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
April 2017 News
Spring Election Starts Now: The Spring Election which is mostly held on April 4th is already underway at Pinney Library, the Streets East facility on Sycamore and at the City Clerk's Office at the City-County Building.
In the November election, more than 1,000 people voted at the Pinney Library. While we don't expect a turn-out of that size by next week, it is an election of some importance. Two open School Board seats are open and the State Superintendent of Schools is contested as well. Please make every effort to cast your ballot.
Walter St. Construction Project begins next Monday, April 3rd. The project begins at the intersection of Walter and Hargrove and will then proceed down Walter and Sargent St. simultaneously. The work is expected to last until Labor Day. Construction activity can take place between 7 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Friday. Only when there are an unusual number of rainy days when construction cannot take place is there work on the weekend.
If you have any special needs, problems with the construction activity or questions contact the City of Madison Construction Engineer John Fahrney; he can be reached at 266-9091. The City's Construction Inspector will be Eric Hoel. You can reach Eric, in the field, at 520-2384. You may also leave a message for him at 261-9972or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brush and spring yard waste collection will begin Monday, April 3 in the area that has a Monday refuse collection day. Yard waste is considered leafy plant material. It also includes pine cones and even twigs that are less than 18 inches long.
Crews will complete two official rounds of curbside collection of yard waste before ending for the season. Material set out after the second round of collection will not be collected until the start of the fall leaf collection in late September.
When setting out yard waste, residents can pile the material loose on the terrace or curbside. Do not place it in the street directly.
Residents can also place yard waste into open compostable paper bags, or in open plastic bags. If bags are used, they must remain open at the top. Do not cinch, tie, or otherwise close the yard waste bags.
Also, do not mix yard waste and brush together into a single pile. Piles that have yard waste and brush mixed together will not be collected. Brush is woody material likely trimmed from trees or bushes that is longer than 18 inches, but shorter than 8 feet long. Crews will pick up brush continuously throughout the spring, summer, and early fall.
Brush should be set out with the cut ends facing the same direction. Pile the brush neatly so workers can collect the material quickly without risk of cutting their hands or arms.
Do not place brush into containers or bags. Please do not tie brush together wires, or mix other material with it, such are rocks or metal.
Cottage Grove Rd. Plans II: The follow-up meeting to the Cottage Grove Rd. planning session will be held at Messiah Lutheran Church, (Cottage Grove Rd.) Tuesday, March 28th at 6:30 PM. The meeting will focus on the results of the discussion held two months ago (Olbrich Gardens). Even if you did not attend the first meeting, please feel free to attend this and participate in the discussion.
Sidewalk Assessments: Hundreds of homeowners received their sidewalk assessment notices last week. Unfortunately, prices have gone up since the Monopoly Chance card hit you with a $15 sidewalk assessment. If you have any questions or concerns about your assessment you can either call the number on your letter or discuss the issue in person with a city engineer. We'll meet at Streets East on Sycamore Ave on Thursday, April 20th from 6- 7:30 PM.
Does that go in the Recycle? Perhaps you've asked yourself this question as you examined a plastic vegetable tray or half-plastic, half-cardboard container? Well, there is an answer to those questions in the new Recyclopedia. There's a very handy and searchable PDF on the main Streets Division website. http://www.cityofmadison.com/streets/documents/Recyclopedia2017-web.pdf. If you would prefer a print copy let me know.
Truax Chili Cook-off: Madison Police Officer Dave Dexheimer from North District organized the First (Annual?) Chili Cook-Off at the East Madison Community Center. About a dozen contestants (including me) tried their chili out on an audience of about 100 Truax residents, mostly under 12 years old. In addition to the chili, corn bread and ice cream, the audience participated in a presentation on what to do if you see a gun. Sorry to say that I didn't win a prize for my efforts but I think most of the kids got the point of the presentation. Thanks to Officer "Dex" for organizing this event!
The Trump Budget: In case you haven't heard, the federal budget proposed by Trump would –if passed- be a catastrophe for the city. Some examples: Plans to expand bus service would be shelved and bus fares would substantially rise, leading to reductions in bus users. Support for housing would decline precipitously and end our efforts to build affordable housing in the city. Federal support for activities such as neighborhood centers and even food pantries would dry up. Of course, the tangible impact would fall most heavily by lower-income residents but the effects would be realized by all. The plan is to take these "savings" to pay for a massive increase in armaments.
"Word" is that much of the budget will be made right and that it will not be quite as bad as originally proposed but it is a Congress that shows little interest or understanding of cities. These next few months will be important in understanding what kind of future we will have.
Biergarten: Earlier this month, the proposal for a biergarten in Olbrich Park passed the Common Council by a vote of 12-7 and was signed by the Mayor. Over the past four months, the proposal had numerous committee hearings lasting dozens of hours. The Council hearing lasted until 2 AM.
The biergarten will function under the strictest operating rules of any drinking establishment in the state. For example, individuals will only be able to buy one beer at a time. This is a unique requirement for any bar. Compare this to the Terrace at UW which serves pitchers of beer and has no control over who is being served or at many bars and restaurants that have tables outside of their main place of service.
It is anticipated that the biergarten will open by July 4th and will bring many people to Olbrich Park and an opportunity to enjoy the lake.
A Zero-Carbon City: As I write these summaries, it is announced that Trump will seek to repeal the Clean Power Plan- one of Pres. Obama's primary initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and thus, stem the increase in climate change. The state's policies also reduce regulations on air polluters.
Although the city cannot undo the reckless action of other governments, we can make a difference in our own backyard. Last week, the Council passed a measure I sponsored that would take the first step towards putting the city on a "zero-carbon" path. The initial step is to plan how we can have our electrical needs moved from purchases from MGE to renewable sources. It would also require us to use power more efficiently such as better windows, lights, and pumps. This will be a long process but rather than increasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere (if we do nothing) we will be on the path towards steep reductions.
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about city policies or services. You can reach me at 334-1156 or at email@example.com
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