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Volume 6, Issue 8, July 10, 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
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


Eggs & Issues: Economic Development Update
With cranes in the skyline, significant construction projects underway, and new records for tourism impact, what's the continuing future for commercial, industrial and housing development in the Chippewa Valley? At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll hear from local leaders of economic development activities about their current projects, challenges and opportunities. 
 • Friday, July 28, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Also for your summer calendar:
 • Monday, Aug 7, Golf Day in Eau Claire 
 • Monday, Aug 14, Business After Hours, Residence Inn by Marriott
 • Friday, Aug 18, Eggs & Issues, CVTC Business Education Center

Chamber Business Hours:
Mon-Thu 7:30a-4:30p (Closed Fridays in July)

Lobby Hours: Mon-Thu 9a-3p (Closed Fridays in July)

In this issue:
 • EC City Council: CIP changes, Vehicle Registration fee coming back
 • WI Supreme Court strikes down Transportation Utility Fees
 • County Board to continue meeting on DHS report
 • State budget passed, signed by Governor with 51 partial vetoes
 • UWEC Science Building, UW-Stout Heritage Hall in final budget
 • National and economic stories
 • 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: 2024 Capital Improvement Plan amendment proposed to fund Humane Society, affordable housing
Agenda also includes water stewardship plan resolution
   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week. Its Monday Public Hearing agenda includes a public discussion of the City's proposed 2024-2028 Capital Improvement Plan, including a proposed amendment from Council Members Kate Felton and Andrew Werthmann that would reallocate $1.345 million over the five years to provide funding for additional investments in affordable housing, continuation of the participatory budgeting initiative, $250,000 in 2026 for the Humane Association's building project, and funding in 2024 and 2025 for the Energy Efficiency Navigator program (see pages 5-7 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below, and the full 2024-2028 Proposed Capital Improvement Plan linked separately below).
   There will also be a public discussion Monday night of a resolution proposed by Felton and Werthmann "to conduct a comprehensive water and treatment system plan update in 2025 to identify needs for concern in order to provide water safety and sustainability both now and for future generations" (see pages 8-11 of the Monday Agenda Packet).
   Both items are scheduled to be acted upon at the Tuesday Legislative Session.
Reallocation of ARPA funding proposed after Supreme Court strikes down Transportation Utility Fees
   Tuesday's Business Agenda includes a proposal to reappropriate $60,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that had been earmarked for a study of the implementation of a potential Transportation Utility Fee (TUF). On June 29, the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Town of Buchannan in Outagamie County exceeded its authority by implementing a TUF. The Eau Claire Chamber had opposed the $60,000 allocation because of the questionable legality of the fee and its potential burden on businesses.
   The Supreme Court decision found that a TUF is a form of a property tax: “Wisconsin law prescribes certain procedures a municipality must follow for funding public improvements. In this case, the Town did not follow them. The imposition of property taxes over and above the Town’s levy limits requires the consent of the voters within the municipality. Nothing in the statutes permits the Town to bypass levy limits for the purpose of imposing a TUF on property owners in the municipality.”
   Another city considering imposing a TUF, the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, last week decided to pause its proposal and canceled a scheduled public hearing.
   Tuesday's proposed resolution would move the $60,000 instead to fund the Neighborhood Services Division, which will undertake "challenges related to unhoused persons, parking, trash enforcement, code enforcement, housing services, and a 311 call center" (see pages 62-63 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below).
Revised Vehicle Registration Fee to get first reading
   The Council will also have a first reading of an ordinance proposed by Council Members Emily Anderson and Andrew Werthmann for adoption of a Local Vehicle Registration Fee (LVRF) that would impose an annual fee of $24 per vehicle for a specific set of ten street projects. It is a revised proposal from the proposed $30 fee that failed on a tie vote at the Council's March 14 meeting. With a first reading, the resolution is likely to be on the agenda for the Council's next meetings on July 24 and 25. (See page 65 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet.)
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, July 10, 7 p.m. Public Hearing, Agenda Packet (11 pages)
 • Tuesday, July 11, 4 p.m. Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (78 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)
2024-2028 Proposed Capital Improvement Plan (City of Eau Claire, 202 pages)
Changes proposed to city projects plan (Leader-Telegram $)
Wheel tax proposal returns for another go-around (Leader-Telegram $)
Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Buchanan’s Transportation Fee Unlawful (WTAQ)
Wis. Cities Revisit Road-Funding Options After Court Kills Fee (Law 360 +)
State Supreme Court Strikes Down the Town of Buchanan's Transportation Utility Fee  (TDA of Wisconsin)

County Board schedules Wednesday session on DHS report
   The Eau Claire County Board will hold another special meeting this Wednesday to continue its discussions regarding its internal investigation into the Department of Human Services and related issues.
More information:
Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors
 • Wednesday, July 12, 6 p.m. Agenda Packet
County Board district maps and Supervisors
Eau Claire County Board calls another special meeting on DHS investigation (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire County Board to continue special meeting (WEAU 13 News)

More local stories:

Escondo moving from Big Brothers Big Sisters to lead Eau Claire Community Foundation
(WEAU 13 News)

Company drops plan to buy Eau Claire Regency Inn, replace with car wash
(Leader-Telegram $)

Another Regency Sale Falls Through, Businesses Concerned
(WQOW News 18)

Regency Inn & Suites owners release statement regarding future of the property
(WEAU 13 News)

Community Convergence: Eau Claire Grassroots Media Orgs Unveil Merger
(Volume One)

Artisan Forge Studios rebranding to "The 1106", part of "Uptown Eau Claire"
(WQOW News 18)

Pablo Center hosts its first Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival
(WEAU 13 News)

Record crowds expected for Northern Wisconsin State Fair
(Leader-Telegram $)


State budget passed, signed by Governor with 51 partial vetoes
UWEC Science Building, UW-Stout Heritage Hall in final budget
   Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed the 2023-25 State budget on July 5 with 51 partial vetoes. The budget had been drafted by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) and passed on June 28 by the State Senate, 20-13, and on June 29 by the Assembly, 63-34. The budget spends $97.4 billion over four years vs. the 2021-23 budget of $87.5 billion.

   Among the top regional priorities, both the UWEC Science & Health Sciences Building and the UW-Stout Heritage Hall renovation were funded in the final capital budget signed by the Governor. 
   Highlights of the budget include enactment of the shared revenue compromise to dedicate 20% of the state sales tax to local government aid, allow the city and county of Milwaukee to enact local sales taxes, repeal of the personal property tax, a $125 million trust fund for PFAS mitigation, $1.5 billion in added transportation funding, and $534 million in additional K-12 school funding. The budget cut $32 million from the UW-System, and the capital budget did not include a proposed UW-Madison engineering building.
   Budget provisions impacted by the Governor's partial vetoes include an annual per pupil revenue limit adjustment for school districts of $325 through 2425, elimination of income tax cuts for the top two tax brackets, and eliminating a mandate for WEDC to spend $4 million on talent attraction.
   Over the coming weeks, we will provide more coverage of the provisions and implications of the state budget, especially as they relate to the Chippewa Valley, and will be following legislative and executive actions that are likely to move forward over the coming months to continue to address key business issues.
More information:
Final state budget as enacted - Wisconsin Act 19 (Wisconsin Legislature)

State Senate roll call (Wisconsin Legislature, June 28)
State Assembly roll call (Wisconsin Legislature, June 29)
Governor's Budget Veto Message (Office of the Governor)
Gov. Evers Signs 2023-25 Biennial Budget Making Historic Investments in Communities, Expanding Affordable Housing Statewide, Addressing PFAS (Governor Evers News Release)
UWEC Science & Health Sciences Building - project info (UWEC)
UW-Stout Heritage Hall renovation - project info (UW-Stout)
Income tax cuts significantly lower in Wisconsin with Gov. Tony Evers' veto (Wisconsin State Journal +)
Speaker Robin Vos vows moves to restore tax cut after Tony Evers' veto. Evers promises another one. (Journal-Sentinel +)
For the Record: Evers reverses stance, says he's open to negotiating on middle-class tax cuts (Channel 3000)
Average income taxes in Wisconsin to go down $3 a month under cut signed by Evers (AP)
Governor Signs 2023-25 Budget, 51 Partial Vetoes - transportation modifications (TDA of Wisconsin)
Evers uses veto powers to cut funds for Milwaukee tourism bureau for RNC (WPR)
UW President: Budget cuts undermine workforce development efforts (La Crosse Tribune +)
Robin Vos: $32M in UW funding won't be released unless diversity programs end (WPR)
Tony Evers vetoes DEI-related UW System position cuts in state budget (The Cap Times)
Here's what 400 years of Wisconsin school district funding means (WPR)
State budget boosts Lake Altoona anti-sand efforts (Leader-Telegram $)
Lake Altoona District receives $500K for sand removal (WEAU 13 News)
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers' adventures with line-item vetoes (Axios)
Wisconsin governor’s 400-year veto angers opponents in state with long history of creative cuts (AP)
Video: Capital City Sunday - Evers on signing budget, Thompson on veto power (WKOW)

More state and regional stories: 

Gov. Tony Evers asks for safeguards on PFAS bill to ensure communities can access state relief
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Child care dilemma squeezes Wisconsin workers, parents
(The Cap Times)

'Every regulation has some sort of cost': Wisconsin meat producers wary of increased label enforcement

Kohler golf course in legal limbo after human remains found, environmental impact concerns raised
(The Daily Reporter)


National and economic stories:

Yellen’s latest trip helps set a new normal for the U.S.-China relationship

Cooler hiring in June could help the Fed achieve an elusive ‘soft landing’ for US economy

Job Gains Slow in June, Unemployment Rate Edges Lower

Supreme Court strikes down Biden student-loan forgiveness program

Rebecca Cooke announces bid to unseat Derrick Van Orden in Wisconsin's purple 3rd Congressional District (Journal-Sentinel +)

Cooke announces second bid for U.S. House of Representatives
(WQOW New 18)

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

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


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

Mark your calendar:

Eggs & Issues: Economic Development Update
 • Friday, July 28, CVTC Business Education Center

The Chamber's Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, August 7

Chamber & CVTC Business Community Breakfast
 • Tuesday, Sep 12

Bravo to Business

 • Thursday, Sep 21

Workforce Solutions Summit
 • Wednesday, Nov 15

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