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:

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 ( 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: The process takes only a minute or two. You could avoid this step by sending me an e-mail at 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 and on Twitter at

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:

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:

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:

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 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

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 (, 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

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

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:

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.