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Volume 5, Issue 24, Oct 31, 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


Chamber Election Resources - Making your voting decisions

 • Early voting now through Friday, November 4

 • Election Day: 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 now and November 4. 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 (R) vs. Dan Hardy (D write-in)

Senate District 31 - Dave Estenson (R) vs Jeff Smith (D-Incumbent)

Assembly District 67 - Jason Bennett (D) vs. Rob Summerfield (R-Incumbent)

Assembly District 68 - Karen Hurd (R) vs. Nate Otto (D)

Assembly District 91  - Jodi Emerson (D-Incumbent) vs. Josh Stanley (R)

Assembly District 93 - Alison Page (D) vs. Warren Petryk (R-Incumbent)


Tax Levy Referendums - City of Eau Claire and ECASD

   Both the City of Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) have referendums on the ballot to increase their property tax rates. 

   The City is seeking permission to increase its rate by 22 cents per thousand assessed value as a permanent increase to hire 15 additional public safety positions. Its current mill rate for 2022 is $17.481 per thousand.

   ECASD is seeking permission to increase its rate by 40 cents per thousand over 20 years to pay for $98.6 million in capital improvement projects for several schools. The mill rate for the 2022-23 will be $6.33 per thousand vs. $7.02 per thousand last year. 

   To calculate the impact on your tax bill, multiply the mill rate by each $1,000 of assessed valuation. 

   The Chamber recently conducted a joint Referendum Forum with both the City and ECASD, where they each provided information and answered questions about what's on the ballot, tax implications for property owners, and how the additional revenue would be used. It was recorded and can be viewed at the link below.

More information:

Video: Click here to view the Chamber Referendum Forum

School District Referendum website (ECASD)

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

E.C. Police and Fire Calls Are Soaring, But Staffing Has Stayed the Same. A Referendum Would Change That (Volume One)


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: 

 • Tourism's local economic impact grows

 • Adapting to new workforce realities: Chamber Workforce Summit

 • Costco get City Council approval

 • EC School Board approves budget, reduces tax rate

 • County to finalize 2023 budget this week

 • Election news: EC Sheriff candidates debate Nov 2

 • 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 "+"


Tourism's local economic impact grows

Room tax growth, new initiatives revealed at Eggs & Issues

   Participants in the Chambers' October 20 Eggs & Issues breakfast had the opportunity to learn more about how recent record room tax revenues are indicative of the increasing value of tourism to the local economy. Visit Eau Claire Director Benny Anderson described the strategies the organization has undertaken to take advantage of new marketing technologies and the community's attributes that are attractive to visitors. Click here to continue reading...

More information:

Full Story: Tourism Increases Economic Impact (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Eau Claire on pace for a big '22 for tourism revenues (Leader-Telegram $)

Room Tax Revenues Rebound (Wisconsin Policy Forum)

Next 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


"Adapting to the New Reality: The Ever Changing Workforce"

2022 Chamber Workforce Summit - November 16

   The current labor shortage and after effects of the pandemic have upended the workforce landscape for many employers. The Chamber's annual Workforce Solutions Summit is designed to bring area employers together with practical solutions they can implement to solve immediate and long-term workforce challenges. This year’s topics can really help employers in the area learn how they can keep the workplace environment healthy so they can continue to carry out their company’s mission. Continue reading...

More information:

2022 Workforce Solutions Summit

Adapting to the New Reality: The Ever Changing Workforce

 • Wednesday, Nov 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and registration

Without more people moving to Wisconsin, its workforce may shrink by 130K by 2030 (WPR)


Costco gets City Council approval

Plan Commission meets Monday

   At its Tuesday Legislative Session last week, the Eau Claire City Council approved the 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 City Council Agenda Packet linked below). The Council has begun work on its 2023 Operating Budget and held a work session following its Tuesday meeting. Council members also discussed prospects for securing a developer for the workforce housing project being sought for the space above the downtown transit center currently under construction. Officials are working with both Impact Seven and Merge Urban Development to reach a possible deal. 

   The Eau Claire Plan Commission meets Monday evening. Its agenda includes a proposed site plan for a new building at 602 Water St. by John Mogensen to replace the historic Ottawa House, which was determined to be structurally unsound. The developer proposes to replace it with a new two-story building with similar architectural elements that would include two small retail spaces and six two-bedroom apartments (see pages 4-15 of the Plan Commission Agenda Packet linked below). The agenda also includes a site plan for a 7,800 square foot medical building at 3940 Oakwood Hills Parkway for Eau Claire GI Associates (see pages 27-75 of the Plan Commission Agenda Packet).

Meeting information:

Eau Claire Plan Commission

 • Monday, Oct 31, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet (76 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)

City is 'cautiously optimistic' about grant deadline for housing atop new center (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire developer wants to replace decrepit building on Water St. (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire School Board approves 2022-23 budget

Tax rate drops by 69 cents per thousand 

   The Eau Claire Area School District Board of Education last Monday approved its proposed 2022-23 budget on Monday totaling $180.8 million, up from its $172.7 million budget last year. However, its tax rate declined by 69 cents per thousand of assessed valuation from $7.02 last year to $6.33 this year, due to overall increases in equalized values. 

   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. The City of Eau Claire also has an operating referendum on the ballot. The Chamber recorded a Referendum Forum with both the school district and the city which was recorded. See the link below to view it. 

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

 • Monday, Oct 24, Agenda Packet

   Board of Education website

   Meeting live stream link

EC schools 2022-23 budget set at $180.8 million (Leader-Telegram $)

Referendum Information:

Video: Click here to view the Chamber Referendum Forum

School District Referendum website (ECASD)


EC County to vote on budget this week

   The Eau Claire County Board is scheduled to discuss and vote on its 2023 budget at its meeting this Tuesday. They have also scheduled a possible meeting on Wednesday afternoon as necessary if it needs to be continued. 

More information:

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Tuesday, Nov 1, 7 p.m., Meeting information/link to agenda packet

 • Wednesday, Nov 2, 1 p.m. (If necessary)

    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 $)

DHS board does not support proposed budget amendments (Leader-Telegram $)


More local news: 


Alan Ross, host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s ‘Spectrum West,’ dies at 73 (The Current)


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

Forum information (CVTC)

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


More Election news:


Wisconsin 2022 Election Preview Analysis (Hamilton Consulting)


FOR WISCONSIN: Justin Vernon to Tour Wisconsin Colleges to Ramp Up Voters (Volume One)


Emerson, Stanley to vie for State Assembly seat (Leader-Telegram $)

Chamber resources: 91st Assembly Candidate Questionnaire and Video Interviews (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


3rd District Congress

Pfaff, Van Orden square off for open Third Congressional District seat (Leader-Telegram $)

The 3rd Congressional District was Democratic for 26 years. Now it’s a top GOP target. (WPR)

Derrick Van Orden tells prayer breakfast attendees 'leftists' cannot be Christians (WPR)


Secretary of State

Normally quiet secretary of state race erupts with questions of elections, power and democracy (WPR)


Attorney General

Video: October 27 Debate (56:12, Channel 3000)

Josh Kaul, Eric Toney spar in Wisconsin attorney general debate (WPR)



Video: October 14 Debate (58:21; Fox 6 Milwaukee)

Profile: Tony Evers as a child watched his dad combat a deadly disease plaguing society. In 2020, it was his turn. (Journal-Sentinel +)

Profile: 'I want to serve': Tim Michels hopes to translate business success into leading Wisconsin (Journal-Sentinel +)


US Senate

Video: October 7 Debate (57:29, Fox 6 Milwaukee)

Barnes campaign stops at UW-Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Nate Silver: Wisconsin not likely to be 'tipping point' for U.S. Senate (The Cap Times)


Wisconsin ballot spoiling is a no-go after court upholds ban (AP)


How to tell if a political poll is legitimate (WPR)


Analysis: Choosing How We Vote - Ranked Choice Voting? (Law & Liberty)


Political Ad Watch (WisPolitics.com)


More state and regional stories:


Wisconsin could receive up to $1.2B to expand broadband coverage where service is lacking (WPR)


Study Committees Begin to Consider, Recommend Legislation (Hamilton Consulting)


Marshfield Clinic, Essentia merger discussion centers around access to health care (WPR)


Gov. Evers appoints Denita Ball as Milwaukee County sheriff, making her the agency's first woman leader (Journal-Sentinel +)


Fiserv will move its HQ to downtown Milwaukee (BizTimes)


Who is Matt Arnold and how will he approach taking over as Milwaukee Brewers' head of baseball operations? (Journal-Sentinel +)


National and economic news:


U.S. GDP accelerated at 2.6% pace in Q3, better than expected as growth turns positive (CNBC)


Consumer Spending Rose in September as Prices for Rent, Transportation Increased (Wall Street Journal $)


Key inflation gauge for the Fed rose 0.5% in September, in line with expectations (CNBC)


Key indicator shows signs of cooling wage growth (Axios)


U.S. mortgage interest rates jump to 7.16%, highest since 2001 (Reuters)


U.S. Chamber Raises Alarm Bells, Urges Action on Decline in K-12 Achievement (US Chamber of Commerce)


Railroad worker negotiations head off the rails over paid sick leave (Axios)


How Small Business Owners Can Navigate Inflation and High Interest Rates (US Chamber of Commerce)


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


Regional Housing Conference

Organized by the City of Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission.

Details available soon

 • Thursday, December 1, CVTC Business Education Center


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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