News – October 26, 2016

Dodge County Finance Committee Recommends Tax Figures


10/26/16 – Dodge County taxes are still on track to stay fairly level in 2017.  The finance committee last night recommended a mill rate of $5.63 per thousand dollars of assessed value, which is down four cents from the current year.  They also approved a tax levy just over $33,000,000, up $300,000 from this year’s figure.  The total budget is worth $112,000,000, and county property values are up nearly one-percent to $5,900,000.  A number of county board supervisors were on hand for the meeting and were given the opportunity to weigh in.  Supervisor Jeff Berres proposed an amendment to the highway department’s budget.  He suggested delaying the purchase of five of the seven proposed dump trucks by one year to instead use that $885,000 to fund additional road projects.  Berres says multiple constituents have voiced concerns over the county’s highways.  He notes the highway department proposed $3,000,000 in road repairs and $2,200,000 in truck replacements for 2017.  While he says the county has spent $2,000,000-$2,500,000 on trucks each year, Berres says the county has funded less than five miles of road reconstructions each year.  He says that is well below the 28 miles of annual pavement the county should do to maintain a 20-year rotation, which Berres believes is causing the quality of Dodge County’s highways to suffer.  Supervisor Jeff Caine opposes the proposed amendment.  While he says there is a need to maintain roads, Caine says the trucks are an immediate necessity to ensure the safety of the operators.  He also cites the need for top notch equipment to ensure the streets are properly cleared in the winter.  Caine believes other revenues will be available in coming years, starting in 2018, to address the road repairs.  The finance committee will consider the amendment proposal at its November 8 meeting.  The full county board will vote on the budget the following week.


Waupun Advances 2017 Budget With 11-Percent Levy Increase


10/26/16 – On a split vote, city officials in Waupun last night approved a budget for publication with an 11.6-percent levy increase. The council was presented with a budget outline earlier this month that had a 2.9-percent increase in the levy. City Administrator Kathy Schlieve told the committee of the whole last night that the school district portion of the tax bill will be going down and increasing the levy from this year’s $2.6-million to $2.9-million next year will allow the city to get caught up on badly needed street projects. If adopted next month, the 11.6-percent increase in the tax levy would translate to a roughly $90 increase for the average Dodge County homeowner on the city portion of the tax bill. For property owners in Dodge County, the mill rate would increase 89-cents to $7.39-per-thousand dollars of assessed value. Fond du Lac County residents would see an increase of 77-cents to $7.34-per thousand. The 2.9-percent levy increase would result in a 27-cent increase in the mill rate in Dodge County and 12-cents in Fond du Lac County. Alderman Pete Kaczmarski made the motion to go with the lower number, which failed on a 4-to-2 vote. A second motion to publish the higher tax levy was approved by the same margin. The budget in Waupun incudes a salary increase for non-union employees of 1.7-percent, expanded funding for economic development, new vehicles for the police and fire departments, drainage repair at the community center, and razing the old Washington Elementary School building.  The public hearing and council action on the budget is slated for November 15.


Gas Prices Below $2 In Milwaukee


10/26/16 – Gas prices are back below two dollars per gallon in the Milwaukee area. Gas Buddy Dot Com listed 15 stations where regular unleaded is $1.99 Wednesday morning on the city’s northwest side and in Wauwatosa. The Wisconsin Triple “A” reports a statewide average of $2.14 cents overnight — four cents cheaper than one week ago, and 24 cents cheaper than last year at this time. Beaver Dam, Horicon and Mayville are averaging $2.15. Gas in Watertown is as low as $2.07; Portage is at $2.09; West Bend is $2.11. Oil industry analyst Jim Ritterbusch expects pump prices in southeast Wisconsin to be stable at least through next winter — and if we see three-dollar gas again, it probably won’t be until at least 2018. Ritterbusch, who runs a Chicago oil trading firm, says people in general are saving more these days. He believes consumers need to drive up the gross domestic product higher than we’re seeing now.


Baldwin Defends Obamacare 


10/26/16 – U-S Senator Tammy Baldwin says Obamacare needs to be fixed, but it shouldn’t be scrapped as Republicans vow to do if voters give them control of the White House and Congress. Wisconsin’s Democratic senator said it would help if large price hikes for prescription drugs could be put under control. Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton calls for more adjustments — like creating government insurers to compete with those in the private sector, and giving up to five-thousand dollars in refundable tax credits for families with large costs from their own pockets. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville has said a Republican Congress would scrap the Affordable Care Act on Day One if they could. Among other things, G-O-P presidential nominee Donald Trump has proposed letting people buy insurance on their own and deduct the expense from their income taxes.


Watertown Man Charged With Seventh OWI


10/26/16 – Cash bond was set at $100,000 yesterday for a Watertown man charged with his 7th OWI.  Officers responded to the Camelot Golf Club in Lomira on Sunday after receiving a call of a truck that had been sitting in the parking lot for an hour with its lights on.  When officers arrived, they reportedly found Jeromy Morgan sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running.  The 43-year-old told police he had been playing disc golf and reportedly said he had been drinking throughout the day.  Morgan allegedly smelled strongly of intoxicants, had slurred speech, and had a lethargic look on his face.  When asked what he was doing, Morgan reportedly told officers (quote) “I’m not drinking and driving” but later allegedly said he was going to spend the night in the parking lot because he had too much to drink.  Police say empty beer cans were scattered on the floor of the truck, and an open beer was in a cup holder.  Morgan reportedly failed field sobriety tests and was in violation of a sobriety order from his probation.  If he is convicted, Morgan faces up to ten years in prison.  His preliminary hearing is set for November 3.


Trial Continues For Woman Accused Of Helping Dispose Of Body


10/26/16 – The jury trial continues today for a 36-year-old Fond du Lac woman suspected of helping her sister dispose of the body of her murdered husband. Eve Nance has already been convicted and sentenced to up to life in prison for the shooting death of her husband Tim Nance. Now her sister, Tina Ewell, is being tried for allegedly helping her. Tuesday Police Detective Lee Mukulec testified about some of the evidence gathered at the scene of the shooting, the Nance home.


Fond du Lac County Road Death Found To Be A Medical Incident


10/26/16 – Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s officials say a 73-year-old Malone man died of natural causes and not from injuries in a car accident he was involved in Sunday afternoon. Sheriff’s Captain Ryan Waldschmidt says during an autopsy the County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Gary Miller died “heart-related complications” and his death will not be counted as a traffic fatality. Miller was involved in a head-on crash on Highway 151 in the Town of Calumet. The other driver suffered non-life threatening injuries.


Beaver Dam Man Accused Of Beating Teen


10/26/16 – A Beaver Dam man is accused of beating up a teenager. Theodore Graf is charged with Physical Abuse of a Child, a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of six years in prison, upon conviction. Prosecutors say the 53-year-old lost his temper over a set of missing keys. The victim was allegedly beaten with a hockey stick and punched in the face by Graf who only released the child after he nearly choked on his own blood. Graf denied hitting the teen, said he was hit first by the set of keys and had a rocking chair thrown at him. Bond was set at $1000 yesterday and a judge will decide in November if there is enough evidence to order a trial.


Fond du Lac Shelter Gets 40 Dogs From Marathon County Hoarder


10/26/16 – The Fond du Lac Humane Society Shelter Sunday was asked to be a clearing house for 40 small breed dogs there were rescued from a home in Marathon County. Shelter Manager Renee Webb says hoarding of pets isn’t that unusual. She says each year the local shelter deals with about two cases of it. Webb says once they had to deal with a case where 198 cats were rescued and in another 72 dogs. In this particular case they were able to disperse the dogs to other rescue programs and shelters for placement.