Monthly Archives: November 2009

2010 Budget Tops Common Council Agenda

The South Milwaukee Common Council meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1, at City Hall, and it’s your final chance to weigh in on the proposed 2010 budget. I hope you can attend.

We held a public hearing on the budget on Monday evening, and no citizens chose to comment on the document. While that’s disappointing, I am happy with the budget we’ll be voting on on Tuesday … and you should be too.

Among the highlights of the proposed budget, which reflect some new, much closer-to-final figures from previous drafts:

  • Expenditures are budgeted to increase 2.55% to more than $19.7 million. This is below the state’s expenditure restraint limit of 3.2%, meaning South Milwaukee is line for a payment of nearly $375,000 from the state in 2010 — a well-deserved “reward” for conservative budgeting.
  • The tax levy is anticipated to increase 2.49% next year, putting the total levy for city purposes at just over $10 million.
  • The corresponding tax rate will be $7.08 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of 1.77% from 2009, or about 12 cents per $1,000 of valuation on the city portion of your tax bill.

I invite you to learn more about the budget at Tuesday’s council meeting and, if you’d like, let your voice be heard on this important document.

And, while you’re at it, give a big thanks to the mayor, Finance Committee, city administrator and her staff, and all of our department heads for putting together a fiscally responsible and financially sound budget during a difficult economy.

This budget is not without pain — for instance, it includes not filling four vacant positions in the street, engineering and health departments and library — but it could have been worse, a lot worse, if not for a lot of hard work by a lot of people.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Winter Parking Restrictions Begin Tuesday, Dec. 1

December 1 is more than the start of meteorological winter. It’s also the start of winter parking season in South Milwaukee. Learn more on this page on the South Milwaukee Police Department website.

From the site:

During the period from December 1st to March 31st, no person shall park a vehicle on any street in the City of South Milwaukee between the hours of 3:00 AM and 6:00 AM.

However, vehicles may be parked during such hours if a permit is obtained from the Police Department after the filing of an application and the payment of $20.00 per month permit fee, $17.00 if obtained after the 15th of the month, or $65.00 for a 4-month permit.

Also, don’t forget the even-odd restrictions during the winter: You can only park on the even-numbered side of the street on nights whose calendar date before midnight is even.

You can learn more about how and when to obtain parking permits here.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Budgets and Vaccines: A Busy Week Ahead

Just a reminder about some of the upcoming events this week:

  • Monday, November 30: A public hearing on the proposed 2010 city budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall. Have your voice heard during this critical time … and then stick around for the Finance Committee and Plan Commission meetings that evening. One of the items on the Plan Commission agenda directly impacts the 4th District: discussion regarding planned and future land use and zoning of 1214 Rawson Avenue and other residential properties to the west, currently zoned M-2 industrial. I must admit I don’t know about this issue, but I promise to learn more quickly and keep you updated as best I can.
  • Tuesday, December 1: A Common Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at City Hall. The biggest action here is the anticipated passage of the 2010 budget, which you will also be allowed to comment on at the meeting. A public hearing on the South Milwaukee School District budget is also planned for 6 p.m. at Lakeview Elementary School.
  • Wednesday, December 2: The city’s second H1N1 clinic runs from 3 to 7 p.m. at City Hall, and a school district budget hearing is planned for 6 p.m. at E.W. Luther Elementary School.
  • Thursday, December 3: Another opportunity to hear about the school district budget, this one at Rawson Elementary.
  • Friday and Saturday, December 4-5: I’ll put a quick plug in here for the Trinity Lutheran Church (my church) cookie sale at M&I Bank, 1001 Marquette Ave. Stop by and buy some homemade Christmas cookies from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

I’ll keep you updated on the meetings in future blog postings.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Celebrate Christmas in South Milwaukee Sunday

Christmas season in South Milwaukee is in full swing, and you can see proof of that at several merry events today (Sunday, November 29).

  • Festivities begin with the South Milwaukee Christmas Parade, which begins at 1 p.m. at 12th and Milwaukee before heading west to 15th and south to City Hall. More than 50 entrants are expected, including a visit from Santa Claus himself. The South Milwaukee Lions Club is presenting the parade and has done a great job of growing this event. Don’t forget — last year the parade almost didn’t happen at all.
  • Waiting at the end of the parade route is the city’s Old Fashioned Christmas celebration. This event, being held throughout Sunday afternoon, features food, refreshments, crafts, music and pictures with Santa at City Hall.
  • The festivities conclude with the city’s tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The event inclues sing-along carols.

You can get a complete schedule of Sunday’s South Milwaukee events from this PDF document posted at


Filed under Uncategorized

What I’m Thankful For

My wife. My children. My family. My job. My church. My health.

My future. Our future.

Indeed, on this day to give thanks, I have so much to be thankful for … including the opportunity to serve South Milwaukee and the residents of the 4th District.

More than six months into my role as alderman, I have been blessed to work with some truly special people who share a common vision and focus — to make South Milwaukee the best place it can be, a city that we are all proud to call home.

Yes, it hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve had my share of frustrations.

But, from helping bring the South Milwaukee Downtown Market to life, to helping constituents with their concerns and complaints, to starting this blog, my time on the Common Council has truly been a labor of love. And I hope that has shown in all I do.

With that in mind, I look forward to serving the 4th District in the months and years to come … and save my biggest thanks on this Thanksgiving Day to the voters for giving me that chance.

Have a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Share Your Thoughts on the City, School Budgets

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to weigh in on the 2010 city and South Milwaukee School District budgets in the next week.

To learn more about and comment on the proposed city budget, attend a public hearing planned for 6 p.m. on Monday, November 30, at City Hall. You can view the proposed exeuctive budget — with figures updated as of October 22 — here.

The Common Council is expected to vote on the proposed 2010 budget at its meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1, at City Hall.

The school district is also offering chances for the public to weigh in on its proposed budget, with meetings planned for December 1-3 at three local schools. You can see a full list of public input meetings here. And check out this presentation for context about the fall 2009 school budget.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

More Headlines of Interest …

In case you’ve missed the Journal Sentinel’s stories on the Cudahy Municipal Court and the astounding backlog it allegedly faces …

Also, check out this story on the St. Francis Community Night Out program, and this story on a meeting of the “new” Southeastern Regional Transit Authorit.

And I got an update this week on the ongoing Mitchell International Airport runway project. Click here to see it and sign up to receive regular email updates on the project. You can see my earlier post on this here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Crime Update: Scary Incident Thankfully Ends Well

A harrowing incident for one 4th District resident reminds us all to remain vigilant against crime … even in broad daylight. From the press release put out by the South Milwaukee Police Department this week:

On Tuesday, November 17, 2009, at approximately 1:30 p.m. a resident of South Milwaukee, Southtowne Apartments, observed a subject attempting to break into his vehicle. The citizen approached this subject, who fled to an awaiting vehicle. The citizen jumped onto the vehicle in an effort to stop the subject. The subject proceeded to drive away with the citizen holding on to his vehicle. After a short period the subject lost control of his vehicle with the citizen still holding on. The suspect was taken into custody by law enforcement. … The citizen received treatment for minor injuries.

A few things stood out when I read this. Of course, the courageous, if ill-advised, efforts of the citizen who jumped onto the car, were extraordinary. And the SMPD, with the help of some area departments, got its man.

The time also struck me. This all happened at 1:30 p.m., reminding us that we can never let our guard down when it comes to crime prevention.

You can learn some crime prevention tips on this page on the South Milwaukee Police Department website. Click here to see my earlier post on Neighborhood Watch programs, and click here to learn about the department’s crime alerts initiative.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mining Growth: Things Are Looking up for Bucyrus

What’s good news for Bucyrus International is good news for South Milwaukee.

And that’s why it was nice to see a respected financial publication take a strongly positive view about our city’s largest employer — especially in these tough economic times.

The news come from Investor’s Business Daily, which ran a very positive story about the mining equipment manufacturer this week. From the story:

Overall, Bucyrus shares benefit as a consensus grows that the global slump in mining equipment will not be as deep as had been feared.

You can read the full story here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Planning a Festive South Milwaukee Christmas

Update: One other event I should call out for Saturday, November 21, is the South Milwaukee Historical Society’s Christmas tag and bake sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the society museum, 717 Milwaukee Avenue. Learn more at 

South Milwaukee does Christmas right.

Indeed, the holiday season is an especially great time to live here because of the number of special events planned this time of year. 

One great event is the South Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce’s tree lighting ceremony at Heritage Place (1oth and Milwaukee) this Saturday, November 21. Music is planned as part of the festivities. Tree lighting is at 5 p.m.

The city’s big celebration takes place on Sunday, November 29, starting with the annual South Milwaukee Christmas Parade at 1 p.m. The parade starts at 12th and Milwaukee and ends at City Hall, where a variety of Old Fashioned Christmas festivities are planned, including a visit from Santa Claus, food, music and the tree lighting cermony.

You can get a full schedule of Old Fashioned Christmas activities here.

And these are just a few of the things planned throughout the next month. From events at area churches to those at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, a lot is happening this holiday season.

Remember, you can learn more about these events and others at Jim Shelenske’s website. It does a great job keeping people informed on what’s happening around the city throughout the year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Buy South Shore: Marketing the South Suburbs

I am a big fan of the new South Shore Economic Development Consortium, an organization made up of economic development staff from Cudahy, St. Francis and South Milwaukee that takes a regional view on this key issue.

And I love the group’s latest concept. 

The group is considering a “Buy South Shore” marketing campaign to promote buying locally and supporting businesses in the three communities.

It is gauging interest with a brief survey.  

  • If you are a business owner, click here to take it.
  • If you are a resident, click here.

The survey asks respondents for their thoughts on a potential “Buy South Shore” website, merchant discount program and other efforts at promoting “buying local” in St. Francis, Cudahy and South Milwaukee.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey … and support South Shore businesses this holiday season and beyond.

Finding innovative approaches to economic development is vital to the future of South Milwaukee and the entire South Shore. It’s nice to see the consortium tackling this issue head on and with a regional perspective.


Filed under Uncategorized

Another Opportunity for the H1N1 Vaccine

You may have another chance to get the H1N1 vaccine in South Milwaukee.

The South Milwaukee Health Department will host a H1N1 flu clinic from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2, at City Hall, 2424 15th Ave.

Once again, only those in targeted groups can get the vaccine:

  • All children 6 months of age through 18;  
  • Pregnant women;
  • Health care workers and emergency medical service personnel;
  • Household contacts and caregivers for children less than 6 months old; and
  • Adults 18-64 who have a chronic medical conditions associated with higher risk of complications from influenza.

In addition, the Visiting Nurse Association has rescheduled the seasonal flu clinic for Thursday, December 10, from 1 to 6 p.m. at City Hall. Cost is $30, or Medicare Part B or Medicaid can be billed. The clinic is for those 9 and older. 

For information on future H1N1 clinics, please call 211, or log on to You can also learn more about H1N1 in this document, and you can access the Health Department website here.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

No Surprises Here: Post Office Project Still on Hold

A recent communication from the United States Postal Service pretty much confirms what we already knew … that the Oak Creek postal sorting facility is on hold, and there probably won’t be any financial assistance from the USPS for the Pennsylvania/Nicholson Avenue project.

According to the October 29 letter from Paul Purcell, manager of real estate acquisition for the USPS, to the City of Oak Creek: “A combination of economic forces and a drop in mail volume have led us to suspend most new construction projects including this one.”

As a result, the letter states, the USPS can’t commit to construction plans and any potential contribution toward planned improvements to Pennsylvania/Nicholson. That means that any road improvements, now planned for 2011 and 2012, will probably fall on the shoulders of the state, Oak Creek and South Milwaukee. (It’s going to be split 80%-10%-10%.)

Again, this is no surprise. But it’s at least good to know where things stand as design work on this road project begins in earnest in 2010.

You can learn more about the Pennsylvania/Nicholson project in this October post. And check out this post on the postal facility.

You can read the full USPS letter to Oak Creek here.

A few additional notes about this:

  • The letter indicates the postal facility may proceed on a smaller scale … even though that may require new approvals from local officials. Stay tuned on that potential “re-sizing,” as the USPS puts it.
  • The USPS still wants to be part of the Pennsylvania/Nicholson planning and design process, should work on the facility proceed. According to the letter, any improvements necessary for the facility, whenever it is built, can be accomplished at some point in the future.
  • Without the USPS’ financial involvement, the addition of the roundabout planned for Hickory Street seems unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely. Again, the design process will help determine the potential options here, and residents will have plenty of opportunities to give their feedback.
  • The letter also contains reference to the Pennsylvania/Nicholson project plans being “accelerated.” They are not. This has been on the drawing board for some time … and the fact is that we can’t let the uncertainty surrounding the postal facility determine how we proceed with this important road project.
  • Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender has since sent a response letter to federal postmaster general regarding the future of the facility. The letter reminds that postal officials that, at this point, work on Pennsylvania/Nicholson will proceed “without the installation of the roundabout, the frontage road, and within a right of way that is inconsistent with plans for the USPS project.” He adds that the USPS may have to go through the project approval process a second time if the project is revived. Bolender urges the “USPS to reconsider its position with respect to the project” and “commit now to reconstruction of S. Pennsylvania Avenue from Hickory to College including the roundabout and frontage road.”

 I’ll keep you posted on what happens next on this project.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

More Headlines of Interest …

Here’s a few more headlines 4th District residents may be interested in …

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Previewing This Week’s Council Meeting

The South Milwaukee Common Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

Among the items on the agenda:

  • A resolution to amend the fee schedule and raise winter (December to March) on-street parking rates to $25 per month. It would also create a winter parking permit option. Designed for college students returning home for Christmas break, this $25 permit would allow for overnight parking on city streets from December 15 to January 15. This is a cost savings for these students and other interested residents, who would otherwise have to buy full-month permits for December and January.
  • Various other changes to the city fee schedule, including one that would require all South Milwaukee residents to pay a $100 fee each time an ambulance responds to their home and administers basic patient care, but doesn’t transport that patient to the hospital. Previously, there was no charge for this service. I’d argue that such a fee is necessary. Transport or not, this medical service costs money, and it should be paid for.
  • A resolution to amend the fire code, including language that would require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all commercial and multi-family residential units (three or more units). It would also require the installation of “10-year” smoke alarms with sealed batteries in all multi-family and mixed-use occupancies. The outdoor burning code would also be updated and tightened.
  • A resolution to repeal and recreate the municipal fair housing code.

You can view the entire agenda here.


Filed under Uncategorized