Alder David Ahrens
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Alder Ahrens’ Updates
Lobbying, housing and community meetings
Lobbyists on city committees and boards? If you think of Madison as a "clean, good government" city, you'll be surprised to know that a number of paid lobbyists are members of committees, boards and commissions that deal with their issues of interest. These lobbyists do not vote on issues directly affecting their client's interests but their participation in the on-going activities and agenda of the committee as well as the personal relationships with committee members does give them influence unavailable to other citizens.
I've introduced legislation that would prohibit lobbyists from membership on city committees, boards and commissions. In response to the proposal, one lobbyist said that the city would be deprived of the knowledge and experience of lobbyists. My response is that they can still communicate with the council and staff members, but they just can't vote. Thus far, the only other council members to willing to co-sponsor are first-year alders. It will be interesting to see the response of other alders as the process continues.
How much water do you use? Now that we receive monthly water bills, we should be getting a better idea of how much water we actually use. (Note that the majority of the costs in a "water bill" are not for water but for sewerage service.) However, if you want a close-up view that gives you day-by-day and even hour-by-hour information on your usage as well as comparisons with past use, you should log on to
While the notion of reviewing hour by hour use might seem kind of "wonky", it is actually quite useful. If you review your hourly use and find that 10 or 20 gallons of water per hour are going down the drain while you're sleeping, you've got a leak!
The Water Utility has recently started this program and is offering two ipads to early registrants. All you need to do to sign up is have your account number or if your password if you are billed directly.
Rethke Ave. Homes for the Homeless: There's been no shortage of news and controversy about homeless individuals in and around the City-County Building and other downtown locations. However, there have been few solutions to this complex problem. The obvious remedy for many of the homeless is a home. Many of the homeless have serious drug/alcohol problems and little or no job history.
Other cities have found that much of the cost and problems related to the homeless can be addressed by a home. Having a home makes treatment more effective as well as activities such as job-seeking.
Today, (July 1) the city and county broke ground on a new 60-unit building that will house 60 adults in single-room apartments. After much discussion with the developers, I am hopeful that there will be sufficient services for the residents who will need very intensive care. In my remarks at the groundbreaking, I said that I expect the developers and managers of the building (Heartland Health) will address any concerns raised by the community in both construction of the building and its operation which will open in April, 2016.
Future Plans for Milwaukee St: The City Planning Dept. has floated a variety of plans for the development of the Milwaukee St corridor (between Fair Oaks and Stoughton Rd.). These are very long-range plans, that is, ideas that might take place ten years from now or more.
I've asked a Senior Planner in the Planning Division, Rick Roll, to discuss some of their long-range plans for Milwaukee St and the eastside with the Eastmorland Community Association (ECA). We'll meet for this presentation and discussion at 7 PM on Tuesday, July 14th at the Moravian Church on Hargrove St.
PDQ on E. Washington: The City Plan Commission will hold a hearing on the proposed PDQ at the current site of the Prime Quarter restaurant. Community residents have met with representatives of the PDQ corporation twice and have voiced their concerns over the driveway on Schmedeman Ave which would result in increased traffic and noise, lights from the convenience store and other issues. The Commission hearing will be held at the City County Building on July 27 and starts at 6:30. We don't know where we are on the agenda yet but will ask that this be heard early in the schedule.
Buckeye in 2018. Buckeye Road is in need of major repair and has been in bad shape for years. The county has agreed to contribute to its rebuilding and the city has secured some federal funds as well for this multi-million dollar project. The overall project will result in new infrastructure (water and sewer lines), new road, curb and gutter and sidewalks. Planning for the project will begin next year.
This month, the Council will be dealing with the proposed $60 million in grants and loans for the construction of an office building, hotel and 1250 parking stalls downtown. I view this proposal as a very high risk proposition that has the potential to bankrupt the city if the businesses are not successful.
If you have any questions or concerns about city issues and services please contact me at 334-1156 or email@example.com.
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