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Volume 5, Issue 31, Dec 19, 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

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



Eggs & Issues: The "State of the County" Address

The Chamber's annual 'State of the County' address, led by Eau Claire County Board Chair Nick Smiar and County Administrator Kathryn Schauf. Hear the highlights of Eau Claire County's work over the past year and its priorities for 2023. 

 • Friday, Jan 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Don't miss...

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

 • Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023, Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Registration now open

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

Organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance - the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce. Bringing the collective voice of Chippewa Valley business and community leaders to Madison.

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

   Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Eggs & Issues: Area legislators detail 2023 session priorities

 • City Council narrowly passes rezoning for Shopko site housing

 • Candidates circulating petitions in Dec for the Spring election

 • State and regional stories

 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 "+"


Chippewa Valley area legislators outline priorities for 2023

8 lawmakers participate in the Chamber's Holiday Legislative Breakfast

   What to do with the projected state budget surplus and support for the UWEC Science Building were among the top subjects at the Chamber's Annual Eggs & Issues - Holiday Legislative Breakfast on Friday, December 16. 

   Each of the eight legislators who participated also outlined their specific issue priorities for the legislative session that starts in January. Lawmakers who appeared included State Senator Jeff Smith (D-31); Senator-elect Jesse James (R-23); Representatives Dave Armstrong (R-75), Jodi Emerson (D-91), Warren Petryk (R-93), Treig Pronschinske (R-92), and Rob Summerfield (R-67); and Representative-elect Karen Hurd (R-68). Click here to continue reading...

More information: 

Recap: Eggs & Issues - Holiday Legislative Breakfast (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Local legislators talk budget surplus, UW-EC building funding (Leader-Telegram $)

Links to pre-election interviews with local State Senate and Assembly winners (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Vos drops Brandtjen as Campaigns and Elections Committee chair; LeMahieu taps Wimberger to co-chair Joint Legislative Audit Committee (WisPolitics.com)

Full list of Assembly Committees and Republican Committee assignments (Speaker Robin Vos)

Full list of State Senate Committees and Republican Committee assignments (Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu)


EC City Council narrowly approves Shopko site redevelopment

   The Eau Claire City Council last Tuesday narrowly approved a proposed rezoning of the former Shopko site on which Milwaukee developer Greywolf Partners proposes to build a new 258 unit apartment development. 

   After a lengthy discussion, the Council voted 6-5 for the rezoning which would move 7.4 acres from the current commercial zoning to multi-family residential. The total number of bedrooms for the project is 466 in two four-story buildings. They will be primarily marketed to college students, but available to any individual. (For detailed information, see pages 6-56 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below). 

   Council members voting in favor of the rezoning were Emily Berge, Jill Christopherson, Kate Felton, Jeremy Gragert, Roderick Jones, and Council President Terry Weld. Voting no were Emily Anderson, Charlie Johnson, Larry Mboga, Joshua Miller, and Andrew Werthmann.

   The close Council vote came despite the fact that the rezoning had been unanimously recommended for approval by the Plan Commission at its Dec 5 meeting. During the discussion, Council Member Andrew Werthmann raised concerns about rent prices at the new building potentially influencing other nearby apartments complexes to raise rents. Concerns were also raised about traffic and pedestrian flow. City Council President Terry Weld emphasized the need for more housing units in the community and argued that rezoning to multi-family was a better use of the property than the current commercial zoning. City Attorney Steve Nick warned Council members that the only issue in the rezoning is whether it is appropriate to move from commercial to residential.

   Other items on Tuesday's agenda included the sale of lot 21 in the Sky Park Industrial Center, for construction of a 10,000 square foot warehouse and office space by JSAH LLC (see pages 59-70 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet), transit-related agreements for federal funding assistance (pages 37-46), the final plat for SC Swiderski's Phase III development along North Crossing (pages 47-53), a lease agreement with Christ Church Cathedral for continued public use of its parking lot at 602 S. Farwell (pages 26-28), a resolution to rescind the amendment to Tax Increment District #9 that was passed last June in anticipation of the Niagara Waters plant that did not move forward (pages 29-32), and an ambulance service agreement with the City of Altoona (pages 71-75).

Meeting information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Dec 12, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (82 pages)

 • Tuesday, Dec 13, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (170 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)

Developer Wants to Tear Down Old Shopko, Build Student Apartments (Volume One)

Developer details rent prices for apartments replacing defunct Shopko (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire City Council shows interest in no-mow May (Leader-Telegram $)


Meetings this week:


Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Dec 19, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

Policy changes to be considered by EC school board (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Tuesday, Dec 20, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

County Board district maps and Supervisors

Eau Claire County supervisor proposes opening public ski trails during niche hunting seasons (Leader-Telegram $)


Click here for our full public meetings schedule


Spring non-partisan election Apr 4 (Feb 21 Primary)

Candidates circulating petitions in Dec for the Spring Election

Filing deadline Jan 3, Primary Feb 21, Election Apr 4

   The Spring non-partisan election in April will determine races for local municipal councils and boards, school boards, and a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

   Locally, that includes the Eau Claire City Council President, three City Council seats in Altoona, two Town Board seats for the Town of Washington, and the Mayor and three Village Trustee seats in Fall Creek. Local School Board seats on the April 4 ballot include two seats each on the School Boards for the Altoona, Eau Claire, and Fall Creek districts.

   For all of the Spring races, there will be Primary on February 21 for any race for which more than two individuals per office file nominating petitions. Candidates were allowed to begin circulating nominating petitions on December 1, with a filing deadline of January 3.

   Eau Claire City Council President Terry Weld announced Dec 1 that he will not seek reelection when his term ends this coming Spring. Weld endorsed current City Council Vice President Emily Berge, who announced has her candidacy to succeed him. 

   For the statewide Supreme Court race, there are four announced candidates for the 10-year term for retiring Justice Patience Roggensack. 

More information:

Offices on the ballot for April 4 Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Terry Weld Won’t Seek Re-Election as E.C. City Council President (Volume One)

Open Supreme Court Seat Attracts Four Candidates (Hamilton Consulting)


Comparing local property tax bills

   Area property owners have been receiving tax bills showing what they'll owe to local jurisdictions, including their municipality, county government, school district, and technical college. 

   For the City of Eau Claire, tax bills reflect an increase based upon the voters' approval of a tax levy referendum to fund additional public safety positions.

   To provide a comparison and context for each of the line items on your tax bill, Chamber Governmental Affairs Interns Emily Johnston and Mallory Williams created a table comparing tax rates paid for properties in the City of Eau Claire, City of Altoona, and Town of Washington. The comparison shows mill rates for each taxing body, which is the tax rate per thousand based upon property value. Click the link below for details.

More information:

Local mill rates and tax comparisons (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


More local stories:


Altoona school board hears referendum survey results (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire ranked among most affordable college towns (UWEC)

The Ramen Index: Best Cities for College Students to Thrive on a Budget (brokescholar.com)


UW-Eau Claire celebrates Fall 2022 graduates (WEAU 13 News)


Eau Claire Fire Department talks potential for merger with neighbor (Leader-Telegram $)


New Eau Claire Children's Museum set to open early January (WQOW News 18)


Location of 2024 Farm Technology Days announced: Chippewa Valley Music Festival grounds (Leader-Telegram $)

Call for volunteers - 2024 Farm Technology Days (Wisconsin Farm Technology Days)


Auf Wiedersehen, Dick Leinenkugel (Chippewa Herald +)


UW-EC's Simpson Field upgrades set stage for first home track meet in decades (Leader-Telegram $)


Hoffman will seek another term as Chippewa Falls Mayor (Leader-Telegram $)


New release

Eau Claire Chamber Business Matters podcast

 Episode 12: Eau Claire City Manager Stephanie Hirsch (31:26)


State and regional stories:


Gov. Evers Announces 2023 State of the State Address, 2023-25 Budget Message Dates (Office of the Governor)


Senate Republicans want to phase in a flat 3.5% income tax (Journal-Sentinel +)


Wisconsin regulators move ahead with groundwater PFAS rules (AP)


Van Orden prepares to join Congress, takes office Jan. 3 (WEAU 13 News)


Wis Congressman Mike Gallagher warns of Tik Tok tracking personal data (Politico)

US Senate passes legislation to ban TikTok from US government devices (CNN)

TikTok may pose cybersecurity concerns, experts say. But so do hundreds of other apps. (WPR)


Wausau restructuring talks include combining high schools, closing elementary schools (Wausau Daily Herald +)


Opponents Assail I-94 Expansion at Public Hearing (Urban Milwaukee)

Supporters: It’s time to move forward on I-94 expansion (The Center Square)


VISIT Milwaukee’s new TV show to air in 12 Midwest markets next year (BizTimes)


National and economic stories:


One-week stopgap bill clears as appropriators work to close out omnibus (Roll Call)


House Republican Gallagher says ‘we will get there’ on McCarthy Speakership (The Hill)


Inflation slows to 7.1% for November, another sign the economy is cooling off (NBC News)


Fed raises interest rates another half point, slowing pace of hikes (Axios)


Retail sales fell 0.6% in November as consumers feel the pressure from inflation (CNBC)


U.S. rents drop at the fastest rate in 7 years, per Zillow (Axios)


Fusion breakthrough is a milestone for climate, clean energy (AP)


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


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


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:


Inauguration Day

New sessions of the US Congress and Wisconsin Legislature

Inauguration of Wisconsin Gov Tony Evers

 • Tuesday, January 3, 2023


State of the State Address - Gov Tony Evers

 •  Tuesday, Jan 24, 7 p.m., State Capitol


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


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

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


Governor's Budget Address - Gov Tony Evers

 • Wednesday, February 15, 7 p.m., State Capitol


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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