Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Ahrens’ Updates
Sept. 2016 District News
Upcoming this month: The budget for capital projects will be released next week and the budget for city operations will be released the following week. I don't expect the budgets to be much different than that of last year.
We'll also be again consider issues about panhandling (see below), liquor licenses on State St., Monona Terrace and the Police Dept.
Town of Madison Annexation:
The State Journal broke a news story a few weeks ago that took me and many Council members by surprise. In a nutshell, it said that Mayor Soglin had proposed to move up the annexation of the Town of Madison from its scheduled merger with Fitchburg and the city from 2022 to this December. Wow.
After the story became public, the Mayor shared a few more facts with the Council and the rest of the city learned about annexing a square mile of territory and 4,000 new residents.
Among the facts to keep in mind are that the City will spend about $2.5 million in additional costs for police and fire personnel. Currently, the Town's staffing in public safety is well below City standards. No doubt, we will also have to get another trash truck, parks vehicle, staff, etc. Many other costs such as administrative duties we can just absorb with existing staff.
(Note: The excellent staffing and operations of the City Fire Department and Water Utility recently earned the city a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office. This should result in lower insurance rates for businesses and multi-unit homes as well as safer conditions for us all.)
Because the property values in the Town are much lower than that of the city, we will have to increase overall levies by a small amount. We will also have to absorb 75% of their existing staff onto the city payroll or pay them a substantial severance pay. Given the highly competitive nature of city hiring, this provision describes special scrutiny.
After the news about the Mayor's initiative was released, the Town decided to slow down the process and study it through next year. That's advice that we should take as well. There may be many more pot holes than initially meets the eye. We should remember that a merger is forever.
Meet Police Chief Koval:
Chief Koval will host a community discussion Thursday, Sept. 8th at 6 PM at the East District Station, 809 S. Thompson Dr. (off of Cottage Grove Rd).. The forum is open to all and gives residents the opportunity to hear from the Chief and ask questions. Captain Schauf of the East District will probably attend the meeting (or she will be at the same meeting I will be attending and we'll both miss the Chief's Forum).
Thursday, September 8th 6:00pm- 8 pm
Location: East District – 809 S. Thompson Drive
At Olbrich Gardens:
GLEAM, Art in a New Light, has returned to Olbrich Gardens with an exciting new series of illuminated art installations in the outdoor gardens. This is a really interesting way to visit Olbrich Gardens at night. The show was a big hit last year and has returned with a different assortment of glowing balls, water installations, lighted hula hoops and other cool stuff. The exhibit will be available until Oct. 1. Bring your own mosquito repellent!
Happy 50th Anniversary East Madison Community Center:
Last Saturday I enjoyed spending the afternoon at the East Madison Community Center at their 50th anniversary party. There was live music, bounce houses, games, bingo, pizza and about a hundred kids running around. In addition to the kids- which you would expect at a party- there were also quite a few older folks.
They didn't come for the bounce houses but instead came to reminisce about their time at the Center 30, 40 and 50 years before. One room was set aside to record their memories.
Also, Tom Moen, Director of the Center was on hand to help jar their memories. Tom has worked at the Center for 42 years, starting when it consisted of two apartments in the Truax Houses. It's changed quite a bit with a full-size gym, theatre, Head Start classrooms, library, full kitchen and tutoring center. But the thing that has stayed the same and brought people back year after year are the dedicated staff that serve almost everyone from morning to night.
Panhandling & Safety:
The Council will soon debate the pro's and con's of a Mayoral proposal to prohibit people from standing in the median of major roads due to "safety" concerns. The proposal doesn't say anything about panhandling but we all know that's what it's really about. The sudden appearance of a group of panhandlers occupying the median strips outside malls and major intersections e.g. E. Wash and Stoughton Rd. is troublesome to many who consider them a nuisance rather than poor folks who need a hand.
Steve Schooler, Director of Porchlight Inc., which provides emergency and long-term shelter and other services for homeless people, said his staff has had no contact with these folks and advised against giving them money.
But the Mayor says that this is not about panhandling at all but instead about the safety of these individuals and drivers. Really?
Redesigning Storm Water Outlet on Corporate Dr:
If you've taken the south exit off Stoughton Rd. you've passed the stormwater outlet that runs most of the length of the highway exit. Now it's quite overgrown with vegetation, cracked and needs to be replaced. What should it be replaced with?
This will be the first item under discussion at the Eastmorland Community Association at their regular monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 PM. They meet at Lakeview Moravian Church at 3565 Tulane Ave, second Monday of the month.
Have a good weekend and hope you will be able to enjoy the extra day for Labor Day.
If you have any concerns or comments about city issues or policies, feel free to call me at 334-1156 or write at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do want to hear from you.
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