Government

Thu
27
Feb
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Town of Middleton Opposes Increased Mining Oversight

Imagine a long-slumbering mine, located on the edge of a residential neighborhood or nature conservancy, roaring to life one day without any review or recourse for those affected by the operation’s noise, dust and traffic.

That could happen in dozens of sites across Dane County, according to proponents of a zoning law change that would require dormant mines to obtain a permit before re-opening.

Dane County is on the verge of approving an ordinance amendment that would bolster control over local mining sites. According to a county planning document, those mines are “essentially unregulated” right now.

But the fate of the amendment, which has broad support from both the county board and county executive Joe Parisi, will ultimately be up to local towns, which have the power to decide whether they want the increased oversight.

Wed
12
Feb
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City Wants Third Party To Weigh In On Pleasant View Ridge Septic

The City of Middleton will require developer Erdman Holdings, Inc. to hire a third party consultant to weigh in on the use of septic tank systems in the proposed Pleasant View Ridge subdivision.  The consultant’s report would influence the city council on whether or not to approve the development.  

The city’s committee of the whole passed along a consultant request for qualifications and proposal to the common council for approval.  At the following plan commission meeting ald. Hans Hilbert (Dist.  7) recommended the request be utilized to obtain proposals from three different firms.  

“It can be quite uncomfortable to ask two people, because then it is one or the other when you are looking at them,”  Hilbert stated.  “Usually when you throw that third in it makes it a lot more comfortable decision.”

The city expects the requested work and assistance could be done for less than $10,000.  An escrow account will be set up between the developer and the city.  

Wed
05
Feb
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$7.86 Million Public Safety Building Is Leaking

Just four years after Ideal Builders, Inc. completed construction on a new public safety headquarters for the City of Middleton, the building already appears to have problems. Much to the city’s chagrin, the police department and municipal court building, located at 7341 Donna Drive, is experiencing potentially hazardous water leakage, according to information provided to the Middleton Common Council.

If not taken care of in a timely and proper manner, such water issues could lead to dangerous mold, said city leaders. In order to effectively remedy the problem, the city enlisted SRI Consultants, Inc. to identify both the cause of the leakage and avenues for solving the dilemma.

City attorney Larry Bechler noted that while the root of the issue remains to be discovered, the leakage is most likely related to structural troubles.

Wed
29
Jan
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State Rep. misused government resources, according to GAB document

State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) admitted to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) that she used state resources to promote a ballot initiative prior to the spring 2013 election.

According to a settlement agreement signed by Hesselbein and dated August 30, the lawmaker violated state ethics rules when she issued a press release using state resources urging citizens to vote yes on a non-binding Dane County referendum opposing the abolition of same-day voter registration.

She paid the GAB a forfeiture of $200 as part of the agreement.

Hesselbein, who was elected to the state legislature in 2012, is a former member of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School board and still holds her seat as the District 9 supervisor on the Dane County Board.

Wed
29
Jan
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School board president self reports government email violation

The president of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School Board contacted the Government Accountability Board last week to self-report what appears to be a violation of a state law that prohibits using government resources for political purposes. 

Ellen Lindgren sent out an email encouraging people to attend an event featuring Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke late on Wednesday, Jan. 15

“This is a terrific opportunity to get to know a candidate for governor, and I hope you will come,” Lindgren wrote at the top of the email, which went to various individual, including some public employees and elected officials.

“You are invited to a reception, hosted by Ellen Lindgren, with Mary Burke Democratic Candidate for Governor Wednesday, January 22nd,” it continued. The event was scheduled to take place from 5-6 p.m. at the Executive Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency, 333 West Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee

Fri
10
Jan
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Spring ballots to include races for city council, town board, school board

The filing deadline for the spring election came and went Tuesday, and there will a few contested local races on the April 1 ballot.

State offices to be elected include Court of Appeals Districts 1, 2 and 4 and Circuit Court. Various local government seats are up for re-election, including those on city, town, village and school boards.

 

CITY COUNCIL

Incumbent Second District alderman Gurdip Brar will face challenger Robert Conhaim in the only contested Middleton Common Council race.  Conhaim and Brar are no strangers, as the former was ousted from the seat in 2008 by the latter.

Incumbents Susan West (Dist. 6) and Mark Sullivan (Dist. 8) both filed to run for re-election and will not face any challengers on the ballot. District 4 alderman Jim Wexler will not seek another term, so newcomer Chad Gehin will be the only name on the ballot there.

Thu
02
Jan
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Gehin Announces Bid For District 4 Aldermanic Seat

Chad N. Gehin has announced his candidacy for the City of Middleton’s District 4 aldermanic seat.

The incumbent, longtime councilman Jim Wexler, announced last week that he will not seek another term in the spring  election.

“I grew up in Middleton,” said  Gehin in a written statement announcing his candidacy. “My strong connections here give[s] it ... a special place in my heart.”

Gehin, the property manager at Springtree Apartments, is a Marine Corps veteran and has served overseas. He attended high school in Middleton.

“The 4th District is unique in Middleton,” he said. “We have a very diverse mix of people in our apartment community and residential homeowners.  I will work tirelessly to represent both.”

Wed
27
Nov
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Town Of Middleton Levy Approved

Town of Middleton residents last week unanimously approved a 2014 property tax levy that is slightly larger than this year’s and a road budget that is a little less than the current year’s.

Approximately 15 residents attended the budget hearing and approved a $2.834 million property tax levy, up from the $2.775 million levy they approved in November 2012. They also approved a $1.071 million road budget, which is down from the $1.084 million approved a year ago.

The property tax levy is imposed this year and due by Jan. 31. Many property owners pay by the end of the current year to obtain a deduction on their itemized income tax returns.

Unlike residents of a city or village, town residents, and not their board of supervisors, are empowered to set the total amount the town can tax property and spend on road maintenance and improvements.

Wed
20
Nov
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Firefighter Accused Chief of Assault

A longtime firefighter accused Middleton Fire Chief Aaron Harris of assault last year after an altercation at the site of a housefire in the Town of Springfield. The chief and the Middleton Fire Commission, which oversee a district encompassing 54 square miles and approximately 30,000 people, deny there was any wrongdoing.

Middleton resident Tom Engelbrecht, a firefighter for most of the past decade, was given notification of his inactive status by the department on May 3, 2012, after reporting the alleged assault to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. Engelbrecht was listed as a volunteer firefighter who was paid per-call by the department.

Engelbrecht told deputies on April 29 that Harris had verbally and physically assaulted him one day earlier, grabbing his arm hard enough to leave visible bruises through his three-layer turnout gear.

Wed
06
Nov
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City Works To Soften Blow Of Tax Increase

With the Middleton City Council preparing to vote on the 2014 budget in the coming weeks, a recently proposed scenario for balancing the budget is front and center.

In recent finance committee meetings, city staff offered a tentative course of action which included reducing the general contingency account, eliminating the 2014 HRA contribution, freezing an anticipated vacancy in the Public Works Department, eliminating Saturday bus service and funding the confluence pond dredging project from Tax Increment District (TID) 3 rather than the General Capital Budget. 

This proposed 2014 budget as it stands right now is based on a line-item analysis approach developed by Finance Committee Chairman and District 8 alderman Mark Sullivan. The method centers on selecting department line items that are the lower than the 2012 actual expenditures or the 2013 budgets.

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