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

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:

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 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 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:

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

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: 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: 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:

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: 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: 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 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:

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.