Town Wants Voice on Airport Commission

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By: 
Kevin Murphy

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–The Town of Middleton will ask the city of Middleton to expand the Airport Commission by two members to be appointed by the town and the Town of Springfield.

Town Chair Cynthia Richson was appointed last year to the seven-member commission to fill the remainder of a three-year term of a member who resigned. Her term expired and the Middleton Common Council rejected her reappointment by a 5-3 vote at their May 19 meeting.

“I had the support of commission members, including the Chair John Hallick, but special interests came into the picture behind the scenes,” dooming her reappointment, she said at Monday’s town board meeting.

Her position remains vacant.

Richson had repeatedly urged airport officials to better address residents’ complaints about loud, low-flying aircraft from Middleton Municipal Airport–Morey Field.

Richson also voiced opposition to possible runway expansion and the city’s use of eminent domain to do so. She attributed these views to falling short of being reappointed.

“The towns will have no voice in the potential eminent domain and that would have a significant impact on property values in the town and quality of life,” she told the Town Board on Monday, which approved the request to expand the commission.

Jim Pulvermacher, Springfield town chair, suggested the idea to Richson. The Springfield Town Board was expected to consider a similar resolution at its Tuesday meeting.

Richson said Middleton Mayor Gurdip Brar favored the idea.

The Airport Commission meets by phone or Zoom at 5 p.m. June 4. For details see https://cityofmiddleton.us/232/Airport-Commission.

Gov. Tony Evers is making $106,471 available to the town for COVID-19 related expenses, Richson announced. The funding comes from the federal CARES ACT and is appropriated according to a municipality’s population, Richson said.

Additional financial assistance is available from FEMA for sanitizing supplies beyond normal cleaning practices and other COVID-19 related costs. However, FEMA’s requirements are more stringent, said town administrator Greg DiMiceli.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is distributing CARES Act funding to the town at the rate of $1.10 per registered voter for additional expense in handling and counting absentee ballots and other increased expenses associated with the virus.

The commission will be mailing residents absentee ballot applications and information on how to cast an absentee ballot in the November election, said Town Clerk Barbara Roesslein.

More information about absentee voting is available on the myvote.wi.us website.

The air conditioning unit for the Sheriff’s Department West Precinct office in the lower level of the town hall failed just days before Tuesday’s expected record-setting temperatures. The five-ton unit isn’t repairable, DiMiceli said. The four other air conditioning units in town hall are 20 years old, are at the end of their useful life and may not be last the summer, DiMiceli said.

In response, the Board approved a $4,989 bid to install a new five-ton unit for the West Precinct office and will address the town hall’s other units in the future.

Bids for the roadwork the town board wants done this summer totaled about $800,000, said DiMiceli, leaving about $370,000 remaining from the $1.22 million the town borrowed this year for road repairs.

Repairing western portions of Highwood Circle, badly damaged last winter, may need to be done this year requiring work be postponed on Bronner Rd., a board priority, DiMiceli said.

The board took no action on the road projects which will be referred to the Public Works Committee for recommendations.

Former town administrator David Shaw was appointed to a two-year term on the Middleton Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission on May 19. The commission wasn’t among the seven committees Shaw stated he was interested in.

A Middleton resident since 2008, Shaw was the town administrator from 2006-18 after serving as a town board supervisor and member of the Plan Commission. He resigned by mutual agreement in late 2018 and was ultimately replaced by DiMiceli.

Board Supervisor Richard Oberle who noted Shaw’s interest in an appointment, congratulated him for continuing in public service.

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