I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
Let’s take a look back at the last year of things happening in Cudahy. Remember all of this is a team effort and this isn’t a complete list, just some of the things happening in Cudahy.
After years of anemic development under the past 2 mayors and administrations who didn’t take development as serious as needed and didn’t make it a top priority Mayor John Hohenfeldt, the CDA, Plan Commission, and Common Council are on the same page and aggressively making development the priority it needs. Now some people make all of these comments that they don’t see shovels in the ground (I’m betting they didn’t like the 2013 election results), well to them I say when you had nothing really in the pipeline you wouldn’t early on. But hey we did get some things done in the first year with more to come in the next two.
This $3.1 million in new value development took final fruition in April/May of the Covenant Health Care (Fine Lando Clinic) on Ramsey Avenue which broke ground in August on new clinic and be 100 % completed in the first part of 2014.
In May/June C R Industries located on 5757 South Pennsylvania added a 14m square foot addition on existing building on the back of the lot and was completed in fall of 2013.
In May/June Sunset Investors located on 5133 S. Pennsylvania was approved of development and could start the process of obtaining DNR permits and started land clearing. The development of an 8-unit self-storage and 1 retail building on site construction will begin in spring/summer of 2014.
June saw the approval of the expansion of Lippmann Manufacturing Van Norman Avenue, 42,400 square foot addition, $2.5 million in value, breaking ground in spring 2014.
During the summer months the CDA and City worked with Cobalt Partners on the development on Pennsylvania and Layton Avenues for a large development on this site. This work continues with a hard sunset clause that if the development isn’t started by mid-September the land comes back to the CDA.
In September we had the real estate listing agent Dana Meadowcroft from Brixmor at City Hall in front of the Council and Public in attendance to provide an update to the Common Council for their plans on the facility, answer questions (to be grilled) and what marketing efforts they are taking to fill “their facility”. Sadly not much besides asking the City for monetary handouts was made clear. That is one of the difficult things facing development with private companies. If you think about it, not many if any at all, Common Councils in our area have requested a private company/firm to come before the body to be grilled.
In November, closed on the Carmody project of Squire Village Apartments 3500 block of Squire, three 6-unit buildings, $1.8 million in value, ground breaking spring of 2014
In December, the City acquired two properties at Negotiations with two property owners at 4854 and 4858 South Packard (two taverns) regarding potential acquisition of properties, because City owns land at Carpenter and Packard. Site will get a development RFP in 2014. It is most important to note that these businesses came to the City to buy them as they wanted out. If you remember years back these are problem sites that in 2008 the Mayor at the time looked at using Eminent Domain to take these properties and I spoke up very loudly that is the wrong way and can create a bad and negative business atmosphere for the City of Cudahy. It all worked out the way it should.
In April the CDA and Common Council of the City of Cudahy approved a development agreement for a Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF) at 3460 East Barnard Avenue at their April 2, 2014 meetings. The agreement was approved subject to satisfaction to all contingencies including financial review by our communities Financial Advisors. The development will provide for a 48 bed CBRF 28,560 square with an estimated value of $3.8 million dollars. With all of the appropriate State of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approvals, construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in June of 2014.
After pushing for the City of Cudahy website to be redone I asked why we cannot have it a School Project so the taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill. The Mayor and City Attorney made some good points about why we cannot go down that road by legal reasons besides the up keep reasons. It was decided that we cannot keep going on the way the website is and an IT Committee was put together to look at our needs, wants and find a company that could match what we were looking for and that selection was Revize in November.
We are moving forward with paperless as much as possible to the council members and reducing the packet deliveries.
One of the items we talked about needed for the website and at City Hall was payment by credit card. So, The City of Cudahy is now accepting credit card payments for miscellaneous fees, taxes, and utility bills. Bills can be paid with your credit card either in person at the counter or on the City of Cudahy website.
City infrastructure – One of the first things we did on the Board of Public works was address the 5 year plan for our needs including street repair. Well on April 2nd 2014 the City of Cudahy issued bonds to do repair on roads, sewage and storm water.
In May, bond refinance before the Common Council which saved $400,000 in costs, and resized debt from 6.3 million to 5.9 million.
In August, The Mayor and Common Council showed we are going to be tough on chronic nuisance properties. A special thanks goes out to the Cudahy Police Department and its personnel who have to deal with these properties. All I can tell you is we are going to not let these situations go by any longer.
Our City Attorney Paul Eberhardy drafted an updated nuisance abatement ordinance designed to help crack down on Absentee landlords. The Mayor and City are not only taking development seriously we are taking problem properties a priority.
In November the Cudahy Common Council Approves 2014 Tax Levy @ 1.063%
I was the only one to vote NO as I was looking for a 0% to .5% and NO 2% across the board raises for the non-represented City employees. I feel that in the economy we have merit raises if a raise is given is more inline.
In November under Mayor John Hohenfeldt’s leadership the City of Cudahy Neighborhood Loan Program Manual was approved by the Common Council to help convert duplexes to single family and those people wanting to add attic improvements like a second level.
In December, approved contact for solid waste disposal to outside contractor (privatizing), saving community $229,900 annually was approved by the BPW and Common Council. No jobs were lost and this allowed to streamline the DPW. We later approved my idea of moving this and future contracts to April so it isn’t competing with Budget time and issues of dates and times in December when many people take vacation, use up off days or just run into businesses that close the offices during the holiday time.
In January the Common Council was informed that changes the Federal governmental body called the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) made to the amount of pretax money for health insurance plans (FSA) Flexible Spending Deductible Reimbursement. What the Federal IRS did was, they said the maximum that can be reimbursed is $500 regardless of plan type (Family or Single). I was the lone one who voted NO and wanted to just keep the City of Cudahy following the Federal IRS rules it would save the taxpayers of Cudahy $50,000, just by following the IRS rules.
The dump fees have been an issue and as I clearly stated during the 2013 election time I was open to making changes as long as we can find where the replacement revenue was going to be found. We still have not found an alternate source and as I stated during the 2013 election time much of that hinges on getting development and the taxes it brings up. This issues is not over as the City is always looking at ways to improve things.
Other State and Governmental agencies.
During the summer, fall and winter of 2013 I kept in constant contact with the State DOT on the lighting situation on the 794 Parkway and I-794. For some of you that drove it, you will remember for months before April of 2013 the lights were off. As I dug into it I developed a great working relationship with the DOT person in charge of the lights and when there was a situation like this again, the DOT worked awesomely to get it taken care of, most recently on the large light downtown on I-794 in the construction zone. I did just make them aware that all of them after the Howard Bridge are out. It will be taken care of.
It was also nice to help straighten out a bunch of misinformation to the speed change of the 794 Parkway from 40 MPH to 50 MPH. That was something since 1999 I have personally been working on. Sometimes all that is needed it to find the person who knows the answers and just ask them.