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Volume 6, Issue 24, Oct 30, 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
"Talking Po!nt" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


Last chance to register...
Menomonie Eggs & Issues:
Bridging the Gap Between Education & Workforce
Discover trends, innovative strategies, and opportunities to strengthen the talent pipeline and tackle today's workforce challenges. Presented by the Menomonie Area Chamber & Visitor Center, UW-Stout, and the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.
Thursday, Nov 2, 7:30-9:00  a.m., UW Stout Memorial Student Union
Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
Charles Franklin, long-time Director of the Marquette Law School Poll and one of Wisconsin's top experts on public opinion, will bring new insights off just-released Wisconsin and national polls. We'll explore what polling says about the current mood of Wisconsin public opinion, and what that tells us about the future of key policy issues and next year's elections.  
  Friday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Also for your calendar:
 •  Tuesday, Nov 14:
Economic Outlook Luncheon
    Wim Vandenhoeck Senior Portfolio Manager Invesco US, New York
 Wednesday, Nov 15: Workforce Solutions Summit
     Practical solutions  to solve immediate and long-term workforce challenges

Chamber Business Hours:
Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p
Lobby Hours: Mon-Fri 10a-2p

In this issue:
 • Keeping Talent Local
 • Regional Housing Conference, Zoning Workshop
 • EC City Council approves Menomonie St plat, County T design work
 • CVTC to decrease tax rate
 • Kummer recognized for Women's Business Conference involvement
 • New episode: "Business Matters" podcast
 • State and regional news
 • Mike Johnson elected US House Speaker
 • Food for thought
 • 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 "+"


Keeping Talent Local
   One of the most important workforce-related opportunities is ensuring that young people who grow up in the Chippewa Valley get connected with local career options, as well as finding ways to retain students who come here for college. At the most recent edition of the Chamber's Eggs & Issues breakfast series, we tackled what's being done to introduce K-12 students to local opportunities; how UW-Eau Claire and CVTC are increasing the number of their higher education students who choose to stay in the region; and what employers are doing to engage talent through internships, apprenticeships, and other strategies.
   Speakers included Courtney Olsom, the Chamber's Workforce Initiatives Director; Billy Felz, UWEC Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management; Lynette Livingston, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Chippewa Valley Technical College; Elisia Gonsowski, Human Resource Generalist at Riverside Machine and Engineering; Rachel Downs, Financial Education Supervisor at Royal Credit Union; and Julie Thoney, Community Service and Economic Development Manager at Xcel Energy.
Click here to lean more about the discussion and how your organization can benefit...

Housing supply and affordability...
Regional Housing Conference, Zoning workshop
   This is the last chance to register for two events coming up this week and next related to local housing supply and affordability.
Regional Housing Conference: Wednesday, November 1
   The City of Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission has organized its second annual Regional Housing Conference, which will include sessions on the current state of the housing market, recent housing bills enacted by the legislature, sources of funding for affordable and workforce housing projects, and updates on zoning code revisions in Altoona, the City of Eau Claire, and Eau Claire County.
Zoning for Neighborhoods Workshop: Tuesday, November 7
   The City of Eau Claire Planning Division is hosting a community workshop in collaboration with UW-Stevens Point Center for Land Use Education. The two-hour program includes an interactive exercise on potential land use changes involving representatives of neighborhoods and other community stakeholders. Learn how zoning reforms could impact the vitality of Eau Claire.
More information:
Regional Housing Conference
 • Wednesday, Nov 1, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., UWEC Davies Center
    Click here for information and registration
Zoning for Neighborhoods Workshop
• Tuesday, Nov 7, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Banbury Place, Eau Claire Room
   800 Wisconsin St., Building 2, 3rd Floor, lunch provided
   Click here for information and registration

City of Eau Claire...
EC City Council approves Menomonie St roundabout plat,
County T design participation
   At its Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council approved a transportation plat to allow for construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Water St., Menomonie, St. and 10th Ave., (see pages 54-58 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below), and an intergovernmental agreement with Eau Claire and Chippewa counties and the Towns of Union and Wheaton for design work on County T between highway 12 and 33rd Ave. (pages 59-65). Also on the agenda were aerial encroachments along Farwell and Main streets to Merge Urban Development for the workforce housing it is building above the Transit Center, four feet onto the Farwell right of way and two feet onto Main (pages 50-53).
Work session on 2024 budget
   After Tuesday's meeting, the Council held its second work session on the proposed 2024 Operating Budget (see separate budget-related links below). According to the budget timeline, proposed amendments from Council Members are due by November 3. There will be a final Public Hearing on November 13 for action by the City Council on November 14.
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Oct 23, Public Hearing, Canceled
 • Tuesday, Oct 24, Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (70 pages)
    2024 Proposed Operating Budget (City of Eau Claire, 155 pages)
    2024 Budget website (City of Eau Claire)
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)
Latest issue: City Manager's Weekly Update 10/27/23 (City of Eau Claire)
Eau Claire City Council to vote on new polling location (WQOW News 18)
City to decide on encroachment of future building above transit transfer center (Leader-Telegram $)

City agrees to help fund county highway design plan (Leader-Telegram $)
Future roundabout on Menomonie St plat approved by city (Leader-Telegram $)
Alternate side parking begins Wednesday in Eau Claire (WQOW News 18)
Proposed change for Eau Claire zoning could allow for accessory dwelling units (WEAU 13 News)

Higher education...
CVTC board approves decrease in tax rate for 2023-2024
   Chippewa Valley Technical College has approved a decrease in the 2023-2024 tax rate from 71 cents per $1,000 of valuation to 66 cents. This decrease is attributed to the increase in new construction and property values.
   Caleb Cornelius, CVTC vice president of administration and chief strategy officer, said new construction in the CVTC district, which includes 11 counties, increased by 2.38 percent; and overall property values increased by nearly 15 percent. However, the College’s proposed tax levy increased by 6.99 percent from the 2022-2023 levy. Cornelius said increased costs to the College, including debt service costs, are the reason.
   “While we actively practice resource stewardship at CVTC to ensure we keep education and training costs low for the workers in our communities, CVTC has not been immune to the inflationary cost increases the greater market has experienced,” Cornelius said. “Additionally, with the approval of the 2020 referendum and the subsequent debt issuance for the building and renovation of the needed facilities to support critical programs, debt service costs are planned to increase for this year, which is reflected in the tax levy.”
   The District Board set the levy increase of $1,686,583 at its meeting last Wednesday. The approved tax levy for fiscal year 2022-2023 was set at $24,136,245 and will increase to $25,822,828. With the decreased tax rate -- the rate property taxpayers owe per $1,000 in valuation – a person with a $150,000 home will pay $99 in property taxes for the year to support the technical college, down from $106.50.
   “Our students’ dreams could not be fulfilled without the support of our communities,” said Sunem Beaton-Garcia, CVTC president. “In turn, we vow to continue to educate a highly skilled workforce that makes our community a great place to live and work.
   The CVTC board is required to certify its levy by November 1 each year.
More information:
CVTC district board approves decrease in tax rate for 2023-2024 (WEAU 13 News)

More higher education news:
UWEC aims to complete County Materials Complex next year (Leader-Telegram $)

County Materials Complex set example for other projects (Leader-Telegram $)
UW-Eau Claire again ranked among most environmentally responsible colleges (UWEC)
UWEC recognized again in list of environmentally responsible colleges (Leader-Telegram $)
Stout makes STRONG push toward student success with significant grant (Leader-Telegram $)

Kummer recognized for Women's Business Conference involvement
   The Chamber's Chief Financial Officer, Danielle Kummer, was one of two individuals recognized at last week's 20th Annual Women's Business Conference for "exceptional service, dedication, and commitment" to the event. Along with fellow advisory board member Stacy Whaley, a leadership development consultant, the pair were honored for their contributions over several years to strategic planning and support of the annual event.
   Western Dairyland CEO Anna Cardarella also acknowledged the founders of the Women's Business Conference, Julie Bollinger, owner of Green Oasis, and Christina Thrun, currently the Executive Director of the Chippewa Valley Homebuilders Association. She said the organization is grateful for all the volunteers, exhibitors, and attendees that continue to make the conference a success year after year. 
   The 20th annual event was held last Wednesday at the Pablo Center for the Confluence with 400 participants, included a Keynote from Secretary and CEO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Missy Hughes.
More information:
Conference assists women business owners and entrepreneurs (Leader-Telegram $)
20th annual Women's Business Conference sees attendance back up (WQOW News 18)

More local stories:

Arts, Culture Groups Have $25M Impact on E.C. Economy, Survey Says
(Volume One)

Eau Claire Fitness being sold to YMCA
(WQOW News 18)
YMCA purchases Eau Claire Fitness (Leader-Telegram $)
YMCA Adding South Side Facility With Purchase of E.C. Fitness (Volume One)

Mocktail Business Proposal Wins Startup 48 Competition
(Volume One)

Construction underway for Veterans Tribute Trail at River Prairie Park
(WQOW News 18)

Attorney General Kaul stops in Altoona for drug take back program
(Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire to Host 2024 Snowshoe National Championship
(Volume One)

Market on River building to house vendors, food court, residents and event space in Chippewa Falls
(Chippewa Herald +)

Chippewa Co Board Chairman defends Hakes investigation
(Leader-Telegram $)

Questions answered about investigation into Sheriff Hakes (WQOW News 18)

Proposed budget would lower tax mill rates in Dunn County
(WQOW New 18)

New industrial park in Stanley is open and ready for business
(Leader-Telegram $)

Questioning the Locals: Menomonie Chamber CEO Ashley DeMuth
(Volume One)

New episode...

"Business Matters" podcast
Manufacturing Month
In this episode we speak with Aaron White, City of Eau Claire and Luke Hanson, Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation about Manufacturing Month and how business not only gets to our area but evolves within it.
Recorded in the WIN Technology Studio. Media sponsor Royal Credit Union. Click below to listen:
Business Matters Podcast Season 2, Ep 2, "Manufacturing Month" (34:29)


Next legislative forum...
Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

WMC Future Wisconsin Summit
   Bringing together the business community and other partners to address our state’s long-term systemic, economic challenges and develop solutions that will create sustained economic success. 
 • Tuesday, Dec 5, Madison
    Click here for details and to register

More state and regional stories...

Hamilton Consulting Political Tidbits - Legislative, court, and regulatory updates
(Hamilton Consulting)

Gov. Evers Announces State Building Commission Approves Approximately $388.7 Million in Projects Across Wisconsin
(Office of the Governor)

Includes Lake Wissota State Park facilities

Evers administration allocates $402 million to combat PFAS, other water contaminants

Wisconsin's voter ID law would be enshrined in the state Constitution under GOP proposal

Wisconsin’s voter ID law is being debated again — with a twist (The Cap Times)
Wisconsin Republicans look to pass constitutional amendments on voter eligibility, elections grants (AP)

Wisconsin judge rules that GOP-controlled Senate’s vote to fire top elections official had no effect

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretary resigning after 10 months on the job

Wisconsin Senate Republicans reject eight Evers appointees, including majority of environmental board

'Derelict in their duty': UW-Madison labor president criticizes University leaders, Gov. Evers over response to funding battle

Republican bill would end race-based college aid, retention programs in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Republicans back bill outlawing university financial aid based on race and diversity (AP)

Gov. Evers tours La Crosse child care center, touts emergency funding
(La Crosse Tribune +)

Proposal would allow timber industry to truck heavier loads on more routes

UW-Platteville eliminating 111 positions to balance budget

State officials say Wisconsin's economy is strong, thanks to its workforce

60 Wisconsin hospitals lost money in 2022

Homeschooling in Wisconsin has become increasingly popular. There are few regulations about how it works.
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin business leaders see AI's potential. Are companies ready?

Wisconsin reaches an all-time high in domestic violence-related deaths

WMC threat to sue town in Polk County over large farm regulations revives local control fight

Amid bus driver shortage, Madison district shifts school start times

Warming Center in La Crosse to open Oct. 28
(WEAU 13 News)

Audio: Homeless Services Coordinator details 5-year plan to reduce homelessness in La Crosse
(WPR, 22:25)


National and economic stories:

Mike Johnson elected House speaker, ending 22 days of GOP stalemate

Republicans Elect Mike Johnson Speaker (The Dispatch)
Wisconsin Republicans praise election of new House speaker (WPR)
The Terrifying Learning Curve Facing Mike Johnson (Brendan Buck, Politico)
Video: Mike Johnson Chosen As House GOP's New Speaker Designate—Here Are His First Remarks (Forbes, 4:29)

60 House Republicans call on Speaker Mike Johnson to pass farm bill
(The Hill)
Letter (Van Orden only Wisconsin Republican to sign)

Lester Holt, Kristen Welker and Hugh Hewitt to moderate third GOP presidential debate Nov. 8 on NBC

Pence suspends presidential campaign (Politico)

Rep. Dean Phillips announces primary challenge to Biden. He says Democrats need to focus on future

Profile: Dean Phillips has a warning for Democrats (Tim Alberta, The Atlantic +)

'I am there to witness what has and is taking place': Rep. Van Orden visits Israel
(WQOW News 18)
Van Orden describes the horrors of the assault on Israel (Leader-Telegram $)

Rep. Van Orden discusses trip to Israel (WEAU 13 News)
Navy Seal, combat medic congressman shaken after visit to Israel slaughter sites: ‘ISIS times 1,000’ (New York Post)

Meta sued by 42 attorneys general alleging Facebook, Instagram features are addictive and target kids

U.S. economy sizzles in Q3, defying slowdown fears

GM reaches tentative deal with UAW, ending strikes at Detroit automakers after six weeks

Food for thought...

Does Alaska Have a Solution for Our National Political Dysfunction?

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

Mark your calendar:

Menomonie Eggs & Issues:
Bridging the Gap between Education & Workforce
 • Thursday, Nov 2

Economic Outlook Luncheon
 • Tuesday, Nov 14

Workforce Solutions Summit
 • Wednesday, Nov 15

Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
 • Friday, Nov 17

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15

Eau What A Night: The Chamber's 109th Annual Meeting
 • Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 16, 2024

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5, 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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