would be.

In addition, there is a proposal to use people sentenced for community service through the Evansville court to do lawn mowing and other tasks providing that the convictions involved do not pose any risk to students. Also, some areas of the school grounds have been termed "NO MOW" areas and this will save in some time.

Future Proposed Action: Proposal to use the "Savings" noted earlier to make the Grounds/Maintenance position a year round position. This proposal was not noted in the March oral Superintendents report.

It is not clear whether this idea was included in the computation of what the "GAP" is. As the Observer has noted, we seem to be observing a lot of "gaps" depending on who is proposing what additions and deletions. It sure is hard to have a discussion about a gap as long as it is in flux----. Anyway, as soon as The Observer gets more info on the gap, I will let you know.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Evansville Dean Center Calls for Help with relocation needs

The relocation of the Dean Youth Center has resulted in a wish list of many items for the new building. For a complete list of what they need, email them at deanyouthcenter@sbcglobal.net

They are also asking for cash contributions from the community. Donations can be dropped off at 11 West Church Street, Evansville.

All donations are tax deductible.

School Beat: " Come to class and bring your IPod with you?"

Colleges and yes---high schools====across the country are discovering the magic of podcasting to deliver more, much more than just music. They are delivering education.

Click on the post to read the article in Yahoo news today on the latest educational application of the ipod phenom.

Will this mean that the most up to date news or public meeting may be on your video ipod? Could you be relaxing by the fire and watching the best of last night's meeting at city hall?

Stay tuned to the Observer.

"Fred" has the scoop on the future of Lake Leota; On the public meeting on April 17th to get YOUR input on the future plan

Click on the post for information from Fred on the latest on Lake Leota.

"Virtual High School" in Monroe expects 300 students next year.

In just a couple of years, the enrollement of Monroe's virtual school has risen to a projected enrollemnt of 300 for the next school year.

Click on a full article in the Monroe Times about the success of "virtual" in Monroe and the movement of students in "open enrollment" to attend it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Special Evansville School Board Meeting=== Tuesday, March 21--7AM

Breaking News--Evansville School Board Special meeting called for Tuesday, March 21st---7AM

The only item listed on the agenda which can be found if you click the link is approval of two buildings and grounds positions.

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Evansville Police Commission: Minutes March 13, 2006; New Officer Recruits to Pass Psych Testing; Scope of School Activities under review

EVANSVILLE POLICE COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

Common Council Chambers, Third Floor, City Hall

Evansville, Wisconsin

March 13, 2006

5:00 p.m.

1. Roll call. Commissioners in attendance: Scott Brummond, John Decker, Steve Hagen, Barbara Jacobson, Wally Shannon.. Also present: Chief Scott McElroy.

2. Approval of minutes. Minutes of the Commission's meeting of February 20, 2006 were reviewed. Motion by Jacobson to approve the minutes as distributed, seconded by Shannon. Approved by voice vote.

3. Citizen appearances, other than on agenda items listed below. None.

4. Motion to reconsider action items from February 20, 2006 meeting. Motion by Decker, second by Jacobson to reconsider items 2, 4, 5 and 7 from the February 20 meeting, account incompleteness of posting of notice (a matter brought to the Commission's attention subsequent to the February 20 meeting). Approved by voice vote. Motion by Decker, second by Brummond, to approve the minutes of the January 24, 2006 meeting. Approved by voice vote.

5. Chief's report. Motion by Decker, second by Brummond, to approve Chief McElroy's written report bearing date of February 20, 2006, including authorization for psychological examinations of recruits. Following discussion, approved by voice vote. Chief McElroy reported orally that the Department policy manual has been submitted to him in final draft form, and that he will furnish copies to any interested Commissioner following his completed review and approval of the same. He further reported orally that all officers, including the new recruits, have successfully completed the annual firearms proficiency testing.

6. Approval of new eligibility list. Motion by Decker, second by Brummond, to approve the proposed new eligibility list contained in Chief McElroy's written report of February 20, including the Commission's acceptance of the resignation of Patrol Officer Andrew Mueske. Approved by voice vote.

7. Approval of appointment of part-time patrol officer(s). Motion by Decker, second by Brummond, to confirm the Commission's approval of extensions of employment, conditioned on successful completion of psychological and physical examinations and drug screens, to Justin Mahan-Strupp, Donald Sparby, Jason Grooms and Dave Sleeter as part-time patrol officers. Approved by voice vote.

8. Discussion of potential items for future agenda. Commissioners will want to revisit the status of police involvement with the Evansville schools, including the volume and nature of calls. Chief McElroy observed that the Department is gathering further and updated data, which has been facilitated by the computer system.

9. Adjournment. Motion to adjourn sine die by Hagen, second by Jacobson.. Approved by voice vote at 5:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

John R. Decker

Secretary

Note: Minutes of the Commission are not official until approved by the Commission at a meeting called and noticed for that purpose.

Never underestimate the power of a parakeet

Last November when we received our natural gas bill, it was a real shock. When we all were assembled for dinner, I gave the formal notice of the necessity for a "budget summit."

Calmly and rationally, I went over the numbers. Something had to change. Everything was on the table. As far as the heat was concerned, the only solution was what I termed the "limbo rock" solution. How low can we go? Whatever it took.

Quickly, my daughter went to the thermostat. "It goes down to 45 degrees," she exclaimed. If it goes down that low, my parakeet will DIE! (shriek)

I had not made the precation of switching to decaff coffee. That may have been the fatal error. I did count to 10 however. Then, I simply said, "Well, I guess it is just the parakeet or me."

In a heartbeat, I realized that I had made an error. In quickly glancing around the table, I realized that I did not have the votes for victory. Alas.

So---I did what I had seen many politicos do in the past year when they were facing defeat--I asked for a brief recess. Recess granted.

In the next few minutes, I realized that I needed to consider the needs of everyone--even the parakeet. Then----- we fashioned a solution together. The parakeet would move to my daughter's room with the electric heat and the rest of the house would go to 45 degrees. Such an easy solution when I just was forced to consult.

So----what did I learn from it all?

Never underestimate the power of a parakeet!

Evansville Hires new Finance Director===Begins on March 20th

In the recent overview to the minutes of the Common Council meeting, Bill Connors, City Administrator says:

"The city has hired Eric Jepperson to be the new City Finance Director. Eric was an auditor with the state Department of Revenue, where he audited utilities, among other entities. Earlier in his career, he worked for a public accounting firm and audited municipalities. Eric’s first day is Monday, March 20."

The Observer extends a warm welcome from all the staff here at the Observer and urges fellow citizens to join in the welcome.

St. Patrick's Day is Friday;; A true Irish Tale; The history of "Woulfe"

Some years ago, I clicked on yahoo search for the name "Woulfe" and one of the only links was to a radio station in Florida. A Michael Woulfe was listed. So, I picked up the phone and asked for him.

"I want to speak with Michael Woulfe," I said. "Tell him a relative from Wisconsin is calling."

"I'm sorry, sir," the lady replied, "Mr. Woulfe is on the air right now, but he will call you back."

It seems that Michael Woulfe was the "Sly in the Morning" drive time radio broadcaster in Plantation, Florida.

When Michael called me, I mentioned that I had run across his web site, and that his picture looked very much like my brother. Besides, his voice was a duplicate of mine.

"Where is your family from?", he asked. "Templeglantin" I replied. "Ours is from Athea" he said. Well, they were very close towns, and in fact only a stone's throw.

To settle the matter, I just asked, " Are you 5ft. llin and 220 lbs. "Yes" was his reply. "Do any of you run"? No was his response. "O.K. you are related. I am the only Woulfe that has ever run. yo.

With that short conversation, he began a search of birth records including two personal trips to Ireland and found the connection. Out of that short visit came a worldwide search to put the family back together VIRTUALLY, and there have been studies from as far away as Australia of various branches.

Out of the search, worldwide, came my discovery of a namesake, Richard Woulfe that lived very close, but because of a step relation was not known to me. It has been wonderful to meet him and share in his wit, and meet his family. He looks very much like my father. His jokes are dry, just like dad's. Meeting him has been wonderful for the Woulfe men.

So----in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I want to send greetings to the Woulfe family worldwide.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rewrite

What is the number one goal of the Evansville School District for the current academic year? Yes. Very good class. To Improve Student Writing.

You must know that one of the most difficult aspects of the writing of The Observer, is hearing from my editorial staff that there might be a flaw of some sort in an article that I have written. It is difficult indeed to hear this from an outsider, a blogger from the net, but to hear it from your own staff cuts to the bone. The term REWRITE” is very hard to hear. In fact there are other variations of the word that are hard to hear-------like REDO or……REFIGURE……or RECALCULATE…..or in kid slang---GO FIGURE

There is a real rush of excitement with the new technology now to publish as soon as one has written something. That is an impulse that can be deadly indeed.

To fight off the rush to publish, I have brought back to life an old Apple Ibook and write the first draft on it. That slows me down a little. Publishing to the net is a few more steps then. The perfect thing is if a good night sleep comes between the writing and the publishing. Such a problem. These are the types of problems that writers of old dreamed of.

So, when my editors come home at night, and review what I have done, and point out a fatal flaw here and there, I just cannot say, “That is a done deal. It CANNOT be changed. It just has to be that way. There is NO other choice about it. “

If I ever hint of such inflexibility, my editorial crew just chants-------NOT.

Or, they say, “ It’s just easy to correct…Here’s how…”

SO----I am just a little impatient when I am dealing with our school board or our city government or DOT or any level of government that tells me that that the numbers just have to be that way----or that it has been all decided in private and there is no time for other consideration because the decision must be made now……and besides the accountants are on vacation..

I keep hearing the voices of my kids------Dad---it’s easy to fix it…click,…click….click….

Yes….it is time to confront it. REVISE----REWRITE----REDO---REFIGURE-----RECOMPUTE-----

Whether it is great writing or great budgeting----it is required. It is not optional.

Evansville Redevelopment Authority Minutes--2-28-2006

Evansville Redevelopment Authority

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, February 28, 2006, 7:30 PM

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

MINUTES
Chairperson Hagen called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM. Present were Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Betsy Ahner, and John Decker. Ald. Aikman, Ald. Anderson, and Dean Arnold were absent. James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, Bill Connors, Executive Director, and David Wartenweiler, City Building Inspector, also were present.

The agenda was approved as presented by the executive director.

Motion by Decker, seconded by Ahner, to approve the minutes of the January 19, 2006, regular meeting as presented by the executive director. Motion passed.

Citizen Appearances Other Than Agenda Items Listed

Roger Berg gave an update on the Eager Building aka Economy Store project. The engineer’s opinion is that the bricks on the front fa├žade moved to their current position a long time ago because of a lack of expansion joints and can be stabilized for a reasonable amount of money. The architect is working on blueprints.

Unfinished Business None.
New Business
The commissioners discussed the “pay back” provision in section 5 of the agreement with Triple B Investments regarding the Badger Coach Building. The full market value of the improvements was supposed to increase by $150,000, but instead it increased by only $86,746 (the assessed value of the improvements increased by $102,900. Roger Berg and Matt Brown of Triple B Investments participated in the discussion. They would prefer to make annual payments to fill in the gap in the anticipated tax increment rather than pay back a lump sum. Motion by Eager, seconded by Decker, directing the executive director to redraft section 5 of the agreement to provide for annual payments of the difference between the actual tax increment and anticipated tax increment and to have the redrafted text reviewed by the city attorney. Motion passed.

The commissioners discussed whether making a building comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act should be a prerequisite for the Redevelopment Authority to provide assistance. Executive Director Connors distributed copies of a letter from the city attorney’s office summarizing the requirements of the ADA on private property owners. David Wartenweiler, City Building Inspector, summarized the requirements of the ADA. Not all changes to a building trigger the requirement to make the building ADA accessible, and even if the requirement is triggered, making the building ADA accessible is not mandated if the cost of complying is large compared to the cost of the alterations (i.e., more than 20% of the cost of the alterations). The Pete’s Inn project probably did not trigger the requirement to make the building ADA accessible, whereas the Farnworths’ project at 12–14 E. Main St. probably will. James Otterstein pointed out that the Redevelopment Authority’s current policy requires applicants to comply “with all applicable City policies, rules, codes, regulations, statutes,” and the city building inspector enforces the ADA for all modifications of buildings in the city, so the current policy includes compliance with the ADA. The list of criteria recently added to the policy includes the following: “Make property accessible for persons with mobility limitations.” John Decker said that if making the building ADA compliant were a part of every project the Redevelopment Authority assisted, the Authority would be able to assist few projects. However, the commissioners said they will inquire about ADA compliance during discussions with applicants about future projects.

The commissioners discussed whether the application form should require the executive director to calculate the net present value of the anticipated stream of tax increment from a project, and if so, what assumptions he should use about variables such as rate of increase in market value, if any, after completion of the project and rate of decrease, if any, in the tax rate. Mr. Connors provided spreadsheets prepared by Ehlers & Associates for the Eager Building project to show examples of how changes in these variables affect the net present value of the anticipated stream of tax increment. Dick Woulfe, 255 E. Main St., suggested that the city should not promise positive financial results from the Eager Building project, but instead should stress its importance to the vitality of the downtown. Based on a suggestion my Mr. Otterstein, the commissioners instructed Executive Director Connors to research the inflationary increase in property values and changes in the tax increment tax rate over the last 20 years in Evansville to provide a basis for assumptions about the property-value inflation rate and decreasing tax rate.

The commissioners informed Executive Director Connors that the city engineer had decided that some front store entrances could be made ADA compliant without sidewalk ramps during the 2007 Main St. reconstruction project, so there was no need to make a motion regarding that issue.

Motion by Eager, seconded by Ahner, to go into closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. Sec. 19.85(1)(e) to discuss possibly pursuing the purchase of or acquisition of options to purchase property located within TID No. 5, subject to approval by the Common Council. The motion passed unanimously on a roll call vote at 8:45 PM.

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

The meeting adjourned at 9:22 PM.

Prepared by

William E. Connors, Executive Director

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

The Heart of the Matter

Some years ago. Four I believe. There was a celebration. It was a celebration of transition, achievement, exhaustion and exhileration. It was held in the gym of the old Evansville High School or the new Intermediate school. All the local politicians were there as well as the color guard. Former Supr. Albrecht had planned the celebration to aid the transition of young Evansville students to their new school. The end of the construction was in view. Time to take off the hard hats. Time to begin the celebration.

I got to the event a half hour early. Got the time wrong. The gym was empty. I wondered. I was told, "The kids will sit on the floor."

Soon the kids began to file in. Led by the teachers of their class and sat in military precision. They seemed to be making the transition just fine. No trauma that I could see. In fact, they seemed to be taking the new facilities as conquering heros. Yes. It was going to be a real party.

Soon the whole auditorium was filled. Every student in the whole district was there it seemed to me. The band played the national anthem. The Mayor welcomed the dignitaries. Supr Albrecht did the formal welcome and thanked all for their efforts. He tried to explain and then choked up in the effort to explain what the costs of the new building had been, and what the achievement meant for him and the community.

Then he simply said. "Now I would like to turn the program over to Mr. Steve."

The whole auditorium erupted in applause. Mr. Steve walked to the mike and strummed the old guitar to see if it was o.k. It was just fine.

Then he said, "Let's begin with the "The Grove Song." Do you all remember the words?"

"YES," they chanted. YES!

As the song began, I noticed that EVERY child in the auditorium knew EVERY word. As the second verse began, they even began to use hand movements. It was a little like the "hand jive." "Wow," I thought. This is just like an Elvis concert. It's a real happening.

"He must have taught every child," I thought.

Yes, that is the heart of the matter.


this is an audio post - click to play



Re:Mailbag: Diamond 1 writes: New comment on RE: Supr. Carvin Responds re: School Board meeting story--Monday

--- diamond1 wrote:

---------------------------------

Madison recently offered opportunity to anyone living
in the school district to participate in a
priority-setting activity. I don't know if the results
were used, or will be, but it provided some valuable
input for the district administration.

When the Evansville school board decided on a
referendum for a new high school, there were many
meetings, which many people attended. During the
planning of the school, citizen involvement allowed
for ideas, discussion, and ultimately a wonderful
school building.

Maybe we need to hold more public debate, so that the
board and administration can have a better sense of
what the community wants - and doesn't want - our
school to offer.

Posted by diamond1 to Evansville Observer at
3/16/2006 07:05:48 AM

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ms. Sorteberg Speaks on Half Day Kindergarten cuts

this is an audio post - click to play

The Supr. Carvin Report---April School Board--Audio blogger

(Click on the post for the detailed printed report from Monday. Click on the audio for Supr Carvin's remarks to the board on Monday night.)

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

this is an audio post - click to play

"The Budget Gap"

Well, budget time is here again. No---I am not talking about the school or the city, but right here in our own home. We have been doing a lot of sharing of feelings about that "gap." There is even a rule that we switch to "decaf coffee" during the discussion.

Anyway, this budget "gap" discussion in our home has been going on for 27 years. A long time ago, I had been to a seminar somewhere about "group process technique" and decided to try out the new fangled ideas. I ventured to share those ideas with my fiance. I said, "Just write your dreams down on a sheet of paper. I will write my dreams down on a sheet of paper. Then we will merge the list and each separately number the dreams from 1-50. Then we will get the composite priorities.

"All my dreams?" she asked.

"No, just the ones that involve money." Since money was a big part of a lot of the dreams, a lot of dreams were on those lists.

I have promised not to go over the differences in those two lists. However, I do remember one funny difference. She had listed life insurance as number 5 and I had listed it as number 35. (Her dad was a life agent). Over the years though, we have agreed on where this stands on the list.

So-----we have different "gaps"----the gap between what we dream of and what we have to spend. Lots of companies and yes other organizations have "gaps" depending on what THEY dream of. Only when the discussion has been COMPLETED is the "gap" decided-----NOT before.

During "Open Government" or Sunshine Week---this week---we celebrate citizens joining in on the discussion. The Observer celebrates their input and their discussion.

Re: PRESS RELEASE: CUUE announces new blog site

--- Fred Juergens <FredJuergens@charter.net> wrote:

> For immediate release:
> ---------------------------------------
> Citizens United of Union/Evansville (CUUE) has a
> new blogsite on the
> internet: http://wisconsinpolitics.org/cuue.html.
> CUUE embraces this
> new method of communicating with our community; we
> invite visitors to
> the blog to comment on our postings. An open
> dialogue among citizens
> is one of the cornerstones of democracy.
>
> CUUE is a grassroots organization whose goals are to
> provide education
> and engage in appropriate political action on isues
> affecting the
> citizens of the Evansville, Wisconsin area --
> whether those issues are
> local, state-wide or national.
> -----------------------------------------
>
>
> For more information, please contact:
> Fred Juergens, Chairman, Citizens United of
> Union/Evansville
> at either of two email addresses:
> citizensunitedue@hotmail.com or
> fredjuergens@charter.net
> or at 608-882-2489
>

Janesville Schools struggle with budget cuts of 1.8 Million dollars

Click on the post for and article from Channel 15 on the budget session of the Janesville Schools of last Monday night.

"Fred" has the thought for the day; On Honey or Vinegar

Just in time for the election season, "Fred" has some thoughts on the interactions between citizens and their elected officials or candidates.

Click on the post and enjoy.

"Grumps" has the scoop on "Real" and "Virtual" Candidate Forum on Sat, Mar. 25th

The famed blogger "Grumps" has the scoop on the Real and Virtual "Ask the Candidate" Forum on March 25th at the Eager Free Public Library.

Yes---at the very opening of the forum, I will ask the famous question, "Will the real "Grumps" please stand up?"

Be there. See if you can pick him out in the crowd.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Agenda: Redevelopment Authority: March 2006

Evansville Redevelopment Authority
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, March 21, 2006, 7:00 PM
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin

AGENDA

Call to order.

Roll call (Chairperson Hagen, Vice-Chairperson Eager, Ald. Aikman, Ald. Anderson, Betsy Ahner, Dean Arnold, and John Decker).

Approval of agenda.

Motion to approve minutes of February 28, 2006, regular meeting as presented.

Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed.

Public hearings (not applicable).

Unfinished business.
Discussion and possible motion regarding provision in redevelopment agreement with Triple B Investments LLC for return of a portion of the grant for enhancements to the Badger Coach building at 133 N. Madison St. if the full market value of the improvements was not as much as provided in the agreement.

New business.
Discussion of why the property at 357 Union St. was not included in the enlargement of TID No. 5 in 2005 and whether TID No. 5 should be enlarged to include this parcel.
Upon the proper motion and approval vote, the Redevelopment Authority will convene into closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. Sec. 19.85(1)(e), deliberation or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reason requires a closed session, and will not reconvene into open session. During the closed session, the Redevelopment Authority will discuss possibly pursuing the purchase of or acquisition of options to purchase property located within TID No. 5, subject to approval by the Common Council.

Motion to adjourn.

Bill Connors, Executive Director

Minutes: Plan Commission: March 2006

Plan Commission
Regular Meeting
Tuesday, March 6, 2006, 6:00 P.M.
City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI

MINUTES

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Ringhand at 6:00 PM. Present were: Mayor Ringhand, Ald. Aikman, Ald. Hammann, Cheryl Dickert, Gil Skinner, Dave Sauer, and Jeff Vrstal. Staff present: Tim Schwecke, City Planner; Bill Connors, City Administrator; and Jim Beilke, Clerk/Treasurer. Ald. Cothard and Sornson were present in the audience.

Approval of Agenda.
The consensus was to move agenda item 7(D), Preliminary Land Division Application, after agenda item 5, Citizen Appearances. The amended agenda was approved.

Approval of Minutes.
Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to waive the reading of the February 6, 2006 Minutes and approve them as printed. Motion carried.

Citizen Appearances Other Than Those Agenda Items Listed. None.

New Business
Ald. Hammann introduced the preliminary land division application to divide the subject property off of Water Street – Tom and Tracy Gibbs (Application #2006-7). Tracy Gibbs asked Commission to table this item.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to recommend to the Common Council the approval of the division of the subject property into the lots as shown on the preliminary CSM, based on a finding that the land division is environmentally sound and there are adequate public facilities available to meet the needs of the land division, provided the conditions listed in the staff report (and other conditions as may be imposed by the Commission) are met prior to recording the final CSM with Rock County.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to table the application until additional information is provided to show the land division is environmentally sound. Motion passed.

Unfinished Business.
Mr. Schwecke led the discussion regarding amendments to the City’s floodplain regulations so as to be consistent with state and federal requirements. Ald. Hammann and Aikman agreed to be sponsors. Ald. Hammann discussed the possibility of prohibiting manufactured homes in the floodplain area (listed on page 7 and 28 of the draft ordinance). Mr. Schwecke said state law prohibits the city from banning manufactured homes from parts or the entire city, but the city can establish design standards for all houses, including manufactured homes, that would force manufactured homes within the city to be more consistent with houses. Ald. Hammann discussed the possibility of prohibiting private sewer systems in the floodplain area (listed on page 9 of the proposed ordinance). Mr. Sauer recommended not prohibiting private sewer system but making them comply with the building codes.

Mr. Schwecke led the discussion regarding the repeal of a state requirement that county shoreland zoning applies to lands annexed in a city or village. If the governor signs the bill, property owners in the city would not be restricted regarding location of buildings or removal of vegetation near a stream or lake. The city could adopt its own ordinance regarding lot size and building setbacks from a stream or lake, and the city’s ordinance could be less restrictive than Rock County’s ordinance, which is more restrictive than state law. Mr. Schwecke recommended that the city review its ordinance regarding shoreland zoning.

New Business.
John Morning presented the preliminary land division application for a two-lot division on Brown School Road (Application #2006-4). Mr. Morning does not want this project to be responsible for the drive-by lane on HWY 14 as recommended in the staff report (item 7), because he has no control of the subject land.

Mr. Schwecke recommended several conditions for approval as listed in his report: (1) Comply with all provisions of chapter 110 of the Municipal Code and state law; (2) Place the following notation on the face of the final CSM, “Depending on the zoning district classification(s) of adjoining parcels, it is possible that a bufferyard may be required along one or more of the property boundary lines to comply with city zoning standards. Where required, the bufferyard shall be installed when the parcel is develop;” (3) Submit a copy of the easement to the city for review and approval that will be filed with Rock County for the shared access between lots 2 and 3 and an easement between lots 1 and 2. At a minimum, the easements shall address long term maintenance of any roadway built within the easement and the rights and responsibilities of each party; (4) Depict intra-block drainages, if any, on the final CSM with arrows indicating the direction of flow along with the following notation, “Arrows indicate direction of drainage swale construction during grading and such swales shall be maintained by the lot owner, unless modified with approval of the city engineer;” (5) Obtain written authorization of the proposed subdivision from the public works department and the water and light department; (6) All on-site electrical, telephone, and cable service shall be placed underground; (7) The following notation shall be placed on the face of the final CSM, “If a commercial building is constructed on Lot 2 or Lot 3, it shall only be occupied when the City Council determines that necessary intersection improvements at J. Lindemann Drive and US Highway 14 have been completed or will be completed within nine (9) months of such occupancy.” Mr. Schwecke recommended item 7 to deal with problems associated with increased traffic in this area. Mr. Schwecke recommended item 3, so that maintenance of the road is clearly the property owners.

The Plan Commission discussed how to move this project forward and maintain public safety at the intersection at J. Lindemann Drive and US Highway 14. This project will bring in new businesses to this area and increase traffic at this intersection. Currently, the intersection is dangerous and needs a drive-by lane, or four-way intersection that includes a drive-by lane, to improve public safety. The land needed for the drive-by lane is in the Town of Union and is owned by D&D Development. Mr. Morning tried to purchase the land for the drive-by lane from D&D Development and was turned down. D&D Development has filed an application to annex the land into the city. Mr. Morning does not want his project tied to the drive-by lane because he does not have the ability to acquire the land. The city does though condemnation. Roger Berg, 75 Exchange St., recommended that the city start condemnation after 60 days if the land is not annexed. The Plan Commission discussed whether there could be circumstances that might delay annexation of the property and how approving this project would exacerbate the dangerous intersection situation.

Ald. Hammann noted that payment of the deferred assessment, if any, for Lift Station No. 5 should be added to the motion.

Mayor Ringhand opened the public hearing at 7:01 PM. Ald. Sornson favors moving the project along and starting condemnation after 90 days if the land for the drive-by lane is not annexed. Ald. Cothard reported the developer would miss this construction season if the project does not start soon. He favors approving the preliminary land division application and securing the land for the drive-by lane at a later date. Scott Rogers, 13349 W. Northfield Crossing, stated the Town of Union told him the land that is the subject of the land division is “unbuildable” due to the proximity to the gravel pit. He expressed concerns about what type of businesses where going in the new mall and how businesses would affect his neighborhood. Mayor Ringhand closed the public hearing at 7:05 PM.

Mayor Ringhand reported the land that is the subject to the land division has been zoned commercial for many years. She favors tabling the matter for 30 days to see how far D&D Development progresses with its annexation during those 30 days. The consensus was to move the project along and bring a final answer to the issue of acquiring the additional right of way for the drive-by lane within 30 days.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to recommend to the Common Council the approval of the division of the subject property into the lots as shown on the preliminary CSM, based on a finding that the land division is environmentally sound and there are adequate public facilities available to meet the needs of the land division, provided the conditions listed in the staff report and the following additional conditions are met prior to recording the final CSM with Rock County: (1) within the next 30 days, the City Administrator must negotiate with D&D Development a written purchase agreement for the additional right of way for drive-by lane, and if that fails the city should move forward with condemnation of the additional right of way and (2) the applicant must pay for the deferred assessment, if any, for Lift Station No. 5. Motion passed 6-1 on a roll call vote, with Mr. Vrstal voting against.

Mr. Morning presented the conditional use application for a group development on a single parcel on Brown School Road (Application #2006-5). Two multi-tenant commercial buildings are proposed.

Mr. Skinner raised the issue that many types of businesses could occupy these proposed buildings. Some business, such as a restaurant, would have to apply for an additional conditional use permit according to the Municipal Code.

Mayor Ringhand opened the public hearing at 7:42 PM. Mr. Rogers expressed concerns about how a restaurant would adversely affect the neighborhood. Mayor Ringhand reported that any restaurant would be required to apply for a conditional use permit from the Commission, and any concerns could be addressed then. Mayor Ringhand closed the public hearing at 7:44 PM.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, and to act on the application (not defer to a later date). Motion passed unanimously on a roll call vote.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to approve the application based on the findings as contained in the staff report and the conclusion that the public benefits of the proposed use outweigh any and all potential adverse impacts, if any. Motion passed.

Mr. Morning presented the site plan application to construct two multi-tenant commercial buildings (strip mall) on Brown School Road (Application #2006-6). This project will bring in new businesses, create jobs, and increase tax base. Mr. Morning reported that the project will be phased, and this site plan application is for both buildings.

Mr. Schwecke recommended applicant (1) obtain approval from the city engineer for stormwater and drainage and (2) add a four-foot wide band of masonry on the back of the building at the southeast corner so as to wrap the corner in masonry.

Mr. Morning said the rear elevation drawing in the packet contains an error—it was not supposed to show any masonry on the rear of the building, because the rear of the buildings is not visible and masonry adds cost. Additionally, he wants the sidewalk under the canopy of the building. The site plan shows the landscaping under the canopy and the sidewalk next to landscaping beyond the canopy. The consensus was to move the sidewalk under the canopy and move the landscaping from under the canopy to a raised landscaping bed along the drive-thru lane. Commissioners noted that a light plan and sign permit needed approval for this site plan. Commissioners raised the issue of requiring sidewalks by the street, so that customers could walk to the businesses in the strip mall. Mr. Morning reported there are no sidewalks on the properties to the west of the subject property on the same side of Brown School Road. Thus, any sidewalk on the subject property would dead end. Currently, the city is negotiating with the other property owners in this area to put in sidewalks. The consensus was the applicant must agree to build sidewalk connections on subject property when the adjacent property owners put in their sidewalks.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to approve the site plan application (including both buildings) with the following conditions: (1) No masonry on the rear sides of the buildings except a 4-foot-wide vertical band of masonry on the southeast corner of the first (southwest) building; (2) Obtain approval from the city engineer for stormwater and drainage; (3) Submit a lighting plan to the city engineer for approval; (4) Submit a sign permit application for approval; (5) Move landscaping away from the fronts of the buildings to a raised landscaping bed along the drive-thru lane; and (6) Applicant must construct sidewalk along Brown School Road when sidewalk is constructed on properties to the west on the same side of Brown School Road. Motion carried.

Roger Berg presented the zoning code map amendment for 351 Union Street (Application #2006-10). This amendment to change the zoning to Community Business District (B-3) is consistent with the recent Future Land Use Map amendment. Mr. Berg reported the current plan is to leave the residential house alone and use the backyard for a commercial use—expansion of the parking lot for Symdon Chevrolet.

Mayor Ringhand opened the public hearing at 8:34 PM. Ald. Sornson expressed support of local businesses and favors passing the motion. Mayor Ringhand closed the public hearing at 8:35 PM.

Motion Hammann, seconded by Skinner, to recommend to Council the adoption of Ordinance #2006-4 as drafted based on the findings contained in the staff report and on the conclusion that the public benefits of the proposed zoning classification outweigh any and all potential adverse impacts, if any. Motion passed.

Mr. Schwecke presented the subdivision code text amendment to revise the requirements for setting the fee in lieu of parkland dedication. He reported that the Commission wanted to adjust the way we set park dedication fees by averaging the percent change of the last three years, which is presented in the proposed ordinance. He prepared the ordinance amending the Municipal Code relative to parkland dedications and resolution establishing fees in lieu of making park and recreation land dedication. Mr. Connors reported we could incorporate cost of land and equipment to build a park and divide the cost by among the lots in new subdivisions.

Mayor Ringhand opened the public hearing at 8:41 PM. No one appeared. Mayor Ringhand closed the public hearing at 8:42 PM.

Motion by Hammann, seconded Sauer, to recommend to Council the approval of Ordinance #2006-5, amending the Municipal Code relative to Parkland Dedications, as drafted. Motion passed.

Ald. Hammann led a discussion regarding a resolution of the Evansville Common Council setting a new fee in lieu of park dedication for April 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007. He wants a new formula for park dedication by January 1, 2007.

Motion by Hammann, seconded by Sauer, to recommend to Council the approval of Resolution #2006-2, establishing fees in lieu of making park and recreation land dedication, as drafted, with the an amendment that a new formula for park dedications be in place by January 1, 2007. Motion passed.

Mr. Schwecke led a discussion regarding 2005 Wisconsin Act 112, which revises state statutes relating to local ordinances governing the reconstruction of a damaged structure. State law was changed last week relative to how local zoning regulations treat nonconforming structure if they are damaged or destroyed. The Plan Commission recently adopted an ordinance allowing nonconforming structures to be reconstructed. There are minor differences between the text in the recently amended Municipal Code regarding reconstruction of nonconforming structures and the new state law. The new state law did not deal with reestablishing nonconforming uses in damaged or destroyed structures, which was an additional subject matter addressed in the recent ordinance. Mr. Schwecke recommended that the city adopt an ordinance making the Municipal Code consistent with the new state law. Ald. Hammann and Sornson agreed to sponsor the ordinance.

Mr. Schwecke led a discussion regarding landscaping and bufferyard requirements. He reported the landscaping and bufferyard provisions of the Municipal Code lack flexibility, and it was problematic applying them. He recommends incorporating more flexibility in the code by establishing when and how the city can deviate from the standards, so that the code would provide both certainty and flexibility. The Commission instructed staff to revise the landscaping code.

Preliminary Development Presentations. None

Report of the Evansville Redevelopment Authority.

Report of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission.

Report of the Evansville Large-Scale Commercial Development Study Committee.
Mayor Ringhand reported the Committee has a rough draft ordinance, regulating large-scale development, and will hold a public hearing on April 20, 2006.

City Planner’s Report.
Mr. Schwecke reported some of the architectural design standards might be integrated into the work of the big-box study committee. The issue regarding Tom Nonn was turned over to the city attorney.

Adjournment
Motion by Hammann, seconded Skinner, to adjourn, carried. The meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM.

Prepared by:
James A. Beilke
City Clerk/Treasurer

The Minutes are not official until approved by Plan Commission at the next regular meeting.

Supr. Carvin Explains Impact of Revenue Caps on Half-Day Kindergarten

this is an audio post - click to play

Gazette Corner: Gina Duwe reports on Evansville Half-Day Kindergarten Issue

Click on the post for the story in the Janesville Gazette regarding the Half-Day Kindergarten issue as it occured at the Evansville School Board meeting last night. Enjoy.

RE: Supr. Carvin Responds re: School Board meeting story--Monday

(The Observer has corrected the social studies salary
amount as mentioned in Supr. Carvin's email. The gap has been termed "relatively small rather than very,very small. Further
correction on the "gap" may be made in the Observer
article after reviewing spreadsheet analysis of the "gap" and how
it is computed as well as the audio recording of the
meeting. The essence of the debate at the meeting is the impact of the cut. As to dollars and as to the kids. That is an essential difference and the Observer hoped to capture the difference of opinion in this regard. )

--- "Carvin, Heidi" <carvinh@evansville.k12.wi.us>
wrote:

> Richard,
> It looks like you have several errors!
> In particular, I don't know how you can leap to the
> conclusion that
> "So---the bottom line is that the apples to apples
> comparison is that
> BEFORE any discussion of the half day kindergarten
> program is begun---
> the budget gap is VERY SMALL and can be remedied."
>
> First of all, it is not the intention that the
> elimination of the stand
> alone half day kindergarten program will be of much
> help this year at
> all. It is the benefit over the next three years
> that is significant.
>
> The amount saved this year by eliminating the stand
> alone half day
> kindergarten option is quite small. Because of how
> the Revenue Cap is
> calculated, we don't receive the full benefit until
> three school years
> out. This item isn't on the list so much because of
> what it saves this
> year, but how it will help minimize cuts next year
> and the following
> year. We have had to cut $130,000 to $170,000 each
> year. Saving $43,440
> next year and $69,504 every year after that would go
> a long way towards
> avoiding other cuts.
>
>
> The total amount I am look for on a list of possible
> budget cuts is
> $210,000 (Not $184,000) This amount will provide
> decision making options
> as we deal with increasing "Costs to continue" under
> the revenue cap
> limits and provide options to make the decision
> about whether or not to
> add the high school social studies position, replace
> the FACE position
> or the K-2 Gifted and Talented/Reading Support
> position. Without the
> additional high school social studies position,
> class sizes will average
> 35 which means some sections will be at 40. Our
> rooms are not even built
> for these high class sizes. Without the FACE
> Position, the 230 students
> in our FACE courses will need to go elsewhere which
> will cause class
> sizes to escalate even more than the 2 student
> average increase we saw
> this year across our departments and will see again
> next year. Without
> the elementary GT/Reading position 450 students will
> have their services
> cut back. These needs have to be balance against the
> wishes of 8 parents
> who want an option of a stand alone half day program
> that virtually no
> other districts in our area are still able to
> provide.
>
> Several of the items on the list are ideas that we
> will not be able to
> act on until high school course registration is
> complete and IEP's are
> done. This is one reason the list has be
> considerably higher than the
> $210,000 target so that as more information is
> available we can consider
> which items can actually be acted on.
>
> The only items we can be sure of at this point are:
> Phone charges $6400
> Operating budget reductions $74645
> Eliminate Printing the calendar $1500
> Professional Development committee and Reader
> stipends $2500
> Which total only $85,045
> This is far short of the $210,000 target.
>
> While the SAGE aid/Voucher compromise has been
> signed by the Governor
> DPI has not verified we will actually see the
> estimated $16,000 in
> increased revenue next year.
>
> You listened to the board discussion on raising
> fees, that additional
> $10,000 is still under consideration.
>
> The change in coverage for the middle school study
> hall at $10,854 is no
> more a done deal than anything else on this list.
> Our middle school is
> strong because our teachers have daily time to work
> and plan together to
> meet the needs of each child. By moving them into
> study hall supervision
> on a rotating basis, the time to meet will be cut at
> least in half.
>
> Before the Varsity assistant basketball coach
> position is eliminated,
> the board needs to provide direction that we will
> cut athletes in our
> programs. This is a major shift for our programs. So
> this $2420 is not
> solid.
>
> The .3 reduction in high school staffing is
> dependent on course
> enrollments. Since the enrollment will increase next
> year, we may not be
> able to reduce this amount. This won't be known
> until the April board
> meeting. So we can't count on that $25,939.
>
> We won't know if we will be able to reduce one
> special education
> assistant until the IEP's are completed between now
> and the end of the
> year. So that $29,728 cannot be counted on yet.
>
> All that being said, we are continuing to seek at
> other creative
> solutions and ideas that have a minimal impact on
> students and don't
> further decimate areas that have already taken the
> brunt of the cuts.
>
> Your final remark also has an error. We are
> estimating the cost of the
> Social studies position at $50,000 not $60,000.
>
> As to the section on the kindergarten discussion, I
> think you covered it
> quite well. My comment would be that while I am
> concerned any time a
> parent leaves our district because they are unhappy
> with how a decision
> we have made impacted their child, the implication
> that we will end up
> losing more revenue than we will gain is simply not
> born out by the
> experience of other district around us. I could not
> find a single
> district that after a few years of eliminating the
> half day program had
> more than one or two students still in half day. In
> requests for open
> enrollment to our district, we do not see a flight
> from other districts
> to get into our half day program.
>
> Quite frankly if some parents choose to pursue other
> options, the way
> our enrollment is projected to increase, the loss of
> these students
> might be a benefit. As you grasped in your article,
> we still need to
> find the other 2/3 for each new student each year.
> If the increase in
> enrollment is slower than we project so will be the
> anticipated costs.
>
> I wish that we didn't have to make these hard
> choices, I wish we could
> give every parent what they think is best for their
> children, but we
> have to make tough decisions and look out for all
> 1754 students in our
> district. To imply that finding the money to
> continue this half day
> program is a small matter, is simply not accurate.
>
>
>
> Heidi Carvin
> District Administrator
>
>
=== message truncated ===