McGuire pleads ‘no contest’ in Iverson case

The man accused of driving drunk in the accident that killed Stoughton 10-year-old Michael Iverson last October pled ‘no contest’ Oct. 9 to a pair of felony charges. 

According to online court records, Trevor J. McGuire, 22, of Madison, pled no contest to one count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and one county of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Other charges were dropped by a prosecutor’s motion. 

He is scheduled to return to court of sentencing Jan. 13.

McGuire is accused of being drunk when the vehicle he was driving struck a van driven by Iverson’s father, Matthew, on Oct. 7, 2013, on Highway 59, when the Iverson family was returning from a volleyball tournament in Monroe. Two of Iverson’s siblings and Matthew Iverson were injured in the crash. Michael Iverson was pronounced dead at the scene. 


Key approvals could follow Oct. 27 hearing

Rendering courtesy JSD Professional Services. Developers are seeking a revised general development plan for Kettle Park West. The plan would move a stormwater pond further west along Jackson Street and open up another lot for development. A small lot to the west of Wal-Mart on Hwy. 138 would not be developed.

Several key components of the Kettle Park West development will be up for discussion and approval later this month.

Public hearings for the tax-increment financing plan and specific details for the Wal-Mart and Kwik Trip lots will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27. Both elements will need council approval, but the public hearing is a formal opportunity for public input.

The TIF project plan – estimated at about $7.4 million – will lay out details how the new revenue generated by the development would be used to pay for public improvement in Kettle Park West. The specific implementation plans (SIPs) for the two businesses will detail what the buildings and lots will look like and allow for any exceptions to the city’s big box ordinance and other zoning codes.


County lake level draw down planned

Boaters and lake front property owners should be aware that the lakes will be lowered to summer minimum levels in preparation for winter ice and snow pack.

On or around Nov. 1, all lakes will transition to their respective winter operating levels.

Water levels on Lakes Mendota, Monona and Waubesa are currently above target summer mid-range. As a result, flow out of Babcock Dam will be maintained in order to lower the upper three lakes to their respective summer minimum water levels.

Flow out of LaFollette Dam will be maintained in order to keep Lake Kegonsa’s water level above summer minimum. Lock gates at Lafollette are closed while the lock gates at Babcock will remain open for navigation.

There is no certainty that precipitation will raise the lakes above their current levels, so lake users should monitor water levels to make sure they can remove their boats and piers before the end of October.


Mayor, staff, work to restore threatened services

In the past couple of weeks, Mayor Donna Olson and her staff have met, scoured the city’s 2015 budget and eliminated a $306,000 funding gap.

“We were able to work with each department, and each has really stepped to the table to bridge the gap again this year,” Olson said told the Hub on Monday. “It was a lot of collaboration and cooperation by all to make it work.”

The next day, the mayor presented her proposed budget with a little more detail for the Common Council to review. Between Oct. 21-30, council has three meetings scheduled to debate the budget and make changes.

With an increase in net new construction of just .82 percent, the city will have about $55,000 more to spend on services and personnel next year. That’s not a lot in a budget with a total revenue allocation of $9.2 million.

Finance director Laurie Sullivan described the mayor’s proposed budget as “a good continuing services budget.”


County budget: road projects proposed

Public works projects, safety improvements and human services continue to top the list of county budget priorities for this coming year.

Dane County executive Joe Parisi released his 2015 executive budget last Wednesday, with an emphasis on communication systems, road projects, personnel costs and county lands and lakes.

His proposed budget will be reviewed by county committees and eventually the full County Board. The budget is usually adopted by Thanksgiving, with discussions slated for this month.

Locally, specific projects include additional money for road projects and recreation improvements.

The proposed budget includes:

• An additional $1.5 million for the first phase of the Lower Yahara Trail

• $35,000 for the County Hwy. AB Yahara River bridge design project in the Town of Dunn

• $150,000 for the County Hwy. N Riley bridge design project in the Town of Dunkirk

Taxpayer impact


Utility issues water warning

While it’s not known yet if any water was contaminated, Stoughton Utilities issued a public statement Friday saying they failed to check drinking water  for coliform bacteria as required during the months of July, August and September.

“Results of regular monitoring are an indicator of whether or not your drinking water meets health standards,” read the statement. “(We) cannot be sure of the quality of your drinking water during that time.”

Testing of the water supply on Oct. 3 showed safe results.

According to the statement, no special precautions are needed at this time, “however, it is important to remember that the quality of your drinking water is not known at this time.” The tests were missed due to “misinterpreted” monitoring assignments, which have now been placed on a 12-month electronic calendar available to all operators.


Feedback sought on parks plan

Map courtesy City of Stoughton. The city’s 2014 Parks and Open Space Plan is ready for public comment and review. The plan calls for six park expansions or new sites, as well as trails connecting to existing facilities. The city’s park commission will hold a public hearing Oct. 21.

The city is in the midst of updating its park plan for the next five years and is looking for residents’ feedback to help shape future needs for outdoor spaces.

A draft of the plan is available online, parks and recreation director Tom Lynch said, and feedback can be done through an online survey. If a face-to-face feedback is preferred, a public hearing on the plan is slated for later this month.

Lynch has been updating the city’s plan so that the department and city can continue to be eligible for state and federal grants. The plan needs to be updated at least every five years for some grants.

Not much has changed in the past few years, Lynch said, so the plan is relatively unchanged, as well.

With little residential growth, the need for more park space has been low. But the city is still looking at six sites for future park expansion:


Split council OKs TIF project plan

The Common Council took another step forward last week in making the proposed Kettle Park West (KPW) development a reality.

In what’s become a familiar pattern, a divided council voted 7-5 to authorize the city to prepare a tax-increment finance (TIF) project plan for the Wal-Mart-anchored commercial development on the city’s west side.

The project plan will determine the boundaries of a future TIF district and analyze its economic feasibility.

It will be prepared by Springsted Incorporated and include an analysis of the city’s ability to repay future debt service using tax increment revenues and to recover any proposed development incentives. Springsted will also evaluate various forms of development assistance incentives and identify the financial risk to the city under different TIF options.


Council picks Boersma as Dist. 1 alder

A realtor and part-time social worker is the city’s newest representative on the Common Council.

The council last week elected Sid Boersma as the new District 1 alder. He succeeds David Kneebone, who died suddenly in August.

Boersma defeated the other candidate for the seat, Gregory Lee, in a 9-2 vote.

Alds. Sonny Swangstu, Tim Swadley, Ron Christianson, Michael Engelberger, Tom Selsor, Paul Lawrence, Pat O’Connor, Greg Jenson and Eric Hohol voted for Boersma, while Tom Majewski and Tricia Suess backed Lee.

Boersma will serve until April 2015, when the seat will be up for election. He told the council prior to last Tuesday’s vote that he’s unsure whether he’ll run in April.

In responding to questions posed by the council, Boersma said the most important issue facing the city is “the rift” caused by the proposed Kettle Park West development, with a Wal-Mart supercenter as its anchor tenant.  


Q&A with Mary Bujold

As with virtually everything else related to the proposed Kettle Park West development, the economic impact analysis conducted by a Minneapolis-based research firm generated a good deal of controversy.

KPW supporters point to the many positives listed in the report, while detractors note the negatives and the fact that the analysis was conducted without all of the information that Maxfield Research had requested.

Maxfield president Mary Bujold discussed the report’s findings on Sept. 11 at a meeting with city officials.

Last week, she talked with the Courier Hub via telephone from Minneapolis about the analysis.