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Volume 5, Issue 43, March 13, 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



Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast

With the legislative session in full swing and biennial state budget deliberations underway, we've invited members of the State Assembly and Senate who represent the Chippewa Valley to give us an update and answer questions.

 • Friday, Mar 31, 7:00-9:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for more details and to register


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

Wednesday, Apr 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., UWEC Davies Center

   Click here for details and to register


Eggs & Issues: "State of the City - Altoona" 

Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt and City Administrator Mike Golat lead a presentation highlighting the accomplishments of the City during the past year, and its priorities for the rest of this 2023.

 • Friday, Apr 21, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center

    Click here for more details and to register

In this issue: 

 • EC City Council: Half Moon Trail, first readings on annexation, vehicle fee

 • Regional Housing Study open houses 

 • Downtown EC Idea Lounge: Unhoused Info & Idea Exchange

 • Chamber responding to Hutchinson Technology layoffs

 • Joint Finance Committee: Apr 11 Budget Hearing in Eau Claire

 • National and economic stories

 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
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EC City Council: Half Moon Lakefront trail project 

   At its meetings this week, the Eau Claire City Council will have public hearings on Monday evening regarding a planned trail at the west end of Half Moon Lake, the repair and installation of sidewalks and curb & gutter at several locations, use of ARPA funds for bus passes for unhoused individuals, a rezoning to allow a storage facility at 1494 W. Hamilton, and an ordinance related to remote attendance for city boards, commissions and committees.

   The Tuesday Legislative Session Agenda includes action on the Monday public hearing items, plus a development agreement with Costco for its new store location along Black Avenue near North Crossing and the 53 Bypass. 

   After Monday's meeting, the Council will hold a 20 minute study session reviewing the current configuration of City Boards, Commissions, and Committees.

First readings: Orchard Hills annexation, Vehicle Registration Fee

   On Tuesday, there will also be first readings (no action taken) on ordinances to annex land in the Town of Washington utilizing a non-unanimous petition for the proposed Orchard Hills Development, enactment of a Local Vehicle Registration Fee of $30, and an ordinance allowing an increase in the number of dogs and cats in a city household. There will also be a closed session for the annual performance review for the City Manager.

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Mar 13, 7 p.m. Public Hearing Agenda Packet (29 pages)

 • Tuesday, Mar 14, 4 p.m. Legislative Session Agenda Packet (133 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)

Boardwalk project coming back to Eau Claire City Council for final vote (Leader-Telegram $)


Regional Housing Study open houses 

   Eau Claire County, the City of Eau Claire, and the City of Altoona have partnered to undertake a Regional Housing Study. The study will examine housing market conditions across Eau Claire County to identify issues and opportunities that the County and its communities, including Eau Claire and Altoona may seek to address in the future.

More information:

Regional Housing Study Open House

 • Wednesday, Mar 15, 3:00-5:00 p.m., LE Phillips Memorial Public Library

 • Thursday, Mar 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Fish House, Altoona Park, 418 9th St. West

Eau Claire Regional Housing Study website

Local housing market effort holding 2 open houses (Leader-Telegram $)

Regional Housing Study to examine housing market conditions across Eau Claire Co. (WEAU 13 News)

Residential construction is at a 10-year high in E.C. (Volume One)


Downtown EC Idea Lounge: Unhoused Info & Idea Exchange

   Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. (DECI) is hosting an info session for downtown businesses and property owners to meet the service providers and decision makers working on the issue of homelessness in our downtown. Learn more about what is being done to help address the unhoused issues, share your concerns, and get information on resources and assistance available for business and property owners when encountering problems. Free to attend, light refreshments and snacks will be provided, drop in at your convenience. 

More information:

DECI Idea Lounge: Unhoused Info & Idea Exchange

 • Thursday, Mar 16, 5:30-7:00 p.m., CoLab, 131 S Barstow St


EC School Board discusses diversity numbers at Montessori 

Vote on renewing contract scheduled for Mar 27

   At its meeting last Monday, the Eau Claire Board of Education discussed terms for the pending renewal of its contract with the Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School, with concerns expressed about the school having a lack of sufficient diversity in its student make up. The contract renewal, to be voted on at the Board's March 27 meeting, is expected to include a requirement to develop an action plan to address its diversity.

   The 4k through 5th grade Montessori School currently serves 302 students, with a largest ever waiting list of 170. A lottery system is used to determine how enrollment slots are allocated. 11.6% of the students are non-white, an increase over the previous year. The President of the school's governance board said it hopes the School Board will expand the capacity of the school as part of a plan to allow more diverse students to attend. 

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Mar 6, Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

EC school board approves CVMCS contract renewal terms (Leader-Telegram $)


EC County Board votes down debt resolution

   At its meeting last Tuesday, the Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors voted 18-9 against a resolution to authorize the county to issue $5.2 million in debt later this year. Many Supervisors noted the surplus from sales tax receipts and other fund balances, suggesting a lower amount might be possible. The Board's Finance and Budget Committee will continue to consider the issue.

   The Board also approved a new county Code of Conduct for officials and employees, along with creation of a Conduct Inquiry Board. 

More information:

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Tuesday, March 7, Agenda Packet

County Board district maps and Supervisors

County supervisors skeptical debt will be needed given funds already available (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire County sets code of conduct, creates review board (Leader-Telegram $)


Chamber responding to Hutchinson Technology layoffs

Businesses looking to fill jobs invited to advertise open positions

   The Eau Claire Chamber is working with Workforce Resource and several area partners regarding the TDK/Hutchinson Technology layoffs in the area to help affected workers. 

   If you represent a company seeking to fill jobs in production, engineering, office positions or more please fill out this short form. We will include you in our listing for open positions to be filled.

   Additionally there is an upcoming Job Fair at Workforce Resource on March 21, 2023 from 1 - 4 p.m. at 221 W. Madison Street. 

   Hutchinson Technology, a division of TDK, announced last week that it is laying off 237 employees at its Eau Claire plant this spring, due to reduce demand for the products manufactured here.

More information:

Form for businesses to submit interest in former TDK workers (Eau Claire  Area Chamber of Commerce)

Job Center of Wisconsin (Department of Workforce Development)

Hutchinson Technology Inc. in Eau Claire to layoff 237 employees (WEAU 13 News)

HTI laying off 237 in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)


More local stories:


Eric Atkinson named new Menomonie city administrator (Leader-Telegram $)


State and city legislators hold conference on clean energy (WEAU 13 News)



Eau Claire picked for one of four State Budget Hearings

UWEC will host event on Tuesday, Apr 11

   The legislature's Joint Committee on Finance has announced that one of its four public hearings for the forthcoming biennial state budget will be held on Tuesday, April 11, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The other hearings will be April 5 in Waukesha, April 12 in Wisconsin Dells, and April 26 in Minocqua. 

   "As the Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC)," said Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Representative Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), "we invite you to provide comments and input. Your ideas are an essential part of our process. We also encourage you to visit the website we have dedicated to the public hearing process. It is a central portal for input to reach the entire committee and it will be a helpful tool when looking for upcoming budget hearings and other documents pertaining to the budget process.” 

   The public hearings will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. Attendees will be asked to fill out a form upon arrival to be added to the queue to testify.

   The JFC has also created an online portal for constituents to provide input. All entries will be circulated to the full committee: Budget comment portal 

More information:

JFC Co-Chairs Announce Dates, Locations of State Budget Public Hearings (Joint Committee on Finance)

Joint Finance Committee hearing scheduled at UW-Eau Claire on April 11 (UWEC)

UW-EC will host April 11 state budget hearing (Leader-Telegram $)


Weekly radio addresses focus on state budget

   Last week's Republican and Democratic Radio Addresses focused on aspects of deliberations now underway for the biennial state budget. 

   In the Republican radio address, Joint Finance Committee Co-chair Sen. Howard Marklein urged Wisconsinites to voice their opinions on the budget at upcoming hearings.

   "In order for something new to be included in the next state budget, it will have to be a brick that is added to the base foundation," he said. "If you want us to include a certain brick, please tell your legislators. We want to hear from you."

   In the Democratic Address, Gov. Tony Evers covered how his budget will help working Wisconsin families through better child care.

   "We have a plan to bolster our state's workforce, maintain our economy's momentum, and build a Wisconsin that works for everyone," Evers said. "And that plan includes making sure parents can put their kids and families first."

Audio & transcipt: Republican Radio Address 

Audio & transcript: Democratic Radio Address


More budget stories:

EXPLAINER: Disagreements on size of Wisconsin budget surplus (AP)

Milwaukee Sales Tax Expected As Separate Legislation, Outside of Budget (Urban Milwaukee)

Milwaukee Brewers' $290M stadium deal struck out, but a new coalition is working to keep team in Wisconsin (WPR)

Lawmakers urged to allow e-commerce alcohol sales, reduce retail theft (WisBusiness.com)


April 4 Election

Ad war in Supreme Court race heats up

Ballot also includes municipal and school board races, referendums

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates to meet in March 21 debate (AP)

Ad war heats up as spending shatters records in Wisconsin Supreme Court race (WPR)

Daniel Kelly: ‘Rule of law’ at stake in Wisconsin Supreme Court race (The Cap Times)

Dan Kelly stops in Eau Claire to discuss Supreme Court bid (Leader-Telegram $)

Supreme Court candidate Daniel Kelly campaigns in Altoona (WQOW News 18)

The Chamber's Guide to the Spring Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


More state and regional stories: 


Wisconsin unemployment rate again below 3% (BizTimes)


Foxconn partners with We Energies for 2K-panel solar project (WPR)


'UPFRONT' recap: Greg Marcus says movie, hotel industry projections 'very positive' post-pandemic (WISN)


National and economic stories:


U.S. Employers Added a Solid 311,000 Jobs in February (Wall Street Journal $)


The Second-Largest Bank Failure In U.S. History (The Morning Dispatch)


US sues to block JetBlue from buying Spirit Airlines (AP)


Wisconsin clocks spring forward as lawmakers elsewhere debate daylight saving time (WPR)


The Biggest Challenges Small Businesses Are Facing Right Now (US Chamber of Commerce)


Americans Are Moving to the Most Tax-Friendly States in the Country (MoneyGeek)


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


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


COVID-19 Updates 


US House votes to declassify info about origins of COVID-19 (NewsNation)


COVID-19 Resources: 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing (EC City-County Health Department)
Local COVID-19 Testing Sites (EC City-County Health Department)
Interactive COVID Data Tracker (CDC)
COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community (EC City-County Health Dept.)
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub 
Eau Claire weekly COVID Situation Report 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Vaccination Page 
Metrics Dashboard
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force


Mark your calendar:


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, March 29, Madison (NEW DATE)


Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Mar 31, CVTC Business Education Center


Spring Non-Partisan Election

Election 2023: Guide to the Spring Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

 • Tuesday, April 4 


2023 Human Resource Conference

 • Tuesday, April 4 


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

• Wednesday, Apr 19, UWEC Davies Center


Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Altoona

 • Friday, April 21, River Prairie Center


Chamber Royale

 • Thursday, May 18, Eau Claire Golf & Country Club


The Chamber's Annual Golf Outing

 • Monday, August 7, 2023


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 Governmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org