News – November 22, 2016

Beaver Dam Adopts 2017 City Budget


11/22/16 – Officials in Beaver Dam last night adopted the 2017city budget. The $15.4-million-dollar document includes a tax levy of $9.9-million dollars, up around $170-thousand dollars, or one-point-seven-four-percent (1.74%) from the current year. The budget as approved comes in below state-mandated levy limits and meets the state’s Expenditure Restraint Program. Council President Jon Litscher says this budget continues efforts by elected officials in recent years to reign in borrowing while still providing necessary services.


Non-represented city employees will see a two-percent wage increase. The Fire Department is funding a new full-time paramedic beginning mid-year. The police department will get a new detective at mid-year dedicated full-time to drugs. The PD will also see Taser guns and an upgrade to one-third of their portable radios. Not included in the budget is funding that will allow the city to join Spillman, the sheriff’s departments countywide records management system. Mayor Tom Kennedy says there may be money allocated to Spillman in future budgets and while talks are ongoing with the sheriff he stands by his assertion that county sales tax dollars should cover the cost.


The city is showing its support for next year’s Walldogs mural festival with $10-thousand dollars allocated, which is in addition to $30-thousand dollars available through the city’s downtown façade grant program. The budget also includes $19-thosuand dollars for a second dog park. Alderman Robert Ballweg was one of four aldermen to vote against the budget. Ballweg unsuccessfully introduced motions to eliminate funding for the murals and the dog park hoping instead to direct the funds public safety. The motion on the mural funding failed on a five-to-nine vote while Ballweg rescinded his motion on the dog park after discussion. The mill rate is $9.92-per thousand dollars of value, down from $10.10 last year. Property values in the city are up over three-percent from last year.


State Budget Requests Exceed Projected Tax Revenues


11/22/16 – State government agencies want to spend 693-million dollars more than the projected tax revenues in the next budget — but that’s a lot smaller excess than the two-point-two billion dollars sought by the departments two years ago. That means Governor Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature won’t have to cut as many spending requests for the period from mid-2017 to mid-2019. In a tweet, Walker promised to budget more money for public schools, technical colleges, and the U-W System. According to figures released Monday, some state agencies did not ask for additional money in the next budget, and a few asked for less. The Department of Public Instruction asked for 500-million additional dollars for “K” to 12 schools, while health officials asked for an extra 455-million — mostly for Medicaid.


Longer School Days Possible In Beaver Dam


11/22/16 – Starting in January, students in the Beaver Dam Unified School District could see longer school days.  School officials are looking to have as many non-student days as possible during the upcoming districtwide construction efforts, following this month’s passage of a $48,900,000 referendum question.  The proposal the school board was presented last night suggested adding ten minutes onto both the beginning and end of each school day, starting January 16, 2017 and running through the end of the 2017-18 school year.  Officials say the proposal adds 24 non-student days to the construction schedule, including ten days this school year as the last day of classes would move from June 6 to May 22.  Graduation would also be bumped up two weeks to May 21.  Scheduled breaks over the holidays and in spring would not change.  The 2017-18 school year would run from September 5 through May 21.


Concerns raised Monday night included the longer summer break causing students to lose some of the information they learned and needing to rework the summer school schedule.  Superintendent Steve Vessey says he understands those concerns and notes that changing the school calendar mid-year is no easy task but believes the financial and educational benefits could outweigh the drawbacks.  Vessey estimates this proposal’s cost savings, through labor and transportation, at $345,000.  He says the board is currently in negotiations with contracting firm CG Schmidt, with whom the district was worked in the past, to provide construction management services.  The board will vote on the proposed schedule changes and construction firm deal at its December 12 meeting.


One Killed, One Seriously Injured In Fond du Lac County Wreck


11/22/16 – A 23-year-old Waupun man has died in a head on traffic crash. It happened about 5:45 Monday evening on County Trunk “A-W” in the Fond du Lac County Town of Alto. Sheriff’s deputies say a vehicle driven by a 57-year-old Waupun man crossed a center line and hit an oncoming vehicle in which the fatal victim was riding. Officials say the man who caused the crash was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, along with the 52-year-old driver of the other unit and another of her passengers. All the victims were from Waupun, and their names were not immediately released.


Trial Set For Watertown Man Accused Of Homicide


11/22/16 – A jury trial has been scheduled for the 49-year-old Watertown man accused of supplying the drugs that caused an overdose death.  Terence Jannke is facing felony counts of First Degree Reckless Homicide, Maintaining a Drug Trafficking Place, and Possession with Intent to Deliver Heroin.  Jannke allegedly provided the drugs that killed Holly Nehls, and a July 1 search of his residence reportedly found syringes, heroin packaging, and a drug ledger in his bedroom.  If he is found guilty on all counts, Jannke faces up to 64 years in prison.  The week-long trial is set to begin April 3.


Attorney General To Appeal Ruling On Redistricting


11/22/16 – Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general says he will appeal a federal court ruling that strikes down the Assembly and Senate district lines the G-O-P drew in 2011. But the case is not at that stage yet, as a panel of three federal judges asked both sides to submit written responses to their ruling from Monday before deciding what to do next. The panel found the G-O-P maps are unconstitutional, and the additions of Republican voters in many districts “impeded” the Democrats’ ability to “translate their votes into legislative seats.” The ruling was the result of a lawsuit from Democrats, as part of an effort to seek a new national standard for determining whether a state’s ten year redistricting plan discriminates against voters of a certain party. G-O-P Assembly Speaker Robin Vos defends the maps, saying his party has won elections because it has “better candidates and a better message” — and if there’s an appeal, it would go directly to the U-S Supreme Court.


Opening Weekend Numbers Better Than Opening Day


11/22/16 – Wisconsin deer hunters shot more than 120-thousand animals during the opening weekend of the nine-day gun season. That’s down five-percent from the previous year, but the D-N-R’s preliminary figures show that the weekend decline was only half as much as the opening day on Saturday. That’s after strong winds in much of state died down by Sunday. In Dodge County, there were 1504 deer harvested opening weekend, down from 1579 last year. Jefferson County hunters took 823 deer, around 50 more than last year. The Columbia County harvest was down by around 350 deer to just over 2000. Hunters in Fond du La County shot around 175 less deer this year than the 1500 deer taken last year. Statewide, hunters shot about eight-thousand more bucks than in last November’s opening weekend. The antlerless harvest was down by about 65-hundred, even though fewer parts of the state were off limits to doe hunting than one year ago.


 Beaver Dam Garbage Pickup Effected By Holiday


11/22/16 – After Wednesday, waste collection in Beaver Dam will be delayed by one day for the rest of the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  DPW officials say Advanced Disposal will suspend garbage pick-ups for Thursday.  Residents who normally receive Thursday pick-up will instead have garbage collection Friday, while Friday’s route will be collected on Saturday.  After Wednesday, the Public Works Garage will also be closed until Monday.