Thursday, June 09, 2011

Monona City Council Report

The much awaited report of the June 7, 2011 Monona city council is finally here.

The Monona city council preview was here. Several items of interest are on the agenda.

*b. Consideration of Resolution 11-06-1782 Authorization to Proceed with Planning for Tax Increment District Amendment (CDA). This resolution would begin the process of amending TID #2. City Redevelopment Districts can be viewed here (related but not the same as TIDs). Somewhat dated TID map.TID #2 is at the southern end of the city along Broadway. Approved.

By the way, the State Senate have passed a bill to enact much stricter 'blight' standards for redevelopment. In this case they have taken the nub of a good idea and distorted beyond recognition. One analysis concludes the bill effectively turn out the lights on most redevelopment authorities (“RDAs”) and community development authorities (“CDAs”):

Since a blight finding is necessary for most RDA and CDA activities, the new restrictive blight standard would shut down substantially all activities of RDAs and CDAs, including, for example, lease revenue bond financings for tax increment projects, revolving loan and grant programs, the negotiated purchase of private property on a voluntary basis, providing assistance to private redevelopment of property, and making available conduit double tax-exempt financing to private development projects.

The Renew Monona Housing Loan program would be at risk under this bill.

* c. Consideration of Resolution 11-06-1783 Approval of Proposal from  
BT Squared for Design, Surveying, and Construction Engineering Services for 2011 Dredging Project (Public Works Committee). This item is a $54,000 engineering services contract. It concerns me that proposals were not sought from any other engineering firm. I copy the entire resolution below. BT Squared has done the engineering for the Belle Isle street project that is currently underway. Approved.

I ended up voting for the contract after one amendment). I still had strong reservations about the process, but was convinced that BT Squared will provide added value as a result of having been the engineer for the Belle Isle street project. They have developed a rapport and trust with the neighbors and they have developed more data beyond the street project that will be useful for the dredging project.

However, when Alder Wiswell not only supported the contract but also tried to sell the notion that the contract had received a full review through the proper procedures that was too much. City policy calls for getting multiple proposals on engineering services in excess of $15,000 and that was not done here.

Last, this alder just about suffered apoplexy on the council floor when Mayor Miller seemed to indicate a desire to reconsider part of the South Winnequah Road Safety Recommendations (City Administrator). It sounded to me like he was wavering on the necessity of the permanent speed display signs and that perhaps the Public Works Committee should take another look at it. Double apoplexy! The Council approved the plan so only the council can change the plan. We have beaten our heads against that wall too many times. Stop the madness!


  1. Well, Doug, you certainly returned S. Winnequah Road to its status as a speedway by taking the stop sign down at Frostwoods.

  2. Hey, you got my name right, so I won't complain too much.

    First, yes, I wanted to eliminate the Frost Woods stop sign, but it took a majority of the council to pass it. I don't recall the vote total.

    Second, speed on that part of Winnequah Road never went *down* whe the stop sign was in place, so it hasn't gone *back* up. In fact, speeds *increased* when these stop signs were in palce, just like hundreds of studies said would happen. Stop signs do not work to control speed.

    Third, to my knowledge there isn't any data showing speeds have increased from any previous level.

  3. So Doug, when will the agreed-upon changes (the changing of the ends of the bump-outs, cross walks, signage and the speed indicators) be installed? I would have thought that based on a project management perspective that the stop sign would have been removed when the other changes were completed, as what we believed when the projects were approved....

  4. The top sign at frost woods was not doing anything. I live in a different part of Monona and have enjoyed (once again) seeing officers on different streets then South Winnequah.