This week’s common council meeting was a mixed bag of items. That can traditionally be the case as the city will have several initiatives moving forward at any given point in time.  In my bi-weekly update I’m pulling out a few notable items that will increase the city’s efficiency or positively enhance the quality of life for its residents.

You can view the entire packet from the meeting here:

https://www.ci.wausau.wi.us/Portals/0/Departments/Council/Archives/Council/Council/2020/COUN_20200310_Packet.pdf

Resolution Approving the naming of the dog park to 2 Hearts Dog Park

The city’s dog park will have a name! The dog park‚ slated to be built on 4th street between Forest and River drive is slated to be open some time this summer. Proponents of the park have been working hard to raise the money needed to construct the park and it’s great to see that a vast majority of the funding has come from private donations. Brian Stolzman approached the Dog Park special Committee with a request to name the park “Two Hearts Dog Park” in memory of his wife Deb Stolzman who passed away last year after a courageous battle with brain cancer. Deb was the first president of the New Life Pet Adoption Center near Marathon City. She had a love for animals and a love for the community. She worked for Midwest Communications and was involved in many community organizations.

In exchange for this request‚ Brian made a commitment to raise $17‚500 for the naming rights. The 2 Hearts for Deb Foundation is committed to raising the set amount and this is a great way to continue Deb’s legacy in the community.

I only knew Deb Stolzman as a business acquaintance‚ but am glad that the community is stepping forward to honor her legacy in this way. 

Resolution Terminating Tax Increment District Number Five

I think it’s great news when we get to close a Tax Increment District (TID). TID 5 which is located in the west side business campus operated profitably for the majority of its life and is closing with a positive value. As the district is closing‚ the property taxes generated will now shift from building the value of the district to now supporting the city’s general revenue along with the Wausau School District‚ NTC‚ and Marathon County. 

Resolution Approving participation in the Wisconsin DNR Green Tier Legacy Community Program

Upon recommendation of the Sustainability‚ Environment‚ and Energy Committee the city passed a resolution to join the Wisconsin DNR Green Tier Legacy program. The Green Tier-Legacy Communities is a network focused on advancing sustainable practices.

The mission of the Charter is to assist municipalities to move faster and to go further with their sustainability goals. Members work together to share information and work towards sustainable practices. The network allows for collaboration amongst communities where best management practices and new techniques are shared. The network also allows for some friendly competition where communities challenge themselves to become even greater environmental stewards. 

Staff Memo: Brad Sippl‚ Assistant Planner

Being a part of the program is only the start of the process. The city will now complete an environmental assessment score sheet‚ engage the community in environmental and sustainability practices and complete an annual report to mark progress and find areas of improvement. Plus being part of the program opens the city up to resources from the DNR to help make all this happen. It’s a good thing‚ we’re joining a select group of municipalities in the state, and will help us fulfill the goals in the city’s strategic comprehensive plan.

Resolution Authorizing the Issuance and Sale of $5,120,000 Water System and Sewer System Revenue Bond Anticipation Notes, Series 2020A

Last month I wrote about the City needing to purchase a revenue bond to cover the short term financing the of the water treatment plant and wastewater treatment plant projects. The original short term bond comes due in April and this new bond continues the bridge financing until the entire project can be rolled into a long term loan from the state’s clean water fund. I need to stress that this isn’t new debt but a continuation of short term debt until the final loan closes. The purpose of the bond is to pay for the engineering costs related to the upgrades.

Bond sale day was the 10th of March and the good news is that due to the recent volatility of the market‚ we secured another two year bond at a rate of 1.16% APY. That was lower than what was expected and this rate will help save the city $15‚000 in financing costs. 

On a side note‚ this market volatility could also help save us money on the long term financing too. Currently the interest rate on the clean water fund loans is at about 1.67% and if the market continues its uncertain trend‚ could also be pushed lower. On a financial standpoint there really isn’t a better time to secure funding for these critical infrastructure projects.

Resolution Approving Municode’s Full Service Supplementation services to host and codify the City of Wausau’s code

Publishing the codes and ordinances is a critical function of the city. You can’t obey the law if you don’t know what the law is. Right now the ordinances live in a document that is converted to an Adobe Acrobat file and published to the website. This is a time consuming process and the result is not user friendly for anyone wishing to search for a particular ordinance.

The city is engaging the services of Municode to do two things. First they will convert and publish all our ordinances in a fashion that is easy to read and search. They will also manage and edit the ordinance files so that updates are quick and painless. Second they will do a legal review of our current ordinances and recommend changes and updates based on best practices of other communities. The cost of this will be $7‚500 for the legal review and about $1‚200 for the conversion. Ongoing costs will be approximately $1‚200 a year for hosting and updates to the files. I feel this is really an inexpensive solution that will offer a greater amount of user friendliness to those wishing to access our municipal code.