Evansville Water: The Movie: Part 1

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Audio: Bernanke: (April 2008)

Nostalgia: Fed: Audio: Senator asks: Do you know more than they about CDO etc. The answer is telling.


MP3 File

Audio: Feb 2008: Bernanke testimony: Intro

Nostalgia Audio; Barney Frank in introduction to testimony of Chariman Bernanke lists the number one task of regulation and necessity of stopping the cascade of foreclosures----


MP3 File

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Economic Democracy Conference is Coming to Madison

Economic Democracy Conference Schedule Madison College – Madison WI, October 11 – 14, 2012 Thursday, October 11 3:00-5:00pm Registration; Getting Acquainted; Gathering with Refreshments 7:00-9:00pm Opening Ceremony History of Economic Democracy and where we are now Welcome: Nada Khader, Director of WESPAC Foundation, Board member of United for a Fair Economy Keynote: John Nichols, Washington correspondent of The Nation and associate editor of The Capital Times Friday, October 12 8:30am-12:30pm Economic Democracy: Theoretical Underpinnings Keynote: Gar Alperovitz, author of America Beyond Capitalism Panel: Presenting various aspects of Economic Democracy featuring Madison’s local initiative Stephanie Rearick , Director and founder, Dane County Timebank, Build for the World Laura Dresser, Associate Director, Center on Wisconsin Strategy Frank Emspak, Workers Independent News, UW School for Workers, Professor Emeritus Alex Jackimovicz, master electrician, Maine People’s Alliance Joel Magnuson, author of Mindful Economics and Approaching the Great Transformation Rashad Barber, Occupy activist, community organizer Jason Schreiner, Instructor of Environmental studies, U. of Oregon, President, Prout Institute 12:30-2pm Lunch time caucuses around important issues of Economic Democracy 2:00-3:15pm Workshops-session #1 3:30-4:45pm Workshops-session #2 To find the workshops offered during these sessions – search here. 7:00-9:00pm Policy and Political Initiatives Keynote Addresses: Ellen Brown, Public Banking Institute David Cobb, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, Move To Amend Saturday, October 13 9:00-10:45am Models and Grass Roots Initiatives Keynote Address: David Schweickart is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of three books and coauthor of one, his latest being After Capitalism (2002). Panel: Orland Bishop, founder and director of the ShadeTree Multicultural Foundation Suzanne Bowles, Alliance to Develop Power (Springfield MA) Anne Reynolds-University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, associate director 11:15-12:30pm Workhops-session #3 12:30-2:00pm Lunch time caucuses around issues of Economic Democracy 2:00-3:15pm Workshops-session #4 3:30-4:45pm Workshops-session #5 To find the workshops offered during these sessions – search here. 5:00-7:00pm Dinner, Networking, and Coalition Building 7:00-9:00pm Evening of Songs and Stories Raging Grannies, Forward Marching Band, Stephanie Rearick, and much more Sunday, October 14 Action Summit 9:00am Opening address: Dada Maheshvarananda, author, After Capitalism: Economic Democracy, Director PROUT Intitute of Venezuala 9:30am Facilitated group processes arising from the various discussions in the workshops and caucuses and from participant responses to evaluations. Details will follow soon. 11:30am Brunch 1:00-2:30pm Continued group processes and closing. Back to Top Donations Your tax-deductible donation supports our efforts to organize a conference in which participants can begin to forge a partnership to build a sustainable, just and equitable society. This conference is organized entirely by volunteers AND we have strived to keep the registation fees very affordable.

Planning Commission Meets Monday, Oct 1, 2012

NOTICE The regular meeting of the Evansville Plan Commission will be held on the date and time stated below at City Hall (Third Floor), 31 South Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance. City of Evansville Plan Commission Regular Meeting Monday, October 1, 2012, 6:00 p.m. City Hall (Third Floor), 31 South Madison Street AGENDA 1. Call to order 2. Roll call 3. Approval of agenda 4. Approval of minutes: Motion to waive the reading of the minutes from September 4, 2012 regular meeting and approve them as printed. 5. Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed 6. New Business a. Public Hearing concerning a proposed amendment to section 130-1302 of the zoning code concerning parking. i. Initial Staff Comments ii. Public Hearing iii. Plan Commissioner Questions and Comments iv. Motion b. Public Hearing concerning a proposed amendment to section 130-6 of the zoning code concerning definitions. i. Initial Staff Comments ii. Public Hearing iii. Plan Commissioner Questions and Comments iv. Motion c. Public Hearing concerning proposed amendments to sections 130-944 (requirements for all uses LL-R12), 130-964 (requirements for all uses LL-R15), 130-984 (requirements for all uses R-1), 130-1004 (requirements for all uses R-2), and 130-1024 (requirements for all uses R-3). i. Initial Staff Comments ii. Public Hearing iii. Plan Commissioner Questions and Comments iv. Motion d. Discuss potential ordinance edits concerning agricultural zoning districts (Chapter 130, Article V, Divisions 2, 3, and 4) and annexation regulations (Sections 130-172, 130-173, 130-674, and Chapter 16). i. Initial Staff Comments ii. Plan Commissioner Questions and Comments iii. Motion to Set Public Hearing 7. Report on other permitting activity by City Planner 8. Report on the Unified Land Development Code Committee 9. Report of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission 10. Report on Common Council actions relating to Plan Commission a. Discussion: proposed Community Development Director position. 11. Report on Board of Appeals actions relating to zoning matters 12. Enforcement Report 13. Next Plan Commission meeting date – Monday, November 5, 2012. 14. Motion to adjourn Mayor Sandra J. Decker, Plan Commission Chair Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible. Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mailbag: Vinehout Writes: "Respect Teachers"

Respect Teachers “How do I attract and keep the best teachers?” the school administrator asked me. “I’m losing my best teachers,” another said. The state’s school superintendents recently gathered for their state convention. I spoke to their convention and listened to their concerns during a break in the action. Many superintendents are concerned about the upcoming state budget. They told me if the state continues to short-change schools of needed cash, our schools will struggle to attract and retain qualified teachers. Already the state has experienced a significant loss of public school teachers. The Department of Public Instruction reported that Wisconsin’s 424 school districts lost a total of 1446 teachers. According to the Associated Press, Wisconsin had twice as many teachers retire in the first half of 2012 as compared to prior years. With the majority of the schools’ budget going to pay professionals, short-changing school budgets means direct cuts to teacher pay and benefits. This new round of cuts comes on the heels of many years of stagnant salaries and recent big cuts in benefits. Superintendents expressed concern about effective teacher evaluations. New ‘reforms’ require school districts to establish a continuous system of educator evaluations using multiple measures across two main areas: educator practice and student outcomes. But short staffing doesn’t allow the time needed to properly evaluate staff. “We are now expected to evaluate each teacher three times a year,” a rural administrator told me. “While this is a well-intentioned requirement, it just doesn’t recognize the reality of the leaner administration of most districts.” Most administrators with whom I spoke saw the exodus of qualified teaching staff as their biggest challenge. Much of the retention crisis is related to low morale amidst deep budget cuts. Recently State Superintendent Tony Evers echoed this concern in his State of Education address, “I’ve heard from too many educators who feel undervalued and under attack.” He shared some stories of teachers struggling with a culture that undervalues their work and blames them for state budget woes. One woman broke down in tears when Mr. Evers asked what advice she would give an aspiring educator. “These teachers, like every teacher, didn’t choose this profession for the pay or benefits, though they rightfully expect to make enough to raise a family like any professional does,” Evers said. “They chose this profession, like I did, because they love kids, they want to inspire a love of learning, they want to change lives.” “Every citizen in Wisconsin should be alarmed when teachers don’t feel valued and respected by their communities and their state. No other profession deserves more respect. No other profession is more responsible for securing our economic future,” Evers told the crowd in the Capitol Rotunda. “We will respect our teachers: write that 100 times,” wrote Marc Tucker of the National Center on Education and the Economy in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Mr. Tucker argues the best and brightest must become teachers. “There’s only one way to catch up to the countries that are beating the pants off us in the world’s education sweepstakes: ensure that every student in the country has a first-rate teacher. That is, in fact, the strategy that the top performing countries have been using.” These countries, Mr. Tucker writes, filled their schools with top-notch teachers by greatly raising the standards to get into teacher education programs (sometimes accepting only 1 out of every 8 applications); by requiring additional time for teachers to master the specific subjects they will teach; by giving teachers research skills so they become a part of improving curriculum and instruction and by mastering the subjects they will teach. And, he writes, “of course they have to pay their teachers well.” In most countries where students perform well, teachers are paid what beginning engineers are paid. “In the United States,” Tucker writes, “a large fraction of beginning teachers are paid a wage that doesn’t permit them to support a small family above the poverty line.” “If we put our shoulder to the wheel to fill our schools with great teachers, our children will once again top the world’s education league tables.” If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please let us know. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, reply with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 316 South - P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 Toll Free: (877) 763-6636 or (608) 267-2871

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mailbag: "Bear Trader" Writes

You said - "The pundits are now talking about the disparity of the Transports and the Industrials. They are saying that the numbers for Xmas are already in and it will not be pretty." I hear from personal sources that Christmas season stuff from China is rapidly backing up in the supply chain. Retailers are resisting as product isn't moving. Looks like a bad Christmas season for the Dollar Store type shopper The Baltic Dry Index is bumping along the bottom and the Harpex ocean shipping container index is very poor (the German shipping firms run a great many container ships and are reported to be in financial trouble. The WSJ says Greek shippers are buying back for pennies on the dollar container ships they sold to the Germans in '06 and '07. That kills the middle income Christmas shopper. FedEx says air freight sucks. That takes care of the upper income people.

Prepare for the Fiscal Cliff

The War is ending. The troops are coming home. Put on some Back to the 50's records. Make the transition to peace. The cuts to the military mean peace is close. Plan on it.

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/harmful-side-effects-antibiotics

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/harmful-side-effects-antibiotics

OpEd;: Back to the 50's: Waiting for Pres. Kennedy

Remember 1950? I have been trying to refresh my memories lately and have been listening to all the old Buddy Holly songs, Elvis, Ricky Nelson etc. But that was after the conversation of 1950 when the troops were coming home from the Korean War---folks were frustrated a little at the slow transition to peacetime employment. I remember the call, and the tears of joy when my dad was coming back from Korea. He was born in 1912, one of many older troops, who at 40 were beginning their peace lives. As a young boy just listening in, I remember the election where Jack Kennedy said he could "get this country moving again". What did that mean? In a nutshell, it had been ten years of adjustment from war to peace. And it would be five years till the 1965 Ford Mustang. So what? Pencil in 10 to 15 years from the time the boys come home from Afganistan as the time when we will adjust to a peace economy. Start when the troops are all home. Adjusting to peace is painful. Are YOU tough enough?

Public Works Meets Tonight--Tues, 9/25/2012

Public Works Committee Regular Meeting Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. DPW Shop, 535 South Madison Street, Evansville, WI AGENDA 1. Call meeting to order. 2. Roll call; 3. Motion to approve the agenda as presented. 4. Motion to approve the minutes from the August 28th, 2012 regular meeting 5. Citizen Appearances- 6. New Business- 7. Old Business- a. Thompson property offer: 8. Construction Updates- None 9. Site plan reviews- None 10. Communications from the City Engineer- a. Discussion in regards to map improvements. b. Update on Main St rail project – 11. Communications from the Public Works Director- a. Monthly Department Update- Trees, brush and street patching. b. DOT Madison St. billing and crack filling. 12. Parks and Recreation Report- 13. Motion to adjourn meeting. Mason Braunschweig, Chair Public Works Committee Please turn off all cell phones and electronic devices before meeting commences. If you have any special accessibility issues please contact Evansville City Hall at 608-882-2266 prior to the scheduled meeting. Thank you. T

Monday, September 24, 2012

Budget Presentations Coming Wednesday

Common Council Special Meeting – Budget Presentation Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 6:00 p.m. Creekside Place Community Center 102 Maple Street, Evansville, Wisc. Agenda 1. Call to order. 2. Roll call. 3. Approval of agenda. 4. Citizen appearances. 5. 2013 Capital and Operating Budget Presentations. Each department head and/or committee will present their preliminary capital and operating budgets. Presentations will include revenues and expenditures; each presentation is expected to run about 2 to 10 minutes depending on complexity and Q&A. The page listings refer to the Budget Worksheet dated September 21, 2012; all capital projects are on pages 43-49 and a separate handout. A. General Fund Revenues pg. 1-5 B. General Government: Council (p 6), Mayor (p 6), Legal Services (p 7), City Administrator (p 7), Accounting/Auditing (p 7-8), Assessor (p 8), Municipal Buildings (p 9), Other General Government (p 9-10) C. Finance pg. 8-9 D. Police Department pg. 10-12 E. Fire District pg. 12 and separate handout F. Pool and Park Store pg. 17-18 G. Youth Center pg. 18 H. Economic Development pg. 18-19 I. Miscellaneous: Support for Outside Programs (p 15-16), Baseball (p18), Planning (p 19), Preservation & Restoration (p 19). J. EMS pg. 21-23 K. Library pg. 24-27 L. Public Works • Building Inspector pg. 12-13 • Public Works, general pg. 13-15 • Recycling & Disposal pg. 14 • Parks Dept (maint.) pg. 16-17 • Cemetery pg. 28-29 • Wastewater Utility pg. 50-55 • Stormwater Utility pg. 56-58 M. Water & Light Utility pg. 59-76 N. TID #5-8 pg. 30-40 O. Debt Service pg. 41-42 P. Municipal Court pg. 6-7 6. Budget observations and recommendations by city administrator. 7. Adjourn.

Mailbag: Bear Trader: Is it the time to build a bearish ETF position to prepare for sharp sell off?

It depends on what you mean by a "sharp sell off". The retail investor is 90%+ out of the market. A "sharp sell off" nowadays won't be the gentle descent of 2007 - 2008 but instead be an algo driven mad shark feeding frenzy. Not months, but hours long. Maybe minutes. Not a fan of SOXS, FAZ, or TZA. Those triple inverse ETFs only track correctly for a few days at a time, and, if held, loose you money compared to an option. Day Trade them only. The algos are all over these leveraged ETFs and will eat your lunch. The volume charts are enough evidence this is so. Remember that an hour for you is a million hours for them - one hour for you is 115 YEARS for them. Newmont is not a "weeks or months" buy yet, the Big Boys ran it up following QEInfinity but it looks like the trading trend ("hours" to "days") is negative to me. I think it is a good stock that is not yet a buy. If you are willing to hold it through thick and thin I think you could be nicely in the money in two or three years. Since QEInfinity was priced into the market it looks to me that Mr. Market is waiting for the other shoe to drop. The elections are too close for anyone to stick his neck out. Also QEInfinity will have simply terrible "unforeseen" consequences. ("Unforeseen" except by Peter Schiff, Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, Doug Noland, Michael Burry, lots and lots of other financial world big shots, and me, I guess.) Speaking of QEInfinity I was optimistic that the FED would not do anything so stupid in any case whatever. Whenever I make mistakes they are lulus. And usually my mistake is to hold human nature in too high regard. Arrogant, conceited, stupid fools. Oh, yeah, QE has made the rich much richer, and the rest of us poorer. Just another tax on the little guy. Whenever you buy food or gasoline remember that the high prices are caused by the diluted dollar. Bernanke and his posse are trying to put out a burning city with fire hoses charged with gasoline. Or maybe they know what they are doing? That is a truly terrible thought.

"Driver in deadly Orfordville crash arrested for OWI" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Driver in deadly Orfordville crash arrested for OWI" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Wis. woman get 1 year for text-messaging crash" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Wis. woman get 1 year for text-messaging crash" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

http://www.gazettextra.com/weblogs/latest-news/2012/sep/22/wis-woman-get-1-year-text-messaging-crash/

http://www.gazettextra.com/weblogs/latest-news/2012/sep/22/wis-woman-get-1-year-text-messaging-crash/

OpEd: Firms leaving annuity business signals problems ahead:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2012/03/21/heeding-paulsons-advice-hartford-to-leave-annuity-business/# Recently Hartford Insurance announced they are leaving the annuity business. Also recently Sun Life announced as well as others. Why? Some of these firms have "guaranteed" returns for their products that they cannot produce and still make a profit. That is the problem. And that is the problem for retirees. The problem of the intervention of the Federal Government in forcing rates so low that at the same time that there is clearly risk, there is no yield for investors, puts all logic on it's ear. It is a prospect for retirees that it would take $4,000,000 in a retirement account yielding 1.5% to get a annual income of $45,000. Now do the math for how much you have in savings. Now you get the problem. I am convinced that the recent battle about pensions in Wisconsin was NOT about the past...It is about the future. Wisconsin has the best public retirement system in the nation. Its advisors are used as models for other investors who watch their every move. However...as in the advice in all investment literature---the past success does not guarantee future results. Few people listen to that mantra, including all the tv pundits that are predicting the future. There is currently a proposal to allow the WRS system to include private pensions so that ALL public and private employees could have the benefit of professional management of their pension. I like that idea. However, the problem of allowing market rates to rise to their natural level remains in the future..it will happen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mailbag: Vinehout Writes: "What is a Fair Tax?"

"What is a Fair Tax?" “The Fair Tax will take care of all the tax questions that have been proposed,” my friend in Osseo wrote. “Remember, I told you, this tax code is only 139 pages, compared to over 70,000 in the current one. You really should just take a look at what it is all about.” So I followed his advice and checked out the plan. The “Fair Tax” is a proposal to replace the current income, capital gains and payroll taxes with a 23% consumption tax on new goods and services: no exceptions. The Internal Revenue Service would go away. Workers and employers alike would not pay any tax on payroll - making wages less expensive for businesses. Medicare and Social Security would be funded through money brought in by the new federal sales tax. The proponents of the tax say it is simple, transparent and fair to everyone. Those opposed say it would raise the cost of everything we buy. The tax is transparent – you can see exactly how much you are going to pay. Your new car will cost nearly a quarter more; as will dog food and your prescription drugs. Every visit to the lawyer or insurance agent; every time you write a check; even your movie ticket and popcorn; you will be paying 23% more. But is this good tax policy? The tax is very transparent – everyone can see it on everything they buy; it is simple – which is its appeal. But is it fair? People of more modest means spend a greater proportion of their income buying things. If you are of modest means, much of your money goes to items like food, medicine, housing, and transportation. These are all ‘consumable’ and, under the “Fair Tax”, taxable. Most of us realize that as we make more money, we spend more money. But there is a limit to how much money one can spend on ‘things’ and the wealthy do not spend, proportionately, as much of their income on ‘consumables’. As one gains wealth, some of that wealth is invested - in real estate, stocks, business investments and financial instruments. These are not taxed as ‘consumable’ even though buying property as an investment is something someone does with income – just as buying food is something someone does with income. So the effect of a consumable tax is to shift the payment of taxes away from those with greater means to those with less means. The “Fair Tax” movement has spread to some states. Missouri, South Carolina and Arkansas all had proposals introduced to eliminate the corporate and personal income tax and replace them with a much-expanded sales tax. To help off-set the burden of this tax sometimes a rebate was included for low-income people. We can learn from other states about how fair a “Fair Tax” might be. Tennessee for example has an expanded sales tax of almost 10% - although the rate is reduced for groceries. The effect of the tax is to make the poorest pay four times as much of their income as the wealthiest people. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Tennessee’s residents who are in the lowest 20% of income pay almost 12% of their income on taxes; while the top 1% of earners pay just 3.1%. ITEP ranks Tennessee as the 4th most regressive state tax system in the US. Just about everyone agrees taxes should be fair. But fair means so many different things to different people. One question to ask of tax changes is “how will the tax affect people at different levels of income?” If a “Fair Tax” system means moving in the direction of Tennessee, I’d say the “Fair Tax” is anything but fair. If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please let us know. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, reply with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 316 South - P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 Toll Free: (877) 763-6636 or (608) 267-2871

Evansville Administrator Overview; "Budget Starts with Revenue"

Much of the early stages of developing the city’s annual budget can take on a parochial  outlook. Each department or committee focuses on its piece of the budget in isolation;  the big picture comes later on when the Finance Committee and Common Council take a  comprehensive look at the budget as a whole.  Last week at Finance Committee and this week for Department Heads and for Common  Council, I presented a fiscal overview to give some of the broader context. This column  covers the highlights of my fiscal overview presentation. Budget as a Plan for Action I think it can be too easy to fall into a routine of viewing the budget as a once a year  exercise in number crunching. Maintaining financial control is an important function of the budget. We are required by state statute to have a balanced budget, and more  importantly we have a fiduciary responsibility to our taxpayers and customers. But we also use the budget to shape policy: for example, setting expectations for maintaining infrastructure or for hiring staff. We use the budget to set priorities. For example, the importance of quality of life and top notch services have been central  themes during recent Committee of the Whole meetings; these should be reflected in the  budget. We use the budget to improve organizational performance. The best example is our monitoring budget­to­actual variances throughout the entire year. And we use the  budget to provide long­term stability for the city’s finances. The budget is much more  than just a short­term, annual exercise. Budget Policies To ensure that long­term focus, we follow several policies when developing the budget. First and foremost: the budget starts with revenues. This message is so important that it  is in the Finance Committee and Department Head reference books, in fiscal  presentations, in newspaper columns, and I will keep repeating it to make sure it sinks in. The budget starts with revenues. This is the key to making sure we spend within our means. We maintain a structural balance in the budget. Although we are required to have a  balanced annual budget, we go beyond that with an eye toward being able to sustain the  budget in the long­term. The obvious example is to match one­time sources of money  with one­time uses. Grants or other donations are better used for individual projects or purchases rather than operations or staff which would continue to cost money every year after the grant. Another example is maintaining our assets, in particular infrastructure. In  a tight economy, we may be able to defer maintenance for a year or two, but it cannot  become a long­term approach. We also use the budget as a management tool. As mentioned earlier, we monitor variances throughout the year. We also allow Department Heads the flexibility to  combine or adjust individual line­items in their budgets so long as they stay within the  department’s overall budget and do not cause ongoing expenses or commitments. And  we formally consider budget amendments in the middle of the year and at the end of theyear. Our Department Heads are frugal in their own right, but I think these flexibility  features help to discourage spending to the budget – a problem common in some  municipalities. Financial Information My presentation provides some background information on historic tax rates, revenues and expenditures, and comparisons to other jurisdictions. I’m not going to repeat dry  statistics here today (maybe in a future column). However on an average property of $150,000, the city’s portion of the property tax bill would be $1,023. When looking at  what property taxes pay for police, fire, streets, library, parks, and other services, I think  we provide our taxpayers with a very good deal. Revenue Limits Our major sources of intergovernmental revenues are the shared revenue program, general transportation aid, and connecting streets program. These comprise a significant  portion of the general fund budget: close to $800,000. They have been prone to frequent  cuts over the last decade, including an $86,000 cut just last year. For much of the last decade we used growth in the tax base for a steady reduction in our tax rate. We operate under a very tight levy limit set by state law at zero percent or net  new construction. Zero is zero. And the net new construction would allow about $8,300  in new property tax levy for next year. This is a very small amount when compared to  the over $1.6 million levied for general operations. The state’s expenditure restraint program (ERP) is meant to encourage limiting increases in general fund operations regardless of the revenue source. By participating in ERP and  controlling our expenses, we receive a very helpful grant: just over $50,000 this year. It  is important for the city management to understand this program in an environment  where it can be easy to propose raising fees or fundraising. Fees and fundraising do play  important roles in portions of our budget, but we don’t want to jeopardize our ERP funds. Recommendations In preparation for the upcoming 2013 budget, I reviewed major cost drivers, particularly  where tax levy supported. We provide services, so personnel comprise a major portion of our operating expenses. There are wage increases in our union contracts, adjustments for staffing changes, health insurance premiums are anticipated to go up considerably, and  the formula for retirement contributions will have a significant increase for next year. In  the general fund alone, these personnel costs will exceed $55,000, varying across the  different departments. These added costs are offset by anticipated cost savings. Most notable is about $45,000  in reduced general obligation debt payments. Some projected savings in reduced  maintenance, energy, and computer expenses cover the balance. It is not an exact match, but I think close enough to call it a wash. We can afford the anticipated personnel  expenses without drastic cuts in operations. With the major expenses over which we  have limited control covered, I recommended Department Heads and committees use a“hold steady” budget target. Any increased operating expense should be matched with a  corresponding decreased expenses or new revenue source to keep in balance. We had a bit of a pause in major capital projects in 2011­2012. I recommended we  reinvigorate the city’s capital improvements plan (CIP) for systematic repair and upgrade of infrastructure. Having infrastructure projects identified in a five­year plan allows time  for planning, engineering, scheduling, and financing well in advance of potential capital  projects. With financing, it is particularly important to also consider cash on hand and to  balance debt payments with existing debt service projections. The Water & Light and  Public Works Superintendents and City Engineer have had a series of discussions to  evaluate potential projects. It is vital that we be both effective and efficient from the customer’s point of view, and I again recommended looking beyond the status quo. With a drive for excellence, we need  to be committed to continuous improvement. Recent examples of improved service  include the Public Works Department applying a salt brine prior to snowstorms in order  to reduce the time it takes to clear the streets; the Finance Department now accepting on­ line and by­phone payment of utility bills for better customer ease and convenience; and  paying bills on a weekly rather than monthly basis, consolidating our general and utility  accounts, and upgrading the accounting software to streamline processes and to eliminate  duplication of back office work. At the moment, we are waiting on a proposal to conduct revaluation of properties in the  city. By state law, each major class of property must be within ten percent of the full  value determined by the state Department of Revenue in a four year period. Our  commercial values are out of compliance at 86% of value. Furthermore, the assessor has commented that residential land values are off. Although awaiting the proposal, this cost  will likely be in the range of $40,000 to $80,000 (and need to be accomplished without  exceeding our budget limits). When the details are known, I expect to recommend this in  an amendment to the current 2012 budget. Conclusion We are listening. For your convenience, we’ve set an email address specifically for public budget suggestions: budget@ci.evansville.wi.gov. All suggestions will be  forwarded to the appropriate department, the Finance Committee, and the Common  Council. Department budget requests will be presented to the Common Council on Wednesday, September 26. Then the Finance Committee, Mayor, and I will recommend adjustments. The Common Council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, November 13, to consider  the recommended budget. Although we are looking at a tight budget, it is doable. And we are in very sound  financial shape and positioned well for the future.

Utlity Scam Alert

Evansville Water & Light urges customers to beware of identity theft scam Evansville Water & Light is alerting customers to beware of a fraudulent scheme claiming to offer help with utility bill payments. The identity theft scam—sometimes pitched as a ‘bailout’ authorized by President Barack Obama's administration—has been reported by utility companies and their customers in states around the nation. The fraudulent offer, which is known to be distributed by methods including email, social media, phone calls or door-to-door visits, promises that a federal government program is available to help pay utility customers’ bills. In some cases, the scammers claim to represent a local utility. Victims of the fake offer are asked to provide a social security number, credit card or banking information to enroll in the non-existent program, after which they are provided fraudulent bank account and routing numbers to use when paying their bills. When the fraudulent payments are discovered and removed, the customer is left with an unpaid bill and the risk of late charges and potential service disruptions. In the meantime, the scammers have gained personal information about the victim that could be used for the purposes of identity theft. Evansville Water & Light is not aware of any such fraudulent activity in the community at this time, but] is proactively warning customers to beware of any such offers. Evansville Water & Light encourages customers to never provide personal information that the utility company should already have. Customers with doubts about any caller, on-line contact or visitor claiming to represent Evansville Water & Light should call the utility at 882-2

Monday, September 17, 2012

"AG worries about union bargaining law" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"AG worries about union bargaining law" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Madison teachers union to demand contract talks" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Madison teachers union to demand contract talks" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Mailbag: Bill Connors Writes:

When I was City Administrator, I had my hands so full that I would not have had time to do the work of the Finance Director as well. Maybe times have changed. When I first started as City Administrator, the finance responsibilities were split between the Clerk (for the city) and the utilities' Finance Director. The Common Council granted my request to consolidate those responsibilities in the Finance Director position. So consolidating the City Administrator and Finance Director would combine the responsibilities of more than two positions. Feel free to post this comment on your website for me.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Economic Development moves to the front Burner

The blunt assessment of Jim Brooks and Mason Braunschweig at the Evansville Common Council meeting on Tuesday night (video on the Evansville Observer) signal a new intensity to recognize that the original economic development conference was in 2007---and that the objectives of that conference have not been realized...and to make the necessary adjustments to get some success.

Memories of 2007---a dedicated EconDev point person on the front burner

In 2007 there was a finance committee meeting where the guest speaker was the Downtown development person from Stoughton,Wisconsin. One of the committee members asked him whether it was possible for a community to succeed with development without a specified person. After a moment, he responded: NO. There was a bit of a gasp...since frank talk was somewhat foreign during those early days. And there was a bit of opposition to the notion that something other than a bunch of local businessmen deciding what is best... Five years later...He was correct...and the notion of the Common Council seems to be to proceed to get some success after a long wait from the Economic Development Conference of 2007.

Citizen questions governance of Evansville re Cats and Dogs

At the Evansville Common Council meeting on Tuesday night, a citizen rose and questioned whether the Evansville city administrator and mayor and police are dedicated to governing Evansville with respect to enforcing the ordinances regarding conducting the business of animal grooming from homes without the proper corporate formation. There have been complaints that have not been responded to. The matter was in the public comment period, and there was no response.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Judge strikes down Wis. law limiting union rights" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Judge strikes down Wis. law limiting union rights" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Mailbag: Theodore Robinson Society Meets Sunday

Hi Evansville Observer, Just wanted to remind you of the Theodore Robinson Annual Meeting that starts at 5:00 PM this Sunday at Creekside Place. There is a open reception for the Plein Air Art Exhibit that is closing this Sunday as well and that starts at 3:00 and all are welcome to that as well. Hope you can make it, Plein Air Art Reception Date: Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012 Time: 3-5 p.m. Reception 5 p.m. TR Society meeting Location: Creekside Place, 102 Maple Street, Evansville, WI Refreshments will be served! Earlier this summer over 20 area artists participated in the 1st Annual Theodore Robinson Plein Air Competition. They painted the outdoor beauty of Evansville, WI, and the surrounding area. The paintings are on exhibit at Creekside Place with many for sale. Please join in this reception for the artists. THEODORE ROBINSON SOCIETY From rather humble beginnings, one of Evansville’s residents achieved international fame as an impressionist artist. Theodore was considered a pioneer in American Impressionism. Since the 1880s, Theodore’s work has been shown in some of the finest galleries in the world. He was a friend and associate of world famous painters Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Auguste Renoir.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mailbag: Vinehout: Lawmakers Lectured on Taxes

Lawmakers Lectured on Taxes “We’ve really got a mess,” Todd Berry told the group. Lawmakers are “mucking up the tax code with a lot of stuff nobody uses.” Mr. Berry is the president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. He was among four experts who testified at a recent Symposia Series on State Income Tax Reform. I serve on the Steering Committee of this group and spent time this summer with my colleagues grappling with how to reform taxes. We learned Wisconsin’s tax code fails on many fronts. Chief among the failures is the unusual complexity of the state’s income tax. “Wisconsin has a more complex system than other states,” said Matt Gardener, the Executive Director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). “The complexity of the income tax makes people mad.” Wisconsin has over 70 different deductions, credits and exemptions buried in the tax code. Almost none of them are subject to cost benefit analysis. Mr. Berry told the group over the past 10 years the number of tax-breaks has doubled. Many of these tax credits pay people to do things they would have already done without being paid by the state. Take the Historic Rehabilitation Credit. Professor Andrew Resckovsky, a UW Madison economist, told the committee most people in his historic Madison neighborhood would put in a new furnace or fix the roof without the 25% tax credit they received from the state. “Would people have done this anyway?” he asked the lawmakers. “What is the public benefit? Is there a public benefit that outweighs the cost?” “Tax breaks are spending,” said Mr. Gardener. We need information on the success and failure of tax breaks. Lawmakers should ‘sunset’ tax breaks every 5 to 10 years. Then ask, “What is working and what is not?” Most tax breaks are passed with no time limit or ‘sunset’. “If you sunset the credits,” said Mr. Gardener, “You will not ask ‘which should I get rid of?’ you will ask, “which should I keep?’” I asked the experts how Wisconsin should move forward on tax reform. On this question there was surprising agreement among all of the presenters. The experts agreed we should simplify the tax code. This means few exemptions, deductions and credits. Joe Henchman, Vice President of the Tax Foundation, cautioned that there is a tension between tax rates and tax breaks: “If you fail to close tax breaks, you will have to raise rates.” Taxes should be economically neutral; treating one business-type the same as another. If you make the same as your neighbor, you should pay the same in taxes. “We want a tax that grows with the economy but is not volatile,” said Professor Reschovsky. Volatility or the up and down swings in revenue from the income tax can also be managed with proper budgeting – like using a ‘rainy day’ fund to save money in good times. A broad base in a tax reflects the whole economy as near as possible without carving out certain parts of our economy. Finally, with a broadened base, tax rates should be kept low. In this way, no one type of business or taxpayer unfairly bears a greater burden than another. My legislative colleagues often see tax breaks as somehow “free”. This is because tax breaks are not a line-item in the state budget. But reducing someone’s taxes means someone else pays more. In a free market economy, tax policy should not pick winners and losers. Lawmakers often seek to achieve policy goals through tax changes. An example of this is the very popular dairy modernization tax credit. Farmers can modernize facilities and lower their taxable income. The goal is laudable. It is in the state’s interest to have one of its key industries modernized. But the experts offered a new way of thinking. Perhaps we should put more money into grants that achieve our policy purposes and re-evaluate those grants every budget cycle. This way spending is much more transparent. As Mr. Henchman of the Tax Foundation said, “Ask yourself, ‘if it was a grant program would you appropriate this money?’” “Every ‘carve-out’ you do drives up the rates on everyone else. If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please let us know. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, reply with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 316 South - P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 Toll Free: (877) 763-6636 or (608) 267-2871

I and E Club Meets Tonight--9/12/2012

I&E Club Meets Sept. 12 with Global “Green” Consultant Before green meant more than a color, Steve Carlson was looking for ways to make buildings environmentally green. His practice has gone global, and he’ll address international consulting during a presentation to the Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club. Free and open to the public, the club meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Creekside Place, 102 Maple St., Evansville. Carlson is an engineer and entrepreneur with two businesses. After his presentation, guests will have time to network and enjoy refreshments, sponsored this month by Tom Calley, a certified professional insurance counselor with American Family Insurance in Evansville. Calley works with each person to meet all insurance needs, from business to home. For information about I&E Club, contact Sue Berg at suebergsolutions@gmail.com or call 608-882-0986 .

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mailbag: Vinehout Writes: Child Poverty Challenges Stressed Schools

Child Poverty Challenges Stressed Schools “There are a lot more hungry kids than there used to be,” the reading teacher said. “Every teacher I know has a stash of granola bars in their desk. When the student is hungry and can’t concentrate, the teacher pulls out the granola bar.” Wisconsin experienced a dramatic up-tick in the number of children living in poverty. Census data show the number of school age children in poverty rose to about one out of six children in 2010. According to the US census two-thirds of Wisconsin counties experienced a significant increase in child poverty over the last three years. According to a Department of Public Instruction (DPI) memo every county but one in the new 31st Senate District experienced a significant increase in child poverty. One consequence of growing poverty is a growing achievement gap. There are many factors that influence student achievement such as access to health care, safe housing, and poverty. Studies show that children living in poverty and minority children are less likely to succeed in school. This pattern exists throughout the US, but when it comes to the gap between white and black students in 8th grade math, Wisconsin leads the nation. This week the Senate Education Committee heard testimony about how the historic cuts to education funding in the last state budget makes addressing the problems of poverty more difficult. The $1.6 billion cut to education funding included special state aid given to school districts to help with special needs – including districts with high poverty. In 2007, my legislative colleagues and I created the special ‘High Poverty Aid’ to help school districts with high poverty numbers. At that time only 23 schools met the requirement of at least half of their students being eligible for free and reduced lunch (a measure of poverty). This year, the number of eligible schools has quadrupled. The reduced amount of aid will not keep pace with the increasing poverty statewide. Schools are forced to do more with less. Researchers testified at the hearing that students in poorer districts suffered more under the most recent round of budget cuts even though taxpayers in these poorer districts paid more. They explained that teachers and support workers make up about 80% of a school’s budget. When money is tight, it is personnel that are lost. Using DPI data, UW Professors Jim Shaw and Carolyn Kelley discovered the poorest 30 school districts lost almost six times more staff than the wealthiest 30 school districts. Shaw and Kelley argued for “strategic increases in teacher salaries to improve performance and teacher incentives and portability of pensions to recruit high quality teachers to high need schools.” “We need to realign resources,” said Professor and former Racine Superintendent Jim Shaw. “We are at a really good time to talk about a new way. We know the strategies that are really effective: summer school, after school programs, preschool. It would be wise to look at the most effective way to close the achievement gap.” To help all children be successful, our state education dollars must be wisely invested. Committee members were urged to pass State Superintendent Tony Evers’ Fair Funding for Schools Plan. This idea pays schools a minimum amount just to open the doors and keep on the lights. Poverty and the communities’ ability to pay are factors included in state aid received by the local school from the state. Fair Funding for Schools is an important part of the answer and critical to the economic success of our state. In the meantime, teachers I know are stocking up on granola bars and other items that help poor children deal with the stress of poverty and prepare them to learn. If you know someone who would like to be added to this distribution list, please let us know. If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, reply with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 316 South - P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882 Toll Free: (877) 763-6636 or (608) 267-2871

Monday, September 10, 2012

Value of ‘median home is off 12.2 percent since 2008 -- GazetteXtra

Value of ‘median home is off 12.2 percent since 2008 -- GazetteXtra

Observer Salutes Fred Juergens as he announces Retirement

Hello Friends, My term as President of Friends of the Eager Free Public Library ends this coming October. After long and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for another term as President. Nominations and election of a new President will take place at the next Annual Meeting of the Friends, which is scheduled for late October 2012. Also, nominations and election of the Volunteer Coordinator will take place at the same meeting. (The exact date/time will be announced in the coming Fall Newsletter, to be delivered in early October.) I am bringing this to your attention now, because any Friend is welcome to nominate a candidate for each position at the Annual Meeting. Self-nominations are welcome. Over the next month or so, please consider whether you or a Friend you know would be interested in serving the Eager Free Public Library in either of these two positions on our Executive Committee. If you have any questions about the responsibilities of either position, please get in touch with me or another Executive Commmittee member at your convenience. My four years as President have been satisfying and, I hope, productive, but my energy levels are flagging. For the good of the organization, it's time for me to retire. Best wishes, Fred Juergens, President Friends of the Eager Free Public Library 608-882-2489

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Nostalgia: Audio: Public Works: New Plan for Southgate Pond

Audio; Public Works: Dave Sauer expains new plan for additional holding pond near Southgate Pond


MP3 File

Evansville Finance Committee Meets Tonight--Thurs Sept 6, 2012

Finance Committee: Thurs Sept 6, 2012: Agenda NOTICE: The regular meeting of the Finance and Labor Relations Committee for the City of Evansville will be held on the date, time and place stated below. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance. Finance and Labor Relations Committee Regular Meeting Thursday, September 6, 2012, 5:30 p.m. City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI AGENDA 1. Call to order and roll call. 2. Approval of Agenda. 3. Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the August 9, 2012, regular meeting and the August 13, 2012, special meeting and approve as printed. 4. Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed. 5. Motion to accept the City and W&L bills as presented. 6. Unfinished Business: A. Discussion: Personnel Policy. B. Fiscal Policies: 1) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Fund Balance Policy. 2) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Post-Issuance Compliance Policy for Tax-Exempt and Tax-Advantaged Obligations. 3) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Investment Policy. 4) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Debt Management Policy. C. Discussion and possible motions: Administration Office. 1) Position Description: City Administrator / Finance Director. 2) Position Description: Community Development Director. 3) Reorganization of office responsibilities and duties. 7. New Business: A. Motion to recommend to Common Council Resolution 2012-15, Designating Authorized Parties to Sign for Transaction Involving City Bank Accounts and Investments. 8. Adjournment. Mason Braunschweig, Chair Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the City Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible. Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you.

Evansville Schools Annual Meeting Scheduled for September 24th

SCHOOL DISTRICT MEETING Call of Annual Meeting EVANSVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT Notice to Electors of the Annual Meeting of the Evansville Community School District, comprised of all or parts of the following municipalities, to wit: City of Evansville, Towns of Center, Magnolia, Janesville, Porter and Union, Rock County, Town of Brooklyn, Green County, and Town of Rutland, Dane County. Notice is hereby given, that the Annual Meeting of the above named district will be held on the 24 th day of September A.D., 2012. Notice is further given that the business to be transacted at said Annual Meeting of said district will be as follows: (1) to hear, consider, examine and adopt the tax levy for the fiscal year of said district ending June 30, 2013. (2) to transact such other and further business as may be properly transacted at said meeting according to law. TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING Said Annual Meeting of the electors of said district will be held in the High School Media Room at 7:00 P.M. Central Daylight Time on September 24 th , 2012. Dated this 6 th day of September, 2012. John Rasmussen, District Clerk Note, public notice of this meeting given by posting at the District Office, Levi Leonard Elementary School Office, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School Office, J.C. McKenna Middle School Office, High School Office, Evansville School District Web Site: www.evansville.k12.wi.us and by forwarding the agenda to the Evansville Review, Union Bank & Trust and Eager Free Public Library. Persons needing special accommodations or specific information should call 882-5224, Ext. 3387, at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Please note that it is anticipated that more than one-half of the school board members of the School Board will attend the annual meeting. Posted: 9/6/12

Evansville City Expenditures Highlighted

Every year the nonprofit, nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance publishes a booklet  of financial information on Wisconsin cities and villages between 2,000 and 150,000 in  population. These 243 municipalities account for nearly half the state’s population and  nearly two­thirds of all municipal spending. Simply looking at per capita comparisons does have limitations since each municipality is unique. But it really is a helpful tool to get a quick gauge on how Evansville compares to  similarly sized municipalities as well as tracking trends over the last few years. Our peer group includes 28 municipalities from 5,000 to 7,500 in population. It includes Cottage Grove, Delafield, Edgerton, Lake Mills, Milton, Mount Horeb, and Mukwonago. Here at City Hall, we recently received our copy of the 2012 report. And I would like to  share the highlights for Evansville.  The nature of assembling so much data results in a  year­and­a­half lag; so all the figures are actually from the year 2010. The report focuses on four categories comprising Basic Spending: General Government, Street Maintenance, Fire/Ambulance, and Police.  It also provides a less detailed  perspective on other operating costs such as library, recreation, and development. Water, sanitary sewer, and electric departments are also very significant city services but are not  included in the report since they are enterprise funds, relying primarily on user charges rather than general revenues. The General Government category includes city council and committee expenses, office  employees, attorney and assessor fees, and upkeep and maintenance of city hall. On a per  capita basis, Evansville spent $80.87 on General Government. Ranking 16 out of the 28  municipalities, we were below our peer median of $86.50 and slightly below the  statewide median of $85. Note that the median is the amount where half of the  municipalities spent more and half spent less. Evansville has shown a downward trend  over the last few years, as we used to rank among the most expensive per capita in this category. The Street Maintenance category includes maintenance wages, snowplowing, and road  repair and maintenance expenses. On a per capita basis, Evansville spent $80.19 on  Street Maintenance. Ranking 22 out of 28, this was well below our peer median of $95.35 and the statewide median of $116. As its name implies, the Fire/Ambulance category includes firefighting and ambulance expenses. The report’s calculations for this category combine the fire and ambulance expenses. On a per capita basis, Evansville spent $146.77 on Fire/Ambulance. Ranking  5 out of 28, this was over double our peer median of $62.96 and well above the statewide  median of $85. Evansville is a member of an area fire district with the Towns of Union, Magnolia, Porter, and Brooklyn. Each of the members contributes based on its proportional share of the equalized assessed value of all properties in the district; Evansville’s share is approximately 57% of the fire district’s expenses. Due to the structure of the fire districtand the standardized reports for financial reporting, Evansville’s share of the debt service on the new fire hall is counted as an operating expense rather than debt service; this is a  major factor in our expenses being so much higher than the median  Evansville operates its own emergency medical services department. Under contract we  also provide service in the Towns of Union, Magnolia, Porter, and Brooklyn. The last  four years, EMS has been supported with equally per capita charges for town and city  residents, currently at $21. The Police category includes traffic enforcement and criminal investigations. On a per  capita basis, Evansville spent $179.26 on Police. Ranking 20 out of 28, this was below  both our peer median of $199.82 and the statewide median of $204. Some cities contract  with neighboring townships to provide law enforcement; netting out those revenues would result in a slightly reduced figure for the peer and statewide medians than if they  were entirely locally supported like Evansville.  Added all together, on a per capita basis, Evansville spent $487.09 on Basic Services. Ranking 11 out of 28, this is more than our peer median of $466.93 and less than the  statewide median of $500. When we add in library, park and recreation, and other miscellaneous activities, on a per  capita basis, Evansville spent a total of $707.32 on net Governmental Operating  Expenses. Ranking 13 out of 28, this was above our peer median of $678.76 and below  the statewide median of $763. The numbers are only benchmarks, and they are a bit dated. But they do provide some  perspective into the city’s financial position, level of service, and general cost of providing services. And, since we are just starting our budgeting for 2013, they are all  the more important to review now as benchmarks for comparison. A variety of current and historical financial information can be found on the city website  http://www.ci.evansville.wi.gov/city/fiscal/index.html. While you’re reviewing the city’s fiscal information, we encourage you to submit your 2013 budget suggestions to budget@ci.evansville.wi.gov.

Railroad Hearing Postponed; Repairs Scheduled

9040N1305/dw BEFORE THE OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF RAILROADS STATE OF WISCONSIN Complaint of the City of Evansville for the Repair of the Public Crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad Co. Tracks with E. Main Street in the City of Evansville, Rock County 9040-RX-1305 NOTICE OF POSTPONEMENT The hearing scheduled in this matter for September 5, 2012 is hereby postponed. By letter dated June 16, 2012, the City of Evansville filed a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads (OCR) under §86.12, Stats., that the Union Pacific Railroad Co. (UP) has failed to maintain in good condition for public travel the public crossing of its tracks with E. Main Street in the City of Evansville, Rock County (crossing no. 177 912B / MP116.17). The UP has agreed to make repairs to the Main Street crossing in the 2012 construction season (probably by November 1). The City of Evansville has agreed to the postponement of the hearing on its complaint. If the repairs are satisfactory to the City, the OCR will dismiss the complaint. If the repairs not satisfactory, then the matter will be put back on the hearing calendar. Dated at Madison, Wisconsin, September 5, 2012. By the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads. _______________________________ Douglas S. Wood, Hearing Examiner 9040N1305 two/dw

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Bear Trader: Mailbag: International Trading Indexes signal trouble

The Baltic Dry Index http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Dry_Index "The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is a number issued daily by the London-based Baltic Exchange. Not restricted to Baltic Sea countries, the index provides "an assessment of the price of moving the major raw materials by sea. Taking in 23 shipping routes measured on a timecharter basis, the index covers Handysize, Supramax, Panamax, and Capesize dry bulk carriers carrying a range of commodities including coal, iron ore and grain." BDI is based on what it costs per ship day in $USD to move dry bulk cargo. The index is a very sensitive read on international bulk products trade rate changes. Think of it as a reliable and sensitive indicator of the way the world economy is going raw material flow rate wise. Another useful shipping indicator is the HARPEX http://www.harperpetersen.com/harpex/harpexVP.do which is based on the cost of moving the standard twenty foot long intermodal shipping container over various routes by various sized container ships. This index tracks the rate of change of the volume of finished goods being shipped by sea. As you can see by examining these indexes the world economy has slowed markedly since Q1 2011 and is now bumping along the bottom with no sign of rebounding. Yesterdays FedEx guidance and earlier UPS guidance shows decline in the flow rate of goods over this same time period. You realize that if the Federal Treasury and Federal Reserve had not diluted the $USD since 2000 so that the 2012 dollar is now worth sixty cents in 2000 dollars that gasoline would still be $2.25 a gallon at the pump? That means that the rise in the price of gasoline is not caused by "peak oil" but by money dilution? That that money dilution was making the Consumer Price Index over the past thirty years indicate inflation, as you would expect, but that the way this was fixed was by repeatedly redefining the CPI? That the situation is now so bad that the Federal Reserve ignores Energy and Food prices in inflation rate measurement, calling the resultant number "the core inflation rate"? That this mis-measured inflation rate means that when GDP and other aggregates are reported over time in "constant dollars" that "constant dollars" are not being used at all; when you do correct, as well as possible, for constant dollars, you find that the United States has been in recession for the last twelve years, somewhat masked by insanely low credit interest rates, which resulted in debts we cannot repay now and will be even less able to cope with in the future. So Bernanke tries to borrow his way out of this fix. If you are head over heels in debt more debt is not going to help but only hurt. Boy, is this ever going to get ugly.

Steve Carlson headlines I and E meeting Sept 12

I&E Club Is Going Global Sept. 12 Steve Carlson was green before green was really cool. This energy efficiency engineer now has an international consulting business based in Evansville. Carlson, with XRG Analytics, LLC, will share insights about building an international green business at the next meeting of the Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club. Wednesday, Sept. 12, the I&E Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. at Creekside Place, 102 Maple St., Evansville. Always free and open to the public, the meeting includes a presentation, question-and-answer session, and networking “minute” during which every guest introduces themselves and their business, invention, or quest for information. Sponsoring refreshments this month is Tom Calley, a certified professional insurance counselor with American Family Insurance in Evansville. Calley works with each person to meet all insurance needs. For information about the upcoming program or becoming a refreshment sponsor, contact Sue Berg at suebergsolutions@gmail.com or call 608-882-0986 .

Monday, September 03, 2012

Corporations are People?

Corporations are people ?!?! Why do political ads flood my TV, mail, and phone? What is 'Citizens United,' and why does it matter? What does it mean when they say 'money is speech?' How is this affecting American democracy? Money & Politics Teach-in Sauk City Library, Wednesday, September 12 6:30 - 8:30 PM Watch a movie, hear a speaker, ask questions, and discuss how we, the People, can protect our democracy. Sauk City Library, 515 Water Street, Sauk City, at 6:30 p.m.

Twitter: Historic Buildings Lecture at Library on Sept 18th

Mark your calendars for September 18th! Joe DeRose will be presenting on historic buildings in Evansville and the surrounding areas.

Janesville - Rock County: Video: Janesville UAW Joins The Ed Show On Ryan Li...

Janesville - Rock County: Video: Janesville UAW Joins The Ed Show On Ryan Li...: Almost everyone gets it now that Paul Ryan made a series of willfully deceptive statements about the closing of the GM SUV plant in Janesvil...

Janesville - Rock County: The Most Terrifying Words Spoken In An American Fa...

Janesville - Rock County: The Most Terrifying Words Spoken In An American Fa...

Janesville - Rock County: It's Time To Move Public Notices To The Web

Janesville - Rock County: It's Time To Move Public Notices To The Web: During last week's Janesville city council meeting, at least two residents complained about the city's lack of communication and said they w...

Sunday, September 02, 2012

"Ryan says he misstated marathon claim" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Ryan says he misstated marathon claim" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Finance Committee Meets Thursday: Changing Duties?

NOTICE: The regular meeting of the Finance and Labor Relations Committee for the City of Evansville will be held on the date, time and place stated below. Notice is further given that members of the City Council might be in attendance. Finance and Labor Relations Committee Regular Meeting Thursday, September 6, 2012, 5:30 p.m. City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI AGENDA 1. Call to order and roll call. 2. Approval of Agenda. 3. Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the August 9, 2012, regular meeting and the August 13, 2012, special meeting and approve as printed. 4. Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed. 5. Motion to accept the City and W&L bills as presented. 6. Unfinished Business: A. Discussion: Personnel Policy. B. Fiscal Policies: 1) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Fund Balance Policy. 2) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Post-Issuance Compliance Policy for Tax-Exempt and Tax-Advantaged Obligations. 3) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Investment Policy. 4) Motion to recommend to Common Council adoption of Debt Management Policy. C. Discussion and possible motions: Administration Office. 1) Position Description: City Administrator / Finance Director. 2) Position Description: Community Development Director. 3) Reorganization of office responsibilities and duties. 7. New Business: A. Motion to recommend to Common Council Resolution 2012-15, Designating Authorized Parties to Sign for Transaction Involving City Bank Accounts and Investments. 8. Adjournment. Mason Braunschweig, Chair Requests for persons with disabilities who need assistance to participate in this meeting should be made to the City Clerk’s office by calling 882-2266 with as much advance notice as possible. Please turn off all cell phones while the meeting is in session. Thank you.