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Friday, June 28, 2013

Evansville Finance Committee Meets Next Tuesday

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 Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 5:30 p.m. City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WI AGENDA NOTE: Date Change 1. Call to order and roll call. 2. Approval of Agenda. 3. Motion to waive the reading of the minutes of the June 6, 2013, regular meeting and to approve as printed. 4. Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed. 5. Motion to accept the City and Water & Light bills as presented. 6. Unfinished Business: A. Discussion: Personnel Policy. B. Motion to remove from the table Resolution 2013-08, Amending the City of Evansville’s Fee Schedule. 1) Motion to recommend to Common Council approval of Resolution 2013-08, Amending the City of Evansville’s Fee Schedule. 7. New Business: A. Motion to recommend to Common Council approval of Resolution 2013-10, Approving Mid-Year Amendments to the 2013 Budget. B. Discussion: 2014 Budget. C. Discussion: Collective bargaining agreements with Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA) and Teamsters #695. 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.

Nostalgia:

"State warns homeowners about flooding scams" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"State warns homeowners about flooding scams" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Wis. court rules Target destroyed evidence" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Wis. court rules Target destroyed evidence" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Wisconsin adds 62,000 jobs in 2 years" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Wisconsin adds 62,000 jobs in 2 years" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

School Scoop: No School Board Meeting Until the End of July: Cre...

School Scoop: No School Board Meeting Until the End of July: Cre...: Having a six week gap between School Board meetings at the end of the fiscal year is an unusual development for the ECSD school board. It ha...

School Scoop: Do you sometimes get the feeling that our governme...

School Scoop: Do you sometimes get the feeling that our governme...: The decisions of SCOTUS, as we lazy folk like to abbreviate the highest court in the land, have baffled me a bit this week. Earlier this wee...

Training on Flood Insurance: Information sent by FEMA

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 1:44 PMThu, 1:44 PM Message starred from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to you FEMA Flood Webinar for IA, IL, WI Agents – Earn CE! Show Details . Sponsored by the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois, the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa and the Independent Insurance Agents of Wisconsin Two-Part Basic Agent Flood Insurance Course Presented by the National Flood Insurance Program July 17, 2013 Part One: Basic Agent (FIRA) July 18, 2013 Part Two: Basic Agent (FIRA) 9:00 - 11:00 am CDT 10:00 am - noon EDT 9:00 - 11:00 am CDT 10:00 am - noon EDT TO REGISTER CLICK YOUR STATE: ILLINOIS IOWA WISCONSIN THIS IS A TWO-PART COURSE Attendees must complete both sessions in order to cover all topics required by the Flood Insurance Reform Act (FIRA) of 2004. This course is approved for continuing education credits in ILLINOIS, IOWA and WISCONSIN ONLY. It is approved for 4 continuing education hours. CE providers are the IIA of Illinois, IIA of Iowa, and the IIA of Wisconsin in their respective states. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN This course addresses basic flood insurance issues as well as some more advanced components. At the conclusion of both sessions, attendees with little or no prior NFIP experience will understand how to build a flood insurance policy from the ground up. More experienced attendees will develop an even better understanding of: A Standard Flood Insurance Policy's major coverage areas FEMA's Elevation Certificate Increased Cost of Compliance coverage Grandfather rating rules Two-Year PRP extension Biggert-Waters Reform Act And much more! CONTINUING EDUCATION This course is approved for 4 hours of continuing education credit in the states of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin only. Both parts must be completed to meet the FIRA 2004 requirement. REGISTRATION INFORMATION The fee is $40.00 per person. This fee includes the cost of both sessions. To register, please use the appropriate state link above. All state sponsors will send registrants an Adobe link that they will need to use to generate a log-in for both sessions. Registration will not be final until attendees have activated their log-in on Adobe Connect. CANCELLATION POLICY Fees are non-refundable unless the course is canceled. If the course is canceled, the appropriate state sponsor will notify you before the first webinar and your registration will be refunded or applied to a future flood insurance webinar. Registration questions should be directed to the appropriate CE provider/sponsor by state: Illinois: Shannon Churchill 800.628.6436 or schurchill@iiaofil.org Iowa: Melissa Miners 800.272.9312 or melissa@iiaiowa.org Wisconsin: Samantha Jefferson 608.256.4429 or samantha@iiaw.com Please do not reply to this email. If you have questions regarding NFIP Training, please write to webinars@h2opartnersusa.com or view the NFIP schedule. Sign Up for NFIP Agent Training Bulletins The National Flood Insurance Program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Flood Insurance Program Training | www.nfipiservice.com/training nfiptraininginfo@h2opartnersusa.com | (800) 427-4661 using GovDelivery, on behalf of FEMA · U.S. Department of Homeland Security · Washington, DC 20472

Tales From Normal, Mn.----FICTION: Annual "One Hundred Year Flood" Celebration begins in Normal, Mn.: Tales From Normal, Mn.: FICTION

Tales From Normal, Mn.----FICTION: Annual "One Hundred Year Flood" Celebration begins in Normal, Mn.: Tales From Normal, Mn.: FICTION

"Garbage fees in Janesville to double" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Garbage fees in Janesville to double" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Planning committee meets July 1

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, July 1, 2013, 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 the June 3, 2013 regular meeting and approve them as printed 5. Civility Reminder 6. Citizen appearances other than agenda items listed 7. New Business a. Public Hearing concerning a proposed application for a Conditional Use Permit request for 268 W. Liberty Street to permit a duplex in an R-1 District i. Initial Staff Comments ii. Public Hearing iii. Plan Commissioner Questions and Comments iv. Motion b. Motion to indicate support for Bluescope/Varco Pruden and the company’s replacement of the bridge over Allen Creek on the Bluescope/Varco Pruden property c. Update on City of Evansville Park and Outdoor Recreation Plan 8. Monthly Reports a. Report on other permitting activity by Zoning Administrator b. Report on the Unified Land Development Code Committee c. Report of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission d. Report on Common Council actions relating to Plan Commission recommendations e. Report on Board of Appeals actions relating to zoning matters f. Report on Enforcement 9. Next Meeting: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 (note change from regular meeting schedule) at 6 p.m. - Joint meeting with Economic Development Committee, including GIS software presentation 10. 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.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Whitewater police say head-mounted cameras will increase efficiency -- GazetteXtra

Whitewater police say head-mounted cameras will increase efficiency -- GazetteXtra

Public Works meets Tues, June 25th

Public Works Committee Regular Meeting Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. DPW Shop, 535 South Madison Street, Evansville, WI AMENDED 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 May 28th, 2013 regular meeting 5. Citizen Appearances- 6. New Business- a. “Orphan” light pole on East Main Street east of the new bridge (in front of Mill Creek Apartments). b. Discussion in regards to the condition of the public parking lot behind the Eager Economy Building and the Night Owl. c. Garbage/recycling contract (discussion only) 7. Old Business- 8. Communications from the City Engineer- a. Construction Updates- i. Garfield project- ii. W. Main Sewer project b. Site plan reviews- 9. Communications from the Public Works Director- a. Monthly Department Update- 10. Parks and Recreation Report- 11. 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.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mailbag: Iowa: Film: Sandmining

Hello Friends, I'm writing to invite you to attend a free film tonight at 7pm in Decorah at the Peace and Justice Center. The film "Rooted Lands" shows how a citizens' community rights ordinance succeeded in banning hydrocarbon extraction--seemingly against all odds, in a struggle between the rights of indigenous people and the so-called rights of big gas and oil. You have expressed some interest in the new Community Rights work that citizens of NE Iowa have initiated in response to the threat of frac sand mining in our area. Community Rights ordinances are being passed all around the country-150 and rising. Citizens are finding this an effective way to ban the corporate activities that cause harm to their commonly owned resources: air, water, land, and health. Here's more info. And the site for yet more is: http://rootedlands.com

Nostalgia:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Should we move to year-round k-12 education?" by Opinion Matters -- GazetteXtra

"Should we move to year-round k-12 education?" by Opinion Matters -- GazetteXtra

"Assembly passes state budget, heads to Senate" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Assembly passes state budget, heads to Senate" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Janesville School District expects to serve 75,000 meals this summer -- GazetteXtra

Janesville School District expects to serve 75,000 meals this summer -- GazetteXtra

Evansville Entrepreneurs Meet June 26th

Evansville Women Entrepreneurs Meet June 26 The next gathering of the Evansville Women Entrepreneurs group is coming up soon! Save time to meet Wednesday, June 26, from 7:30-9:00 AM at Creekside Place. The gathering will be informal, so if you can only make it for part of the time, you are still welcome to stop by. RSVP by Monday, June 24 if you plan to attend the gathering so we can get an accurate count for refreshments. Contact Nicole Sidoff at nicole.sidoff@ci.evansville.wi.gov. If you haven’t already taken a very brief survey regarding how this group could meet your needs, please take a few minutes to complete it. You can take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EvansvilleWomenEntrepreneurs 10 hours ago

"Report faults UW-System education schools" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Report faults UW-System education schools" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

School Scoop: She's baaaaaaaack....

School Scoop: She's baaaaaaaack....: Flag day marked exactly two months since our serious car accident. My memories of why the accident happened remain stubbornly trapped in the...

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Evansville business offers overnight gatherings for crafters -- GazetteXtra

New Evansville business offers overnight gatherings for crafters -- GazetteXtra

OpEd: Why the Seminary Park Peace Garden matters for Evansville

I urge you to view the video by Denise Eager on the Evansville Seminary Park Peace Garden---it matters for all Evansville citizens...Here is why. There is NO additional taxpayer expense...as we know, park expenses in Evansville are larger than the comparable city because historically parks have been big for Evansville...but with flat growth, additional expenses would be harmful to taxpayers....this park project is with private funds and will NOT fall on the taxpayer...bravo... Secondly, we have had plenty of parks, plenty of celebrations, and plenty of parades about war...and action....and in the words of John of Formocology, this Peace Garden is about "Less Action, More Reflection"....How timely is that? The garden is located in a perfect location so children in our schools can access it, and groups can volunteer to work in it. and more importantly, citizens can enjoy it.... This project is about all citizens....the person who had the vision for it, Denise Janssen Eager, will be leaving Evansville in a couple of weeks....but the funds for this project will come from those that will enjoy it...all of us...The funds required for Phase I are very modest, $50,000. Stand Up Evansville...We need More Reflection and less action in so many areas...This is a worthy project and I urge your support.

OpEd: Why the CCC Bridge in Evansville Matters

Why would it be important to name a bridge the "CCC memorial bridge?" As I filmed the recent dedication, I wondered, but after I listened to the historian speak on the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corp in Evansville and Rock County, it became clear...In the depths of the Great Depression, FDR understood what all economic professors teach in Econ 101: That Human capital counts....and FDR moved quickly to have a mortgage foreclosure holiday, and also to employ the unemployed to work in worthwhile public projects...and the startling fact revealed in the presentation of the historian, and I do recommend you watch the video on the utube channel of the Evansville Observer, is that ALL of the projects worked on in 1933 are still existing....there were NO white elephants...that is simply startling.... And the second fact about FDR, is that he understood that families matter---and with the foreclosure holiday, he moved to seize the mortgages and make arrangements, because he understood that the banks, and here add National big banks, were unable to rise up and write down the mortgages...In the heat of the panic of 2008, the United States bailed out the big banks, who then got bigger and intimidated everyone.. Rather than solve the mortgage crisis it rather just delayed it...and eventually, we will have to remember the lesson of FDR, that human capital counts, and treating families fairly is a winning strategy... Every time I go over the CCC memorial bridge in Evansville, Wisconsin I think of this...and am grateful that it was named the CCC memorial bridge...

Tales From Normal, Mn.----FICTION: K-9 Unit So successful, additional educational options considered: Tales From Normal, Mn.: FICTION

Tales From Normal, Mn.----FICTION: K-9 Unit So successful, additional educational options considered: Tales From Normal, Mn.: FICTION

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Evansville Peace Park: Denise Janessen Eager Gives the Vision: Formocology gives the details.

"Report: Taxes would drop $677 million under budget" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Report: Taxes would drop $677 million under budget" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Mailbag: Sand Mining: Baraboo: Grassroots: Meeting TODAY, Meeting Monday

WE ARE COMNG UP SHORT ON PEOPLE TO ATTEND TONIGHT (THUR) AND MONDAY'S MEETINGS. PLEASE COME AND BRING FRIENDS/NEIGHBORS. THIS WILL BE IMMEASURABLE HELP TO THE FUTURE OF WISCONSIN. When: Thursday June 13 Time: 5:00pm (meeting room is open at 4:30pm) Place: Baraboo Public Library, 230 Foruth AVe., baraboo 53913 This is a county budget meeting where supervisors have agreed to LISTEN to we constituents. There have been three previous meetings in different county locations and this is the last. NO ONE has mentioned frac sand mining. Open pit sand mining is coming to Sauk County. We need to request a moratorium so that the costs (not just the "benefits") of frac sand mining can be discussed and appropriate zoning applied in the Towns and villages. FOR TOMORROW NIGHT WE NEED MANY, MANY PEOPLE TO SHOW UP. You can speak or simply be there to show the board you are interested. There is a Baraboo Town meeting on Monday June 17---during which sand mining will be specifically discussed---I'll send details when I get them. Please come and bring friends, family, neighbors.... See you there! Linda Meadowceroft

Census: Rural US loses population for first time -- GazetteXtra

Census: Rural US loses population for first time -- GazetteXtra

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

" Protesters confront mining co. at Wisconsin site" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

" Protesters confront mining co. at Wisconsin site" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

It's not here yet, but some states charging extra fees for owning hybrid vehicles : Ct

It's not here yet, but some states charging extra fees for owning hybrid vehicles : Ct

Evansville gives keys to City to Chris Eager: Honored for 30 years of civic dedication

Chris Eager's Retirement Party, Today, UBT, till 4PM

Stop by Union Bank and Trust today for some cake and refreshements and wish Chris Eager well as he retires from Union Bank and Trust. Mayor Decker today at 1PM read the declaration of appreciation from the Evansville Common Council, and also gave him a key to the city. Video of the event is coming shortly.

Evansville Peace Garden Design to be Announced Tomorrow: 4:30PM Creekside

The Friends of the Evansville Peace Garden Invite you to the grand unveiling of Evansville Peace Garden’s Landscape Design Master Plan for Seminary Park and hear our exciting announcement! Please join us on Thursday, June 13th 4:30-5:30pm at Creekside Place, Libby Lounge John Gishnock & members of the Landscape Design Committee will discuss the design & answer your questions. Come Celebrate with us! RSVP appreciated. Denise Janssen Eager 608.333.7451 leotalane@litewire.net Write Post Add Photo / Video As

"Walker comfortable with slow expansion of vouchers" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Walker comfortable with slow expansion of vouchers" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Monday, June 10, 2013

Evansville grads ambush principal with zip ties -- GazetteXtra

Evansville grads ambush principal with zip ties -- GazetteXtra

Delavan-Darien School District leaping into one-to-one computing -- GazetteXtra

Delavan-Darien School District leaping into one-to-one computing -- GazetteXtra

"More high-capacity wells could be allowed" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"More high-capacity wells could be allowed" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

District to adjust to new health care rules -- GazetteXtra

District to adjust to new health care rules -- GazetteXtra

Mailbag: I and E Club Meeting This Week--Wednesday, June 12th--"Talk" is the topic

One more reminder that our next meeting is this Wednesday, and that our Lunker Lob is July 4. Many thanks to everyone who has volunteered already for the Lunker Lob in one way or another. A few more volunteers are needed for all shifts. Hope to hear from you soon! Sue Business Communications at June 12 I&E Communicating with employees, clients and coworkers can be stressful because we often have contradictory ideas about how to appropriately express our goals, concerns and criticisms. These communication styles are derived from our cultural backgrounds as well as our upbringing, socioeconomic status, gender, ideology, etc. How can we relay our message to others without being personally misperceived or just plain misunderstood? Ms. Sable Schwab, a communications expert who holds Master of Arts degrees in Linguistic Anthropology and Applied Linguistics, will introduce different communications styles and approaches at the June 12 meeting of the Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club. This meeting will occur at 6:30 p.m. at Creekside Place, 102 Maple St., Evansville. This presentation is free and everyone is welcome. Following the presentation, all attendees will have a chance to introduce themselves and communicate about their own business ventures and needs. Refreshments at this month’s I&E Club meeting are sponsored by Ms. Jennifer Bennett, a real estate agent with Realty Executives International, located in Madison. You may contact Ms. Bennett at (608) 215-5225 or online at jenniferbennetthomes.com. Would you like to find out more information about the I&E Club or get involved with our many business activities? If yes, then please contact Ms. Sue Berg at suebergsolutions@gmail.com or call 608-882-0986. The I&E Club is also lis

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Fighting Bob - GarveyBlog - The mystery of the Democratic Party

Fighting Bob - GarveyBlog - The mystery of the Democratic Party

Officials hope summer trip to China enhances global vision -- GazetteXtra

Officials hope summer trip to China enhances global vision -- GazetteXtra

State Debate: State's waters at a crisis point, blogger James Rowen argues : Ct

State Debate: State's waters at a crisis point, blogger James Rowen argues : Ct

State Debate: Dems must forget unions, Cieslewicz insists; bloggers froth over J-school flap : Ct

State Debate: Dems must forget unions, Cieslewicz insists; bloggers froth over J-school flap : Ct

Nostalgia: 2008: Evansville Observer: Audio: Town of Union Plan Commission: The Case of ...

Evansville Observer: Audio: Town of Union Plan Commission: The Case of ...: Town of Union: Planning Commission: 6-26-2008; Request to renew conditional use permit for pheasant hunting business and lodge; Gavel to gav...

Ragnar Relay one tough challenge -- GazetteXtra

Ragnar Relay one tough challenge -- GazetteXtra

Friday, June 07, 2013

Purple toilets raising funds for local Relay for Life -- GazetteXtra

Purple toilets raising funds for local Relay for Life -- GazetteXtra

2013 State of the City: Presentation of Mayor Decker at Common Council, May 2013

2013 State of the City I am a believer in continuous learning. Over the past decade I have used the UW-Extension Certified Public Manager Program many times, taking seminars in areas that would increase my leadership knowledge and capabilities. A year ago I spent a spring day in a Madison campus classroom attending a session entitled “Managing in Permanent Whitewater.” The presenter was Jeff Russell of Russell Consulting. I had previously taken a number of really good classes lead by Jeff. The time I spent last April dissecting “Whitewater” with Jeff and the other students was exceptional. There was quick consensus that governmental turbulence at all levels is here to stay. As I pondered the content for this State of the City report, the words transformation and resilience were the first to come to mind. As I jotted down recent city efforts, challenges, and accomplishments and noted likely work projects for the coming year, I thought about “Whitewater.” I pulled out and re-read the course materials and my notes. I had forgotten there was an exercise to determine a person’s “resilience quotient.” This quotient indicates an individual’s ability to deal with change. Working to enhance resilience dimensions will positively affect one’s response to uncertainty. My personal quotient showed strengths in vision and problem-solving dimensions of resilience and room for improvement in the dimension of adaptability to turmoil. Our city staff have been called upon to be resilient for the past several years. There have been transformational changes, including retirements, departmental realignments, political uncertainty, frugal budgets, and new methods of job performance. Some individuals thrived on change and were extremely resilient. For others it was challenging. In a “Whitewater” course reading, Dee Hock, former CEO of VISA International, pointed out that “An organization, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it.” Our staff members, as a team, provide the local government services expected by our residents. I want to recognize and thank our city team for their hard work and dedication in challenging times. As we proceed with transformation, resiliency and effort will continue to be necessary to successfully accomplish change. Across the country local elected officials are being frequently faced with complex issues that require significant effort and detailed understanding. The learning curve for public officials is steep and necessarily fast. Citizens have high expectations, desiring quality service while maximizing value and minimizing cost. Our common council and city department heads worked on cohesive team building and explored the importance of constructive debate and conflict at Committee of the Whole meetings last spring and summer. We discussed that consistently hearing all viewpoints and engaging in healthy, spirited debate as a team will result in trust development and better decision-making. Trust in fellow team members and process consistency will also lead to more timely and effective decision-making. Productive teamwork requires continuous effort. An exercise at a Committee of the Whole meeting meant to identify the purpose of our local government yielded top-notch service, quality of life, and drive for excellence as citizen expectations for our organization. We have discussed how these expectations translate into action. Some of our accomplishments this past year have organization-wide ramifications. Some were years in the making. Other efforts were more project-specific. It was a good year! At tonight’s meeting you saw a demonstration of our new GIS mapping system. After decades of oversized paper maps for zoning, water system, sewer, and electrical lines located in related offices throughout the city, the on-line GIS system integrates this information. It will be available on-site at construction projects. Over time we can populate the system with detailed parcel information, include the historic districts as layers, and add further customization. GIS mapping is a leap forward in city efficiency. An extensive city hall effort was upgrading our accounting process. We previously maintained two sets of books, one for Evansville Water & Light and a separate one for the remaining city operations. A new accounting software installation allowed for the integration of both; the city now has one system. Monumental effort by city hall employees was necessary. Transferring of account information and data always involves fine-tuning and eliminating a lot of “bugs.” This project is another huge jump in efficiency. Tomorrow, two new employees begin work in city hall. The office has been shorthanded for a number of months. Current staff has carried a heavy load and deserves special thanks for their commitment to providing quality customer service while being stretched thin. I applaud their tenacity as short-term disruption during long-term changes made efforts more challenging. A long-identified need in our community was a designated economic development entity or person to direct local business development. This need was identified in the economic development summit held in January 2008. The timing of several events allowed the city to consider different futures. By realigning some city functions and looking for additional skill sets for replacement employees we were able to find funding for a new city position that would include dedicated economic development activities. Nicole Sidoff became our first Community Development Director in January. We are already reaping benefits from this enhancement of local service. The city now offers one-stop service to current and prospective businesses since in-house planning is a component of the new position. An outcome of common council re-dedication to top-notch service for our customers is a concerted effort to determine and adopt best practices. City staff again deserves accolades for their efforts. Evansville Water & Light received RP3 (Reliable Public Power Provider) designation. RP3 is an American Public Power Association recognition program. This spring our electric utility was recognized as being in the top 10% of the more than 2,000 public power utilities in the United States for using best practices in safety and electric reliability. The application process was extensive and time-consuming. Evaluation comments will be used as benchmarks to further improve our utility. Our police department has worked hundreds of hours on preliminary steps for accreditation. Required policy review and proofing have been completed. On-site evaluation will occur in November. Best practices in local public safety are being strengthened through this process, accomplishing top-notch service and a drive for excellence. Other city employees have taken classes in customer service, leadership, and computer software training. Continuous learning improves our organizational capacity and provides better service to our community. Our city has benefitted from collaborations. Evansville EMS, Evansville Police Department, Evansville Community School District, Evansville Community Partnership, and other community organizations, leaders and representatives, tackled underage drinking and drug abuse. Establishing the BASE coalition, Building A Safer Evansville, undertaking programming, and developing the local strategic prevention framework, led to our receipt of a 5-year Drug Free Community Grant totaling $625,000. The police department worked with BASE to install a drug drop-off box and recently participated in the National Take Back Day collection. EMS and the police are assisting in the coordination of an August Evansville Night Out to celebrate safe, healthy families and community. In a collaboration of the city, school district, local businesses, and students, bathrooms at West Side Park will soon be a reality. This is an obvious win-win-win-win project for the community. Pooled resources will be necessary to accomplish a number of community improvements in the future. Recently, stronger internal cooperation among city departments has resulted in better project planning and better capital budgeting. We will continue to improve these efforts going forward. We are working to break down department silos to enhance teamwork. It is in the best interest of our residents. During the recession and the period of trickle-down budget impacts of federal and state political and financial decisions, our council and city team worked diligently to build frugal city policies and budgets that would not reduce services, except in dire circumstances. In 2005 the city government property tax rate was $6.83 per $1000. In 2012 it was $6.81 per $1000. The city absorbed the cost of the Lake Leota dredging into the rate within this period. There were some increases in user fees during this time. It is appropriate that certain costs are more fairly allocated to actual use. The net assets of the city as reported in audit reports grew from $17,280,437 in 2005 to $25,395,916 in 2011. According to city audits, the unreserved general fund balance grew from $634,124 in 2005 to $1,267,041 in 2011, essentially doubling. Our financial success culminated in securing our first city bond rating this January. The A+ rating by Standard and Poors resulted in an outstanding 1.1049% interest rate on the bond issue. Our council has been increasing its advocacy efforts. Erosion of local control with resultant loss of flexibility impedes our ability to provide excellent service. Likewise, unfunded mandates have deleterious effects on our budget. A strong, collective voice is necessary to punch through the din. The coming year will be eventful, with a number of significant projects and efforts. City union contracts end in December. With respect and appreciation of our city team at the forefront, the common council will need to forge a new path for employee relations as Act 10 requirements are implemented locally. We will continue to encourage staff skills development. The drive for excellence is a win-win for Evansville. The updated 5-year Park and Outdoor Recreation Plan will be completed this summer. The Plan will incorporate results of the community survey, guide future recreational decisions, and provide material for the 2015 Comprehensive Plan update. The city is required to undertake a complete update to the Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan by June 2015. The common council determined that this project would be spearheaded by the Community Development Director. Work will need to commence in the coming year. Committee of the Whole discussion identified interest in a community customer service survey. We will discuss integration of 2010 Census information with other desired resident information to frame development of a likely survey. To incorporate survey results into the updated comprehensive plan by June 2015, a survey would need to be completed no later than early 2014. The 2013 budget includes funding for a rail study. Rail is an asset in our community with potential to boost business development in Evansville and throughout the region. We will collaborate with key partners to acquire needed information to foster development utilizing rail. In Committee of the Whole discussions, there was interest in building and improving collaborative relationships with a number of entities, including the school district, nearby towns, county, and regional groups. We will develop a plan for initiating collaborative efforts and begin implementation. The common council has voiced its intention to find resolution to the long-running issue of appropriate, fair representation in the Fire District. Serious attention will be focused on this issue going forward. The police department will continue steps to complete the accreditation process. This year’s Water & Light projects are the Old 92 Rebuild and West Loop, identified in the six-year work plan. The Garfield Avenue street project will begin later this month. A stormwater improvement project was just approved at Main and Court Streets. Additional restoration of the creek walls in Leonard-Leota Park will occur in the area of the spillways. A water tower inspection will determine the scope of cleaning and painting the water tower. There will be improvements and new landscaping in front of City Hall. Municipal advocacy will continue. It is essential to voice local issues, challenges, and needs. At the “Whitewater” seminar we discussed a variety of organizational research. A July 2003 article in the Harvard Business Review, entitled “What Really Works,” provided the following summary of research---sustainable, enduring organizations have these fundamental characteristics: • A compelling vision of who they are and their purpose. • Are adaptive and flexible in a changing world. • Create an integrated work environment, where people feel connected and included. • Driving commitment to innovation, learning, new ideas, and continuous improvement. • Free-flow sharing of divergent ideas, information, and knowledge. Great ideas can come from anywhere in the organization. • Empower employees with problem-solving and decision-making. Job ownership positively correlates with customer satisfaction. • Reward innovation, risk taking, and quality. • Are conservative with financial and other resources. Managing resources effectively provides positive benefits. I invite you to consider the common council and city team efforts and activities I have outlined tonight through the lens of these characteristics. I submit that we are in the midst of transformation. We are building local government capacity by utilizing these characteristics to provide top-notch service and quality of life in Evansville. It is hard work. It is also exciting and filled with opportunity. We are a can-do community, so success is assured.

With 150th anniversary event near, Evansville rail buffs recall life on the lines -- GazetteXtra

With 150th anniversary event near, Evansville rail buffs recall life on the lines -- GazetteXtra

Nostalgia: First Brigade Band Performs in Evansville, Wisconsin

Raising Park Fees on the Agenda:

City of Evansville, Wisconsin Park & Recreation Board Regular Monthly Meeting Evansville, City Hall Monday, June 10th,- 6:00pm AGENDA 1. Call to Order & Roll Call 2. Motion to approve Agenda as printed 3. Motion to waive the reading of the May 13th, 2013 minutes & approve them as printed 4. Citizen appearances, relating to Park & Recreation, not listed agenda items a. Informational presentation on “Bike the Barns” event for September 15th, 2013. 5. Peace Garden Approval-WI Historical Board 6. Evansville Jays – Barn quilt & Jays sign 7. Discussion & motion to increase Park Rental Fees. Resident from $28 to &45 Non-Resident from $55 to &75 Business from $100 to $130 8. Park Plan : Nothing to report 9. West Side Park, bathroom project Update 10. Pool Progress Report 11. Chair's report from other Committees/Common Council Antes Cabin & Landscaping 12. Reports/Updates on projects or Maintenance 13. Old Business 14. New Business 15. Motion to adjourn Next Meeting July 8th , 2013

"Wisconsin Assembly OKs landlord bill" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Wisconsin Assembly OKs landlord bill" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Mailbag: Vinehout: Is the Dairy State Ready for Tax Reform?

Is the Dairy State Ready for Tax Reform Get rid of tax credits for dairy farmers? No tax breaks for meat or food processing plants? Get rid of credits for ethanol? Cut beginning farmer credits? You’ve got to give Representative Dale Kooyenga credit. The Brookfield Republican isn’t afraid to take on the dairy state’s sacred cows. Just as the state’s budget writing committee is wrapping up their work and Legislative leaders are about to broker a deal on public education and health, Rep. Kooyenga announces a proposal to rewrite the income tax code. He seems to start with agriculture in mind. I bet there aren’t many cows in Brookfield. Last summer, Representative Kooyenga and I served on a committee studying changes to the state’s income tax code. So it didn’t surprise me to see he was working on income tax reform. But his timing in unveiling the proposal and what seem to be big changes for farmers and ag-related businesses almost ensure its demise. That’s too bad because Wisconsin’s complex tax system needs reform. The complexity is the product of tax loopholes, not tax rates. The State Legislature rarely meets a tax credit it doesn’t like. The result is a cumbersome tax code that hasn’t been seriously evaluated since 1999 and then the Legislature ended work without repealing a single tax credit. There are 73 possible state adjustments after you file your federal taxes and there are dozens of credits to modify those adjustments. In the 2013 Department of Revenue report, I counted 37 credits that totaled $1.5 billion in lost revenue. My friends at the Revenue Department will remind me that the credits interact with each other and can’t always be added together: more complexity. Messing around with state income tax is frightening for anyone who runs an operation dependent on the state. That’s because so much of what the state buys is paid for by income taxes. State income tax makes up over half of the general fund – the source of state money for health, education, local government, corrections and universities. Wisconsin is more dependent on income taxes than all but 11 other states. While I commend the Brookfield Republican for getting this conversation started, I don’t agree with details of his proposal. For example, the proposed lowering of tax rates for high income earners - over $300,000. I don’t support his plan to allow millionaires to offset high off-farm earnings with (part-time?) farm losses. Currently no farm loss is allowed if it exceeds $600,000. The plan favors the wealthy and doesn’t include serious reform of property tax – the part of our tax system most out of line with the national average. Start-up companies are most burdened by property tax which impacts job creation. In the interest of advancing reform, I’d offer to be a bipartisan partner in the discussion. First, let’s agree on a few ground rules. The goal of tax reform must be revenue neutral – meaning when all the tax breaks and loopholes are ended, every dime must go to lowering rates – but not one penny below the total dollars saved by tax changes. I know Republicans who are too tempted to lower rates more than what we can afford. And some Democrats are very tempted to plow savings into new spending. Second, reform must be bipartisan, regardless of the party in power. Why? Because in this hyper-negative political environment, no rookie in a swing district is going to be comfortable voting to end a tax break to (name your favorite good cause) unless they know the party against them also voted to end the same break. Third, all taxes should be on the table. Property taxes can be regressive. Sales tax is almost always regressive. An income tax change on one group should be considered in the context of all other taxes that groups pay. Finally, no tax break is sacred. All should be regularly evaluated even if they are not eliminated. We badly need a process to evaluate what we get for our investment. The experts agree. Taxes should be low, broad-based, and transparent. Tax policy should not favor one type of business over another. But getting there is not for the faint-hearted. And timid does not describe my friend Dale. So, while you’re at it, Dale, maybe get rid of the Lambeau Field tax check-off? Oh, you just did? 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

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Mailbag: I and E Club : Wed June 12th: "Talk"

It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It Learn More June 12 at Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club Have you ever had a conversation go completely sideways and the meaning of your words become lost? Alternately, have you ever been offended by someone else’s well-meaning advice or critique? Effective communication can be a challenge even between native speakers of the same language because those speakers often have contradictory ideas of what is the most appropriate style for expressing goals, concerns and criticisms. At the June 12 meeting of the Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club, Ms. Sable Schwab will introduce communication styles and how they differ based on cultural and personal backgrounds. Attendees will learn to identify their own unique communication style and explore ways in which they can improve communication with others. Ms. Schwab is a Cross-Cultural Communication Specialist, holds Master of Arts degrees in Linguistic Anthropology and Applied Linguistics, and has worked in diverse communications environments, including Spain and China. She will be speaking at 6:30 p.m. at Creekside Place, 102 Maple St., Evansville. All are welcome to attend and network. Sponsoring this month’s refreshments is Ms. Jennifer Bennett, a residential real estate agent with Realty Executives International, located in Madison. Ms. Bennett may be reached at (608) 215-5225 or on Facebook by searching jenniferbennettrealty. For more information about the I&E Club and its many activities, please contact President Sue Berg at (608) 882-0986. The I&E Club is also listed on LinkedIn and Facebook.

"Opponents question Wis. election reform bill" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Opponents question Wis. election reform bill" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Republicans approve $650 million income tax cut" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra

"Republicans approve $650 million income tax cut" by Latest News -- GazetteXtra