Government

Thu
04
Feb
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Committee of the Whole Meets for Annual Retreat

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Committee of the Whole (COW), made up of the Common Council and Plan Commission, met for its annual retreat Jan. 30 to review the city’s ongoing major projects, TIF finance model, state of the real estate market and planning goals and strategies. 

Planning and Zoning Administrator Mark Opitz said work on the airport master plan is resuming and will now include an environmental setting chapter which will review ways to reduce aircraft noise and improve air quality for residents living nearby. The city will survey city and town residents to review feedback. Once that is complete an open house can be scheduled, Opitz said. The goal is to complete the master plan by summer.

The North Mendota Trail long Century Avenue has remaining work, Opitz said, but he is confident the project can be completed within the $1.4 million budget. Once completed the trail will extend from Branch Street to the Highland Way traffic signals.

Mon
01
Feb
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Few Changes Foreseen for Pleasant View Road Design

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Widening Pleasant View Road will bring drastic changes for some property owners and project engineers held out little hope of the design being tweaked to minimize its impacts.

Property owners on the west side of the road, north of Pleasant View Golf Course, to the intersection with USH 14 have been most vocal about restrictive access the widening will create and the expense they will be assessed.

Northwestern Stone’s owner, Richard Bakken, has said that putting a roundabout at the Quarry Road intersection will be difficult for his oversized equipment to navigate.  

The roundabout’s radius will be tricky for the lowboy trailer to maneuver if it dog tracks or, swings wider through a turn, and it has only eight inches ground clearance, said Bakken during a town of Middleton Town Board meeting last week.

Mon
25
Jan
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Plan Commission Holds Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan, Defers Twin Sunset Duplex Proposal

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission held its final public hearing for the city’s revised comprehensive plan which has been working through various public hearings and committees since 2019 when the plan commission approved a complete overhaul.

More than a dozen people spoke or submitted comments regarding various aspects of the comprehensive plan. 

Resident Robert Owen said the transportation section should address electric vehicle infrastructure and that the airport should not be exempt from reducing carbon emissions as the city moves toward its sustainability goals. Owen suggested the city create a low interest loan program for low-income residents to weatherize and make their homes more energy efficient. He added he would also like to see a plan to move away from burning natural gas for energy. 

Mon
25
Jan
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Assembly Off to Rough Start

MIDDLETON–The Wisconsin State Assembly seemed to get off to a rough start last week after Representative Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi), chair of the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage, Small Business and Rural Issues called for in person hearings offering no remote option and Assembly Speaker Robyn Vos refused to pass a state COVID-19 bill after Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin State Senate reached a compromise.

Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), who represent the 79th Assembly District said she saw no reason that she should have to appear in person during the pandemic when the Senate is allowing a call in option. She said this inhibited assembly members’ ability to ask questions and added that those that appear in person were not wearing masks, further endangering their colleagues. 

“I had to watch the hearing on Wisconsin Eye,” Hesselbein stated.

Thu
14
Jan
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Airport Commission Discusses Noise Complaints

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Airport Commission chairman held out little hope for reduced airplane noise to neighbors of the Middleton Municipal Airport-Morey Field who frequently complain about low, loud flights over their homes.

“Airplanes will operate in this area, that’s just a fact I can’t apologize for. There’s not much anybody can do as long as pilots are operating legally,” Chairman John Hallick said during a commission meeting last week.

“All of us have busted altitude,” said Hallick, a pilot, explaining why some flights drop below approved elevations.

The city receives dozens of noise complaints monthly prompting the commission to review the online complaint form and locate the areas of concern. Gary Keyes, Town of Middleton, who spoke at the beginning of the meeting, made a typical comment about the overflight frequency and decibel level the planes create not being addressed in the complaint process.

Mon
11
Jan
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Town Expects Budget to be Back in Black

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–The Town of Middleton will not need to draw on its cash reserves to finish the 2020 budget year, Treasurer Megan Hughes told the town board Monday night.

The 2020 budget approved in late 2019, allocated $270,981 from cash reserves “to backfill” an income deficit caused by projected expenses exceeding revenue, said then Town Administrator Greg DiMicelli at the time.

Hughes reported on finances only through Nov. 30 so, December expenses and revenue still have to be totaled, and the audit won’t begin until February. However, it appears that trend of using cash reserves to balance the budget won’t occur in 2019, Hughes said.

“We won’t be touching our reserves this year (2019) because we didn’t have some the expenses we expected,” she added.

Mon
11
Jan
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Council Approves Police Officer Hire Despite Lack of Long-Term Funding

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Common Council approved hiring for a vacant police detective position but rejected moving forward with a referendum in the April 2021 election to raise the city’s levy limit to fund the officer and other city employees’ positions. The hire comes after the police department lost funding from the school district’s School Resource Officer (SRO) program in the 2020-21 school year. The program, which embeds officers at both the middle and high school splitting the personnel cost evenly between the district and city, has been suspended while the district reviews and decides whether or not to continue the program.

With the lack of funds from the school district, the vacant detective position can be filled using personnel savings from that position and another which have remained vacant for several months.

Sat
28
Nov
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Parisi to run for Re-Election

DANE COUNTY–Citing the need for county government to continue its coordination of the community’s response to and eventual recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, Joe Parisi announced today he is running for re-election as County Executive.

“Covid-19 has tested us, tearing at the very fabric of our physical, emotional and economic well- being,” Parisi said. “The challenges before us from this pandemic are like none we have faced in our lifetime. They also present great opportunities to do what we do best in Dane County–bring people together, get work done, and deliver tangible results. That’s how we built from scratch mental health teams for Dane County schools, started cleaning our lakes by ‘sucking the muck,’ from miles of waterways, helped young people struggling with poverty earn drivers’ licenses, and have county government on the verge of being 100 percent renewable thanks to our efforts at increasing clean, green energy production.”

Sat
21
Nov
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Trump Campaign Gets Recount in Dane, Milwaukee Counties

WISCONSIN–A petition filed Nov. 18 by a Cross Plains law firm, along with a $3 million wire transfer, has prompted a recount in Dane County, where Democrat Joe Biden defeated Republican Donald Trump by more than three to one in the preliminary vote tally. The filing was followed by a Homeric meeting–it stretched for more than five hours–of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, at the end of which the commission, which was itself the target of an allegation in the petition, voted to proceed with the recount.

Sat
21
Nov
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Plan Commission Updated on BRT, Comprehensive Plan

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission reviewed new developments in the planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system by Madison’s Metro transit which could tie into existing Middleton routes. The plan commission also reviewed the latest changes made to the draft document for the comprehensive plan, expected to be adopted by the council by the end of the year.

City Planner and Zoning Administrator Mark Opitz said the city has a long relationship with Metro Transit and he meets regularly with the staff. Opitz is working with Metro to position the city to benefit from the system as much as possible.

He noted Metro Transit is interested in routing an alternate number of BRT busses west on University Avenue to a currently undesignated place in Middleton. The planned route currently travels south on Midvale Boulevard before cutting west on Mineral Point Road to slightly west of West Towne Mall.

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