Impact study still in limbo

Despite meeting twice in one week to discuss the Kettle Park West economic impact analysis, the Common Council never managed to address what is missing in it.

Alders, meeting as a Committee of the Whole, had planned to work out what more they would like to see in the analysis of what the Wal-Mart Supercenter-anchored project would do to and for Stoughton, which some had complained was lacking in previous discussions. They were supposed to prepare a list of items to add and failed to do so.

The impact analysis was again on the Common Council’s agenda for Tuesday this week, but without mention of the missing information.

At both meetings last week, Ald. Tom Selsor (D-4) objected to what he said were agenda items that did not comport with what the council had decided at its Oct. 14 meeting.


EMS to begin charging towns, city next year

A contract between Stoughton Area EMS and the municipalities it serves will be implemented next year and will help resolve budget shortfalls the organization has experienced in the past two years.

The Courier Hub reported in its Sept. 25 edition that the EMS had a shortfall of more than $100,000 in 2013 and projects a loss of $130,000 this year.

EMS director Lisa Schimelpfenig told the Hub on Monday that she laid out the budget scenario, along with a strategy for addressing it, at a Sept. 30 meeting with representatives from the towns of Dunn, Dunkirk, Rutland and Pleasant Springs.


Council: Impact analysis lacking

The Common Council last week tabled a decision on whether to accept an economic impact analysis of the proposed Kettle Park West commercial development.

It decided to hold a Committee of the Whole meeting this week to decide what additional information the analysis would need in order to be deemed an “appropriate” study.

An appropriate analysis is a requirement in the city’s so-called Big Box ordinance.

The study is required to give city officials a sense of how a new big box retail store – such as the Wal-Mart Supercenter that’s proposed for KPW – would affect established local businesses.

Minneapolis-based Maxfield Research Inc. prepared the study, and Maxfield president Mary Bujold presented it last month to the Common Council. 


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: