Monthly Archives: November 2011

Reminder: Winter Parking Kicks In On Thursday

One sure sign of winter: restricted overnight parking.

Don’t forget that between Dec. 1 and March 31 you must have a permit to park on city streets between 3 and 6 a.m. each morning. Cost is $25 per month, or $80 for a four-month permit. “Holiday permits,” good Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, are also available for $25.

Learn more on the South Milwaukee Police Department website.

Also, starting Dec. 1 there will be new, reduced winter hours for the self-deposit station. The station will be open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and, of course, Sundays.

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Council Recap: City Approves 2012 Budget, 4th District Public Works Project And More

Update: Here is the letter sent to area residents on the Parkway Drive/17th Avenue project.

The South Milwaukee City Council unanimously approved the 2012 city budget at a special meeting on Tuesday night.

It is essentially the same document I’ve already written about.

Of note, however, is the 2012 tax rate. It, too, was set Tuesday night, and it will be $8.83 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This compares with a city tax rate of $7.24 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2011 … although it’s important to point out that this is not an apples to apples comparison.

The revaluation earlier this year reduced property values by an average of more than 10%, so the tax rate was certain to rise to reflect this.

So, how much will your bill increase? Of course, that depends a lot on your revaluation (among other factors). In fact, it’s possible the city portion of your tax bill could decline if your home dropped in value significantly more than the city average.

Among other topics discussed at the council Tuesday …

  • The council voted unanimously to approve wages and benefits packages for union and non-union employees in 2012. The biggest changes in these reflect that all city workers outside of police officers and firefighters will pay more for their health insurance and pension next year, in line with the “tools” given communities by state lawmakers. Non-represented workers already began paying more for these benefits last year. Members of AFSCME will pay the higher out-of-pocket costs once their contract expires on June 30.
  • We also voted unanimously to spend more than $220,000 to tackle stormwater and sanitary sewer work on Parkway Drive and 17th Avenue in the 4th District. This document describes the work in more detail. Work will begin within the week, as the contractor hopes to get as much done before winter sets in. Construction will continue in the spring – and include the resurfacing of 17th north of Rawson Avenue. The road work will be subject to a separate set of bids in 2012. I’ll keep you posted.
  • The Public Works & Public Property Committee also voted to recommend council approval of an ordinance to combine the Wastewater and Water Commissions. The new Water/Wastewater Commission would include seven members and have more direct oversight from the council. One of the biggest changes: All water utility rate increases would now need council approval before they are forwarded on to the state’s Public Service Commission. We’ll also have to approve the water utility and sewer treatment budgets going forward. I’ll keep you posted.

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Filed under 2012 Budget, City Council

Petitions For Hoan Bridge Bike Lanes And Other Local Headlines

South Shore State Sen. Chris Larson is reportedly preparing to submit about 5,000 signatures to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in support of a bike and pedestrian lane on the newly constructed Hoan Bridge.

Learn more in this Journal Sentinel story.

And check out these other local headlines:

Also, check out this guest editorial by Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp on the We Energies bluff collapse in Oak Creek. In it, she calls the environmental risk of the collapse “minimal.”

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Updating The 794 Extension: Public Hearing Planned For February In South Milwaukee

South Milwaukeeans, and others, can weigh in on plans to extend Highway 794 south to Highway 100 (and beyond) at a public hearing planned for Feb. 29 at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for viewing of displays, and the presentation and public comment session starts at 6:30.

Learn more in County Supervisor Pat Jursik’s December E-Update, and in this Oak Creek patch story. Jursik is chairwoman of the Advisory Committee for the Lake Arterial Extension Study.

The Business Journal also had a recent story on the plan. Check it out here.

It’s a subscription story, so you can only read the first few paragraphs. But the accompanying map is helpful, and it shows an intersection near College and interchanges at Rawson, Drexel and Puetz.

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Sullivan: No On Gubernatorial Bid, U.S. Senate Bid “Unlikely”

I just came across a recent Business Journal story on Tim Sullivan’s political future.

The former Bucyrus CEO told the newspaper that a run against Gov. Scott Walker in a gubernatorial recall election is not in the cards, and he said a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2012 is still uncertain at best.

Check out the story here, keeping in mind that in the print edition of this story, Sullivan labeled his chances at running to replace Sen. Herb Kohl “unlikely.”

What do think of Sullivan as a candidate? Post your comments below!

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2012 Budget Update: Public Hearing On Monday; Vote Expected On Tuesday

Your chance to formally weigh in on the proposed 2012 city budget comes Monday, when the City Council holds a public hearing on the document.

The hearing starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

The council is expected to vote on the budget — and other related items like wages and benefits — at its meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night. Check out the agenda here.

Learn more about the 2012 budget in this post.

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Catching Up: South Shore Headlines Of Note

Check out these headlines of interest from around South Milwaukee and the South Shore:

Also, South Milwaukee NOW has published a new police blotter, and state Sen. Chris Larson has published a new Larson Report.

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Reminder: Christmas Festivities On Sunday

Don’t forget: South Milwaukee’s Old Fashioned Christmas celebration begins with the Christmas parade at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The parade starts at 12th and Milwaukee Avenues, heads west on Milwaukee and then south on 15th Avenue to City Hall, where the festivities continue with food, fun and a visit from Santa. The tree lighting is at 5:30.

Learn more in this post and at SouthMilwaukee.org, City Clerk Jim Shelenske’s events website. See you there!

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Open Thread: What Are You Thankful For?

This Thanksgiving I ask, what are you most thankful for?

Post your thanks below!

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Early Downtown Christmas Gift: Wild Flour Bakery Reopens

The positive momentum continues for South Milwaukee’s downtown with the reopening of the Wild Flour Bakery’s retail store.

You’ll recall that the store at 1205 Milwaukee closed over the summer due to slow sales, but its baking operations remained. See my previous post on that here.

I am told it reopened Tuesday. So I stopped by tonight and picked up some fresh-based raisin bread, cinnamon rolls and Packer-themed cookies. Yum!

Welcome back, Wild Flour!

(And don’t forget that Wild Flour will also be at both South Milwaukee Christmas Markets on Dec. 3 and 10 at Caterpillar.)

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Filed under Local Business

Following Up On The Milwaukee County Budget

As I’m sure you heard, the Milwaukee County Board successfully overrode most of County Executive Chris Abele’s 2012 budget vetoes last week.

The end result: A county property tax levy increase of 2.15%, with still-steep cuts in certain areas like the Sheriff’s Department.

Probably the biggest direct local impact is the looming reduction in funding (albeit less of a cut after the County Board’s action) the county provides to municipalities (like South Milwaukee) who operate paramedic service. How we deal with this remains to be seen.

You can learn more, including see a list of who voted for what, in this press release. And check out the Journal Sentinel story here.

I also asked South Shore Supervisor Pat Jursik for her opinion. Here is what she sent me …

I am proud that we were able to preserve some funding of Emergency Medical Services.  I also advocated to preserve the EMS contract which includes a funding distribution formula important for our communities.

I voted to preserve public safety by lessening cuts to the Sheriff’s Department.  The Sheriff’s Targeted Enforcement Unit has worked to keep negative activity out of Grant Park, Sheridan Park, and our other wonderful parks in the South Shore.  We have made great progress, so this program must continue.  I did not support the board’s wellness initiative because it would have added to the tax levy; I do think we need to look at a wellness program, but I’d like to see a strong review by our entire benefits team and then design an appropriate program, not just design one from the board’s review.

Thanks again to Supervisor Jursik for her responiveness on this and every issue, and for her continued diligence in watching county spending — while also trying to fund core county services.

Of course, this is only the county portion of your tax bill. Don’t forget that the city budget public hearing is set for Monday, Nov. 28, with the City Council expected to vote on the budget the next night. And I’ll be posting something on the school budget and levy soon.

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Public Meeting On Voter ID Scheduled In South Milwaukee

It’s a ways off, but mark your calendars for Thursday, Jan. 19, when election experts from the Government Accountability Board will hold a public meeting in South Milwaukee about the state’s new voter photo ID law.

The meeting, hosted by the city clerk’s office, is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Thanks to City Clerk Jim Shelenske for scheduling  this session. The voter ID law is complicated, and there are bound to be questions as the spring elections draw near. It’s good to get out in front of them as best we can, and sessions like this will help.

In the meantime, there is information on voting on the election information page on the city’s website.

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Filed under 2012 Elections

Details Emerge On Hoan Bridge Bike Lanes … And The Debate Continues

Nearly 300 people showed up at a public information meeting on Monday night about the proposed Hoan Bridge bike lanes.

Reaction was mixed, and some new details emerged.

Check out the Journal Sentinel story here, and, of course, I’d like to know what you think. Post your comments below!

Here is what I think: I support the addition of a bike lane to the Hoan, and spending what it takes to add it while keeping three lanes of traffic in both directions. The flow of vehicle traffic should not be compromised to accommodate cyclists.

I feel strongly that we must think big with this project and other major public works projects like it. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to go beyond the bare minimum — functionality, merely a way to connect point A to point B — and make the Hoan truly something special. The bike lanes help deliver on that promise. So would lights, which I proposed adding in a previous post.

Now, will most people reading this post ever walk or bike the Hoan? No. Will I? I’m not sure. But many will, and simply having that option available makes the Hoan a unique attraction of which the entire can region can boast.

We must, as a city and larger community, do a better job of seeking, and ultimately embracing, big ideas when we have a chance to do so. This is that opportunity. Seize it.

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Even More On The College Avenue Project And Other South Shore Headlines

Oak Creek Patch has its take on the potential impact of the widened and otherwise improved College Avenue.

Check out it out here.

And check out these other local headlines of interest:

Also, South Milwaukee NOW has posted the honor rolls for South Milwaukee Middle and High School. See them here.

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Poaching In Grant Park?

I must admit, this WISN story is quite disturbing …

Apparently, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating potential poaching of deer at Grant Park.

I really hope it’s not true. Grant Park is such a special place and community icon. You hate to see anything like this spoil it.

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