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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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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.

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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.

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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.

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