Monday, December 28, 2009

Got Snow?

This time of year the City offices get many calls about "windrow". Windrow is that sometimes massive amount snow that ends up at the end of your driveway as the City snow plow drives by. Practically every snow event causes complaints about this, often coupled with four letter words and other expletives. Let's ignore the expletives for now, and take a moment to focus on the heart of the matter.... SNOW!

First, we need to admit that this is a universal dilemma in a climate like ours. I deal with the same "windrow" at the end of my driveway as well. Unfortunately, that is a reality of the plowing operation. Let's also agree that the snow needs to be removed as quickly as possible from the streets for obvious reasons.

I understand that it can be easy for some residents to think that the plow drivers are strategically working to shove as much snow in driveways as possible. But before jumping to that conclusion I would ask that residents take a moment to think about the realities of a snow plowing operation. While it would be nice if we could take extra special steps to avoid windrow on driveways, it simply is not practical. The City's plow drivers are concerned about getting the plow to the curb line as carefully as possible, clearing the street as completely as possible, making sure they don't clip a mail box, and watching for pedestrians, dogs, parked cars, traffic, etc. At the same time, they are trying to complete the plowing operations as quickly as possible to make the roads safe for motorists.
Milton's citizens must be treated fairly and receive the best possible service we are able to offer. I'm sorry that some residents become frustrated with windrow, but we'll continue to do the best we can, even during these difficult winter storm events.

With that, I would just offer a couple of suggestions. First, consider the "good neighbor" approach to snow clearing. Personally, I often take the extra step to snowblow the extra snow at the end of my neighbor's driveway or sidewalk in addition to my own. For those who are lucky enough to own a snowblower or truck with a plow, why not take some extra time to clear out driveways and sidewalks for neighbors who may not have that equipment (especially for those who are ill or elderly).

Second, if possible make a "pocket" for snow to drop prior to the plow reaching your driveway. Check out the image below. This won't totally eliminate the problem, but it might put some of the biggest chunks in the "pocket" instead of your driveway.

Monday, December 21, 2009

City Hall Holiday Hours

City Hall will be closed December 24 and 25, 2009 and January 1, 2010.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope that you and your family have a great time together during the holiday season. Enjoy ringing in the new decade.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 Annual Newsletter Published

The City's 2010 Annual Newsletter has been published, and will be distributed with the tax bills which are to be mailed this week. Residents who do not receive tax bills (i.e., those living in apartments, multi-family units, etc.) will also be mailed a copy of the newsletter. To view the newsletter follow this link: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=3013.

Best Ways to Stay Connected to YOUR Local Government

You've seen me post about this before, but it's always worth repeating. There are some great and super-easy ways for you to stay electronically connected to your local government in Milton.
  • A MUST DO! Subscribe to the Milton Matters Blog - Since the blog went live in February of 2009 there have been over 150 postings about City news, events and urgent announcements. It has become the primary and most effective tool for getting information out to the public in Milton. There is a "subscribe" feature on the blog that allows you to subscribe to receive an e-mail notification each time the blog is updated. On the main blog page (http://www.miltonmatters.blogspot.com/) you'll find the subscribe box in the right-hand column. Just enter your e-mail, click subscribe, and follow the basic instructions. As of today, only 38 people have subscribed. My goal is to have over 200 subscribers by the end of 2010. To those who already subscribe, you can help by encouraging others in the community to subscribe as well. Send an e-mail out to your friends, mention it at your next dinner party, write "Milton Matters" with holiday lights on your roof, etc.... :)

  • Sign up for the City's E-Notify System - This system allows City staff to easily e-mail out important and timely information using our website technology. You can easily sign up for E-Notify by clicking on this link: http://clicks.skem1.com/signup/?c=5433. The process takes only a minute or two. You could avoid this step by sending me an e-mail at tschmidt@ci.milton.wi.us and simply write "E-Notify" in the subject line. I'll take care of making sure you get included in future E-Notify deliveries. The most popular items sent out using E-Notify are the City's Monthly Departmental Report and the weekly meeting reminders.

  • Stay Informed on Milton Police Department Happenings - The Police Department is connected with the social networking scene. Check them out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/miltonpd.wi?v=wall&ref=search and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MiltonPD.

Kids and Cops CAN Do Good - Food Drive THIS Friday

Remember that this Friday the Milton Police Department is sponsoring a food drive to benefit the Milton food pantry. Kids may bring canned goods to the Police Department between 8 AM and 4 PM. In return, the kids will receive coloring books, stickers and sports cards from a Milton Police Officer. More info here: http://miltonmatters.blogspot.com/2009/12/milton-pd-kids-and-cops-can-do-good.html.

For more general information on the Milton food pantry operated by Milton Community Action, you may call (608) 868-1166.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dec. 14th Update - Milton Street Plowing

Crews from the Department of Public Works (DPW) are out this morning working to clear slush and snow from the busiest roadways in the City. Once this is done, crews will be making their way into the residential neighborhoods. They are trying to remove the accumulated snow/slush/ice today before the deep freeze hits for the next couple of days. If residents have specific areas of concern, please call DPW at 868-6914.

Unfortunately this cleanup work will leave many driveway aprons with a new pile of snow. If it is a large pile, the drivers will attempt to push it from the driveway.

Crews are also working to collect and chip brush and limb debris that fell as a result of last week's snow storm. This process will take several days and possibly continue into next week. If you set items out for collection please be patient. If they have not been collected by next week, please call DPW to make sure we are aware of your needs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Power Outage Status

As of 7 PM on Dec. 9th there are still a number of homes in Milton without power. Alliant Energy is reporting that power should be restored to Milton customers by midnight. Police Department staff have made an effort to perform welfare checks on all impacted properties. Should anyone be in an emergency situation due to lack of electricity, please call Rock County Dispatch at 757-5100.

City Hall Closing at 1:30 pm, December 9th

City Hall will be closing today at 1:30 p.m. due to the weather conditions. City Hall is scheduled to reopen on December 10th at 8 a.m. with regular hours.

Refuse and Recycling Pickup Planned for Thursday

Due to weather conditions, Waste Management plans to pick up refuse and recycling on Thursday, December 10th rather than Wednesday, December 9th. However, if conditions remain poor there is potential for additional delays. The City has been told that Waste Management will consider collection options at 4 AM on Thursday, and decide then on whether additional delays will be necessary. City staff will post updates on the blog as they become available.

Closings / Weather Updates

Good morning. Here's a few updates regarding Milton closings and weather...

The Milton Public Library is closed today. City Hall is open, although I'd recommend that if you have City business please call City Hall rather than driving there.

As of now, Waste Management still plans trash/recycling collection.

Stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Trash / Recycling Collection Still On for Wednesday

As of 9:20 PM on Tuesday night, Waste Management is still planning to collect refuse and recycling as regularly scheduled on Wednesday. I'll post right away if I hear of any changes.

Thanks to MACCIT and The Gathering Place

I would like to thank everyone who helped make this past Sunday's holiday events in Milton such a great success. Specifically, thanks to Christina Slaback, all of MACCIT's volunteers, and the homeowners who opened their homes for the Annual Christmas Walk.

Also, thanks to Paula Schutt, The Gathering Place staff, and all of the volunteers (including Santa) who helped make Hot Dogs with Santa a huge success as well. My wife and I brought our kids and were very impressed with the great turnout. My kids also enjoyed the chance to share their special toy wishes with Santa (check out the picture). As to whether they've been good or bad this year... that kind of depends on the day. :)

Events like these turn the "City" of Milton into the "Community" of Milton. Again, thanks to everyone involved.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Booze and Belts" - Milton Police Dept. Press Release

Here's another recent press release issued by the Milton Police Department:

The Milton Police Department would like to announce the upcoming mobilization of the Wisconsin seatbelt and alcohol enforcement program known as “Booze and Belts,” from December 07 to December 15, 2009. The holidays are a joyous time of year. With the hustle that this time of the season brings to us all, many of us find ourselves stuck in a high volume of traffic on Wisconsin’s roads. With officers participating in this program, the Milton Police Department hopes to keep motorists as safe as possible.

During this campaign and throughout the year, our goal is not to simply write more seat belt tickets and make more drunk driving arrests. Instead, we are trying to prevent injuries and needless deaths that can occur as consequences of these careless behaviors. In 2008, 4000 people were injured on Wisconsin roads due to alcohol related crashes. “If you drive impaired, we will arrest you. We will not give warnings for driving drunk,” said Officer Kyle Johnson. With the recent change to Wisconsin’s seat belt law, law enforcement officers may stop and ticket a driver or passenger solely based on a seat belt violation. Officers need not observe another traffic violation to make this stop. A seat belt is the most effective way to prevent a motorist from being ejected or thrown around inside a car during a crash.

The Milton Police Department would like motorists to enjoy the holiday season, but at the same time, keep safety in mind. Due to congested roads and hazardous winter weather, please be extra cautious. Allow yourself extra time on the roadway, wear your seatbelt, and if you drink, get a designated driver. According to the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, as of November 2009, Wisconsin has seen 60 fewer deaths than the same time last year. Please work with us to keep decreasing these numbers.

Snow Event Parking Guidelines

Below is text from a recent press release issued by the Police Department regarding Milton's snow event parking guidelines:

In a proactive effort to partner with our citizens and our Department of Public Works to keep Milton’s streets clear of snow and ice during snow events, the Milton Police Department is informing citizens of our strict enforcement policies as it pertains to Milton’s snow parking ordinance.

City of Milton Ordinance 70-155 (a): “Parking during and after snow storms”. The ordinance specifically states “No person shall park or leave standing any vehicle on any street or municipal parking lot in the city after a snowfall of 1 ½ inches in depth until after the snow from such street or parking lot has been removed, or plowed to the curb.

In an effort to be more efficient in our enforcement of this ordinance the police department will NOT be waiting until the snow plows pass vehicles before citing them. Instead the police department will be issuing citations to vehicles found to be violating the ordinance as they see them through the course of routine patrol, after the 1 ½ inches of snow is noted. Simply put, if your car is out on the street and there is more than 1 ½ inches of the snow, per this ordinance and in an effort to improve our efficiency in enforcing it, Officers will be issuing citations to violating vehicles when they see them, and not waiting until snow plows have passed by. If vehicles continue to obstruct snow removal efforts in violation of this ordinance, they may be eventually be towed. The fine for a violation of this ordinance is $38.00.

Our objective in this enforcement strategy is not to write more tickets or tow cars, but instead to ensure swift compliance with this ordinance throughout our community. The ordinance was created and is enforced to ensure the effective and efficient removal of snow and ice from our community’s roadways following snow events. Your cooperation in following the ordinance helps keep city crews working efficiently, and helps keep Milton’s roadways clear of ice and snow.

If you have questions about the ordinance or our enforcement of it, please contact the Milton Police Department at 608-868-6910.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rock County's Housing Authority Programs (w/Corrected Date)

Dave Somppi, Community Development Manager for Rock County, is hosting a meeting on December 7, 2009 at Milton City Hall (430 E. High St.) to discuss and provide information on the programs made available by the Housing Authority & Rock County. The Housing Authority and Rock County currently provide programs to assist with home purchases and rehabilitation for income-qualified households.

If you would like additional information about the Rock County Housing Authority and/or Community Development Programs, you may call David Somppi or Neale Thompson at the Rock County Planning & Development Agency at 757-5587. Additional information about the programs are at: http://www.co.rock.wi.us/Dept/Planning/housing.htm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Milton PD “Kids and Cops CAN do good” holiday food drive program

Below is text from a press release issued by the Milton Police Department yesterday...


The City of Milton Police Department is sponsoring a gift sharing event that partners police officers with the youth of our community in a program that highlights the spirit of the gift-giving season. The program is called “Kids and Cops CAN do good”. The program is set for Friday, December 18th, 2009 and will be held at the City of Milton Police Department.

On that Friday, a child under the age of 12 is encouraged to come to the Milton Police Department between the hours of 8am-4pm and bring with them a non-perishable food item. When kids give the gift of food to a police officer, in exchange for the donated food item, Officers of the Milton Police Department will be giving out donated coloring books, stickers, Green Bay Packer player football cards and Milwaukee Brewer baseball cards to kids.

All of the collected food items from this event will be given to the Milton food pantry to help those in need this holiday season.

For questions about the event please contact the City of Milton Police Department at 608-868-6910.

December City Departmental Report Available

The City's Monthly Departmental Report for December is now up on the City Website. Check it out by following this link: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2987.

Holiday Events in Milton

Why not kick off the season by enjoying a variety of Milton community events scheduled for this Sunday, December 6th, including:
  • 7th Annual MACCIT Christmas Walk – Dec. 6th, 3 – 7 PM. Tour six beautifully decorated Milton homes. For a list of homes and a map, contact MACCIT at 868-6222 or click here to visit the MACCIT website for more details .
  • Holiday Shop Hop - Nov. 30th – Dec. 6th – Participate in the local holiday shop-hop. The link above also includes information on this event.
  • Hot Dogs w/Santa at The Gathering Place (plus other fun activities for both the young and old) – Dec. 6th, 4 – 7 PM. More details are included in the latest Gathering Place newsletter available on-line. Or, call The Gathering Place at 868-3500.

Plan Commission Vacancy

The City of Milton is looking for applicants to fill a vacancy on the Plan Commission created by the resignation of Commissioner Jon Platts. The new member will serve out the remainder of Mr. Platts' term which ends in April 2010. The new member will then have the opportunity to request reappointment to serve a full three year term on the Plan Commission.

The Plan Commission is composed of seven members including the mayor, one alderperson, the director of public works, and four citizens. The purpose of the commission is to make decisions for the community related to development, growth, structural changes, and comprehensive planning for the City. A more detailed position description is available on the city's website.

Those interested in the position should fill out a Committee Questionnaire and return it by December 28, 2009 to Milton City Hall. Applications may be mailed to 430 E. High Street, Milton, WI 53563, faxed to (608) 868-6927, or e-mailed to tschmidt@ci.milton.wi.us. Mayor Chesmore will review all applications and recommend an appointment at the January 5th Common Council meeting. The first meeting for the new Plan Commissioner will be on Monday, January 11, 2010.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Closing Dead-End Sidewalks for the Winter

City ordinances require that property owners keep sidewalks clear of all ice and snow. Obviously, this is to provide for the safety of those who use the sidewalks in Milton.

However, every winter the City receives complaints from property owners who have dead-end sidewalks (like the one in this picture). The residents argue that those "sidewalks to nowhere" do not need to be kept clear during the winter because nobody has any reason to use them. It's just hard to question that logic, isn't it? However City ordinances and policies require consistency in the way City staff monitor and regulate snow removal on all sections of sidewalk; dead-end or not.

However, we have come up with a solution that should help. On November 30th the City Council adopted a policy that allows property owners to request that their dead-end sidewalks be closed during the winter months. A copy of the new policy is available online at http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2983.

Below are details on how property owners can go about requesting dead-end sidewalk closure for this season:
  1. The closures are based solely on property owner requests. Unless it is specifically requested by the property owner, the City will not close the sidewalks and snow/ice removal will be required. Any property owners who desire dead-end sidewalk closure must contact the Public Works Department in writing no later than Monday, December 28th via e-mail (miltondpw@charter.net), fax (868-6929) or regular mail at Milton DPW, 430 E. High St., Suite 3, Milton, WI, 53563.
  2. City staff will review each closure request to determine if it meets the policy standards. Recommended closures will then be presented to the Public Works Committee and Common Council on January 5, 2010. Obviously, we would expect that there'll be snow on the ground by then. Be sure to clear the snow/ice until your sidewalk is officially closed with a City barricade.
  3. Following Council approval, and likely by January 8th (depending on weather conditions and availability of DPW staff), the City will place a barricade and "Sidewalk Closed" signage on the approved dead-end sidewalk sections.
  4. Because this is the first year for this new policy, a grace period will be used. If a property owner with a dead-end sidewalk does not request closure but receives a violation notice for not clearing the snow/ice, they will be given a one-time opportunity to request closure mid-season.

Any questions about this new policy may be directed to the Public Works Department at 868-6914 or by e-mail at miltondpw@charter.net.

Employment Opportunities with the 2010 Census

The 2010 Census has employment opportunities for various positions to assist in the counting of everyone in the United States. Positions are available in every ZIP code in the U.S. The final numbers help determine the level of federal funding for each state, the number of representatives each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and much more. The average wage is $12 to $13 per hour. Bilingual applicants are urged to apply.

All applicants are required to complete a brief test. Anyone interested in a position with the U.S. Census should call the Census hotline at 1-866-861-2010 to confirm a time, date, and seat at the testing center. For a complete listing of the test dates, times, and locations in Rock County, refer to the 2010 Census page on the City's website. Also on the page is a variety of other information, documents, and links to other Census related websites.

If you have any further questions about the 2010 Census, feel free to contact City Hall at (608) 868-6900 or e-mail info@ci.milton.wi.us.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

I'm sure many of you are getting out the holiday decorations, putting up the tree, freezing your fingers as you hang outdoor lights, etc., etc. As you get all into the excitement of the season, keep in mind some practical safety tips about holiday decorations offered by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/611.pdf.

And, if you think you get frustrated with tangled strings of lights, check out this picture of my son, Sawyer, from a few years ago.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Proposed 2010 City Budget & Public Hearing

After months of review and deliberation, the City Council is coming upon the final step in the annual budgeting process. The public hearing for the proposed budget will be held at 7:00 PM on Monday, November 30th in the Council Chambers. Members of the public are welcome to attend to learn about the proposed budget and provide feedback to the Council.

The purpose of this blog entry is to provide you with the facts and figures about what is currently proposed for the 2010 budget. I'll summarize the basics and the bottom line. And, if you want to get into the nitty gritty of each and every line item detail, I'll provide you with the links to that information as well.

First, for the summary... Let's start with the bottom line, but before I do here's a couple important reminders:
  • What I'm presenting are the proposed figures, and still in draft form. The Council can still make changes on the 30th prior to final approval.
  • I'm focusing on primarily the City portion of the total tax bill. Keep in mind that the total tax bill includes all taxing jurisdictions - State, Blackhawk Tech, Milton School District, Rock County and the City. All that the City Council has authority over is the municipal portion. This can be confusing because the whole tax bill check is paid to the City. We then forward a portion of the total tax collection to the proper jurisdictions.
Now that the disclaimers are out of the way... If your property is valued at $100,000 this year, and you experienced the average decrease in property value of about 2%, you will be paying $14.71 more in taxes for City purposes. That's an increase of 2.15% from last year. It's easy to apply this to different values as well. Examples: $150,000 value = $22.07 more in City taxes; $200,000 value = $29.42 more; $250,000 value = $36.78 more; and so on.

The tax rate itself increases 4.30%, going from $6.70 to $6.99 (this is applied per $1,000 in value). The total levy (amount taxed to fund City functions) increases 4.50%, going from $2,440,862 to $2,550,590. Total spending on City operations increases $123,786 to a total of $3,171,603 (increase of 4.06%). In addition to operations spending, the City levy will fund $650,572 for debt service and $189,433 for capital projects.

However, on top of all that, there are two key fee impacts that have a bearing on the bottom line. A fee for refuse and recycling is included on the tax bill, which is increasing from $120.13 to $144.74 ($24.61 more). This increase is largely due to higher tipping fees imposed on our waste hauler by the State, and increased fuel surcharges and environmental fees charged by Waste Management. The other fee impact relates to the new stormwater utility. The utility was created on September 1 of this year, and for 2009 each single-family residence will be charged a total of $18.36 for four months. However since the utility will be in place for a full 12 months in 2010, each residence will pay a total of $55.08 ($36.72 more).

So, in summary and again using that sample $100,000 valued property, we are looking at the City tax increase of $14.71, plus the fee impacts of $24.61 and $36.72, for a total bottom line dollar impact of $76.04.

As I promised, below are details on how you can find more specific information on the budget as proposed:

Again, the public is welcome to attend the hearing on Nov. 30th at 7:00 PM. Or, if you have specific questions, you may contact me directly at 868-6900 (x4) or by e-mail at tschmidt@ci.milton.wi.us.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Poll Question on City Website

A new poll question on the City website asks, "Do you plan on supporting Milton businesses by shopping local this holiday season?" To participate in this poll, follow this link: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/page_69.aspx#.

Happy shopping!

Leaf Collection Completed

The Public Works crews have now finished our leaf collection program for this year. The street sweeper will be making its way around the City to clean up the remaining debris. Residents are asked to no longer rake items onto the curb.

But don't worry if you have more yard waste..... The yard waste drop off container will remain at the Public Works garage until December 7th. This is a few weeks longer than usual. Thanks Waste Management :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Odors from Sludge Hauling Expected

The Public Works Department has informed me that sludge hauling is planned for the end of this week and early next week. What is sludge you ask??? Well, it's the "solids" from the City's wastewater treatment plant. What are solids you ask??? I don't think I need to go there, but here's a clue...

The sludge is loaded into trucks and hauled to local farms. It is injected underground in the fields to be used as fertilizer for next years crops. Residents can expect that some odors from the treatment plant will be likely during this process.

Fall 2009 Milton Police Department Newsletter


Click on the image to the left to download the latest issue of "The District", the official newsletter of the Milton Police Department. While the newsletter is more geared to members of the department, it does include some information that the general public may find interesting as well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

H1N1 Vaccination Clinics & Info

For information on the H1N1 vaccination clinics and related information, visit the Rock County Health Department's website at http://www.co.rock.wi.us/Dept/Health/H1N1Flu_info.htm. A new vaccination schedule was just realeased, so if you have been interested in this you may want to check it out.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Library Programs Benefit Those in Need


Special thanks to Mr. Gross' 2nd grade class from Milton East Elementary. They helped kick-off the Milton Public Library's Second Annual Coat Drive. My daughter, Sydney, is a student in the class (she's wearing the green coat/red hair in front of me). Good job guys!

Now we are looking to the rest of the community to pitch in... From November 1-30 let’s see how many coats we can collect for residents in our second annual coat drive (hats, gloves, mittens and scarfs are also desired). Drop off your clean, gently-used children or adult coats at the Milton Public Library to benefit those in need in Milton. There are many families and over 100 local children served every year by the Milton Food Pantry. Last year over 125 coats were donated.

In addition, Food For Fines runs from November 28 – December 31. Pay your library fines with food donations to our local food pantry. The library will take $1 off in fines for every 1 non-perishable food item donated.

United Ethanol Updates

Recently United Ethanol presented a plan for improving situations involving odors and relations with plant neighbors. They called it an "Odor Response Action Plan". I posted a copy on the City website at http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2901. The City's Planning Commission approved this plan, and is hopeful and anxious to see results. Until the plan is fully implemented, United Ethanol will be providing monthly status updates. Here's the first update: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2936.

As part of their plan, United Ethanol will be providing more public information about plant operations. They are beginning to do this using a blog on their website. You can check it out at http://www.unitedethanol.com/index.cfm?show=10&mid=41.

I also want to take a moment to highlight an "editorial viewpoint" offered by the Janesville Gazette in response to the action plan. A copy of that viewpoint is posted here: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2935. I appreciate the Gazette's willingness to grant United Ethanol "patience" in working through this plan. The City also agrees with the Gazette in its hope that this effort finally leads to a resolution that will bring conditions that the neighbors will find more tolerable.

Thank You to Mercy Health Systems

I would like to extend a special thank you to Mercy Health Systems for donating a $30,000 EKG monitor to the Milton/Milton Township EMS Department. For more on this donation, check out this recent article from the Milton Courier: http://www.miltoncourieronline.com/main.asp?SectionID=7&SubSectionID=7&ArticleID=469. Or community is so fortunate to have gracious and generous corporate partners. Thanks again to Mercy Health Systems.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Highway 59 Opening Update

Here's the latest regarding Highway 59 from DOT Project Engineer Tara Weiss (via e-mail this afternoon):

"Well, the end is near. Hopefully, the weather cooperates! The contractor plans to open new STH 59 (and CTH M) to traffic beginning Wednesday, November 18, 2009. Some work will continue after this date, but the majority will be complete. Traffic on existing STH 59 between Sunnyside and Vickerman Road (where new STH 59 ties into old STH 59) will be reduced to one lane beginning Monday, November 16, 2009 and then on November 18th the one lane will continue at the end of the project, but traffic will travel on the new STH 59. Traffic will be reduced to one lane with temporary signals at the end of the project until approximately Monday, November 23, 2009. The CTH M detour will be taken down November 18, 2009. These dates are all dependent upon the weather, but is the closest schedule at this point."

November City Departmental Report Available

The City's Monthly Departmental Report for November is now up on the City Website. Check it out by following this link: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2933.

Feedback Form - ATC Transmission Line Project

Last month I posted some information regarding ATC's plans for a high voltage transmission line to power a new substation on the east side of the City. Here's that post: http://miltonmatters.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-power-line-route.html. ATC is seeking feedback from anyone interested in this project, as they hope to finalize the transmission line route selection by the end of this year. Now available on the City website is a copy of the feedback form you are welcome to use and mail to ATC: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2934. For more information or to comment on this project, you may also email ATC Representative Jon Callaway or call him at (866)899-3204, ext. 3540.

November 21st is the Day - Get Ready for Roundabouts

The State has notified the City that the newly re-routed Highway 59 will be set to open to traffic on November 21st. Obviously, weather and other complications could delay that, but their target is the 21st. That's right around the corner! I don't really expect there to be any big fanfare or a ribbon cutting ceremony (as this picture suggests), but it will certainly be a change for motorists that travel that route.

In addition to a new signalized intersection by the Burger King / Funeral Home area on STH 26, this stretch of roadway will also have three new roundabouts. Some people like roundabouts, while others despise them. Despite your preferences, one fact is true… Roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections. We have dedicated a page on our website to giving a introduction to the roundabout, how it works, and how to safely use them. Check it out at www.ci.milton.wi.us/Roundabout.aspx. You can even view a video about roundabouts on the State's DOT website by clicking here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Informational Meeting - Reconstruction of East High Street from John Paul Road to STH 26

The City of Milton will hold a Public Information Meeting, Monday, November 9, 2009, from 5:30pm to 6:00pm, in the lower level Council Chambers of the Shaw Municipal Center, 430 E. High Street, for the proposed reconstruction project on East High Street from John Paul Road to STH 26. A brief presentation is scheduled to begin at 5:35 p.m. The remainder of the meeting will follow an open house format with maps displaying the proposed improvements. City Public Works representatives and engineers from Baxter & Woodman, Inc., the design engineers, will be available to discuss the project on an individual basis.

Proposed improvements include removing the existing asphalt surface, excavation and construction of new base, and new asphalt pavement construction. In addition, spot curb and gutter repair will be performed in areas with sunken and/or damaged curb. Acquisition of new right of way is not anticipated for the project. The roadway is expected to be closed to thru traffic during construction. Construction is currently scheduled to occur during the summer of 2010.

Project funding will be provided by the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Due to the federal funding assistance, there will not be assessments for any of the mentioned improvements for property owners on East High Street.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, or would like more information contact Gary Vogel, P.E., City Engineer, at (262) 763-7834. Written comments regarding the project can be mailed to Baxter & Woodman, Gary Vogel, 256 South Pine Street, Burlington, WI 53105.

Leaf Collection Reminder

The leaves are falling at a rapid rate now... Just wanted to give you a reminder regarding the City's leaf collection program. Follow this link to an earlier post with all the details: http://miltonmatters.blogspot.com/2009/08/reminders-about-fall-yard-waste.html.

Oh, and if anyone wants some Whoppers, Hershey's Bars or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, just let me know... I've got plenty left over from trick-or-treating.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tips on Talking to Kids About Dealing with Strangers

As you've seen in an earlier blog post and in the local news, the City Police Department (in cooperation with multiple other agencies) is investigating a possible child abduction attempt that occurred earlier this week near Northside Intermediate School. Understandably so, our Police Department has received calls from parents with questions about how best to talk with our children about "stranger danger" and the like. My wife and I have two small kids of our own, so this certainly hits home for us.

There are some on-line resources that you may want to check out if you are looking to learn more about how to educate your children:

In addition, Police Chief Schuetz has a few suggestions to offer. Below are his thoughts and comments...

In the wake of our community’s recent possible child abduction attempt in Milton, the Milton Police Department has put together the following safety tips for parents and families which are designed to help parents with what to tell your children about dealing with strangers who approach them. Important to remember as we talk to our children is that Milton is a very safe place to live, work, visit and go to school. Nonetheless, like all communities there is always a chance that someone could come here to try to hurt one of our kids. For that reason we offer the following suggestions as to how to address what recently happened, and keep your kids safe in the future.

1) Tell the truth. Kids find out about information happening in the community from a variety of different information sources and often times what they hear is inaccurate information. It is important that parents clearly communicate what did and did not happen and to clarify questions or concerns kids may have by being honest with them. A suggested response to this most recent incident may be "The police are looking for someone who asked a child to get into a car. They don't know yet if that person was going to try to hurt the child or not. Do you know what you would do if someone you didn't know asked you for a ride in their car?"

2) Do not scare children: Scaring kids unnecessarily instills fear in them. Fear tenses up fine motor skills which can create confusion and limits a child’s ability to make good decisions. Emphasize positive strengths in your children telling them that they will know what to do if a bad situation presents itself. While we want to encourage children to be apprehensive of strangers, we do not want our children to live in a world of fear where every adult is out to get them or hurt them.

3) Teach, train and practice safety with children: The best things parents can do is provide their children with a skill set full of confidence whereby they will know what to say and do in all dangerous situations. Be it safety in crossing the street up or what to do when a stranger approaches them. One of the best ways to do this is to run your child through scenarios of role playing, whereby they practice what to say when approached by a stranger. Practice those skits with your children so that they have a reference within their memory that builds confidence in them as to what to say and do if a stranger approaches them. As part of that training, always tell them to tell an adult they trust about what happened right away.

These simple tips can help you as parents develop skills in young people that keep our kids safe.

ATC / Rock Energy Cooperative Attending Nov. 3rd Council Meeting

I provided information about a new power transmission line proposal in an earlier blog post: http://miltonmatters.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-power-line-route.html. Here's an update: At the request of the City, representatives from the American Transmission Company and Rock Energy Cooperative will be attending the Common Council meeting on November 3rd at 7:30 PM. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers (lower level of the Shaw Municipal Building). Residents who have comments, questions or concerns about the transmission line proposal are welcome to attend and will have an opportunity to speak to the Council and the ATC/REC representatives.

YMCA Update

A blog reader recently asked me for an update on the YMCA / Crossridge Park project. As you may remember, the City sold 5 acres of land within Crossridge Park to the YMCA of Northern Rock County for the development of a YMCA facility. Click here for the news story that was posted on the City website at that time (which includes a link to the conceptual site plan design).

I asked the YMCA's Executive Director, Dr. Tom Den Boer, for an update that I could share with all of you. Here's what he had to say in an e-mail to me this morning...

"The excitement and momentum continues to build for the new Crossridge YMCA. Currently, the YMCA is working through the final stages in regards to facility design and program development. Next steps include schematic facility plans, pro-forma budget plans, land development costs along with the development of the capital funding for the project."

So, all in all, this is good news and the City is excited to continue growing together with YMCA of Northern Rock County. As more information become available I'll be sure to share it on the blog.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Council to Discuss Valuation Error This Thursday - Oct. 29th

Related to my blog from yesterday afternoon, I am posting to confirm that the City Council will hold a meeting this Thursday, Oct. 29th, at 6:00 PM to discuss the valuation error and its impact. This is a planned budget workshop meeting, however we will be spending a majority of the meeting discussing the valuation error issue. I have confirmation that both our assessor, Lee DeGroot from Accurate, and financial advisor, Todd Taves from Ehlers & Assoc., will be in attendance.

We had originally planned on discussing this issue at the regular Council Meeting on Nov. 17th, however it works with our meeting schedule on Thursday. The meeting will begin at 6:00 PM and will be held in the Council Chambers in the lower level of the Shaw Municipal Building (430 E. High St.).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Assessment Valuation Error & Explanation

I want to provide a heads-up on a recent issue that City staff are still trying to understand regarding an error in property valuation in one of the City’s TIF Districts. I will apologize from the get go, because some of this information is highly technical. But, with this posting I hope to boil some of the issues down as simply as I can.

This is an issue that City staff and our financial advisors are still getting to the bottom of and have been for a couple of months. It entirely surrounds a valuation error that occurred in how the City’s contracted assessor reported TID 8 value to the State’s Department of Revenue. This valuation process is outside the purview of City staff, and is part of the reporting that occurs between our assessor and the DOR. Long and short of it is that TID 8 was overvalued by $30+ million.

Here’s the basics… In the most recent final property value reports for TIF District #8 (which is the downtown area on the east-side of the City), the City’s contracted assessor (Accurate Appraisals) placed the base value of the district (approximately $30 million) in the wrong column. Accurate thought, based on previous conversations they had with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR), that this was the proper procedure. However, the DOR did not recognize this as “base value”; rather they considered it “newly added” value. Unfortunately, the City’s preliminary version of this report showed the values in the correct column, but the final report was adjusted by Accurate and submitted to the DOR without opportunity for City review. Therefore, we had no opportunity to catch the error. To our disappointment, neither Accurate nor the DOR caught the error as part of their own due diligence.

I may have confused some of you already. Basically, this means that the City’s overall value (including the TIF Districts) is artificially HIGHER than it should be by $30 million. However, for the other taxing jurisdictions (most notably the School District) the City’s value is artificially LOWER by that amount because new TID values are excluded.

So, what does this mean to the taxpayer in Milton? For the City share of the tax bill, the City is working to use some fiscal techniques to minimize the impact. Fortunately, the City has a healthy fund balance and we are working with our financial advisor to structure an out/in transaction with the general fund and TID to “buffer” the City taxation impact. At the same time, this will leave funds within the TID similar to the income it would have regularly generated.

Believe it or not, these valuation errors occur statewide more regularly than you might think. However, we haven’t seen this type of error in Milton’s recent history, and certainly the magnitude of this error is hard to ignore. The DOR has a process to correct overvaluation errors in which the TID is “undervalued” during the next two years. That’s fine, but it still has an impact on what taxation looks like for the next few years until we get back to “normal”.

In the end it comes out in the wash, but until we get to that point we’ll have to grapple with the confusion that comes with this error. It’s tough to understand, but let me try to explain the correction process. For the School District the City valuation will be artificially lower because they use a value with the TID excluded (called TID OUT). Next year (as part of the correction method used by the DOR) and the year after, the City valuation will be artificially higher.
So, for the School District portion of the tax bill, City of Milton property owners will be paying less this year than they would have paid in normal conditions (somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 - $30 for an average home). Non-City taxpayers to the district will be paying proportionately more. Then, in the correction years that trend switches and City of Milton taxpayers will pay more and non-City will pay less. Again, that is how correction is achieved per state statutes.

I have scheduled our financial advisor and our assessor to attend the Nov. 17th Common Council meeting to explain the circumstances, ramifications and solutions. Also, I have posted in the City’s website copies of correspondence from the City’s Assessor, City’s financial advisor, and State Department of Revenue which go further to explain what’s happening from each of their perspectives: www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_display.aspx?cat_id=385&cat_type=.

I do want to be clear on one point. This is not a problem with the TID itself. It’s an issue with the valuation reporting between the Assessor and the State. TID 8 is actually doing well, with several projects having taken place over the past couple of years (it was created in August of 2007). Several fa├žade grants have been completed. Plus, the Council has just initiated a process to seek grant funds to help with long term planning and visioning for this important downtown district in the community.

As this issue moves forward, I'll attempt to provide further explanation and clarity as best I can.

Information on Child Abduction Attempt

Below is text from a press release issued by the Milton Police Department this afternoon...

The City of Milton Police Department is actively investigating a possible child abduction attempt near Northside Elementary School in the City of Milton. On Tuesday, October 27th 2009 in the early afternoon a student reported to authorities a possible abduction attempt that allegedly took place on Monday afternoon, Oct. 26th 2009.

The report from the student indicates that on Monday Oct. 26th, 2009 at approximately 4:00 pm a dark colored, full sized van was parked near the front of 33 Northside Drive. The student described the driver of that vehicle as a black male between 20-30 years of age wearing glasses. The driver allegedly slid over to the passenger seat of that dark colored van type vehicle, rolled down the passenger side window and began speaking with the student.

According to the complainant, the driver began to ask the child if they wanted a ride. The child responded no, and the driver allegedly asked the child again several times if they wanted a ride, stating such phrases as “come on”. When the child stated they were going to the home of a relative, the driver reportedly stated to the child “I can get you there quicker”.

After the child repeatedly told the driver that they did not want a ride, the driver of the van made a u-turn with the vehicle in the roadway and proceeded to head north on Northside Drive.

Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to contact the City of Milton Police Department at 608-868-6910 or the Rock County Communications center at 608-757-2244.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Your Recycling Goes Where???

Every once in a while we get a question from a resident who wants to know why the recycling was thrown in the same truck as the trash. Well, it's true... At times, Waste Management does use a truck the takes BOTH recycling and trash, however it's remains separated in two different compartments.

Check out this picture supplied by Waste Management. This is called a "one pass" truck. As you see, the "hopper" has two sides. When that hopper is emptied into the top of the truck, the items from each side remain separated. Then, when the truck goes to dump its contents, the trash goes to the landfill and the recycling goes to a material recovery facility.

As always, thanks so much for your efforts at recycling in Milton. As a reminder, if you find that your recycling container is too large or too small for your needs, keep in mind that there are three sizes you can chose from. The standard size is 64 gallons, however they also have 96 and 35 gallon sizes that you can use. To inquire about alternative container sizes, contact Waste Management at 1-877-WMWASTE or WMEservice@wm.com. Or contact City Hall at 868-6900 and we'd be happy to help you out.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dealing with Flu in the Workplace

Our community, like many, is experiencing a lot of families with children out sick from school. Many strands of illness are popping up in our region. Here is a link with some good strategies on how to reduce the risk of catching the flu and slowing its spread throughout the workplace. This information is specifically geared toward the workplace, so you may want to share this with your employer and co-workers.

http://healthyamericans.org/reports/flu/brochures/FluBrochure.pdf

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Power Line Route

Last evening the American Transmission Company and Rock Energy Cooperative held a public hearing in Milton to discuss plans and potential routes for power lines to serve a new electrical substation on the east side of Milton. For more information on this hearing and the plans, you can do the following:

The Common Council discussed this proposal on Tuesday this week, and they have specific concerns about the impact of one proposal that would involve following the rail line through the City as the route for the power line. We know that this project is important for ensuring reliable and adequate power supply for our community, however the Council believes that other routes present more practical solutions. Admittedly, any route will have an impact on property owners; the goal should be to seek the most minimal impact possible.

At the Council's request, I have invited ATC representatives to attend one of the Council meetings in November (either the 3rd or 17th). They are very willing to attend and discuss the proposals with the Council. When a date is firmed up, I'll be sure to update the blog with that information. In the meantime, anyone seeking more information should check out the links above.

Protecting Your Identity and Credit

I was watching the 10 o'clock news last night, and saw a consumer protection story that is worth sharing. So, thanks to NBC 15, here's a bit of useful information...

Many have heard about identity theft and the damage that can be done to your personal credit rating by those who mis-use your identity. One thing that you can do, at no cost to you, is place a "fraud alert" on your credit report. This alert is good for 90 days, and you will be e-mailed a notice to renew that alert over and over.

When you or someone else attempts to open a credit account in your name, increase the credit limit on an existing account, or obtain a new card on an existing account, the lender takes steps to verify that you have authorized the request. With the alert, the lender will have to go even further to verify the identity of the applicant. So, anyone who may be attempting to use your identity to open a new account will have their efforts thwarted before they can ever open the account.

The good news is this is free and only takes a few minutes to do. You can find more information at http://www.equifax.com/answers/set-fraud-alerts/en_cp. Issuing the "fraud alert" at this site will automatically issue the alert with all three credit rating bureaus.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mystery Solved...

"Great Job!" to the whole cast and crew that was involved in the Murder Mystery fundraising event this past weekend at The Gathering Place. It was another great showcase of The Gathering Place as a location for wonderful community events. Also showcased was the talent we have in the people right here in the Milton area. A warm thank you also goes out to everyone who attended in support of The Gathering Place.

PS - Here's a few shout-outs... Jerry - Nice cape. Cori - Nice pig-tails. Rick - Nice grey eyebrows. Jon - Nice pretend dying. Best acting award goes to the guy who played the mannequin in the band uniform (rear-left in the photo).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Safety Tips from Chief Schuetz

In conjunction with the Rock County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Milton Police Department is reminding citizens to follow the following safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable Halloween for all this year. “Trick or Treat” hours are scheduled in Milton on Saturday, Oct. 31st, 2009 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. All of us at the Milton Police Department hope you enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by following these simple safety tips:
  • Choose a Safe Costume: A good costume is one that is highly visible and flame resistant. Make sure that your mask or make-up allows for good vision so that you can look both ways when you cross the street.
  • Bring A Flashlight or a Cell-Phone: the illuminated display helps you see and keeps you visible to others and vehicles.
  • Obey Traffic Signals and Stay on Sidewalks: Respect people’s private property by staying on sidewalks. Traffic signals exist for your safety and thus it is important to follow them.
  • Inspect Candy: Although tampering is rare, please remember to have an adult inspect candy before it is eaten. Report anything suspicious found in any item handed out to the Milton Police Department immediately.
  • Adults Accompany Children: Regardless of age, an adult should accompany children trick or treating. Children should be taught to never enter a home of a stranger they do not know unless accompanied by an adult.
  • Adult Responsible Enjoyment of Halloween: To our adult citizens, remember that more children will be out and about walking on Halloween. Due to the increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic we ask you to drive with extra caution. If you plan on attending a Halloween party and consuming alcohol, remember to utilize a designated driver.

Following these simple steps will help us at the Milton Police Department keep our community a safe place for all to enjoy the fun activities associated with Halloween.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Being Prepared for Development

Earlier today I enjoyed the opportunity to speak at the Rock-Green Realtors Association membership meeting. The meeting included presentations from community leaders from Janesville, Beloit, Edgerton and Milton. We all spoke with a similar theme... Economic development progress is cyclical - like an ocean's tide, it rises and falls. In Milton, like our neighboring cities, we have focused planning efforts related specifically to all sectors of our community, including downtown commercial, industrial and residential.

I shared a story that being prepared for economic development opportunities is much like a scene from the movie Finding Nemo. It's the scene where Dory swims down into a dark abyss, and sings to herself, "Keep on swimming, swimming, swimming..." Want a reminder of this scene? Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmyUkm2qlhA. The analogy is that to prepared for economic development opportunities, cities need to "keep on planning, planning, planning..." So, when opportunity comes, we are ready to provide the infrastructure, property, and tools to move development from concept to reality.

Channel 3 out of Madison provided some coverage of the event. Here's the web article which includes a video clip: http://www.channel3000.com/news/21299833/detail.html. Special thanks to the Rock-Green Realtors Association for hosting the event.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween Trick-or-Treating Hours

Halloween Trick-or-Treating hours in the City will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 31st. I hope to see many of you out in your most ghoulish costumes. Last I heard, my daughter Sydney is going as Snow White and son Sawyer is going as a pirate.

If you want to start getting into the spooky season, consider attending one of the following events at the Milton Public Library:
  • Bats @ the Library, Tuesday, October 20th, 6:30 p.m. – Bat Conservation of Wisconsin will be bringing live bats to the library just in time for Halloween. Learn why these mammals are not so spooky after all. No registration is necessary.
  • Paint-A-Pumpkin, Friday, October 30th, 10:00 a.m.-noon – Free pumpkin-painting for all ages. All supplies included. Registration is required.

Stay informed about other events at the Milton Public Library by logging on to their website at www.miltonpubliclibrary.org.

Above all else this Halloween season, stay safe. I'll be posting a blog entry in a few days with more information on best practices for staying safe while trick-or-treating. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cabin Restoration at the Milton House / "Dracula" Performance

Check out this article from the Janesville Gazette regarding ongoing work to restore the Goodrich Cabin: http://gazettextra.com/news/2009/oct/10/work-begins-historic-milton-property/. The article also includes information about an upcoming fundraising performance of "Dracula" at the Milton College Main Hall Chappel.

Friday, October 9, 2009

What is "Public Fire Protection"?

COMMON QUESTION: What is the purpose of the “Public Fire Protection” charge on my monthly utility bill?

ANSWER: The PFP charge (also known as hydrant rental charge) recovers the costs related to the capacity of the water supply system available to fight fires within the City's water service area. These costs include a portion of the wells, pumps, storage facilities, water mains, hydrants and an estimated quantity of water used for this purpose.

This cost is NOT used to pay for services provided by the Joint Milton / Milton Fire Department, but is specifically used to maintain the supply of water to the fire hydrants throughout the community. The Fire Department itself is funded primarily using property taxes.

We understand that this is often very confusing for people as they read their bill. Unfortunately, this terminology is what the Public Service Commission requires us to use.

Oh, and one friendly reminder... Don't park in front of fire hydrants. That is, unless you are interested in a ticket and a new open-air ventilation system for your car...





Heads Up - Changes to your October Utility Bill

For months the City has been publicly discussing the increase in water and sewer rates and the addition of the stormwater utility. These changes will first appear on the utility bill which will be mailed by October 16th.

Despite the City's informational campaign to inform residents about these changes, I'm sure there are many that will still be surprised by the changes. That's okay and is to be expected. So, to help those who may not yet be aware of the upcoming changes or would just like a reminder, the City has prepared a two-page summary of the changes and impact. You can view this flier by following this link: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2881.

In addition, a wide variety of information specifically detailing the stormwater utility is posted on-line at http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/stormwaterutility.aspx. This page includes frequently asked questions and even an on-line video in which staff and City engineers give further explanation about the utility.

If you still have questions after reviewing this information, you are welcome to contact City Hall at 868-6900 or by e-mail at info@ci.milton.wi.us.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Milling and Paving of John Paul Road, Municipal Drive, and Merchant Row

The City is initiating some milling and overlay roadwork during the next few days. Milling is a process where top layer of asphalt pavement is ground up and removed. Then, a “binder” is added to the left-over road surface (which is acts like glue) and a new layer of asphalt is added on top of the binder. This process is important in extending the useful life of the subsurface of the road structure. For those who might be interested, here’s a YouTube video that demonstrates the mill and overlay process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy1tWWHvV-w.

Milling will take place on John Paul Road, Municipal Drive, and Merchant Row on Wednesday and Thursday of this week (October 7th and 8th). There will be temporary traffic delays.

Paving is expected to occur, weather permitting, on Monday and Tuesday next week (October 12th and 13th). Temporary road closing will occur during the paving process.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and attentive driving in and around these project areas.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Siren Test Tomorrow

Tomorrow the outdoor tornado sirens will be tested at 12:05 p.m. with a steady tone of 1-2 minutes. This will be the last siren test for the season.

The steady tone of 3-5 minutes will be the take cover signal that a tornado warning has been issued for Rock County and citizens should immediately take shelter and tune to your local broadcasting stations or weather radio for information.

If the siren located in your area is not working, please call 758-8440. It would be helpful if someone could be near each community siren for the first test of the year.

If there is inclement weather within the county, siren testing will not be conducted.

Milton Homecoming Parade

The Milton Homecoming parade is this Friday, October 9, 2009. Bands and floats will be meeting at the parking lot at the Milton Community House. The route will travel as follows:
  • South on Parkview to High Street
  • Right on High Street, West up to Hilltop Drive
  • Right on Hilltop Drive to High School Parking Lot or Municipal Drive (Construction Dependent)
  • Parade Ends at High School Parking lot

In order to accommodate the parade, High Street will be temporarily closed from approximately 1:55 – 3:00 p.m.

7th Annual Prairie Seed Hike

On Saturday, October 10th, beginning at 9:00 a.m., the Ad-Hoc Crossridge Park Committee will be hosting their 7th Annual Prairie Seed Hike. The event will begin at Rotary Gardens in Janesville and continue to Milton to pick seeds from the established native prairies located at the high school and Crossridge Park.

This year, the Department of Public Works and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation asked the Committee to plant a 6-7 acre area along the new State Highway 59 construction on Milton's east side. The area will be planted at the end of the project by the MECCA students as a class project. The Committee has about 3 acres of seed ready to plant from last year, but they need your help!

More information, as well as pictures of the already established prairies containing wild grasses and flowers native to this area in full bloom, can be found at:http://crossridgepark.blogspot.com/ or http://miltondogpark.blogspot.com/. Please also check these links for alternate plans if there is inclement weather.

Come join us! Bring your kids and make it a hands-on learning family activity.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October Monthly Report Available

The City's Monthly Departmental Report for October is now up on the City Website. Check it out by following this link: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2871.

Reminder - Mayor Chesmore Listening Session this Thursday

Mayor Chesmore is hosting a listening session at The Gathering Place (715 Campus St.) from 5 - 7 PM this Thursday, October 1st. Any citizens with questions, concerns or compliments about City operations, or anyone who is just curious about what's happening in Milton, is welcome to attend. Those who cannot attend but would like to touch base with Mayor Chesmore may contact him at 868-3361 or by e-mail at tom_chesmore@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Gathering Place Gains Accreditation


Staff at The Gathering Place (Milton's Senior Center) deserve a big pat on the back and a "way to go!". Today they were awarded with accreditation, which is a major accomplishment for any senior center. According to the Wisconsin Association of Senior Centers website, there are only 19 senior centers it the whole state that are accredited. The Gathering Place was originally accredited back in 1998 and again in 2004, and has done everything required to regain this noteworthy status this year.

Pictured above is Jill Kranz (far right), Director of the Middleton Sr. Center, presenting a plaque to Paula Schutt, Director of The Gathering Place. Paula is joined by committee members Sue Larson (far left) and Carolyn Brown who worked very hard on the accreditation application for The Gathering Place.

So, to Paula, the Committee, the Board of Directors and all of the great staff a The Gathering Place, congratulations and job well done. You guys deserve it! Thanks for everything all of you do for Milton's seniors and the entire community.

You MUST read this article...

Gazette Report Stacy Vogel recently wrote a story about Janette Haney. Janette, out of the goodness of her heart, sweeps trash and debris from the sidewalks and curbs on the east side of the City. I am so encouraged by this story, and owe a debt of gratitude to Janette for doing what she does. This is a simple example of what makes a community special. Thanks, Janette, for doing your part.

To read the article, visit this link to the Janesville Gazette website: http://gazettextra.com/news/2009/sep/28/milton-street-sweeper-spreads-cleanliness-and-joy/. The website also includes a nice video about this story.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Highway 59 Project

I'm hearing lots of inquiries lately from citizens about the State's Highway 59 realignment project and planned Highway 26 bypass. In this case, pictures are worth thousands of words... Here's a link to maps on the City website regarding these projects: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_display.aspx?cat_id=254&cat_type=. Also, here's a link to the State's webpage regarding the STH 59 project: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/wis26corridor/exp-segment2.htm. This link is for info about the Milton - Fort Atkinson portion of the project: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/wis26corridor/exp-segment3.htm. And, finally, this link is for information about the Milton - Janesville portion of the project: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/wis26corridor/exp-segment1.htm.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Walked in HER Shoes

Statistics show that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Every year, 1.3 MILLION are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner. The dollar impact of domestic violence exceeds $5.8 BILLION (with a "B") every year! No doubt, domestic violence in our society is a big issue.

I congratulate the YWCA of Rock County for coordinating their annual "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event this past Friday. It was my pleasure to participate in the event, and I thank my wife Tonya, Milton Police Chief Jerry Schuetz, and the ladies up at City Hall for encouraging me. I teamed up with Chief Schuetz and Milton's Finance Manager Dan Nelson for the one-mile trek, which I must admit was not pleasant in my heels (thanks Carrie for the "loaners"). For more details on the event, check out this article from the Janesville Gazette: http://gazettextra.com/news/2009/sep/26/men-march-help-bring-end-domestic-violence/.

I hope you enjoy the photos. You might notice that Dan was wearing tennis shoes... In his defense, Dan's got some crazy big feet. So finding some suitable women's heels for Dan was tough. However he did have his shoes decorated with puffy paint, glitter and other fancy stuff (thanks again Carrie). Also, I couldn't resist including the photo of my son Sawyer with the Chief's daughter Maddy who had fun at the event as well.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Overall Merchant Row Plans

...this post relates to the earlier post about the Merchant Row project that is underway currently.

For those who may be interested in the City's long term "vision" for redevelopment of this downtown area, click on the above map to view the redevelopment plans. Again, keep in mind that this is a LONG TERM vision. The current project simply involves removing the Squeeze Inn to accommodate some additional parking in the northern part of this downtown district, which is a small step in achieving the results desired in the larger plan.

Work Underway in the Merchant Row Downtown Area

Merchant Row street and parking work began today with the excavation of the parking area north of the Squeeze Inn. The rest of the work will consist of the removal of the Squeeze Inn building, widening of the street to create additional angle parking, spot curb and gutter repairs between Madison Avenue and Crandall Street, and milling off the existing asphaltic surface between Madison Avenue and Crandall Street and replacing it with 2 inches of new asphalt.

The approximate dates for the rest of the project are as follows:

9/25/09 - Begin removing and replacing curb and gutter
9/29/09 - Demolition of Squeeze
10/7/09 - Mill surface of existing asphalt
10/12/09 - Place asphalt surface

If you have any questions or comments, please call one of the following contacts:

Howard Robinson, Director of Public Works - (608) 868-6914
Gary Vogel, City Engineer - (262) 206-9236 (mobile)
Dick Fry, Frank Brothers Superintendent - (608) 754-5330

Stay updated on street projects by logging on to the City’s website: www.ci.milton.wi.us or subscribe to my blog for the latest City news and information. I also want to thank all of the businesses in the project area for their patience and cooperation as we proceed with this work.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Report on Shared Ride Taxi Analysis

For several years the City has been researching the possibility of implementing a shared ride taxi system in Milton. Early this year the City joined forces with the City of Janesville, City of Whitewater and UW-Whitewater (thanks to a grant from the State) to hire a firm that specializes in transportation systems to complete a comprehensive study for our communities.

Part of the study includes an analysis of shared ride taxi specifically for the City of Milton. Currently no such program exists. So, this study includes information about how to go about creating and funding an "entry-level" taxi service for the City, with possible program implementation in 2010.

The consultants will be presenting the analysis report at the Council meeting at 7:30 PM on Tuesday, Sept. 22nd. Anyone interested is welcome to attend. The meeting will be held in the lower level of the Shaw Municipal Building at 430 E. High Street. A full copy of the report is now available on the City website at www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2865, along with a copy of the presentation slides that will be used by the consultants at the meeting (www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2866).

Please contact me if you have any questions about this project at 868-6900 (x4) or tschmidt@ci.milton.wi.us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Enjoy the Weekend in Milton - Events Update

It's a beautiful time of year in Milton. So, get out and enjoy some local events. Here's what is happening this weekend:
  • HUNGRY FOR BRATS! Saturday, September 19, 10:00 a.m until 2:00 p.m. rain or shine
    The Gathering Place will be providing a Brat Fry at DAVES ACE HARDWARE, John Paul Road. Please come and enjoy this end of "summer cookout season" fund raiser. p.s. Hot dogs will also be available for those that don't care for brats.
  • Mini Farmers Market at Patty's Plants - Saturday, Sept. 19th from 9 AM - 1 PM. Stock up on great fall items - pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, etc. Here's a link to an article with more details: http://www.miltoncourieronline.com/main.asp?SectionID=7&SubSectionID=7&ArticleID=330.
  • Twilight Tours at the Milton House - Saturday, September 19, 2009 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM.
    Tour this fascinating 19th century inn by lamp light, samples wines from local wineries, and enjoy local music talent. Tour tickets/wine tasting tickets at the door. Click here for more info: http://www.miltoncourieronline.com/main.asp?SectionID=7&SubSectionID=7&ArticleID=333.

Enjoy Milton, and all this area has to offer!!! Have a great weekend.

"Tour de Milton" - Fun, Informational & Exercise All at the Same Time

On September 2nd I enjoyed an opportunity to hold a bike tour of various projects that are happening around Milton. Some thought to call it "Tour de Milton". The eight or so folks that joined me biked to every corner of the City, viewing projects that included the STH 59 relocation project, dog park development, downtown redevelopment in the Merchant Row Area, and various street improvement projects. Most importantly, we got to enjoy a lovely late-summer afternoon in beautiful Milton.

My plan is to do this again every spring and fall, so if you were not able to join us this year you've got time to tune up your bike for next year. Also, after the ride, I received an e-mail from a citizen who asked if something like this could be done for people who are unable to ride bikes. Great idea! I'm already working on the possibility of a bus tour in conjunction with senior programming at The Gathering Place (senior center). Stay tuned for more information on that.

Some of the riders asked where I got the idea to do this ride... Well, a couple years ago I read an article about a City Manager in Florida who regularly rides his bike around various City projects to get a first-hand look at the "stuff" he's talking about. Here's a link to the article: http://icma.org/pm/8805/public/profile.cfm?author=&title=Profile. Since then, I make it a priority on my bike rides to visit City projects to get a feel for what's happening "at ground zero". One time, while on one of my rides, the idea occurred to me that others might enjoy getting the same perspective of City projects. And, as they say, the rest is history.

I'd like to thank all of those who joined me on the ride. Specifically, thanks go out to Chief Jerry Schuetz for providing our escort and even stopping traffic on STH 26 (with his own bare hands!) to provide us safe crossing. Thanks to Rick Miller of The Milton Courier for providing the photos.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Milton Public Library Has A New Website


The Milton Public Library unveiled their new website on September 15. Click on the image to view the website or visit http://www.miltonpubliclibrary.org/.

The site was built by library staff, a graphic artist, and test users to be more intuitive, efficient, and useful for patrons. A simpler, cleaner design exposes more useful content and makes navigation clearer.

The homepage presents a short list of frequently used links and emphasizes various informational pages that support both the casual and student researcher. Library information, local links, research databases, job resources, and more are all easily accessed. Visit http://www.miltonpubliclibrary.org/ to learn more.

Monday, September 7, 2009

September Monthly Report Now Available


From yard waste collection reminders to an announcement about the upcoming unveiling of a new library website, that's the type of information you'll find by reading the latest City of Milton Monthly Departmental Report. The report includes timely snippets of information prepared by staff from each City department. View the latest report by clicking on the report image included in this post or here: http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_detail.aspx?document_id=2834. Prior reports are also archived on-line at http://www.ci.milton.wi.us/document_display.aspx?cat_id=144&cat_type=. Having a problem accessing the report? Please call us at City Hall at 608-868-6900 (ext. 4) or by e-mail at info@ci.milton.wi.us.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Subscribe to My Blog!

A few people have asked me if there was a way they could receive notifications whenever I update my blog. Now you can.

All you have to do is enter your e-mail address into the “Subscribe” section on the right hand side of the page. A message will be sent to your e-mail whenever I post something new. You can then click on the blog title in that e-mail to go directly to the blog site.

Sign up soon to make sure you don’t miss any city updates. Thanks for your continued interest in this blog and all that’s happening in Milton.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Alliant Energy Voltage Conversion Update

Alliant Energy has been working on a voltage conversion for the whole City of Milton. Part of that involves tree trimming and distribution rebuilding. Another round of tree trimming by Alliant Energy crews (or their subcontractors) will begin on September 14, 2009. With the exception of a couple total tree removals, this will be trimming only. Click here to see a general map of the affected area or here to see a map showing detail by street. They will start with Lamar N10337 (indicated in orange on both maps) and Lamar N1219 (indicated in pink on both maps) will follow.

Rebuild efforts will begin along the Lamar N10337 route later in September, and Lamar N1219 rebuild efforts will begin in 2010. Final voltage conversion is expected to take place during the middle of next year.

I will post more updates on the project as they become available. In the meantime, citizens with questions about this project may contact Mike Gentry with Alliant Energy at 608-743-1058 or by e-mail at mikegentry@alliantenergy.com.