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Port Washington


Town wants input on farmland preservation PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 17:43

Feedback at Monday meeting will help Port board decideif it should change land-use plan to comply with county’s

Town of Port Washington officials are seeking input from residents to decide whether to amend the town’s land use plan to comply with Ozaukee County’s plan — a decision that will determine whether town residents can participate in the state’s
revised farmland preservation program.

The Town Board will hold a special meeting Monday that will include a farmland preservation presentation at about 8 p.m.

“We want to hear from the people this affects the most before we spend the money to amend our plan,” Town Chairman Jim Melichar said.

The town sent 36 letters out to landowners who have been involved in the farmland preservation program, he said, although it’s not known if all of these residents continue to participate in the program.

Unless the town amends its ordinances to match the county’s, landowners won’t be able to participate in the farmland preservation program, Melichar said.

At issue is the town’s conservation subdivision ordinance, Melichar said.

The town’s zoning ordinances include a formula allowing development on a sliding scale, with a minimum lot size of 3-1/2 acres, he said.

“We spent three to five years developing our formula,” Melichar said. “We put a lot of thought and effort into determining what’s best for the landowners in our town.”

No one has used the conservation subdivision ordinance yet, Melichar said, noting it took effect just as the housing market slowed.

The county and state’s new farmland preservation rules allow development on one acre of land for every 20 acres that’s preserved, he said.

The town must make a decision on the land use plan by the end of the year.

“We’ll see what the response is at the meeting Monday and go from there,” Melichar said.

The Town Board is also poised to award contracts for ditch mowing, the replacement of three culverts and surface paving on Willow Road — highway items that in other years would have been handled through the Ozaukee County Highway
Department, Melichar said.

Contractors have until Monday to submit bids for the work.

“From what I’ve heard, there are quite a few private contractors interested in the work,” Melichar said. “I’ve heard that private contractors are bidding at the break-even point just so they have work. We’ll see what happens.”

The town sought a cost estimate from the county for the work, he said.

“It went up quite a bit from last year,” Melichar said. “I thought it was a good time to look at it (private bids).”

By seeking bids, he and the Town Board are fulfilling an election promise to seek competitive bidding on highway work, he noted.

 
Redistricting may pit Port aldermen against each othe PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 08 June 2011 21:18

Proposal to realign wards places incumbents Neumyer, Babcock in same city district


A proposed redistricting plan for the City of Port Washington would place incumbent aldermen Paul Neumyer and Burt Babcock in the same district, forcing them to run against each other in the spring election if they seek another term on the Common Council.
The change was made as the city sought to align its aldermanic wards with Ozaukee County’s proposed supervisory districts, City Administrator Mark Grams said Tuesday during the Common Council’s initial review of the redistricting plan.

In attempting to keep the city wards within the county district boundaries and equalize the populations in each, the new 2nd District encompassed the homes of both Neumyer and Babcock, he said.

“There’s just no way to avoid it,” Grams said.

But that didn’t satisfy Neumyer.

“I object to this strongly,” he said. “Burt’s losing his district. How does this benefit the city?”

Ald. Joe Dean, who is also a county supervisor, said the object is not to retain seats for current officials.

“The intent of the county and the intent here should be that people are represented,” he said. “I don’t see anyone in the city or county who won’t be represented.”

Each of the proposed city aldermanic districts contains about 1,600 residents with one exception, District 4, which has 1,399 residents, Grams said.  However, that district encompasses the areas of highest growth, including the Greystone and Misty Ridge subdivisions, Grams said.

Since the federal census figures were released, 20 to 25 new homes have been built in that district, he noted.

The city is also contemplating changes to its voting locations as the redistricting is completed, Grams said.

Under consideration is a plan where voters in Districts 4, 5 and 6 would vote at Dunwiddie Elementary School, those in Districts 2 and 3 at City Hall and those in Districts 1 and 7 at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

Currently, voters from Districts 2, 3 and 4 vote at City Hall.

The Common Council is expected to revisit the redistricting and approve a new aldermanic district map when it meets Tuesday, June 21.

The map would then go back to Ozaukee county for final approval.

 
City raises rates for ambulance service PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 08 June 2011 19:43

As the City of Port Washington prepares to upgrade its ambulance service to a paramedic unit, aldermen on Tuesday agreed to increase ambulance rates to help cover the cost.

The rate increase is the first for the service in four years, Fire Chief  Mark Mitchell told the Common Council Tuesday.

Mitchell said he hopes to find out next week whether the state has approved the city’s application to become a paramedic service.

The department is poised for that ruling, he said, noting that there are already four paramedics on the roster.

“Unfortunately they can’t use their paramedic skills until we’re certified (by the state),” Mitchell said.

Those four members will be supplemented by part-time paramedics once the state certifies the department as a paramedic service, he said.

The department expects to initially offer part-time paramedic coverage, increasing its service to full-time by the end of 2012.

“We’re very excited and ready to move ahead,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to get some real enhanced service with this.

“But it’s taken a little longer than I expected.”

The department was poised to begin offering paramedic services in January, but the state review process was not complete.

Currently, the Port Washington ambulance service is rated for emergency medical technician-intermediate — one step below paramedics.

If the paramedic program is approved, Port would become only the second department in the county with this level of service. Thiensville is the other.

Paramedics receive a significantly higher level of training that enables them to better assess patients, administer more medications and conduct procedures that EMTs cannot perform.

The Common Council’s action increased the basic ambulance rate from $350 to $525 for city residents and $400 to $600 for non-residents. The mileage charge for residents increased from $8.75 to $12.75, and for non-residents from $9 to $13.

It also increased the charges for two tiers of advanced life support care, basic and advanced on-scene care, administering oxygen and spinal immobilization.

 
Port farmers market opens this Saturday PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 18:19

Requests from vendors, customers prompt organizers to start event a month earlier

Port Washington’s farmers market will begin Saturday — a month earlier than in previous years.

The earlier start was sought by both vendors and customers, said Sara Grover, executive director of Port Washington Main Street, which sponsors the market.

“For several years, we’ve been asked by many people to do it,” she said. “With the winter and spring (indoor) market this year, it seemed like a good time to do it.”

The 31st annual farmers market will again be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the 100 block of East Main Street. Live music will be played every three weeks or so, Grover said, and organizers are looking into the idea of offering cooking
demonstrations occasionally.

“If we can work that into the schedule, we’ll do it,” she said.

The earlier market will feature such diverse offerings as plants, vegetables, meats, cheeses and other products.

There won’t be as many vendors at the market initially as there are in summer, Grover said.

“It won’t be full right off the bat, but there will be a good showing,” she said.

Almost all the vendor spaces for the summertime market have already been spoken for, she added.

The earlier start will give the Port event a better presence in the area and feed off the city’s winter and spring indoor farmers markets, attracting the many people who have become accustomed to buying their produce and other items at the markets,
Grover said.
It will also allow Port’s market to better compete with other markets in the area that start earlier in the season, she said.

“I think it’ll be good for the businesses in town, too,” Grover said, noting many of the people who visit the market also stop at downtown shops.

“To have these few extra weeks for the businesses, especially the new businesses that are starting up, is a good thing.”

The Main Street Program is continuing to look for volunteer organizations, such as civic groups, Boy and Girl Scout troops and sports teams, to run the information tent during the season, Grover said.

Groups that run the tent are able to use the booth for their own fundraising while there, she noted.

For more information on the market or to obtain information about the running the information booth, call the Main Street office at 268-1132.

 
Senior center poised to move June 2 PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 17:42

Relocation of facility to former St. John’s Church will mark end of era in historic Pier Street building

After more than a year of debate and planning, the Port Washington Senior Center is prepared to move to its new quarters in the former St. John’s Church on Thursday, June 2.

“It’s getting hectic coming down to the actual move date,” center director Catherine Kiener said Tuesday. “We have boxes, we have empty boxes, we have them all over. The downstairs you wouldn’t recognize with everything packed.

“There are people who are anxious. There are people who are sad. It’s like leaving a house — you’re a little sad because of the memories, there’s a little trepidation, but it’s exciting too. ”

Architect Mike Ehrlich of Haag Müller, who is overseeing the renovations of the former church on Foster Street, said that installation of the elevator at the new center should be completed Friday. That, he said, is the last of the major items to be done there.

“It’s coming together quickly,” Ehrlich said. “If it weren’t for the elevator, the work would have been done long ago. There was a long wait for the elevator.”

That wait was compounded by the fact that the firm building the elevator initially shipped it without controls, Ehrlich said. The complete elevator finally arrived last Friday.

By Tuesday, there should probably just be a few punch-list items left to complete, Ehrlich said.

“I think the seniors are going to be happy there,” he said. “It’s going to be a great space. It fits right into the building — it looks like it’s part of the architecture.”

The city has hired Lakeside Movers to conduct the move at a cost of $3,045.

The move will likely take one day, Kiener said, adding that center programs,  including the meal site, won’t be held on June 2.

“There’s just no way we can hold our programs that day,” she said. “We hate to cancel the meal program, but it has to be.”

She’s hoping to be able to go through the building with the center’s board and the volunteers who run the various programs on Tuesday so they can begin to familiarize themselves with the structure.

But until then, packing will continue, Kiener said.

As far back as last fall, seasonal and seldom used items were already being packed in preparation for the move, she noted.

But in the past couple weeks, the packing has proceeded in earnest. Groups such as the Lakeside Tea Society and Chicks With Sticks have been purging their supplies of unnecessary items and packing those they will need in their new home.

“We’re hoping for the best, that everything comes together smoothly,” Kiener said of the move. “We’re making progress.”

The move will cap an exciting week for the seniors, she said, noting the Senior Games kick off on Wednesday, June 1.

“It’ll be a little hectic,” Kiener said.

“We’ve already been fielding calls from people who aren’t as involved with the center asking, ‘Are you moved yet?’”

To help get the word out, she’s already prepared signs announcing the move to place in the windows of the current senior center at the corner of Pier and Wisconsin streets on Thursday.

“It’ll take some getting used to,” Kiener said. “We’ve been here a long time. But this will be a new adventure for us.”

After the seniors have settled into their new home, she said, they will plan an open house for the community and especially their new neighbors.

“We want them to realize we’re all neighbors, that we have one community in common,” she said.

 
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