News

Mon
24
Nov

County budget targets ‘pressing needs’

The Dane County Board of Supervisors approved an operating budget of about $530 million for 2015 and a capital budget of just under $41.7 million Monday night.

According to a county news release, board president Sharon Corrigan said the budget addresses the county’s “most pressing needs.” She cited emergency response, homelessness and “smarter” criminal justice as examples.

“This budget is all about progress,” she said. “We’re taking on all these new initiatives while keeping up our infrastructure, caring for our most vulnerable citizens and remaining respectful of our hardworking taxpayers.”

Some budget initiatives also address environmental concerns, including adding money to the conservation fund for land purchases, water quality improvements, renewable energy projects and creation and expansion of bicycle paths.

Mon
24
Nov

Mayor breaks deadlock again

Backers of Kettle Park West cleared a couple of significant hurdles last week when the Common Council approved revisions to the development agreement and approved boundaries and a project plan for Tax Incremental District No. 7.

That set the stage for a Joint Review Board to consider authorizing the TIF District and project plan next Tuesday, Nov. 25.

The council’s decisions followed what’s become a familiar pattern: a 6-6 council stalemate, allowing Mayor Donna Olson to cast the deciding vote to break the ties.

The city Plan Commission unanimously recommended that the council approve the TIF boundaries and project plan last week.

Fri
21
Nov

Council adopts 2015 budget

The city will get a new police officer, additional senior center hours and a 3 percent wage increase for most employees in 2015 in return for a slight increase to residents’ property taxes.

The Common Council adopted the city’s 2015 budget as presented last Tuesday with a 2.8 percent increase in the city’s mill rate, to $8.56 per $1,000 in value. The owner of a $200,000 property would pay $46 more in property taxes, $1,712.44.

Tax bills will be mailed to Stoughton residents in mid-December.

Ald. Tim Swadley (D-1) attempted to amend the budget during last week’s Common Council meeting but failed to garner the support of his colleagues.

Tue
18
Nov

Hospital uses CDC guidelines to prepare for Ebola

Ebola has not shown up in Wisconsin, but Stoughton Hospital has been planning how to deal with the virus if it should.

Hospital administrators have been told by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta that all hospitals should be prepared to receive a suspect patient, said Nancy Moskal, Stoughton Hospital’s risk manager and infection prevention specialist. 

“Even though we have plans that we would transport (an Ebola patient) out to a regional treatment center – the UW Hospital has been declared a regional treatment center in Wisconsin – we would still have the initial contact,” she said.

Tue
18
Nov

County budget deliberations next week

The Dane County Board of Supervisors is slated to take action on the county budget next week. 

A vote on county executive Joe Parisi’s budget, along with any changes proposed by supervisors, is expected at the board’s regular meeting Nov. 20. 

The county’s Personnel and Finance Committee has a budget deliberations meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17. Further budget deliberation meetings for the county board are scheduled for Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, if needed. 

Agendas for next week’s meetings had not been posted as of press time Tuesday. For information, visit countyofdane.com.

Locally, specific projects include additional money for road projects and recreation improvements.

The proposed budget includes:

Mon
17
Nov

A week later, referendum passes

Stoughton voters had to wait almost a week for results but learned on Monday that three quarters of them had voted in favor of the Move to Amend referendum.

The six-day delay in the results was due to a failure of the city’s voting machines, which operated flawlessly except for the referendum question, said city clerk Lana Kropf.

The malfunction with the voting machines led to an incomplete outcome of the city’s advisory referendum on whether to amend the U.S. Constitution. It was approved by 75.7 percent of the votes cast – 4,440 vs. 992.

City clerk Lana Kropf told the Hub on Monday that some votes had been counted because one of the machines reported a few votes, but not many. The machines accurately calculated the totals for all other races, but most came up with zeroes for the referendum votes, Kropf said.

Mon
17
Nov

Small tax rate increase in Town of Dunn budget proposal

Town of Dunn residents will see a slight bump in the town’s portion of their property tax bill this year if the town’s budget proposal is approved. 

Last year’s rate of $2.64 per $1,000 of assessed value would jump to $2.69 this year under the proposal, accounting for an extra $10 on a $200,000 home.

One of the biggest changes in the budget, according to the town newsletter budget summary by town clerk Cathy Hasslinger, is a return of more money to the road construction budget. Projects in 2015 include overlaying portions of Bible Camp, Willow, Crescent, Camp Leonard, Ridge and High Street and reconstructing about a half-mile  of Tower Road. 

There is also $200,000 budgeted for the Dyreson Bridge historic restoration project, and $140,000 for a new tandem plow truck.

Mon
17
Nov

Wal-Mart site plan moves forward

A large piece of the proposed Kettle Park West development advanced Monday to the Common Council for discussion Tuesday and a vote likely later in the month.

The city’s Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Specific Implementation Plan (SIP) for Wal-Mart. The plan contains details about the site, including landscaping points, parking lot layouts and some exemptions from the city’s big box ordinance.

The commission first reviewed the SIP about two weeks ago at a special meeting, but action was deferred twice while company representatives made changes requested by the commission members. Those were linked to adjustments to the general development plan approved the previous week that had added roughly 1.8 acres to the Wal-Mart lot. 

Fri
14
Nov

Tax rate jumps 5 cents in Town of Dunkirk proposed budget

The town of Dunkirk is holding its annual budget hearing and town meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17 at the Dunkirk Town Hall. 654 County Road N.

According to the preliminary budget, the proposed tax levy is $549,349 with a mill rate of 2.8 per $1,000 of assessed property value, up slightly from this year’s levy of $538,353 and mill rate of $2.75.The detailed proposed budget is available for inspection by contacting the clerk at 873-9177 or online at townofdunkirk.com. 

 A special town meeting will be held immediately following the public hearing to adopt the 2015 levy and approve highway expenditures. The town board will meet immediately following the budget hearing and special town meeting to adopt the budget.

Fri
14
Nov

OWI task force doubling up next year

Stoughton will continue its high-visibility drunken-driving patrols into a third series, but this time, it is likely to get two for the price of one.

The city joined the Capital Area OWI Task Force in 2013, the second year of the program, and has stuck with it as it continued to grow. This spring, that meant 18 squad cars from 14 agencies patrolling Main Street, U.S. 51 and County Highways N and B on a single night as a deterrent to drunken driving.

With so many officers available to the federally funded program and most of the administrative kinks worked out, the task force members are starting sooner on the paperwork this year and most will plan to have two smaller patrols in 2015. The city voted last week to sign a new intergovernmental agreement to continue the program.

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