Council Vice President
Alder Jael Currie,
Council Vice President
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Alder Currie’s Updates
Updates, Meeting & Event Highlights for the Week of September 5, 2022
Greetings friends & neighbors,
I can't believe I haven't sent an update since August 2nd. Needless to say, I have been extremely busy especially since becoming Council Vice President this April! Along with my fulltime work, parenting teens, and enjoying every last bit of summer, my (council related) areas of focus have been:
- Gaining a deeper understanding of the Council Office operations & needs, and supporting the Chief of Staff's onboarding and work plan. After being down to 2 staff - Chief of Staff & Program Assistant – a 3rd staff (Legislative Staff) has been hired. That means only 2 vacancies (Legislative Analyst & Community Engagement Specialist) remain until the office is fully staffed!
- Chairing the CCEC (Common Council Executive Committee)'s Subcommittee to Establish a Common Council Code of Conduct. The intent of this subcommittee is to create standards for the Council with a great emphasis on providing resources to increase knowledge & sustainability among the Council.
- Providing feedback & assistance to develop New Alder Orientations for the next Council cohort. Support and sustainability have been a huge focus of President Furman and I during our time in Council Leadership. The role of being an Alder is certainly not a cake walk but it is our hope that providing hands on orientation and access to resources will mitigate some of the challenges commonly faced.
I'd also like to acknowledge that I haven't resumed or held office hours in quite some time. I am not sure if I will resume them due to my schedule but do have the ability to schedule (individual and/or group) meetings with advance planning. Currently, email or text is the most efficient way to connect with me. If the issue is not complex, I aim to provide a response within 24-48 hours.
Madison Water Utility's 2021 Annual Report is available!
Section 13.01(3) of the Madison General Ordinances establishes the duty of the Madison Water Utility Board to "issue an annual report that shall be made available to the Common Council [and general public]." This reporting period covers audited 2021 financial statements, 2021 water quality monitoring, and 2021 projects, events, operations, and accomplishments. The 2021 report can be viewed here.
US 51 (Stoughton Road) North Study
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has initiated a study of 6.5 miles of US 51 (Stoughton Road) from the WIS 30 interchange in Madison to WIS 19 in the village of DeForest.
The North Study will assess how best to accommodate traffic volumes with a focus on safety issues that affect travel along Stoughton Road.
The environmental study will achieve the following outcomes:
- Examine ways – including intersection improvements – to improve safety along the corridor, based on current and future traffic volumes.
- Determine how best to reduce traffic congestion in the study corridor. The environmental study began in summer 2022, and WisDOT will kick off public outreach efforts and begin work to define the study's purpose and need this fall. WisDOT anticipates the study will continue until fall 2024.
For more information about the corridor study, please contact: Jeff Berens, Project Manager; Jeff.Berens@dot.wi.gov. Visit the project webpage to get involved and receive regular updates about the study and opportunities for public involvement.
2023 budget preparation is in full swing! For instance, Mayor Rhodes-Conway will unveil her 2023 Executive Capital Budget today (Tuesday 9/6) at 11am. Budget Hearings, the first introduction of department budget proposals the Council will receive, will take place soon beginning with the 9/13 Finance Committee meeting. This year I am paying special attention to Traffic Engineering's budgets as I'd like to be able to have funding for much needed traffic enhancements (ie: flashing crosswalks, traffic circles, turn signals at busy intersections, etc) in district next year. I am also interested in how the City can sustain programs that were funded with ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars, and keeping the array of quality services the City provides, affordable for all. Please reach out to me ASAP - email@example.com - if you have priorities/services you'd like to see included, increased and/or reduced.
Dairy Drive Sheltered Campground
Two items will be introduced at todays Common Council meeting regarding the campground. One, if approved, would accept the first of two $40,000 donations from the Madison Gas & Electric Foundation. This donation represents the first of a two-year commitment to help pay expenses associated with the Dairy Drive campground. The other is seeking Council authorization to continue operations with the same service providers through the end of 2023, instead of October 31, 2022, which is the end date in the current contract. While these items are on the Common Council agenda, they will be referred to BCC's (boards/commissions/committees), and return to the Council at a later date to be decided on.
In District Blood Drive
The American Red Cross along with Madison Fire and Police Departments are hosting the 11th annual Never Forget Blood Drive Saturday, September 10 from 7am to 1pm at Madison Fire Station 14, 3201 Dairy Drive. Read the press release and register to give blood.
Police Civilian Oversight Board (PCOB) and MPD Updates
There are 5 seats on the PCOB that will need to be filled this fall:
- 2 organization nominee seats from the designated set of organizations which include: Freedom Inc, Just Dane, NAMI, UNIDOS, Urban Triage, YWCA Madison, Outreach LGBTQ+ and the NAACP of Dane County
- 1 Mayoral appointment and
- 2 at-large Council voted seats
The public call for applications for new PCOB members has gone out; applications are due September 6th.
- Early September: Council Leadership and Mayor meet to choose from the submitted nominations by the two designated set organizations with vacating members. Mayor chooses her appointee.
- Week of September 12: Council members rank the applicants, ranks are tabulated.
- September 15: CCEC reviews and makes recommendation on slate of appointees
- October 11: Council confirms slate of appointees.
- October 27: New members attend PCOB meeting in their new capacity
Last years budget approved the creation of a Community Relations Specialist position within Madison Police Department. This role replaced a commissioned Social Media/Crimestoppers Officer position and will be responsible for organizing and implementing programs which are specifically designed to improve relationships between MPD and minority communities. This position has been filled by Alexander Ricketts. Mr. Ricketts began in this capacity August 30, 2022.
Lastly, I'd like to join Captain Gary (MPD East District Captain) and the entire MPD community in congratulating Lieutenant Joey Skendandore on his retirement after almost 30 years of service. Lieutenant Scott Kleindeldt took on the role vacated by Lt. Skenandore (East Patrol Lieutenant) last week.
Here's to a happy and safe week.
Meeting and Event Highlights for the Week of September 5, 2022
Trash, recycling and large item collection: If your trash and recycling is collected on Mondays, you should place your scheduled cart(s) to the curb for collection by 6:30am on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. Only residents that have a Monday collection day will experience a delay in refuse and recycling pickup services. If you have a Tuesday collection of trash and recycling by the Streets Division, you should also place your scheduled cart(s) out for emptying by 6:30am on September 6.
Due to the holiday, large item collection will begin on Tuesday, September 6, 2022 for residents who submitted work orders to set out items on Sunday, September 4, 2022. As a reminder, all large item collections must be scheduled in advance by submitted a work order. And you should set the items out on the date you selected in the work order – not earlier. Crews do not provide early pickup. Create your large item work order.
- The Common Council will meet in hybrid format at 6:30pm on Tuesday, September 6.
- Many other committees meet the week of September 5, including the Finance Committee, Urban Design Commission, Board of Public Works, Board of Health for Madison and Dane County, Madison Arts Commission and Board of Park Commissioners. To see the full list of City meetings scheduled for the week, please consult the City meeting schedule.
- Well 15 PFAS Treatment Project – Public Information Meeting #2: Please join the Madison Water Utility for a second public information meeting on Thursday, September 8, 6pm-7:30pm, at the East Madison Community Center, 8 Straubel Court. Water Utility staff will present preliminary concepts on PFAS treatment solutions being considered for municipal drinking water Well #15. The presentation will provide an overview of the five treatment options considered along with an explanation of the pros, cons, and cost benefit analysis associated with each approach. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. To learn more about the project, please visit www.cityofmadison.com/water/projects. Visit cityofmadison.com/water to subscribe to the Water Utility email list to receive news and other updates.
- Trucks & Treasure: See, climb, and explore the big rigs! Sell or shop the gently used toys, games, books, and more at the kids-to-kids garage sale. Join Madison Parks at Trucks & Treasures on Saturday, September 17, 9am-12pm, at Reindahl Park.
- Homebuyer education classes: The City of Madison, in partnership with the Home Buyers Round Table of Dane County and Consumer Credit Counseling Service, want to share with you these HUD Approved Homebuyer Education classes occurring monthly through the rest of 2022. Find all the events here. The next class is September 24, 8am-3pm, at the Villager Mall, Atrium entrance (2300 S. Park Street). You will learn more about what it takes to buy your first home, securing a mortgage, and down payment assistance programs. Hear from content experts like realtors, lenders, insurance agents, home inspectors, and housing counselors. Register for the free class here. If you have questions, please contact Maria Davila-Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-266-6557.
- Stormwater ordinance: Since the 2018 flood, the Engineering Division has done much to improve flooding issues, including updating the Stormwater Ordinance – important for anyone planning to build or redevelop in the Madison community. The latest blog in Engineering's "Since 2018" series focuses on the Stormwater Ordinance.
- Brush collection: The Streets Division would like to remind residents that the final curbside brush collection opportunity for 2022 is fast approaching. Most residents will receive their fifth and final opportunity for curbside brush collection during the month of September. You can learn the dates when you should set out brush for pickup by going to the Streets Division website, www.cityofmadison.com/BrushCollection. Enter your address into the form, and you will see the dates when you can set out brush for pickup.
- $9M investment in men's homeless shelter: On August 30, County Executive Joe Parisi and Mayor Rhodes-Conway announced major developments today in the ongoing partnership between the City and the County to support the construction of the state's first shelter for men experiencing homelessness. With construction planned for 2024, this 40,000 square foot facility will have space for 200 people. It will be located on 1902 Bartillon Drive on the City's Eastside. Real the press release.
Dane CORE 2.0 portal closing: In September of 2021, Dane County and the City of Madison launched Dane CORE 2.0, a federally funded emergency rental assistance program designed to help renter households struggling to meet their housing costs. The program has distributed nearly $40 million of rent and utility assistance to more than 6,300 households. During the early days of the pandemic, Dane County and the City of Madison sought these federal funds to assist those in our community struggling to pay rent. While Dane CORE partners have distributed a tremendous amount of federal assistance, many in our community continue to struggle to meet their basic needs.
At this time, the federal funds available to Dane CORE 2.0 are nearly depleted. The County and City have already requested additional funding from the federal government through the U.S. Department of Treasury and are working with our federal Congressional delegation to advocate for additional funds. We are hopeful that more funding will be provided, but we don't yet know when that decision will be made or how much funding might be offered.
Many households already have requests for assistance pending. To better ensure funds are available to pay existing eligible claims, we have decided to close the Dane CORE 2.0 application portal as of 12:00 AM on September 15, 2022. The Dane CORE 2.0 program partners will continue to process applications received prior to the portal closure at 12:00 AM on September 15.
Applications will be processed under existing program criteria, in the order in which they are received, until remaining funds are gone. To learn about program eligibility and apply for Dane CORE 2.0, please visit www.danecore.org.
If new federal funding is provided, important changes will be made regarding its use if applications are re-opened after September 15.
First, program benefits will be reserved only for those households facing the harshest of economic hardships. This was the approach adopted when the federal emergency rental assistance program was first introduced in 2021.
Additional guidelines after September 15 include:
- Program benefits would be available to those with household incomes at or below 50% of the County Median Income. (Currently the income threshold is 80% of County Median Income).
- The program will provide assistance only for past-due (unpaid) rents.
- Only arrears accrued since July 1, 2021, will be eligible.
- Assistance will not be available for forward/future rent payments unless paired with security deposit assistance.
In addition to providing direct rent support for high needs households, the City and County also funds services through the Eviction Diversion and Defense Partnership. The Program provides legal representation to renters who face eviction actions, mediates disputes between tenants and landlords, and helps address other potential threats to housing stability. Services through the Eviction Diversion and Defense Partnership are currently available at no cost to eligible households, and they will continue after the Dane CORE application portal closes on September 15.
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