BD Council Tables Funding Request
5/21/13 - The Beaver Dam Common Council last night told supporters of the proposed Watermark Community and Senior Center that they have too many questions to move forward with borrowing at this time. City Hall chambers were packed with Watermark supporters as the entire council mulled what dollar amount, if any, taxpayers should direct to the project.
The Watermark Friends group has been eager to apply for a state Community Development Block Grant before guidelines change this summer. If awarded, the project would have to be shovel-ready and start by October. Members of the council said they support the idea of the Watermark but said there are too many unknown variables at this time to start the bonding process.
The variables mentioned include: plans by the Watermark Friends group to continue fundraising for another $250-to-400-thousand dollars; a pending, but not finalized, $500,000 agreement with the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association; uncertainty over the grant award if the project is scaled back; and taxpayer liability if pledged funds are not collected.
Alderman Jon Litscher made the motion to table the funding request for six months, though the motion states the request could be brought back to council sooner if fundraising efforts reach 100-percent. The motion to table for six months was passed with 12 votes in favor and two abstentions as a gasp fell over the room.
Administrator Evonne Boettge and Friends group president Ellen Sushak declined comment but others like Karen Gibbs highlighted the positives of the effort. Gibbs says the Watermark would be part of the Community Activities and Services Department which serves not only seniors but also kids who play tee-ball and everyone in between.
Mayor Tom Kennedy says the Watermark is a building meant to last for forty or fifty years and supporters should be patient and allow the process to play out.
Kennedy Given Authority to Work Toward Purchase of Fountain Inn Tavern
5/21/13 - The Beaver Dam Common Council last night unanimously gave the mayor the authority to act on behalf of the city in the state’s efforts to purchase the former Fountain Inn Tavern. It was learned in February that additional grant funding is available for not only the Fountain Inn but for the owners of all 11 downtown Beaver Dam businesses that were displaced following the floods of 2008. In a press release, the Department of Administration said when the city agreed to purchase the properties the owners should have been given the pre-flood market value of the property instead of the assessed value. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says the state, while acting in good faith, may have gotten some bad information during the grant application process. In response, the state has been trying to determine what the market value of the properties would have been in 2008 to ensure the owners received the proper amount. The state will also ensure that those displaced received proper relocation benefits.
Mayor Tom Kennedy says the process does not allow for negotiation and the designation allows him to sign off on the various property acquisitions without running everything through council.
Owners for ten of the eleven properties reached an agreement with the city but Fountain Inn-owner Jay Hoeft was the lone holdout. Hoeft cried foul at the process saying he and the other property owners were owed more money, especially for relocation costs. His pleas during the public comment portion of several city council meetings were typically met with a pounding gavel. An agreement is pending with Hoeft though the dollar amount has not been made public.
Other property owners like Julie R Dancewear and Absolute Realty maybe entitled to relocation costs as well and could see some additional money. Kennedy hopes the matter is laid to rest soon and hopes to see the Fountain Inn demolished this fall at the same time as the corner building next door to Ming’s Chinese Restaurant.
Supervisors Upset with Sales Presentations
5/21/13 - Sales presentations to Dodge County employees while on-the-clock has some county supervisors upset. Boston Mutual Life Insurance recently gave 15-minute presentations to employees during the workday – something Supervisor Paul Marose had a problem with. He feels that using taxpayer time and resources to have a private firm give a sales pitch isn’t appropriate – especially if the meeting is mandatory for employees. But County Administrator Jim Mielke says the presentation was approved by Marose’s fellow board members on the Human Resources Committee. And they felt it was important for all employees to hear the presentation because it could serve as an extra benefit to them. He says a number of departments heard the presentation during in-service or training but that wasn’t possible for everyone.
McLellan Enters No Contest Plea
5/21/13 - A Campbellsport woman will be sentenced in July for injuries stemming from a drunk driving accident. Megan McLellan pled “no contest” yesterday to a felony charge of Injury by Intoxicated Use of a Vehicle. Two people were flighted to a Milwaukee hospital following a two-vehicle accident on State Highway 175 in Theresa last May. Authorities say the 28-year-old was northbound on Highway 175 when her vehicle crossed the centerline and struck a southbound pickup truck operated by a 51-year-old Mayville man. The jaws of life were needed to remove both drivers. According to the criminal complaint, McLellan said she left work at 6am and had two Bloody Mary’s in Rubicon, leaving the bar around 9:30. Her blood alcohol level four hours after the crash was just below the legal limit for driving at .zero-seven-seven (.077). Prosecutors say results from the State Crime Lab show that she was legally drunk at the time of the accident. A pre-sentencing investigation was ordered and McClellan will be back in court in July.
Plea Agreement Reached with One of the “Hairspray Bandits”
5/21/13 - One of the so-called “Hairspray Bandits” entered into a plea deal yesterday in Dodge County court in connection with the multi-county, daytime crime spree. 34-year-old Nicholas Griswold of Clyman pled “guilty” to six felony charges of Burglary and Burglary with a Dangerous Weapon and had substantial battery and bail jumping charges in an unrelated case dismissed but read into the record. 23-year-old Angel Gamboeck of Columbus has a plea hearing scheduled next week. Angel’s sister Jayme will be sentenced on Friday. The break-ins occurred over a six-week period last September in Brownville, Burnett, Clyman and Columbus. Authorities say the M-O is the same in all the burglaries: forced entry through a door during the day. Stolen items included guns, tools, jewelry and electronics but also cosmetics, hygiene products and perfumes, leading investigators to dub the trio “the hairspray bandits.” The stolen goods were either pawned or traded for drugs. The three are also charged in Columbia County for burglaries in Wyocena and Fountain Prairie during the same timeframe. Griswold will be sentenced in July.
Storms Expected in the Next Couple Days
5/21/13 - Thunderstorms are in the forecast for the next two days throughout Wisconsin. The National Weather Service says severe weather is possible this afternoon and evening, especially in northern and southeast areas. A flash flood watch is in effect through this morning in far northwest Wisconsin. The region got almost three inches of rain Sunday and early Monday, and more rain was expected last night. No major damage was reported in last night’s storms. Janesville had winds up to 47-miles-an-hour. Once the storms leave tomorrow, dry and cooler weather is expected at least into the holiday weekend.
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