Alder Grant Foster
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Foster’s Updates
Golf Task Force Report, Property Tax Bill Explained, Milwaukee Street Special Area Plan Updates - D15 Update 1/4/21
I hope everyone had a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday season with opportunities to connect with families and friends (even if only virtually). I'm excited for the opportunities that 2021 holds for our community and look forward to working together to meet the challenges.
New email list
As I mentioned in this previous blog post, automated email notifications for this blog have been temporarily suspended due to compliance concerns with a state campaign finance statute. The city attorney has asked for an opinion as to whether the law applies to automated email notifications for alder blogs, but until the question is resolved subscribers will not receive email alerts from the city's IT system.
Over winter break, I worked on identifying and setting up an alternative email notification system and have begun to send out invitations for anyone interested. I am still in the process of sending out invitations, but if you have not received an invitation and would like to be added, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A couple of interviews
I had the opportunity to speak with Hannah Mohelnitzky & Ryan Schmidt from our Engineering division about how the city handles snow and ice removal on the city's shared use paths. You can listen to that podcast here. If you like what you hear, you can check out other recent episodes from the Everyday Engineering podcast series like this one on the new Fleet building on Nakoosa Trail or this one about amending your soil for improved stormwater infiltration.
I also had the pleasure of speaking with my friend Mark Whitcomb about local government and how residents can get involved, including my thoughts on the recommendations from the Task Force on Government Structure for a smaller, full-time common council. You can listen to our discussion here.
2020 property tax bill
2020 tax bills were sent out to property owners last month with the first installment due January 31. The chart below shows the tax on the average home in Madison (valued at $315,200) and the percent change from last year's average.
While your tax bill is sent from the City of Madison Treasurer and includes a letter from Madison's mayor, the bill itself includes charges from four different taxing jurisdictions: Madison Schools, City of Madison, Dane County, and Madison College (MATC). The portion of your bill that pays for city services is a little over 1/3 of the total amount. Nearly half of the tax bill goes to fund our local public schools and 16% goes to Dane County and Madison College. While the overall increase in the average tax bill this year is a little over 4%, that increase is due in large part to the MMSD referendum that passed this fall. The increase in the city portion of property tax on the other hand was only 1.79%.
New east police district captain
Please join me in welcoming incoming East District Captain, Jamar Gary and wishing outgoing Captain Cory Nelson a happy retirement.
Other city updates:
- How to Have Your Christmas Tree Collected
- Now Hiring! GreenPower Program Application Now Available
- Free COVID-19 Testing to Continue at Alliant Energy Center for at Least Three More Months
- Public must remain vigilant even with vaccinations underway
- Share Your Creative Projects with Madison Makes
Common Council meeting
The first common council meeting of the year will have a very packed agenda. You can find a link to the agenda as well as information on how to register to provide comments here. There are a number of items of possible interest to district 15 residents including:
6 - Freymiller's alcohol license - The recommended action is to place on file (not approve)
9 - Establish mapped reservations for future Streets and Highways consistent with recommendations in the adopted Milwaukee Street Special Area Plan - The recommended action is to refer to the 1/19 Common Council meeting.
10 - Creating requirements for electric vehicle charging in some new parking construction - I am a cosponsor of this amendment.
14 - Approving Plans, Specifications, And Schedule Of Assessments For Garver Path & Starkweather Drive Assessment District - The design for the path and street reconstruction was approved earlier this year. This is the final approval of plans and specifications prior to construction. You can find more details about this project here.
30 - Accepting the final report and recommendations from the Task Force on Municipal Golf in Madison Parks - The report recommendations include: #4. The City should issue a Request for Proposals to evaluate the option of a private or non-profit operator for Monona and establish a plan and timeline to eliminate eighteen holes at Yahara Hills and #10. The City should not sell park land to fund capital improvements of the golf courses. Staff have confirmed that no RFP to evaluate the option of a private operator for Monona will occur without further discussion and recommendation by the Common Council. Accepting this report should not lead to any noticeable or immediate changes to operations at Monona golf course.You can find the complete report and recommendations here.
38 - Declaring the City of Madison's intention to exercise its police powers establishing the Davies Street, Dempsey Road, and Maher Avenue Reconstruction Assessment District - The first public meeting on this project was held on December 14th where residents asked for alternative designs to be developed for Maher Avenue. Staff is working on developing additional design alternatives and another public meeting will be held prior to any recommendations being made. You can find additional details about this project here.
45 - Declaring the City of Madison's intention to exercise its police powers establishing the E. Dean Avenue, Allis Avenue, Seth Circle and Tyler Circle Assessment District - Two public meetings were held on this project in November and December and the geometry for the project was approved by the Transportation Commission on December 9th. Final approval for the project is anticipated at the Board of Public Works on January 20th and at the Common Council on January 2nd. You can find additional details about this project here.
50 - A Resolution authorizing the placement of advisory referendum questions related to the structure of city government on the Spring 2021 general election ballot - The Task Force on Government Structure recommended moving to a smaller, full-time council in their final report issued last year. This resolution would put a number of questions to Madison voters in the spring in order to help inform potential changes to the current structure of the Madison Common Council.
59 - Eliminating the city bicycle registration system - This is an ordinance change that I am sponsoring to eliminate the city's bicycle registration system. This system is outdated and no longer effectively serves its original purpose. As part of this change, the city would join a national online registry to help aid in recovering stolen bicycles.
61 - Rezoning properties consistent with recommendations in the adopted Milwaukee Street Special Area Plan - This ordinance change would rezone several properties north of Milwaukee Street to conform with the adopted Milwaukee Street Special Area Plan. The zoning changes would not change the current use of any of these properties, but would impact what future uses are allowed and prevent uses that are inconsistent with those identified in the special area plan.
63 & 68 - Establishing a policy on furlough - The adopted 2021 operating budget included anticipated salary savings from a mandatory furlough program. There is no current adopted policy related to furlough and our Personnel Rules and the Employee Benefits Handbook offer no guidance as to how a mandatory furlough program would be instituted. This ordinance change and resolution begins the work to address this deficiency and establish a city policy governing the use of furlough.
Other city meetings
There are a number of city meetings not highlighted in this update including the City-County Homeless Issues Committee and the Body-Worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee. You can find a full schedule of city meetings here.
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