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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Janesville Notes: Council Member Suggests Using TIF For Blight

I watched a short portion of Janesville's city council meeting held Monday night and for the first time in my recent memory, a council member suggested using TIF surplus money for ...wait for this ... for a blighted but promising downtown area property.

Why am I making a small deal over it? Well, THAT doesn't happen in Janesville. In Janesville, TIF Districts and their portable surplus funds are reserved strictly for sprawl building insiders, wealthy green field land owners and deep-pocketed large scale building developers. An old building that has seen hardship and left to decay does not fit Janesville's status quo TIF pattern. The suggestion was so rare, that the council member had to ask the city attorney if it was legal to use TIF funds in this manner.

Although the property is city owned, the condition, location and potential of the building is precisely the kind of property tax incremental financing was created for in the first place. So my hat is off to Council Member Matt Kealy on this one.

The building in question might still get hit by the city's wrecking ball, but to see someone in Janesville thinking in these terms was startling. I never thought I'd see the day. The possibility that TIF surplus might be used to remove blight by funding the restoration and re-invention of a poor old forgotten building. Who woulda' thunk it?

Janesville City Administration More Hostile?

On another note, Janesville's non-elected city staff seems to have taken a more combative and superiority tone towards those outside of their administrative sphere. I'm not certain of this, but it could be related to the managing style of Janesville's new city manager, Mark Freitag, a retired army colonel. There seems to be a greater "us against them" mentality.

This also could be a new authoritarian mentality trickled down from the state's single-party ruled "divide and conquer" legislature in Madison. So I'm not sure exactly where it gets its motivation from, but I lean more toward an in-house cause.

It's an observation I draw from the poor way several recent issues were handled during closed meetings, short public notices and the overall ramming pace of planning and decision-making. Much of it seems more predetermined than ever. Again, maybe it's just me and these early observations are only a few errant pixels of a larger better picture.

Only time will tell.

Nasty Choking Odor Near Palmer Drive and Beloit Ave

Just received an email from a Janesville reader telling me she had the “most horrible putrid-acidic choking experience” of her life, (quotes exact words) walking her two dogs near the Palmer Dr/Beloit Ave intersection over the past weekend.

She wrote that although a strong odor of horse or cow manure is found occasionally during spring and summer planting time in the area (uncertain if it comes from Rotary Gardens), this time it was “very very different.” She wrote that her dogs fought her to pull out from their leashed collars (never happened before) and when she went a few more feet into the walk approaching Dawson Park, she started choking and had to run out of the area. THAT doesn’t sound too good.

Coincidentally, two Wisconsin blogs posted stories at the same time on overhead manure spraying. Could this be the cause??

The Political Environment - Wisconsin DNR OK with manure - human or cattle - in the wrong places

Blogging Blue - Scott Walker’s Wisconsin: now with more liquid manure spraying!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I jog through that area and had the same experience. It was noxious, like hitting a wall. I had to turn back.

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