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A ruling this week by Wisconsin lawmakers was good news for Jeff Rich of Gunderson Lutheran. Rich, the efficiency improvement director, is overseeing an $11.5 million wind farm project near Cashton. He says new statewide standards for locating windenergy farms was thrown out by legislators this week which now clears the way for a more restrictive proposal.
The state Public Service Commission would have required new wind turbines to be located at least 12-hundred-50 feet from neighboring houses. In January, Governor Scott Walker proposed much longer setbacks for new wind turbines of 18-hundred-50-feet.
Rich says the wind farm project is on schedule and construction should start this spring on roads that will lead to the site. He says early fall is the target time for for wind turbines to be installed and they could be going in cirlces by November. Rich says the site is an investment in the community and will help the price of electricty for the Cashton area.
The third spring flood outlook from the National Weather Service is full of water....and so could your property soon enough.
Mike Welvert says the potential for record flooding this year along the Mississippi is almost a definite. He says the extent of the flooding will depend on how quickly show melts in the LaCrosse area and in areas further north along the Mississippi River. Temperatures and how frozen and wet the grounds are also factors when determining flooding situations.
It's expected that flooding will begin late this month, or early April and could last into May. Record amounts are expected from the Twin Cities all the way to St. Louis.
All aspects of government are getting asked to make sacrifice in
. Nearly all. Nothing in governor Scott Walker's budget plans for
the next two years involve saving money by turning the state's legislature
back into one that's just part-time as it once was. That was before,
says Mike McCabe from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Before lawmakers became
full-timers intent on re-election, power, and partisanship. In those days, citizen legislators tended to be more efficient and significantly less beholden to special interests. And, by the way, they cost a bit less, too, says McCabe.
Wisconsin's legislature is one of only 10 states that have a full-time
legislature. Others include California, New York, , Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Ohio.
Whether the city of La Crosse will have higher property taxes as a result
of shrinking state aid is yet to be seen. But at least two city
departments are seeking to add revenue to the treasury through fees. Like
the higher fireworks fee being sought by fire chief Gregg Cleveland from groups like the Skyrockers who perform the city's Fourth of July show every year. The new fee would go from $30 every year to $125 twice per year, an eight-fold increase. The planning department is also aiming for a
thirty dollar per sign billboard inspection fee. The city council is set
to decide on both this month.
In La Crosse, two years of relative property tax relief have been welcomed
by taxpayers. Mayor Matt Harter agrees that it's going to be tough to
make it three years in a row for a zero property tax levy rate increase this
year. Hard to achieve in the face of looming revenue cuts from the state.
Hard, but not impossible, he says. Harter believes efficiencies in how city hall operates along with advances in technology can help the city get to another flat levy rate increase.
This week, governor Walker outlined a two year budget plan that cuts more
than a billion dollars in local government aid. But the governor's plan
also restricts property tax increases. All of which would have to be approved by the legislature.