News – October 4, 2016

Beaver Dam Officials Get First Look At Budget

10/4/16 – Officials in Beaver Dam were presented with the city’s 2017 budget Monday night. The $15.6-million-dollar document includes a tax levy of $9.9-million dollars up $173-thousand dollars, or 1.8-percent, from the budget adopted for this year. The city has to cut around $150-thousand dollars to comply with the state’s Expenditure Restrain Program, which rewards communities that keep their budget in check. If the city meets the programs threshold it will get $350-thousand dollars in state aid. Council President Jon Litscher shared his concerns with the early budget numbers with the Administrative Committee last night. Litscher says the city is currently able to use one-time exemptions to qualify for expenditure restraint dollars but those exemptions are running out. Once that happens, he says city officials may find themselves with some tough fiscal decisions, especially if recurring costs like new positions are approved. The budget includes a new position in each the police and fire departments. The committee of the whole will meet at 6:30pm on Monday, October 24 to review the budget with a second meeting date of Monday, October 31 if needed.

Beaver Dam’s Swan Park May See Splash Pad Replace Pool

10/4/16 – The Beaver Dam Operations Committee Monday night received a presentation on a possible new aquatic offering in the city. Officials with Neuman Pools detailed a splash pad for Swan Park. The concrete pad with spraying water features for all ages and abilities would replace the aging pool at the park which is geared toward children birth-to-eight. It would be built on the footprint of the existing pool and total around 6000-square feet of play area and another 4000-square feet for seating. There was no dollar figure provided but Neuman Pools but the downtown Beaver Dam company that designs aquatic facilities around the world has agreed to donate all design services. The committee agreed by consensus to have Neuman Pools assemble a cost estimate. Facilities Supervisor John Neumann told the committee that a best case scenario would be to include the splash pad in next year’s borrowing and begin construction after the pool closes for the season next fall.

Beaver Dam Council Approves Plan To Ask State For Rate Increase

10/4/16 – The city of Beaver Dam is one-step closer to implementing a possible 30-percent increase in water rates next year. The city council Monday night voted unanimously to submit an application to the Public Service Commission for the rate hike. The PSC recommends having the cash flow on hand to complete needed projects but Beaver Dam’s utilities director says that the city has been taking on debt for water utility projects. Director of Utilities Rob Minnema says the 30-percent rate hike will translate to around $4-per month for the average residential customer. The 30-percent number is not final as the PSC will determine the final percentage for residential, commercial and industrial customers. The city’s last water rate increase was in 2005 when it went up six-percent (6%). Minnema says even with the increase, Beaver Dam will still be at or below both the state and county water rate average. Approval by the state is anticipated in January and the increase would take effect following a public hearing.

Road In Front Of BDMS Turning Into One-Way Street

10/4/16 – The road in front of the Beaver Dam Middle School will be changing from a two-way street to one-way. The common council Monday night approved the change which makes traffic between North Spring and North Center streets westbound only.

UWEX Officials Set Reorganization Goal

10/4/16 – A tentative date has been set for implementing changes to the UW-Extension. At Monday’s Dodge County Executive Committee meeting, County Board Chairman Russ Kottke said UW officials hope to have everything in place by July 1, 2017. The Extension received a $3.2-million dollar funding cut in response to a $250-million dollar cut to the UW System’s funding in the current two-year state budget. Each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties has its own Extension office, but counties will start sharing some services. Dodge County will work with Columbia, Fond du Lac, and Sauk counties. While high-priority services will be maintained, UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen says other programs may be cut during the reorganization. At last word, no decisions had been made on which services could be affected.

Plans Moving Ahead For Proposed Economic Partnership

10/4/16 – Jefferson County officials plan to submit an application next week to obtain non-profit status for the Glacial Heritage Development Partnership, a proposed collaboration with Dodge County to enhance economic development in the two counties. The five-year plan would require a one-year financial commitment this fall of $85,000 per county. At Monday’s Dodge County Executive Committee meeting, the Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium’s Vicki Pratt said funds would be use to ensure necessary resources and a line of communication are in place between local businesses and the schools or workforce development agencies that provide them with talent. Pratt says measurable goals would be established ahead of time to gauge success. She says it would likely take a few years to see results. Dodge County Finance Committee Chair Dave Frohling hopes this partnership could go well beyond the five years and believes it could have a lasting, positive impact on the local economy. A board comprised of representatives from both counties would oversee the partnership. Officials say these efforts would supplement, not replace, economic development work currently being done by individual municipalities. Last month, the Dodge County Board approved the 2017 financial plan, which included funding for the partnership. Though funds are not guaranteed until the final budget is approved in November.

State DNR Officials Hold Photo-Op On Beaver Dam Lake

10/4/16 – The President of the Beaver Dam Lake Improvement Association says state officials have Beaver Dam Lake on their radar. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Kurt Thiede was in the area Monday to recognize to a half-dozen DNR employees as part of their work on the Healthy Lakes Initiative. The grant, capped at $1000 per residence, is administered by the state through lake district’s and associations. Association President Bill Boettge says his group has worked with lake front property owners over the past two years to take advantage of the opportunities offered through the initiative; five properties were chosen in just the last year. The projects eligible for grant funding include: the deployment of fish sticks, the installation of native planting packages, the diversion of runoff water, the placement of rock infiltration pits or trenches, and the installation of upland rain gardens. Because of the success of the program in Beaver Dam, officials at the DNR found the lake front property of a private grant recipient to be the perfect setting for a photo-op. Yesterday, the deputy secretary presented the Directors Service in Excellence Award to the Healthy Lakes division for displaying effective communications, leadership and innovation. Boettge says it speaks well of Beaver Dam Lake and the program which serves lakes across the state. More information is available at, a link is on the homepage today at

Trump Returning To Wisconsin

10/4/16 – Donald Trump will make his second visit to Wisconsin since his debate last Monday night with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The Republican Trump plans to be in the Badger State Saturday, but the campaign would not release a city, time, or location. This will be Trump’s seventh visit to the state since he announced his White House bid. Clinton has not been to Wisconsin since she won the April primary, but the man she defeated then, Bernie Sanders, will campaign for her in Green Bay and Madison on Wednesday. Clinton has also had several others visit the state on her behalf, including her daughter Chelsea last Friday.

Group Cancelling TV Ads In Senator Race

10/4/16 – The group working to elect Republicans in the U-S Senate is canceling its remaining television ad reservations for Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. National Republican Senatorial Committee officials say the group is sticking with a six-figure coordinated ad buy starting next week for Johnson in Wisconsin. They say dropping its remaining reservations will free up 800-thousand dollars to spend on other races. Johnson is facing Democrat Russ Feingold in a hotly contested race. N-R-S-C officials say they are confident Johnson “will have the necessary resources to highlight differences between him and Feingold.