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Volume 5, Issue 23, Oct 24, 2022
 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


Last chance to register

Pints & Politics: What's at stake in the November 8 election

 • Tuesday, Oct 25, 4:00-5:00 p.m., Chamber office, WNB Conference Room
    Click here for details and to register


Chamber Election Resources - Making your voting decisions

 • Early voting Oct 25-Nov 4

 • Tuesday, November 8, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   The upcoming November 8 Election is important to determining the direction of Wisconsin state government and the US Congress. The Chamber does not endorse candidates, but provides resources to help investors learn more about candidates and what they have to say about issues important to business.

   Offices on the ballot include: US Senate, US Congress, Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer; State Senate (odd # districts), State Assembly, Eau Claire County Sheriff, Clerk of Courts, and Tax Levy referendums for the City of Eau Claire and Eau Claire Area School District.

   You can cast your ballot at your polling place on election day, or vote early on weekdays between October 25 and November 5. These valuable links provide important information and resources:

Click here to find your polling place and what's on your ballot (myvote.wi.gov)

Early voting information (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

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


Local legislative races - video interviews and candidate questionnaires

The Chamber invited candidates for State Senate and Assembly districts representing the Chippewa Valley to answer our Good Government Council Questionnaire on business issues, and to participate in a 9 to 12 minute individual video interview. Click the links below to access the questionnaires and interviews:

Senate District 23 (Jesse James, Dan Hardy [write-in])

Senate District 31 (Dave Estenson, Jeff Smith)

Assembly District 67 (Jason Bennett, Rob Summerfield)

Assembly District 68 (Karen Hurd, Nate Otto)

Assembly District 91  (Jodi Emerson, Josh Stanley)

Assembly District 93 (Alison Page, Warren Petryk)


Tax Levy Referendums - City of Eau Claire and ECASD

With both the City of Eau Claire and the Eau Claire School District having tax levy referendums on the ballot, here's an opportunity to learn about both proposals at the same time. At a Chamber-sponsored, recorded forum, City and School District leaders provided information and answered questions about what's on the ballot, tax implications for property owners, and how the additional revenue would be used. 

Video: Click here to view the Chamber Referendum Forum

School District Referendum website (ECASD)

City of Eau Claire Referendum website (City of Eau Claire)


Also mark your calendar and plan to attend:

Eggs & Issues: Post-Election Analysis with the Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

 • Thursday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Allyson Wisniewski named Chippewa Falls Chamber President

 • Costco rezoning goes to City Council

 • County budget deliberations underway

 • EC School Board budget hearing Monday

 • CVTC reduces levy rate

 • Election news: EC Sheriff candidates debate Nov 2

 • State tax burden falls

 National and economic news

 • COVID-19 updates 

 • 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 "+"


Allyson Wisniewski named Chippewa Falls Chamber President

   Allyson Wisniewski has been named the new President of the Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce effective November 28, Chamber Board Chair Amy Forcier-Pabst announced on Monday. Currently at UW-Eau Claire, Wisniewski previously served the Chippewa Falls Chamber as Tourism Director from 2005 to 2015. She replaces long-time President Mike Jordan, who retires on November 23.

   "I am honored to have the opportunity to serve our business community, and our city, in this capacity," said Wisniewski. "Local businesses have continued to rise the the challenges a post-pandemic environment presents for our city, employees, and communities. This is a pivotal moment to build a stronger business climate, promote economic growth, and accelerate the region's economic competitiveness."

   Outgoing President Jordan praised the selection. "Allyson has great familiarity with our organization and has shown a high level of involvement in our community," he said. "Her roles in local government, community non-profits board and organizations will serve her and the Chamber well in the future."

More information: 

News Release: Chamber Announces New President (Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce)


Costco rezoning request goes to City Council

RDA discusses Mt. Washington status

   After a unanimous recommendation from the Plan Commission last week, the Eau Claire City Council will take up a rezoning request and general development plan for the construction of a Costco store on recently-annexed land along Black Avenue near the US 53/North Crossing interchange (see pages 5-59 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below). There will be a public hearing at the Council's Monday meeting, followed by a vote at its Tuesday Legislative Session.

   The Council has begun work on its 2023 Operating Budget and will hold a work session following its Tuesday meeting

   Last week, the City's Redevelopment Authority (RDA), as part of an ongoing discussion of potential future areas of activity, discussed the situation with the unused former Mt. Washington residence facility at 1930 Cleveland Ave. Built in 1937, the facility faces significant cost, condition, and other challenges, which led RDA members to suggest it would be unlikely to be an appropriate project for the authority. At the same meeting, the RDA heard from Grip Development about its revised concepts for craftsman-style 3-bedroom twin homes on land for which it has a purchase agreement in the Cannery District north of Cedar St between 1st and 2nd streets (see pages 4 and 8-26 of the RDA Agenda Packet linked below).

More information:

Redevelopment Authority (RDA)

 • Wednesday, Oct 19, Agenda Packet (26 pages)

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Oct 24, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (66 pages)

 • Tuesday, Oct 25, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (154 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)

Costco seeks Eau Claire City Council's approval (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire City Council begins 2023 budget talks (Leader-Telegram $)

Costco planning to open in Eau Claire (WQOW News 18)

Costco plans store in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Costco proposing to open in Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)

RDA unlikely to adopt blighted Mt. Washington Residence (Leader-Telegram $)

Our View: A tale of two (re)developments (Editorial, Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire School Board budget hearing Monday

   The Eau Claire Area School District Board of Education will have a public hearing and vote on its proposed 2022-23 budget on Monday. The proposed operational budget totals $187.6 million, of which $60.7 million would come from the property tax levy. If adopted as proposed, the tax levy would be $6.33 per $1,000 of equalized property value, down from $7.02 in the 2021-22 budget. The Board is expected to vote on the budget after the hearing.

   The capital projects referendum that will be decided by voters on November 8 would increase the tax levy by 40 cents per $1,000 of equalized value for 20 years.

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

 • Monday, Oct 24, 5:30 p.m. Agenda Packet

   Board of Education website

   Meeting live stream link

EC school board to vote on 2022-23 budget (Leader-Telegram $)


County budget deliberations underway

   At its meeting last week, the Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors discussed specifics of its 2023 proposed budget, scheduled to be acted upon at the Board's November 1 meeting. 

More information:

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Tuesday, Oct 18, Agenda Packet

    District Representatives

    County Budget Information

Line-by-line: County board pores over budget (Leader-Telegram $)

Debt service levy continues to be a concern for county budget (Leader-Telegram $)

County board approves landfill agreement, approves land donation (Leader-Telegram $)


CVTC reduces levy rate

   At its meeting last week, the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) District Board approved a $106,542 decrease in its tax levy. The approved tax levy for 2022-2023 is $24.14 million, a reduction from 2021-2022 at $24.24 million. The Board set the tax rate at 71 cents, down from 81 cents in 2022. The rate is the amount property taxpayers owe per $1,000 in valuation.

   Kirk Moist, CVTC’s vice president of Finance & Facilities, said the continued levy decrease is thanks to the state legislature’s increase of technical college property tax relief from $435 million to $449 million statewide.

   “Local property owners have benefited from lower technical college taxes since 2015 when the Wisconsin Legislature removed $406 million from the total statewide technical college tax levy,” said Moist. “The second year of the current biennial budget that began July 1, 2021, includes an additional $14 million in property tax relief. This resulted in a lower total tax to support the CVTC budget.”

More information:

CVTC’s levy decreases for 2022-2023 (CVTC)

CVTC moves forward with decreased 2022-23 budget (Leader-Telegram $)


More local stories: 


Solar Forma's first E-Cacia solar tree planted in Boyd Park (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire based company installs the city’s first ever solar tree (WEAU 13 News)

E.C. Business Plants Innovative Solar ‘Tree’ in Boyd Park (Volume One)


Konstruction for Kids: Work Underway on Boys & Girls Clubs’ Expansion (Volume One)


Fertilizer plant constructing $20 million plant in Stanley (Leader-Telegram $)


EC Sheriff candidates to debate Nov 2

   The Criminal Justice Club at Chippewa Valley Technical Institute (CVTC) is sponsoring a debate on Wednesday, Nov 2, with the two candidates for Eau Claire County Sheriff, Democrat Dave Riewestahl and Republican Don Henning.

More information:

Eau Claire County Sheriff's Debate

 • Wednesday, Nov 2, 7 p.m. CVTC Emergency Service Education Center,

    3623 Campus Road

EC Co. sheriff candidates to debate at CVTC (Leader-Telegram $)

Sheriff candidates in Eau Claire, Chippewa counties debate (Leader-Telegram $)

Hakes, Kowalczyk square off for open Chippewa County Sheriff seat (Leader-Telegram $)


More Election news:


Political divisiveness irks 68th Assembly candidates (Leader-Telegram $)

Chamber resources: 68th Assembly Candidate Questionnaire and Video Interviews (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


GOP hopes to pick up several legislative seats long held by Democrats in northern Wisconsin (WPR)


In Wisconsin, 3rd District voters shrug off GOP candidate’s Jan. 6 tie (AP)


Pfaff meets with veterans, talks Jan. 6 assault (Leader-Telegram $)


3rd District candidate Pfaff meets with Chamber members (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


Tony Evers, Tim Michels agree: Evers’ veto pen is the only obstacle for more than 100 GOP bills (WPR)


Pete Buttigieg to visit Wisconsin, campaign for Barnes (WQOW News 18)


WisDOT to provide free IDs for upcoming Fall Election (WXOW)


Meet the Press Video: Wisconsin - Ground zero for political polarization (NBC News)


Video: Campaign 2022: Rotary Club of Madison – Charles Franklin (Wisconsin Eye)


Political Ad Watch (WisPolitics.com)


State tax burden drops even as collections rise

   State and local tax collections rose 1.7 percent in 2020 as Wisconsin’s tax burden hit its lowest level in decades. But the Wisconsin Policy Forum found the state’s national ranking for the highest state and local tax burden climbed to 18th from 24th in 2019. That’s largely because Wisconsin was one of 25 states that saw state and local revenues rise in 2020. The Wisconsin Policy Forum called that a testament to the state’s relatively strong economy in the early stages of the pandemic.

   The non-profit group found Wisconsin tax revenues in 2019-20 dropped to 10.07 percent of personal income from 10.3 percent the year before. It’s the lowest figure for the state in Census data that goes back to 1993. It’s also the third year in a row that Wisconsin was below the national average of 10.12 percent. Overall, state and local taxes rose to $31.05 billion from $30.52 billion the year before. Meanwhile, state and local taxes declined by 0.1 percent nationally.

More information:

Report: State Tax Burden Drops Again (Wisconsin Policy Forum)

Report shows Wisconsin tax burden dropped even as collections rose in 2020 (WisPolitics.com)

Policy Forum Report Shows Sales Tax Critical to Local Government (Urban Milwaukee)

Wisconsin tax burden falls to lowest level in decades (WPR)


More state and regional stories:


Wisconsin nursing schools struggle to graduate enough students amid nurse shortage (WPR)


Gov. Evers Announces More Than $235 Million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding Over Next Four Years (Office of the Governor)


Study suggests more transparency will lower health care costs (The Center Square)


Evers proposes increase into local funding for public safety (AP)


Harley CEO issues statement about company’s commitment to remote work, Milwaukee (BizTimes)


National and economic news:


Court temporarily blocks Biden’s student loan forgiveness (AP)


US saw record drop in home sales in September: Redfin (The Hill)


Test scores show historic COVID setbacks for kids across US (AP)


China’s leader Xi Jinping secures third term and stacks inner circle with loyalists (The Guardian)


COVID-19 Updates 


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:


General Election

• Tuesday, November 8, Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   The Chamber's Guide to the Election


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Eggs & Issues: Election Analysis with Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

 • Thursday, November 17, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


"Eau What A Night:" The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


Business Salutes Eau Claire 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 

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