Government

Fri
09
Apr
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Law Provides Stable Funding for Citizens Utility Board

MADISON–Gov. Tony Evers signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 27, now Wisconsin Act 24, last week. The new law will provide a stable funding source for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), Wisconsin’s only advocate for residential and small business utility customers. CUB is an independent, non-profit group that represents customers in rate case and utility construction proceedings before the Public Service Commission (PSC). Previously, CUB relied on funding from a PSC grant, which was subject to approval in Wisconsin’s biennial budget.

“Giving CUB the means to have a more equal footing in proceedings before the PSC results in greater representation for Wisconsin consumers, and ultimately leads to lower utility bills,” said Evers. “This law will ensure that CUB’s funding will be more stable and sustainable and will allow CUB to remain focused on its mission of advocating for Wisconsin families and small businesses who don’t have an army of attorneys at their disposal.”

Fri
09
Apr
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Barrett Appointed Sheriff

MADISON–Gov. Tony Evers has appointed Kalvin D. Barrett as Dane County Sheriff on April 2. The appointment fills a vacancy created by Sheriff David J. Mahoney’s resignation, effective May 8, 2021. Barrett will complete the remainder of the term which ends January 2, 2023., said the governor.

 “With 12 years of service as a law enforcement officer, Kalvin Barrett is a dedicated public servant,” said Gov. Evers. “I am confident he will be an effective, empathetic leader in Dane County and will work to ensure the safety of and collaboration with every community he serves.”

Barrett served as Dane County Deputy Sheriff from 2009 to 2011, and as an officer with the Sun Prairie Police Department from 2011 to 2016. He is currently a law enforcement officer at Wisconsin State Fair Park and teaches law enforcement and criminal justice at Madison College where he is the faculty director of the criminal justice studies program.

Wed
07
Apr
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No Big Surprises in Spring Election Results

WISCONSIN–The Spring 2021 Election saw a number of contested races, from State Superintendent of Public Instruction to local municipalities. The results given below have not been certified for up to 30 days. 

In the race for State Superintendent, Jill Underly easily defeated Deborah Kerr on both the state and local level. Statewide, Underly received 56.9 percent of the vote compared to Kerr’s 43.1 percent. In Dane County Underly won by a landslide with 80.1 percent of the votes cast and Kerr receiving 19.8 percent. 

Incumbent Dane County Executive Joe Parisi also scored big on votes taking in 78.9 percent to opponent Mary Ann Nicholson’s 20.9 percent. Parisi has run unopposed in two previous elections.

Voters in the Village of Cross Plains were asked to vote for three trustees, and village board president.

Fri
02
Apr
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State of the City Reflects on 2020

MIDDLETON–The disruptive effects that Covid-19 brought to nearly everyone’s lives in 2020, was certainly reflected in the recently released State of the City address subtitled, “A Year Like None Other.”

Beginning in mid-March, the state’s ‘Safer at Home” directive closed in-person K-12 schools and nonessential businesses. While the state Supreme Court struck down an extension of that directive in late May, Dane County largely re-instituted it.

City Hall, the Senior Center and the Public Library also were closed to the public and many employees worked from home.

Adjustments were made to continue offering city services but in a way that avoided spreading the virus among the public and city employees.

The library responded by offering curbside check out and return of books and materials that totaled 88,500 last year. 

Fri
02
Apr
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Seven Story Building Proposed at Former Captain Bill’s Location

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission reviewed a concept proposal calling for redeveloping the site of Captain Bill’s seafood restaurant into a seven story, residential building with 107 units parallel to Lake Street. The Plan Commission provided feedback to the developer but did not take any action on the concept proposal. 

Captain Bill’s closed in June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has remained vacant. Director of Planning and Community Development Abby Attoun said the site is one of the city’s first uses of a planned development district (PDD), a zoning ordinance that is written specific to a particular site and use.

Attoun said the PDD is written specifically for a 4,000 square foot restaurant with about 100 seats. A rezoning would be necessary for any proposal that does not have those same attributes, Attoun said. 

Fri
26
Mar
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Council Narrowly Approves Rezoning for Twin Sunset Duplexes

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Common Council approved a rezoning ordinance to change an R1 single family lot at 7103 Twin Sunset Road to a planned development district (PDD) which creates zoning regulations specific to the development. The rezoning request came to the council for a proposal which would split the lot and create two duplex buildings. Despite ardent calls from neighboring residents in single family homes in the Town of Middleton and the Hidden Oaks subdivision to deny the rezoning, the council approved the request to support infill development and increase the variety of housing types.

The motion to approve the rezoning passed on a four to four split vote on the council triggering the mayor’s tie breaking vote, who voted in favor of the request. 

Fri
19
Mar
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Town Discusses Gate Over Private Road

TOWN OF MIDDLETON – Did a private landowner put a gate across a town road? That was a question the Town Board fenced with Monday night.

Capitol Court is a short road extending north from US 14, dividing the town and city of Middleton. It also extends between the PKK Lighting and Batteries America properties, continuing about 200 feet to the property of DRS Ltd., an asphalt paving firm, that apparently installed the road-blocking gate.

The gate has been there as long as Town Engineer Rod Zubella remembers but hasn’t been previously looked into, he said.

DRS has run heavy trucks over the road and without town approval, repaved it south of the gate in 2019. It then sought reimbursement from an adjoining property owner, which brought the matter to the town’s attention.

Fri
19
Mar
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Plan Commission Approves Twin Sunset Duplexes Despite Neighbor Opposition

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission approved a recommendation to the Common Council to rezone a property across from the Hidden Oaks neighborhood at 7103 Twin Sunset Rd. from R1 single family residential to a planned development district (PDD) for a proposal calling for two duplex buildings on the site.

Neighboring residents in single family homes have been outspoken in their opposition to the proposal for various reasons related to the density and scale of the project. The lot which the duplexes would be built on is roughly the size of the adjacent lots which have single family homes.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Mark Opitz said the property owner Koteshwar Katukam revised the plan orienting the garages of the connected units on opposite sides of the building so that it appears as a single family home from either side.

Mon
08
Mar
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People’s Maps Commission Seeks Public Comment  

WISCONSIN–The People’s Maps Commission will hold a virtual public hearing for the 2nd Congressional on Thursday, March 11, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. to seek public input on the upcoming redistricting of legislative maps. All Wisconsin residents are encouraged to watch and participate. 

The hearing is one in a series of at least eight meetings, one for each one of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts. The virtual public hearing will include testimony from subject matter experts and also provide Wisconsinites the opportunity to express how they have been affected by legislative redistricting and share their ideas for how Wisconsin can work together to achieve fair maps.        

Fri
05
Mar
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AMPAC Reviews Final Airport Plan

MIDDLETON–The Airport Master Plan Advisory Committee (AMPAC) last week completed a review of the document’s final chapter in preparation for a public presentation at a date to be announced.

In a nearly 5.5 hour discussion of narrowing alternatives to lengthening or realigning runways and adding hangers, AMPAC reiterated its opposition to a longer runway that would accommodate more jets.

The east-west runway could be lengthen by 440 feet to the west at most and still keep the runway protection zone on the airport property, said Greg Stern of Mead & Hunt, project director. 

A 1,440-feet extension would satisfy insurance requirements for business-type jet operations during slippery conditions, but navigation easements would have to be acquired for a runway protection zone for the longer landing strip, Stern said.

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