This week’s common council meeting was pretty much uncontentious but it did have some key items that deserve a little deeper dive.

Resolution Approving the WisDOT Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant application to create a section of the Business Campus Trail system between 72nd Avenue and Innovation Way.

This resolution starts the process for the city to apply for a grant to help fund the construction of off and on road transportation links in and around the Wausau westside business campus. Currently there are very few bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the business campus. There is also quite a bit of truck traffic in the area too. Quite a few employees in the campus do walk and bike in the area and the establishment of good bike routes would help in creating alternative transportation routes for those working in the area. This grant would allow the city to develop the infrastructure to help connect residential development‚ Stettin Elementary‚ and the westside business campus.

Resolution Approving sale of 1328 Torney Avenue

1328 is a vacant lot owned by the city. Habitat for Humanity approached the city to purchase the lot for the construction of a Habitat Home. This block‚ located in District 2‚ has been hard since since the financial collapse in 2008 so new affordable housing in the neighborhood will be a boon to the area and it will help another family to get on the path towards home ownership.

Resolution Approving alleged claim on excessive assessment – Walgreen, Co., 504 S 17th Avenue and related budget modification.

This resolution seems a little confusing- it actually relates back to a settlement agreement made between the city and Walgreens. Back in 2018 Walgreens sued the city for excessive property tax assessment. This suit is related to the Dark Store Loophole where business try to get their properties assessed at a value of what they would be if they were empty and not at the presumed value that they are currently bringing to the community.

In the settlement agreement reached with Walgreens over this suit‚ the City stated that it would not assess the property at more than $2.9 million in 2019. When the 2019 taxes came out‚ the property was assess at $3.75 Million. If the city would have assessed the property at the $2.9 million as part of the agreement‚ that could have been considered a fraudulent assessment. So Walgreens paid the taxes based on the $3.75 million and then asked for a refund. This is the proper and legal course of action based on our settlement agreement so the city has no choice but to refund the stipulated amount.

There is no such stipulation for the 2020 property assessment so we’ll see what the assessment comes to next year and if Walgreens decides to file suit.

Resolution Supporting our Hmong/Lao Community and Opposing Federal Deportation of Hmong/Lao residents to Laos.

Recently in the news it was announced that federal government would deport up to 4‚000 Hmong and Lao individuals with permanent resident status that have a previous felony conviction. Of these 4‚000 it is estimated that over 350 live in Wisconsin and at least five are residents of Marathon County.

These individuals came to our country on the promise of a better life and eventual citizenship for help in fighting a secret war during the Vietnam war era. But for whatever reason they got into legal trouble that could jeopardize their status. These individuals served their time for their legal troubles and still deserve to be protected for their support in the war. Returning them to Laos does nothing for us and is an inhumane action to them. Gaining citizenship is a tough process and we as a country need to do more to live up to our promise to giving these fighters a better life.