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Volume 6, Issue 7, July 5, 2023
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.
Published the first business day of each week
Business Advocate Past Issues
Public Meetings Calendar
Chamber Events Calendar
The Chamber's Advocacy Principles
The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


This is an abbreviated holiday week issue of the Business Advocate.
Full coverage will resume with the July 10 issue. Information is current as of June 28.

Eggs & Issues: Economic Development Update

With cranes in the skyline, significant construction projects underway, and new records for tourism impact, what's the continuing future for commercial, industrial and housing development in the Chippewa Valley? At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll hear from local leaders of economic development activities about their current projects, challenges and opportunities. 
 • Friday, July 28, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Also for your summer calendar:
 • Monday, Aug 7, Golf Day in Eau Claire 
 • Monday, Aug 14, Business After Hours, Residence Inn by Marriott
 • Friday, Aug 18, Eggs & Issues, CVTC Business Education Center

Chamber July Business Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30a-4:30p (Closed Fridays in July)
Lobby Hours: Mon-Thu 9a-3p (Closed Fridays in July)

In this issue:
 • EC City Council endorses Shopko area TIF
 • Town of Washington sues again over EC annexation
 • Online survey: Zoning code rewrite
 • County Board holds closed session on DHS report
 • C&M housing development wins state award
 • Wage Survey deadline extended

 • CVTC approves budget with no tax increase
 • New Marquette Poll released
 • National and economic stories
 • July 7 deadline to apply for US Chamber small business award
 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


EC City Council: Endorses TIF for Shopko site
   At its Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council voted unanimously for a proposed Tax Incremental District (TID) 16 that would encompass several parcels in the former Shopko Plaza area between Stein Blvd., W. Clairemont Ave., Craig Rd., and W. Macarthur Ave. It also extends to the west to include the Artisan Forge area. The plan envisions public improvements including street pavement replacements within the district and a pedestrian underpass at Clairemont and Stein. (See pages 104-141 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). To take effect, the TID must also be approved by the Joint Review Board including other local property tax jurisdictions.
   The Council also approved a tax settlement refund for Target (see pages 217-227) and state funding agreements for replacement of the Dewey Street Bridge (pages 50-60) and installation of energy-efficient LED lighting (pages 61-71).
Following Monday's meeting, the Council held a work session to discuss several of the City's ARPA funded projects, including those related to neighborhood services, trash service, employee-related initiatives, and asset management (see page 18 of the Monday Agenda Packet).
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, June 26, Public Hearing, Agenda Packet (18 pages)
 • Tuesday, June 27, Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (276 pages)
Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)
City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)
Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)
2024-2028 Proposed Capital Improvement Plan (City of Eau Claire, 202 pages)
City plans new TIF district around former Shopko site (Leader-Telegram $)
City leaders take aim at Target, other retailers contesting tax values (Leader-Telegram $)

Town of Washington sues to stop Orchard Hills annexation

   The Town of Washington has filed a new lawsuit seeking to stop the City of Eau Claire's annexation of 438 acres at the southwest edge of the City for the proposed Orchard Hills development. The Town had prevailed in 2022 in an earlier lawsuit on the original annexation. The City then undertook a new annexation procedure in March under an alternative process that required approval from only a majority of landowners involved. The City Council's March 28 annexation vote was 9-1, arguing that the CDPG Developers' proposed housing development would be best created utilizing city services including water and sewer. The lawsuit asserts that the property is too far removed from the City's border and infrastructure.
   The Chamber supported the annexation because of its potential to help address the housing shortage, and as the most responsible way to add housing as the city expands, providing more compact development with city services and less rural sprawl.
More information:
Town of Washington sues Eau Claire again over Orchard Hills annexation (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire, town of Washington officials respond to new lawsuit against annexation (WQOW News 18)
Town of Washington files 2nd lawsuit against the City of Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)

Online survey: Eau Claire Zoning Code Update
   The City of Eau Claire is looking for public input on its new zoning code update process with an online survey now available.
  The City has begun a process to update the zoning code with a project the City has dubbed, "Century Code Update," a moniker chosen because it's been 100 years since the City adopted its first zoning ordinance. During that time, the code has grown from six pages to over 300. Among the goals of the project are to revise the code to ensure clarity and that regulations provide flexibility and opportunities for the kind of growth and development the community needs.
   "The Century Code Update process provides an opportunity for residents and businesses to communicate the issues they’ve experienced utilizing the current Code and share their thoughts on how it can be improved," says the project's website. "The Update process is designed to promote community involvement and encourage citizen participation."
More information:
Century Code Update project website (City of Eau Claire)

 Click this link to take the survey: 
 Public survey - Zoning Code Rewrite (City of Eau Claire)

County Board holds closed session on DHS report
   The Eau Claire County Board met in closed session last Monday to discuss the results of its internal investigation into the Department of Human Services and related issues.
More information:
Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors
 • Monday, June 26, Agenda Packet
County Board district maps and Supervisors
County Board stays late to hear more about DHS investigation (Leader-Telegram $)

'A culture issue in the county': Eau Claire County Board continues talks on DHS investigation, postpones session (WQOW News 18)
'Move on and move forward:' Internal report on DHS investigation published (WQOW News 18)

Kempen steps down as SBDC Director, Juedes
named interim director
   Luke Kempen is stepping away from his role as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director at UW-Eau Claire, effective July 1. Kempen has been with the SBDC network for ten years, having met with over 1,300 clients, logging over 11,000 consulting hours, helping clients with over $74,000,000 in capital infusion and 140 business starts. He will continue in a new position at UW-Eau Claire conducting outreach with clients, working directly with the WEDC Workforce Innovation Grant, supporting the SBDC Network Capital Access Clinic as well as continuing to support the Eau Claire SBDC team.
   The SBDC has announced that Harlie Juedes has accepted the position of Interim Director. She has been instrumental over the past few years helping to develop the internship program, working closely with Kempen to expand resources, and is very excited to lead the center through this transition. While being the Interim Director will be a new title, parts of the role are familiar as Juedes has been involved in many aspects of the Director position.
More information:
Changes at the Eau Claire Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

C&M Builders & Real Estate wins state builders award for
"Best Single-Family Community"
Partnership with Eau Claire Energy for EV-ready neighborhood
   The Wisconsin Builders Association (WBA) has named C&M Builders & Real Estate's Trilogy Community its Badger Craftsman Award winner in the "Best Single-Family Community" category.

   In a partnership between C&M Home Builders and Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, the first electric-vehicle-ready neighborhood development has been developed in Eau Claire. A total of 44 homes in the Trilogy Community are being built to accommodate EV (electric vehicle) chargers in every single home. These homes will each feature a level two electric vehicle charger provided by Eau Claire Energy Cooperative and installed by C&M at no charge to the homeowners.
   A news release about the award notes, "The spacious one acre lots are located near walking trails and easy access to city and highways. Trilogy also features a community wastewater treatment system, which eliminates the need for wastewater drain fields on the individual lots. Buyers enjoy country living with the benefits of a sewer pipe hook up without city taxes or restrictive ordinances. No more worries about individual system failures, unsightly pipes and tanks, inspections, repairs and pump-outs. The system achieves highly treated wastewater quality and will be managed by professionals to assure its ongoing success!"
   Overall, WBA named nine winners of the Badger Craftsman Awards in categories which include new single-family homes, developments, and remodeling projects. In its third year, the Badger Craftsman Award program is facilitated by the group. Members of the association across Wisconsin are invited to submit their projects in a wide range of categories which are then voted on by members and the public. Over 4,000 votes have been cast since the project relaunched in 2021.
   “Our members are true professionals and experts at their craft,” said WBA Director of Communications, Alicia Naleid. “We are excited to have this opportunity to show off the details and features of home building projects all across the state, and for the public to weigh in on their favorites.”
More information:
Click here for more details and other award winners (Wisconsin Builders Association)

More local stories:

UW-Eau Claire receives global recognition for entrepreneurship, engagement

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony held at Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds
(WEAU 13 news)

Construction underway on 95-year-old dam in Chippewa Falls
(WQOW News 18)

Wage Survey deadline extended to July 31
   The Eau Claire Chamber is extending the deadline for the Western & Central Wisconsin Wage Survey to July 31. 
   The survey covers employers from nine Chambers of Commerce, including Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Marshfield, Menomonie, Portage County, Rice Lake, Wausau, and Wisconsin Rapids, in cooperation with the local chapters of Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) in the Chippewa Valley, La Crosse, Wausau, and Winona. 
   The objective for this survey is to be the definitive resource of base compensation information for commonly recognized jobs in our geographic area.
More information:
Click here for full details about the survey and how to participate


CVTC approves new budget with no tax levy increase
   The Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) Board of Directors last Thursday approved its 2023-24 budget, a day after the State Assembly indefinitely postponed the vote on a bill which posed a threat to the technical colleges' ability to levy property taxes for operating and maintenance expenses.
   CVTC’s budget calls for total expenditures of $113,626,637, a reduction of 2.59 percent from the 2022-23 budget due mainly to the completion of referendum projects. General fund revenues are projected to be $60,264,644, up 1.24 percent from 2022-23.
   An estimated six percent increase in property values will result in a decrease in the tax rate of 0.03 percent from $71.20 per $100,000 of property value to $71.18. The proposed tax levy – the amount collected throughout the CVTC district for support of the College – is $25,576,325, up 5.97 percent from the previous year, and is related to an increase in debt service cost.
   CVTC President Sunem Beaton-Garcia expressed her gratitude to the private and public sector leaders who contacted Assembly persons to voice their concerns about the legislative proposal.
   “We owe a debt of gratitude to our business partners throughout our 11-county district. The strong connection we have with our stakeholders allows us to be responsive and best serve the needs of our local constituents,” Beaton-Garcia said. “We are grateful to the Assembly for their reconsideration of the proposed amendment for further consideration and discussion. Local funding contributes to local buy-in, and mixed funding streams provide greater stability. We will continue to educate the public on the importance of our funding and our essential role in our communities.”
   The Eau Claire Chamber was among those who contacted local legislators opposing the funding change.
More information:
CVTC approves budget amidst State Assembly's property tax levy debate (CVTC news release)

CVTC OKs budget after Assembly postpones tech college funding proposal (Leader-Telegram $)
Chamber letter to Chippewa Valley legislators (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

CVTC highlights local impact of proposed assembly bill amendment (News release)
Assembly adjourns without taking up tech college funding bill (Wispolitics.com)

New Marquette Poll released June 28:

New Marquette Poll release (Marquette Law School Poll)
Results & Data (Marquette Law School Poll)
Marquette poll shows a tight Republican primary with DeSantis running strong against Trump in Wisconsin (Journal-Sentinel +)
Gov. Evers approval rating up, Marquette Law School Poll says (Wisconsin Law Journal)
Wisconsinites across party lines believe state government is broken, new poll reveals (Fox 11 News)

More state and regional stories:
This holiday week issue of the Business Advocate includes information through June 28, when final action on the state budget was still pending. Full current coverage will resume in the July 10 issue.

As Wisconsin steps closer to ending pandemic-related support for child care, families, industry brace for impact
(Green Bay Press Gazette +)

Personal property tax has been around since the 1830s. Why Wisconsin legislators cut it in 2023
(Journal-Sentinel +)

GOP lawmakers approve plan to merge UW branch campus in West Bend with tech college

Tommy Thompson: Rethink how Wisconsin delivers higher education
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

Grads in top 5% of their high school class guaranteed a seat at UW-Madison under GOP bill
(Journal-Sentinel $)

Local economic development groups, Wisconsin employers embrace DEI

Wisconsin to receive more than $1 billion in federal funds to expand broadband in underserved areas
(Journal-Sentinel +)

PSC: Chairperson Valcq reacts to $1 billion federal ‘Internet for All’ investment

Wisconsin Republicans face conflicts within as they look forward
(The Cap Times)

Milwaukee mayor, council pursue different approaches in response to new state restrictions
(Journal-Sentinel +)

State of the City Address: Milwaukee Mayor Johnson announces massive development plans
(The Daily Reporter)

Sales tax could help Milwaukee but new state law also comes with steep costs. Here's how.
(Journal-Sentinel +)

WisDOT study seeks alternatives to reconstructing Interstate 794 in downtown Milwaukee
(The Daily Reporter)

Should I-794 be repaired or removed? Here's what we know about new conceptual plans
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin cities could see payout from 3M's 'forever chemical' settlement
(Journal-Sentinel +)

System to ‘annihilate’ PFAS chemicals deployed in Michigan
(Wisconsin Examiner)

A suburban Milwaukee Assembly seat is open. Meet the candidates running to fill it in July.
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Green Bay approves funding for east side affordable housing development
(Green Bay Press-Gazette +)


National and economic stories:

Supreme Court rejects GOP in North Carolina case that could have reshaped elections beyond the state

How the Supreme Court’s election ruling will impact future votes

In Washington, first-term congressman Derrick Van Orden steers clear of GOP's hard right House faction
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Mike Gallagher went on the Pat McAfee Show with a Spotted Cow and talked UFOs, China and Elon Musk
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Donald Trump threatens to boycott Milwaukee presidential debate over Fox News coverage
(Journal-Sentinel $)

Volvo just became the latest EV maker to move to Tesla’s charging standard

Lordstown Motors files for bankruptcy and sues former partner Foxconn

The Inform Act just took effect — here’s how it aims to target organized retail theft

Attorneys general announce support for FTC’s ‘click to cancel’ subscription policy
(The Center Square)

Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators (US Chamber of Commerce)

The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues

Last chance to apply - deadline July 7
US Chamber: Apply for $25K as America's Top Small Business
   If you’re a small business owner hoping to take your business to the next level, "America’s Top Small Business" is the perfect opportunity for you. Here are three reasons to apply for the US Chamber of Commerce small business awards program before the deadline on Friday, July 7:
   1) Get rewarded for your hard work and dedication: We’re recognizing top businesses in seven regions across the U.S. — so no matter what corner of the country you call home, you’ll have a chance to be recognized! One grand prize winner will receive our Small Business of the Year Award and a cash prize of $25K.
   2) Connect with like-minded individuals: Regional finalists will join us in Washington, D.C. this fall for an in-person event and celebration. You’ll have the chance to network with other small business owners and get insights from our team of business experts. 
   3) Elevate your brand: Highlight your business’ accomplishments and share your story with a wider audience! Regional finalists will receive an article on CO—, a free U.S. Chamber of Commerce membership, as well as a digital toolkit to help spread the word about their ATSB status with customers, fans, and social followers.
More information:
Click here for full details and application (US Chamber of Commerce)

COVID-19 Resources: 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)

Mark your calendar:

Eggs & Issues: Economic Development Update
 • Friday, July 28, CVTC Business Education Center

The Chamber's Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, August 7

Chamber & CVTC Business Community Breakfast
 • Tuesday, Sep 12

Bravo to Business

 • Thursday, Sep 21

Workforce Solutions Summit
 • Wednesday, Nov 15

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Public Meetings Calendar
Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.

Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate.
If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President G
overnmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org

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