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Volume 5 , Issue 6, June 27, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce


Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

Advocacy Blog


Eggs & Issues: Planes, Trains, Automobiles & More...

Friday, Jul 15, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or online via Perigon
Click here for details and to register

Registration deadline 12:00 noon on Thursday, Jul 14

  What's the future of transportation in Wisconsin and the Chippewa Valley? At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll take a look at what's happening with transportation trends in our current economy and the policy issues surrounding it, including implementation of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). We'll get a statewide perspective from Debby Jackson, Executive Director, Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin; an update on efforts to establish passenger rail service to Eau Claire from Scott Rogers, Chair, West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition; get details on progress on the new transit center under construction and planned route changes from Tom Wagener, Eau Claire Transit Manager; and hear the latest about Essential Air Service (EAS) decisions and local airline changes from Charity Zich, Airport Manager, Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.

In this issue:

 • City Council to act on rezoning for Sky Park housing 

 • City, School District conduct joint survey on potential referendum

 • Altoona Comprehensive Plan nearing completion

 • Chamber "Bravo to Business" Award Nominations due by Jun 30

 • 2022 Election: Marquette Poll shows tight races for Governor, US Senate

 • Eau Claire metro unemployment drops to 2.5%

 • Area home sales fewer, but prices continue to rise

 • Chart: How many lives have been saved by the Covid vaccine?

 • 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 "+"


EC City Council Agenda: Rezoning for Sky Park housing

   At its meetings this week, the Eau Claire City Council will vote on a rezoning for 4.5 acres in Sky Park from light industrial to multi-family residential to allow RyKey Properties to construct three buildings with 96 units, consisting of a combination of one- and two-bedroom apartments totaling 147 bedrooms. All of the units will fit the definition of workforce housing, with the developer agreeing to provide 10 of the one-bedroom units to be affordable to individuals who have income at 60% of the County Median Income (CMI). The development will be located at the corner of Craig Road and Hamilton Ave., on property less suited to industrial uses. (See pages 35-50 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below for more detailed information, including maps and elevations). 

   The rezoning will be part of the Public Hearing agenda on Monday evening, then the Council will vote at its Legislative Session on Tuesday. Also up for a Public Hearing on Monday and vote on Tuesday are a rezoning for a 7Brew Coffee Shop to be located at N. Clairemont and Moholt Dr. (Monday pages 5-34); and a development plan amendment to allow construction of a single family home by C&M Properties in Aspen Meadows II at 6140 Aspen Meadow Ct. (Monday pages 51-57). All three items were recommended by the Plan Commission at its meeting last Monday (see Plan Commission minutes on pages 226-231 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below).

   Tuesday's Consent Agenda includes a surrender and transfer of the liquor license held by Giralomo's Court-N-House to its new owners, CNH, LLC. (pages 35-41 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet), who have also owned the Brackett Bar for the past seven years. 

Work session on potential referendum, ARPA funds process

   Following Tuesday's Legislative Session, the Council will hold a work session to discuss a potential City referendum to allow it to exceed levy limits, and discuss process questions regarding the allocation of the $13.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the City is receiving. Tuesday's Agenda Packet (pages 141-225) includes data from Baker Tilly on a recent community survey conducted jointly with the Eau Claire Area School District in early June regarding a potential referendum questions. 

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, June 27, Public Hearing (Agenda Packet, 59 pages)

 • Tuesday, June 28, Legislative Session (Agenda Packet, 231 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)

Living in Sky Park (Leader-Telegram $)


City, ECASD conduct joint survey on potential referendum

   As each considers a potential referendum to ask voters for permission to exceed levy limits, the City of Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District jointly engaged consulting firm Baker Tilly to survey voters to determine their potential attitudes towards various referendum questions.

   Baker Tilly presented the results last Thursday to the Eau Claire Area School District Board of Education and key City staff members. The survey results will also be discussed at a City Council work session after this Tuesday's Council meeting. 

   To place a referendum on the ballot in November, the City Council and School Board would need to make decisions in August. The survey did show that having both on the ballot at the same election might diminish chances of passage.

    For questions related to the City, raising limits to provide for public safety and emergency services (police, fire, paramedic) scored the highest support (79%), followed by addressing affordable housing and homelessness (70%), service hours for the library, pool, and ice rink (60%), and pursuing environmental goals (55%). A potential maximum annual tax increase of about $70 on a $200,000  home showed the most potential support.

    For the school district, top-rated potential uses included supporting students behind in basic skills (79%), improving mental/emotional health (77%), building maintenance (69%), adding new classrooms (62%), high school improvements (56%) and remodeling South Middle School (50%). A potential maximum tax increase of $80 annually on a $200,000 home showed the most potential support.

More information:

Survey: City voters may back $70 tax hike (Leader-Telegram $)

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

Link to Baker Tilly survey data (select pages 141-225, Tuesday City Council Agenda Packet)


City of Altoona finishing new Comprehensive Plan

Public hearing and open house July 14

   The City of Altoona is nearing completion of a new Comprehensive Plan, the City’s primary policy document that guides growth and change by illustrating the desired type, location, and appearance of development. The Plan is an expression of the community’s vision for the future and a collection of coordinated strategies to pursue that vision. The City hired Vandewalle & Associates to assist with development of the plan. See the links below for more information about the draft plan, and the Public Hearing planned on July 14 prior to its adoption by the City Council.

More information: 

Public Hearing -2022 Altoona Comprehensive Plan
 • Thursday, July 14, 4 p.m., Fish House Recreation Building, 418 9th St W

City of Altoona Comprehensive Plan website (City of Altoona)

Draft Final Plan (City of Altoona, 10 chapters, 222 pages)

Video: Summary of new draft plan (7 mins.)


Chamber "Bravo to Business" award nominations due now

June 30 nomination deadline for Sep 14 awards event

   For almost 20 years, the Eau Claire Area Chamber has recognized businesses of all sizes, entrepreneurs, and business leaders for their contributions to the business community. In 2021, the Chamber launched “Bravo to Business” by revamping and adding to its award categories. Bravo to Business will focus on our businesses and community development for their significant role in driving the city’s business community and economic growth. This event will be held on Wednesday, Sep 14, in conjunction with National Chamber of Commerce Month.

   Award applicants are narrowed down to three finalists in each category. The finalists and winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022.

Nomination Process

   Anyone can nominate a business for an award on the Chamber's website, including self nominations. Categories include: Small Business of the Year - Less than 50 full-time employees; Business of the Year - More than 50 full-time employees; Emerging Business of the Year - Operating for less than 3 years; Community Economic Development Project of the Year; and Young Professionals Best Place to Work. 

Click here for information and to nominate a business (deadline June 30)

 • Mark your calendar for Wednesday evening, Sep 14, for "Bravo to Business"


More local news: 


EC supervisors disappointed in corrections officers' lack of protected status (Leader-Telegram $)


County health insurance provider up for grabs (Leader-Telegram $)


Infinity Cares and ECPD host child safety seminar (WEAU 13 News)


Group Aims to Create Day Center for the Homeless (Volume One)


Morning Rotary's "Rainworks Bingo" begins this week in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Rainworks bingo invisible art project making a splash downtown Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)


Bennett Guitar Co. Tunes Up for Move to New Location (Volume One)


Blugold alumnus and high-fidelity sound expert back in Eau Claire after 35 years (UWEC)


The American Beverage Association Wants Every Bottle Back (Business Download)


Chippewa Falls' public pool to remain open (WQOW News 18)

POOLING SUPPORT: Committee Created to Try to Save C.F. Pool (Volume One)


A Look Inside: RCU Sculpture (WEAU 13 News)


Clark County family set to host Farm Technology Days (Leader-Telegram $)


New film explores what Uniroyal tire plant meant to Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Rubber, art, music and a collective transformation in Eau Claire (Wisconsin State Journal, 2019 +)


2022 Election:


Partisan Primary - Tuesday, August 9

What's on the ballot: US Senate (Ron Johnson seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts), Assembly, Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sherriff, County Clerk of Court

General Election - Tuesday, November 8


Election 2022: The Chamber's Guide to the State and Federal Elections (Eau Claire Chamber)

MyVoteWI (to find your polling place and see what's on your ballot)


Marquette Poll reveals tight races for US Senate, Governor

   A new Marquette Poll released last week shows tight races for upcoming primary and general election races for Wisconsin Governor and US Senate.

   Based upon the poll taken earlier this month, both Republican US Senator Ron Johnson and Democratic Governor Tony Evers would face close elections in November if any of the leading primary candidates of the other party turn out to be the nominees. At the same time, a substantial number of voters are undecided in their picks for the primary.

   In the Republican race for Governor, the poll shows Tim Michels at 27% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican, with Rebecca Kleefisch at 26%, followed by Kevin Nicholson at 10%, and Tim Ramthun at 3% - but with a substantial 32% still undecided on who they will vote for on August 9.

   In the Democratic race for US Senate, Mandela Barnes shows 25% Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, Alex Lasry is at 21%, Sarah Godlewski is at 9%, and Tom Nelson holds 7% - but also with a substantial number of undecided voters at 36%.

More information: 

Marquette Poll June 22 release (Marquette Law School)

Marquette Poll results and data (Marquette Law School)

Video: Director Charles Franklin discusses latest results (60:25)

Marquette Poll shows Ron Johnson, Tony Evers in close general election races (Journal-Sentinel +)

Marquette Law School poll shows tight gubernatorial, Senate primaries (The Cap Times)


More election-related news: 


Wisconsin elections head not concerned about intimidation (AP)


‘We are going to win’: Evers projects confidence in Democratic convention address (The Cap Times)


Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate take aim at Ron Johnson at state convention (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Ted Cruz speaks in Milwaukee, predicts a 'red tsunami' as colleague Ron Johnson wages tight re-election campaign (Journal-Sentinel +)


Nicholson touts outsider status, says he can win Governorship in November (Leader-Telegram $)


Wisconsin’s Johnson under heat for fake elector revelation (AP)


Wisconsin election investigator says he deleted records (AP)


Why MN Dems are bidding for an earlier presidential primary — and what stands in their way (Pioneer Press +)


State and regional news:


Wisconsin GOP lawmakers ranked 2nd most conservative in nation by CPAC (Wisconsin State Journal +)

CPAC Scorecard (CPAC)


Popular Wisconsin tourist destinations draw 'insane' visitor numbers as summer of revenge travel continues (Journal-Sentinel +)


Wisconsin job market remains strong despite worries over economy (WPR)


Wisconsin delegation introduces Hmong Congressional Gold Medal Act in Congress (La Crosse Tribune +)


WMC's Bauer: Energy policies driving record-high inflation (The Center Square)


Leadership Lens: MMAC's Tim Sheehy on entertainment districts, remote work and building consensus (BizTimes)


Chancellor takes action to solve problem for Blugold studying in Italy this summer (UWEC)


A larger number of inexperienced workers can create challenges for safety pros (Safety + Health)


Eau Claire Chamber "Business Matters" podcast: Interview with State Senator Kathy Bernier (EC Chamber, 41:26)


Eau Claire Metro unemployment rate drops to 2.5%

   The Eau Claire Metropolitan Area's unemployment rate in May dropped to 2.5 percent, making it the third lowest in the state and below the statewide rate of 2.9 percent. The local rate is a full percentage point below the 3.5 percent rate in May 2021. All 12 of the state's metro areas and all 72 of its counties saw declines in their unemployment rates vs. May 2021. Total employment in the Eau Claire metro, which includes Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, was 86,000 this May.

More information:

May 2022 Local Unemployment Data (Wisconsin DWD)

Wisconomy information portal (Wisconsin DWD)

Unemployment rate drops to 2.5% in Eau Claire metro area (Leader-Telegram $)

U.S. Jobless Claims Held Near Historic Lows Last Week (Wall Street Journal $)

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims (US Dept of Labor)

Eau Claire County experiencing drawbacks with employee vacancies (Leader-Telegram $)

American Airlines to stop flying to four small cities, citing pilot shortage (CNBC)

Labor Shortage Stymies Construction Work as $1 Trillion Infrastructure Spending Kicks In (Wall Street Journal $)

The Great Resignation Is Accelerating (The Atlantic +)


Area home sales fewer in May, but prices continue higher

   The May home sales report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association shows continued tight inventories and higher prices. With fewer homes on the market, prices continue to increase. The number of Wisconsin’s existing home sales fell 5.6% in May compared to sales 12 months earlier. The median home price rose 11.8% to $275,000 over that same period.

   In Eau Claire County, 134 homes sold in May, 7 less than May 2021. The median home sales price was $261,450, up $30,450 from last year.

More information:

May 2022 Home Sales Report (Wisconsin Realtors Assn)

Home sales drop in May (Leader-Telegram $)

Strong seller's market continues in Wisconsin (WKOW)


More national and economic news:


Fed promises ‘unconditional’ approach to taking down inflation in report to Congress (CNBC)


Consumer sentiment survey followed by the Fed shows inflation expectations ease slightly (CNBC)


New Law to Block Forced Labor Goods From China Now in Effect (The Dispatch)


Combating Inflation: What’s Behind High Energy Prices and What to Do About It (US Chamber of Commerce)


President Biden calls for federal gas tax holiday (News Nation)

US manufacturers slam Biden's gas tax holiday, call for more domestic oil production (Fox Business)


Biden signs bipartisan gun safety bill into law (CNN)

Senate passes bipartisan gun legislation 65-33 (CBS News)

Senate Roll Call (US Senate) Baldwin, votes yes; Johnson, no

House passes bipartisan gun safety bill (Politico)

House Roll Call (Clerk of the House)


Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade (CNBC)

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade (Axios)

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers reject abortion ban repeal (AP)

Roe decision means an immediate halt to abortion in Wisconsin, setting the stage for the state's 1849 ban to take effect (Journal-Sentinel +)


COVID-19 Updates 

Chart: The staggering number of lives saved by the covid vaccine (The Economist +)

FDA authorizes 1st COVID-19 shots for infants, preschoolers (AP)

Vaccinators can now give Pfizer, Moderna vaccines to children as young as 6 months in Wisconsin (Eau Claire City-County Health Dept.)


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:


Eggs & Issues: Planes, Trains, Automobiles, & More...

• Friday, Jul 15, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Eggs & Issues: The Economic Imperative of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

• Friday, Aug 19, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Bravo to Business Awards

Click here to nominate a business (June 30 deadline)

• Wednesday, Sep 14, The Florian Gardens


Eggs & Issues: Fall Election Outlook with Bill McCoshen

• Thursday, Sep 22, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Business Day in Madison

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

 • Wednesday, October 19, Monona Terrace


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center


"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


Next up on the public calendar


Wisconsin Political Calendar (WisPolitics.com)


• Partisan Primary - Tuesday, August 9

US Senate (Ron Johnson seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts) Assembly, Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sherriff, County Clerk of Court


General Election - Tuesday, November 8


Congressional & Legislative Maps

Wisconsin Congressional Maps (Dave's Redistricting)

Wisconsin Legislative District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


Public Meetings Calendar

Our Public Meetings Calendar has moved to our website. 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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