Local Government – Milwaukee County First http://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 22:02:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-7-1.png Local Government – Milwaukee County First http://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/ 32 32 Chinese Government Strives to Boost Economic Growth – BRINK – Conversations and Insights on Global Business https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/chinese-government-strives-to-boost-economic-growth-brink-conversations-and-insights-on-global-business/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 22:02:55 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/chinese-government-strives-to-boost-economic-growth-brink-conversations-and-insights-on-global-business/ Pedestrians walk through a shopping area on August 06, 2022 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong’s economy has contracted consecutively for the past two consecutive quarters on weak exports and investment as it struggles with pandemic-induced restrictions. Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images China’s economy has shown signs of weakening since April after a decent first […]]]>

China’s economy has shown signs of weakening since April after a decent first quarter, when GDP grew 4.8% year-on-year. The country’s GDP grew by only 0.4% in the second quarter, due to factors including COVID-related lockdowns in major cities and a deteriorating real estate sector.

Last month, the central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), surprised the market with a significant cut in interest rates: the one-year medium-term loan facility (MLF) and the reverse repurchase agreement. seven-day reversal were lowered by 10 basis points. . Another rate cut came a week later, when the five-year and one-year loan prime rates (LPR) were each cut by 15 and 5 basis points.

Restoring business confidence is the key objective

The recent Chinese rate cut has been unexpected by most analysts given that the world’s major central banks have experienced a cycle of interest rate hikes in recent months and China’s consumer price index rose 2.7% year-on-year in July, indicating stronger inflationary pressure. The market expected the central bank to favor structural monetary tools, such as additional liquidity or rate cuts for certain sectors, rather than a more general reduction in interest rates.

We think the rate cut is reasonable as it helps restore business confidence after the release of discouraging macro data for July. The company’s total funding (i.e. total excluding financial institutions) was down 30% year-on-year, from 1.080 billion yuan to 756 billion yuan (108 billion dollars), a new monthly record in six years.

This implies that willingness and effective borrowing remain low despite prior policy efforts by the monetary authority.

Growing mortgage boycotts

Another sign of economic difficulties is the rapid spread of mortgage boycotts in July, involving projects in 26 provinces and municipalities, raising fears of widespread risk in the financial sector.

In July, house prices in China fell for the 11th month and since the outbreak of the mortgage strike, the decline is further accentuated. Lower rates served as strong policy support for the struggling real estate sector.

At the same time, the central bank maintained its cautious stance on expanding liquidity, while taking steps to reduce household and corporate funding costs. By August 15, when 600 billion yuan ($86 million) of MLF loans matured, the PBoC operation had resulted in a net withdrawal of funds of 200 billion yuan from the banking system.

A decline in borrowing activity

Weak social finance is underpinned by insufficient investment and consumption demand, resulting from uncertainties about corporate profits and income prospects for the population.

In July 2022, M2, a broad measure of money supply, fell 337 trillion renminbi ($48 billion) month-on-month, compared with an average increase of 3.3 trillion renminbi in the first half of the year. . The reduction in new loans, by households and businesses, is the main reason for the decline in the M2 balance.

Meanwhile, the risk is increasing that funds and liquidity will sit idle within the financial system, due to deteriorating demand for credit from the real estate sector. Funding of short-term bills of the four public banks and major national banks increased by 148.0% and 102.7% year-on-year in July 2022, while the growth rate of short-term and long-term loans of these banks has decreased. During the same month, loan growth also slowed significantly (negative) for small and medium banks, indicating a further weakening in demand for credit by small and medium enterprises.

The fiscal injection from the central bank’s earnings presentation will soon be exhausted, and the local government bond issuance quota will soon be exhausted.

Reduced cost of borrowing and more targeted support to keep going

We expect the central bank to accelerate the implementation of existing structural policies, such as additional liquidity in specific sectors, increased targeted credit expansion for SMEs, especially low-carbon ones, linked to agriculture and focused on technological innovation.

For example, the State Council executive meeting in June decided for the first time to earmark 300 billion yuan ($43 billion) for policy-based development financial instruments (PDFI) to accelerate the funding for local government projects. In August, the government announced an 800 billion yuan credit increase to strategic banks to support infrastructure construction. Another increase of more than 300 billion yuan was added later in the month.

China’s monetary policy will likely continue to aim to stimulate borrowing demand and help financial institutions increase the supply of credit to targeted borrowers.

Financial support for local governments

In March 2022, the PboC announced that the PBoC would make profits of over 1.1 trillion renminbi to the central government. The amount will be used to accelerate the implementation of policies, including VAT refunds and other expansionary tax policies. By the first half of 2022, it had generated more than 900 billion renminbi ($129 billion), equivalent to a liquidity injection resulting from a 0.45 percentage point reduction in the reserve requirement ratio, according to the estimate of the PBoC.

Profits remitted by the central bank can directly reach the recipients without going through the traditional money creation cycle. More importantly, the injection helps rebuild local government finances without increasing their debt levels, allowing local governments to pursue tax reduction and job protection policies and add cash flow essential to the real sector.

A recent innovation is the use of the PDFI (Policy Based Financing and Development Instruments), a new monetary policy tool first announced in June, which aims to provide rapid financing to infrastructure projects supported by the government. In particular, the PDFI provides start-up or transition funds through infrastructure funds, which can be considerably faster than issuing local government bonds.

At present, the PDFI mainly focuses on the construction of network infrastructure for transport, energy and irrigation, while other local projects such as those on scientific and technological innovation were to be financed by special bonds from local governments.

In the coming months, the government must provide more funds to help reverse the economic downturn of the past few months. The fiscal injection from the central bank’s earnings presentation will soon be exhausted, and the local government bond issuance quota will soon be exhausted.

The impact of lower rates has yet to materialize and the financial risks associated with a depressed real estate sector are far from resolved. We expect more monetary easing measures to be announced, particularly those aimed at strengthening the fiscal expansion for the rest of the year.

]]>
Does anyone want a government job? Someone? https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/does-anyone-want-a-government-job-someone/ Fri, 16 Sep 2022 20:45:22 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/does-anyone-want-a-government-job-someone/ In the United States, businessmen have been complaining for more than a year about the difficulty of hiring anyone. Their public sector counterparts have seen worse, however, and it may not just be a pandemic. To put it in numbers, nonfarm private sector employment in the United States was 885,000 more in August than before […]]]>

In the United States, businessmen have been complaining for more than a year about the difficulty of hiring anyone. Their public sector counterparts have seen worse, however, and it may not just be a pandemic.

To put it in numbers, nonfarm private sector employment in the United States was 885,000 more in August than before the February 2020 pandemic, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (That’s seasonally adjusted; without the adjustment it was 3.3 million higher.) Government employment was still down 645,000.

This actually underestimates the divergence between the private and the public. Last month, the BLS reported that its annual benchmarking of salaried employment numbers against unemployment insurance tax records showed private sector employment was about 571,000 higher than reported in last March and that government employment was 109,000 lower. These numbers won’t be finalized and incorporated into the monthly employment data until January, so just know that the government job cuts are even bigger than those shown in the graphs here. As currently reported, job losses were all in state and local government, with federal employment increasing very slightly. (The short-lived increase in government employment in the second half of 2020, apparent in the chart above, was for federal census temporary jobs only.)

Most of those job losses came early in the pandemic, when state and local income tax and sales revenues plummeted and elected officials feared they would continue to fall. Instead, both rebounded quickly while property taxes, the other main source of state and local revenue, were never hit hard. The $513 billion in seasonally adjusted state and local government revenue in the first quarter of this year is 17% higher, adjusted for inflation, than in the fourth quarter of 2019.

So it’s not like state and local governments have to downsize. But even before the pandemic, government agencies were struggling to retain workers and hire new ones in the face of stiff competition from private employers, and in July there were 1.1 million job openings at levels local, state and federal – nearly double the number just five years ago.

Public school teacher shortages have received the most attention, but local governments are also struggling to hire enough police, firefighters, paramedics, garbage collectors and others. Labor “shortages” are, of course, usually an indicator that wages are not high enough, but governments have less flexibility than private employers to adjust wages and benefits to changing labor market conditions. A recent survey by the MissionSquare Research Institute of state and local government human resources staff found that only 44% believed the salaries they offered were competitive with the broader labor market. work. In 2016, the first year the survey was conducted, 61% did. These are jobs that during the pandemic have often been particularly dangerous and stressful, diminishing their appeal compared to many jobs in the private sector.

Health and retirement plans are another matter, with 85% of respondents saying the benefits offered by their states or localities were competitive. But pension plans that don’t kick in for decades and often aren’t portable between jobs may be less attractive than they once were, given that early layoffs of the pandemic and during and after the Great Recession have made it clear that state and local government jobs are not necessarily forever.

This Great Recession pullback marked a turning point for state and local government employment, which peaked as a share of nonfarm wage employment in the mid-1970s but has remained more or less flat since then. until around 2010. Here is employment at the three levels of government as a percentage of non-farm payrolls, which peaked at 19.4% in July 1975 and fell to 14.6% in August – about where it stands was in the summer of 1957. Interruptions in this decline are mainly due to recessions, when private employment tends to decline faster than public employment.

The federal government is the smallest of the three in terms of employment and has followed a different trajectory than the other two. Its relative size peaked during World War II, fell by more than 50% from 1957 to 2000, and has remained more or less stable since (small peaks every 10 years are for censuses).

In numbers rather than percentages, federal employment excluding the U.S. Postal Service was 2.3 million in August and has been in that general vicinity since the late 1960s. The Postal Service, which I have excluded here because the non-postal workforce seems to better reflect what we mean when we talk about the federal government, employed 600,000 people in August, down from a peak of just over 900,000 in 1999. The military on active duty are not included in the BLS jobs data, and if they were, the drop shown above would be much steeper – there are about 1.3 million now, down from 2.8 million in 1957 and 3.5 million in 1968. Intelligence agencies are not included either, but with an estimated employment of around 100,000 they would not have much impact.

Also missing are the many nonfederal employees whose paychecks are funded by federal dollars, but Paul C. Light, a professor at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, produces estimates of their numbers. He’s quite confident in the contractor totals, which are calculated from detailed government procurement inventories, but says there’s “a bit more squish” in the grant and job estimates.

Increased defense spending means more government contractors, which mainly explains the ups and downs in the chart, as defense spending increased a lot under the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump, fell under those of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and was close to flat during the presidency of George HW Bush. Depressed private sector employment totals during or following recessions reduced the denominator and thus increased the percentages in 2010 and again in 2020 and 2021, but even with this, total federal employment during in fiscal year 2021 was smaller relative to overall employment than in the 1980s and early 1990s, and likely smaller than in previous decades.

Yet by this metric, federal employment is almost as important as local government employment, some of which is funded by federal grants, and is significantly higher than it was 20 years ago. But is it too high? Too low?

Interestingly, the long decline in public employment as a share of total employment coincided with an era of general dissatisfaction with government, although I’m not sure of the cause and effect (probably a bit of both). Federal spending hit a peacetime record of 31.3% of gross domestic product in fiscal year 2020, so it’s not like the government has stepped down in that direction. Washington’s regulatory reach hasn’t exactly shrunk either – the Federal Register, where new regulations are published, had twice as many pages in 2021 as it did in 1978. But that may be the problem: we ask government to do more without hiring enough people to do it right.

More writers at Bloomberg Opinion:

• Your Guide to the Permanent Pandemic Economy: Allison Schrager

• This labor market exodus is a statistical mirage: Justin Fox

• Booming labor market favors soft landing: Conor Sen

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editorial Board or of Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Justin Fox is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering business. Former editorial director of Harvard Business Review, he has written for Time, Fortune and American Banker. He is the author of “The Myth of the Rational Market”.

More stories like this are available at bloomberg.com/opinion

]]>
New Pärnu city government coalition emerges, Center exits, Isamaa enters | Policy https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/new-parnu-city-government-coalition-emerges-center-exits-isamaa-enters-policy/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 04:41:00 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/new-parnu-city-government-coalition-emerges-center-exits-isamaa-enters-policy/ The Pärnu Ühendab electoral alliance, led by the city’s mayor, Romek Kosenkranius, on Wednesday signed the coalition agreement with the Reform Party and Isamaa, which the mayor said represents no significant change from the one signed in last November following the local elections in the fall. Kosenkranius told ETV news program “Aktuaalne kaamera” (AK) that: […]]]>

The Pärnu Ühendab electoral alliance, led by the city’s mayor, Romek Kosenkranius, on Wednesday signed the coalition agreement with the Reform Party and Isamaa, which the mayor said represents no significant change from the one signed in last November following the local elections in the fall.

Kosenkranius told ETV news program “Aktuaalne kaamera” (AK) that: “Isamaa’s proposals under the coalition agreement were quite similar to what we discussed before. There is no there have been no major changes, and Pärnu will continue on the same path.”

“However, there are several important nuances regarding green energy, kindergarten fees and the issue of the Pärnu bridge which have also been made more concrete,” he added.

The city had recently requested 25 million euros from the state, in order to go ahead with the new bridge and in the wake of soaring construction prices.

Council President Andrei Korobeinik (Centre) wrote an opinion piece for the ERR late last week that signaled the impending change of power, although Mayor Kosenkranius denied at the time that he was trying to replace the Center in the coalition.

Korobeinik faces a vote of no confidence today, Thursday, but says he has no intention of responding in kind to Kosenkranius.

Korobeinik, a former MP, told AK that: “The mayor is lying or has holes in his memory. As a native of Pärnu, I am very worried that the city has a mayor like this. So we will try determine the situation, and see what happens.”

Andres Metsoja, who signed the coalition agreement on behalf of the new Isamaa, agreed that there would be no major changes to the developments planned for the city of around 40,000 people as outlined in the agreement previous coalition.

Metsoja also sits in the Riigikogu, although he is also likely to be chairman of the Pärnu council – MPs can also hold local council seats, and around half of them do.

Agnes Pulk, chairwoman of the board of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), also accused Mayor Kosenkranius of long-term corruption, dishonesty and violation of regulations.

Electoral alliances such as Pärnu Ühendab are common in local governments and often result in a coalition with major national parties.

Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

]]>
Former mayor Debbie Wisby escapes punishment for renting property to council workers through Airbnb https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/former-mayor-debbie-wisby-escapes-punishment-for-renting-property-to-council-workers-through-airbnb/ Tue, 13 Sep 2022 03:53:04 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/former-mayor-debbie-wisby-escapes-punishment-for-renting-property-to-council-workers-through-airbnb/ A former Tasmanian mayor found guilty of breaking the state’s local government law by renting out his visitor accommodation to two council workers has avoided any punishment. Key points: Debbie Wisby resigned as mayor in July 2020, nearly two years after her election She rented her Airbnb to acting general managers at a reduced weekly […]]]>

A former Tasmanian mayor found guilty of breaking the state’s local government law by renting out his visitor accommodation to two council workers has avoided any punishment.

Former Glamorgan Spring Bay mayor Debbie Wisby rented her Triabunna Airbnb to two acting chief executives over a three-month period in 2019, receiving a $3,300 payment from the council.

Ms Wisby was charged with four breaches of the Local Government Act in 2020 following a complaint from the Australian Services Union.

Today Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Daly found her guilty of two counts of abuse of office and two counts of misuse of information.

Ms Wisby was mayor and councilor of Glamorgan Spring Bay when the council appointed two interim chief executives, Ian Pearce and Harry Galea, and knew they needed local accommodation, with the cost to be reimbursed by the council.

Mr. Pearce stayed in the accommodation between May 20 and July 9, 2019, and Mr. Galea from July 8 to August 11.

Magistrate Daly said Ms Wisby offered them a rate of $300 a week – well below her regular weekly rate of $833 – in a bid to reduce the amount the council spent.

He called the deal ‘unusual’, saying Ms Wisby’s proposed reduced rate exemplified her ‘good intentions’ but her process for doing so broke the law.

Ms Wisby provided details of the arrangement to the full council in June and sought advice from an employee of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Office in August on whether renting her accommodation to someone associated with the council constituted a conflict of interest.

“Ultimately, it cannot be disputed that your intention was to reduce council tax,” Magistrate Daly said at sentencing.

Ms Wisby’s lawyer told the court she had been the target of a ‘relentless public campaign’ by some of her colleagues at the time.(ABC News: Leon Compton)

Ms Wisby’s solicitor, Chris Gunson, argued that Magistrate Daly should not register a conviction as it could impact his standing on government boards.

He said Ms Wisby tried to save the financially troubled council money during a housing shortage as the deal she offered was against her financial interests.

“I would characterize this as a somewhat technical breach of the law without motivation or malicious motives or nefarious conduct on the part of the defendant,” Mr Gunson said.

He said Ms Wisby had been the subject of a ‘relentless public campaign’ against her by council workers and some councillors, and had received treatment for anxiety and depression.

Magistrate Daly noted that Ms Wisby had faced ‘really significant consequences’ as a result of her offence.

He found her guilty on all four counts, but imposed no further sentences.

]]>
Relief funds still helping city’s recovery, 2023 budget shows https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/relief-funds-still-helping-citys-recovery-2023-budget-shows/ Sun, 11 Sep 2022 05:01:00 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/relief-funds-still-helping-citys-recovery-2023-budget-shows/ Before City Council meets this Thursday to approve the $3.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2023, a business session and public hearing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday will give citizens one more opportunity to make their To hear. Council members will discuss, among other things, how to use the $75 million given to the city […]]]>

Before City Council meets this Thursday to approve the $3.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2023, a business session and public hearing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday will give citizens one more opportunity to make their To hear.

Council members will discuss, among other things, how to use the $75 million given to the city in CPS Energy’s annual revenue split, which this year rose from $361.2 million to $430 million, thanks to extreme summer weather and rising energy costs.

Meanwhile, the $1.51 billion General Fund budget for 2023 will include $195.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds drawn from the $326,919,408 in state and local stimulus funds. received by the city.

]]>
Town of Menahga completes 2021 audit, so as not to lose local government assistance – Park Rapids Enterprise https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/town-of-menahga-completes-2021-audit-so-as-not-to-lose-local-government-assistance-park-rapids-enterprise/ Wed, 07 Sep 2022 21:55:29 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/town-of-menahga-completes-2021-audit-so-as-not-to-lose-local-government-assistance-park-rapids-enterprise/ Menahga City Council approved its 2021 audit last week. This is a major achievement given that earlier this year the city struggled to find a certified public accountant willing to work with them following staff departures, unpaid bills, accounts incomplete information and allegations from council members. In February, after the city received no proposals from […]]]>

Menahga City Council approved its 2021 audit last week.

This is a major achievement given that earlier this year the city struggled to find a certified public accountant willing to work with them following staff departures, unpaid bills, accounts incomplete information and allegations from council members.

In February, after the city received no proposals from potential auditors, the council decided to retain the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) for the position, but the OSA responded that it did not didn’t have the staff.

The audit was scheduled to take place on June 30, 2022. The city was granted an extension.

After the city rehired Betty Thomsen as interim city administrator and Alvina Kytta as temporary assistant clerk, Dean Birkeland, a CPA at CarlsonSV of Fergus Falls, agreed to do the 2021 audit. Kytta was deputy clerk of Menahga from 2012 to January 2019.

According to the audit, the main highlights of 2021 were:

  • The City’s assets and deferred resource outflows exceeded its liabilities and deferred resource inflows by $6,075,175 (net position), as of December 31, 2021. Of this amount, $1,863,981 (unrestricted net position) can be used to meet the needs of the City. ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors.
  • The city’s total net position decreased by $1,034.
  • Government-wide revenues were $3,064,460 while expenses totaled $3,056,494.
  • As of the end of the current fiscal year, City Government Funds reported combined closing balances of $738,862, a decrease of $1,188,133.
  • The city’s total bond debt decreased by $1,779,000.

The audit report continues: “A large portion of the City’s net position (57%) reflects its investments in capital assets (e.g. land, land improvements, buildings, equipment and infrastructure) , less any related debt used to acquire those assets which is still exceptional.
“An additional portion of the city’s net position (12%) represents resources subject to external restrictions on how they can be used. The remaining balance of the unrestricted net position can be used to meet the city’s ongoing obligations to citizens and creditors.

Property taxes and intergovernmental revenue accounted for 29% of total revenue in 2021, according to the audit.

The net position decreased by $163,613 in the City’s water fund and $13,804 in its sewage fund. The Liquor Stores fund net position increased by $146,661.

As for the city budget, actual revenue was $73,970 higher than expected “primarily due to unbudgeted camping and park rental fees and a Small Town Assistance Grant received from the state.” . Actual expenditures were $125,807 higher than planned. This is due to higher than expected administrative expenses.

At the end of fiscal 2021, the city had long-term debt of $6,860,000.

Cash Balance Clarification

Thomsen responded to a rumor that money was missing from City Hall.

” It is a small city. It’s like “Telephone”. … The cash balance at the end of 2020 was $328,000 lower. I didn’t mean the money wasn’t there; it just wasn’t allocated in the right areas,” she said.

Thomsen said she was aware there was a ‘scuttling’ over the cost of ‘us ladies here at City Hall’, referring to herself, Kytta and Dustyne Hewitt, who is city ​​secretary.

Thomsen stressed that they have redone the work of 2021, while respecting the current finances.

“Alvina made absolutely every trade made in 2021. She found all but $17,000 of that money. It’s phenomenal,” Thomsen said, adding, “We’ve had rough treatment here, very rude citizens towards us. It hasn’t been fun. When you do the work in pairs, it’s not fun either. I just want people to understand, when you hear things on the street, please come here. We can show you in black and white what the truth is.

Rude behavior brought Kytta to tears on several occasions, she said.

The previous city administration and some council members blamed Banyon for the city’s financial mess. It is an accounting software used by many cities in Minnesota.

“I would like to put this in very simplistic language,” Thomsen said. “If you take your car to have the oil changed and they put the oil in the radiator, would you say it’s the car’s fault?” Blame the radiator? Or would you say it’s the operator’s fault? That’s how Banyon works. It is a computer program. We manually insert this information. Banyon works.

Thomsen praised Kytta for her knowledge and help in correcting accounting errors.

Temporary administrative assistant Jensine Kurtti discovered four empty municipal lots that could be sold and put back on the tax rolls.

Kurtti discovered that the city had three lots in Odland’s Pine Acres fourth addition and one in Odland’s fifth addition. They have city utilities and no special assessments. The value of the land ranges from $18,200 to $18,700.

Looking at a map, Kurtti wondered who owned the four undeveloped lots. “To my surprise, the city of Menahga owns it.”

In the 1980s, she says, the city bought the land in case it wanted to expand the cemetery. One problem, however, is that large trees exist between the lots and the cemetery. Kurtti said there was room elsewhere for the cemetery to expand, and most burials are cremations these days.

Thomsen said council could declare the lots surplus municipal property and sell them. She said she would prepare a resolution.

In other cases, the council did the following:

  • Approval of a salary increase for municipal campground manager Ralph Cox. Since September 1, his salary has increased to $19 an hour.
  • Approved the purchase of a ton of washed beach sand, at $21 per yard, for the city beach.
  • Agreed to donate the city’s 2011 Caterpillar road grader, for $200,000, to the Wadena County Highway Department.
  • Learned that the Minnesota Department of Transportation has said the city can paint the US Interstate sidewalk. 71 and State Highway. 87 to limit parking within 30 feet of stop signs.
]]>
Iowa River would become a ‘pedal paddling destination’ under proposed plan https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/iowa-river-would-become-a-pedal-paddling-destination-under-proposed-plan/ Tue, 06 Sep 2022 05:19:35 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/iowa-river-would-become-a-pedal-paddling-destination-under-proposed-plan/ A cyclist rides the Iowa River Trail at the confluence of Clear Creek and the Iowa River in Coralville on August 31. The cities of Iowa City and Coralville, along with Johnson County, are working on a joint grant application to make the Iowa River a star attraction for residents and visitors. The City of […]]]>

A cyclist rides the Iowa River Trail at the confluence of Clear Creek and the Iowa River in Coralville on August 31. The cities of Iowa City and Coralville, along with Johnson County, are working on a joint grant application to make the Iowa River a star attraction for residents and visitors. The City of Coralville is planning a new park on the site. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Clear Creek heads into the Iowa River at Coralville. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The boat ramp at Sturgis Ferry in Iowa City. The cities of Iowa City and Coralville, along with Johnson County, are working on a joint grant application to make the Iowa River a top attraction for residents and visitors. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

Rendering of Clear Creek Point Park Project in Coralville (Town of Coralville)

A list of potential amenities that are part of the Clear Creek Point park project in Coralville. (Town of Coralville)

A rendering of the Clear Creek Point park project in Coralville during the winter. (Town of Coralville)

A cyclist rides the Iowa River Trail at the confluence of Clear Creek and the Iowa River in Coralville on August 31. The cities of Iowa City and Coralville, along with Johnson County, are working on a joint grant application to make the Iowa River a star attraction for residents and visitors. The City of Coralville is planning a new park on the site. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

A trail marker for the Iowa River Trail at the confluence of Clear Creek and the Iowa River in Coralville. The cities of Iowa City and Coralville, along with Johnson County, are working on a joint grant application to make the Iowa River a top attraction for residents and visitors. The City of Coralville is planning a new park on the site. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

CORALVILLE — Local governments in Johnson County want to make the Iowa River a star attraction for residents and visitors.

With help from Think Iowa City, the cities of Coralville and Iowa City, along with Johnson County, are preparing an application for nearly $6 million to the state’s Destination Iowa program to be submitted in the coming weeks.

The joint application seeks to fund various projects that improve access to water and trails in the county. This includes a new park in Coralville with various amenities, a skatepark renovation in Iowa City, new boat ramps, and the completion of the Clear Creek Trail connection in Kent Park.

“We call ourselves the pedal paddling destination of the Midwest because of all the trail access you can pedal and all the water access you can paddle on,” said Nick Pfeiffer, vice president of Think Iowa City Public Affairs.

The projects included in the grant application are “ready to go” and could start within the next 12 months, Pfeiffer said. They are part of a larger, long-term vision to revitalize the Iowa River for recreation.

The total amount of the request, which currently stands at $5.8 million, could change slightly before it is submitted, Pfeiffer said. As it stands, Coralville would receive about 40%, Iowa City 25% and Johnson County 35%, he added.

It’s a collaborative effort with a “united vision,” Pfeiffer said. If the state grants the full amount requested, Pfeiffer said that would support funding for the projects.

Broader vision

The bid projects are part of a larger vision to make the Iowa River a landmark attraction. This vision is also among the priorities identified in the plan released by Project Better Together 2030 earlier this year.

Although the river has been maintained over the decades, it hasn’t been used to its full potential, Pfeiffer said.

“Even though it cuts through the hearts of our communities in our county, we largely ignore it and fail to utilize its beauty and all that it can be,” Pfeiffer said.

The long term plan is to develop features to make the river easier to use from the Coralville Reservoir Dam all the way south to Hills and Riverside. That includes improving the trail system, adding boat ramps so people can easily get on the water, and planning other attractions along the river, Pfeiffer said.

It will provide residents with multiple opportunities for recreation and entertainment, and attract more visitors to the area, he said.

“Cohesive Waterfront” in Coralville

The city of Coralville is looking to develop bicycle and small watercraft amenities where Clear Creek meets the Iowa River just east of First Avenue, said Sherri Proud, the city’s director of parks and recreation. The site is south of the Iowa River Power Restaurant and the former location of Hawkeye Ready-Mix.

The proposed Clear Creek Point park could also have pickleball courts, exercise stations, activity shelter, walking loop, pump track and more. A “fix it” station for bikes and a “kayak vending station” for rentals — similar to a bike-share program — are also part of the proposed plan, Proud said.

The location is a good spot for an accessible kayak launch because the water is calmer, Proud said. In the winter, the walking loop could be an ice skating spot.

The park’s ideas and name are in draft form and will be discussed further once funding is secured, Proud said. The project would be carried out in phases.

“We’re talking about leveraging the history of the ice industry on the Iowa River, as well as the factory industry,” Proud said. “There will be ties to Iowa River Landing and making sure you have a cohesive river front here in Coralville with all of these ideas.”

The Iowa City Projects

In Iowa City, the funds would be used to renovate the skatepark and add a bike pump track at Terrell Mill Park, build an off-road bike path on land north of City Park, and improve boat runs in the area.

The skatepark would be expanded and include some additional equipment, Pfeiffer said. The pump track would be for those using BMX type bikes.

It is possible to drop off a boat at Waterworks Prairie Park, which is on North Dubuque Street, just north of Interstate 80.

“It would make a really nice access … that you could put a boat or a kayak or a canoe on and paddle the Iowa River and then go down to Clear Creek Point Park,” Pfeiffer said.

There are also plans to improve the current boat drop at Sturgis Ferry Park on South Riverside Drive, Pfeiffer said.

“They’re going to improve that area, definitely dress it up, and improve access to it and the amenities there,” Pfeiffer said.

Clear Creek Trail Extension

Johnson County’s portion of the request is to connect Clear Creek Trail to FW Kent Park, Pfeiffer said. The $5 million trail extension secured $3.5 million in funding and is seeking the remaining $1.5 million, The Gazette reported earlier this year.

Clear Creek Trail currently extends from what will be Clear Creek Point Park to the Interstate 80/380 interchange. Once construction of the interchange is complete, the trail will pass under the bridges and connect to the trail at Tiffin.

The requested funds would help extend the 2.5 mile trail from Tiffin to Kent Park.

“We’re hoping this trail will connect here, so you can bike from Iowa City or Coralville, down to Tiffin, and down to Kent Park,” county conservation director Larry Gullett said in May. .

Comments: (319) 339-3155; izabela.zaluska@thegazette.com

]]>
Fort Myers City Council to Discuss Golf Carts Driving on Public Roads https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/fort-myers-city-council-to-discuss-golf-carts-driving-on-public-roads/ Sun, 04 Sep 2022 13:24:00 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/fort-myers-city-council-to-discuss-golf-carts-driving-on-public-roads/ FORT MYERS, Fla. — A popular mode of transportation here in Southwest Florida may soon receive new rules. The Fort Myers City Council will discuss whether or not to allow golf carts on streets with speed limits below 35 mph. If passed, we may soon see golf carts on a road near you. Drivers will […]]]>

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A popular mode of transportation here in Southwest Florida may soon receive new rules.

The Fort Myers City Council will discuss whether or not to allow golf carts on streets with speed limits below 35 mph.

If passed, we may soon see golf carts on a road near you. Drivers will also need to have a driver’s license and safety lights on board their cart.

Currently in the State of Florida, golf carts are defined in Section 320.01 of the Florida Statutes as “a motor vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and which does not is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.”

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles advises that golf carts may be operated on roads designated for golf carts with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less.

FLHSMV also says golf carts are not required to be titled or registered and operators are not required to have a driver’s license. But a driver must be at least 14 years old or older.

They also say that the use of golf carts on the roads must comply with any ordinances issued by the local government. So any decision the Fort Myers City Council decides to make must be followed by the operators.

The city council will discuss the ordinance at its regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

]]>
Officials express ‘serious concern’ over gun law | News, Sports, Jobs https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/officials-express-serious-concern-over-gun-law-news-sports-jobs/ Thu, 01 Sep 2022 04:09:01 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/officials-express-serious-concern-over-gun-law-news-sports-jobs/ PLATTSBURGH — Politicians and local officials are asking the governor’s office for further clarification on new concealed carry legislation that goes into effect tomorrow. Legislation (A41001/S51001), passed in early July, aims to strengthen New York’s gun laws and increase restrictions on the concealed carry of weapons in sensitive areas of the state, including […]]]>

PLATTSBURGH — Politicians and local officials are asking the governor’s office for further clarification on new concealed carry legislation that goes into effect tomorrow.

Legislation (A41001/S51001), passed in early July, aims to strengthen New York’s gun laws and increase restrictions on the concealed carry of weapons in sensitive areas of the state, including public parks .

The inclusion of public parks in the legislation immediately raised questions from politicians and residents about what it will mean for those in Adirondack Park – living or visiting – who are currently legally concealing transportation and whether, on September 1, will it be illegal for them to continue doing so? and will they be in danger of being charged with a Class E felony for possession of a concealed weapon?

“Areas of great concern”

Just one day before the legislation takes effect, State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake), State Assemblyman Matt Simpson (R- Horicon) and representatives from the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board and the Adirondack Villages Association of Towns and Villages (AATV) say these issues, along with many others, remain unresolved. clear.

“We have a few different areas of serious concern,” Jones said during a press conference at the Peru Boat Launch on Tuesday.

“And one is how does that affect public parks and how the definition of public parks is going to apply to Adirondack Park. and I know…most people here are very frustrated with some response or non-response we get on this.

Jones also noted that A41001/S51001 will require New Yorkers seeking to complete the concealed carry authorization process to meet new training requirements.

“There are training requirements here that we, quite frankly, don’t know if we have the capacity to meet those training requirements for our pistol-licensed citizens. They need to requalify and train. Previously it was five years, the training was never implemented, now it is three years”, he said.

“Our question is, and we need to know, who is qualified to train these people? How will they follow the training? I know that in my little home county of Franklin County…we have 7,000 people who are gun licenses carrying law abiding citizens.

“What is the training capacity in Franklin County? It’s not that great, and it’s nobody’s fault, but how are we going to qualify these people with this training? »

‘I can’t tell you’

Simpson, who has held a concealed carry license for more than 30 years, said he was among those concerned about the legality of concealed carry.

“I’m a sportsman and this time of year, we’re approaching September, it’s a time when fall hunters and anglers go back into the woods when it gets colder and one of the things they have which they have been able to enjoy exercises their right with duly authorized concealed carry”, said Simpson.

“Now a lot of the places we go are miles and miles away in the woods, one of my favorite trout ponds is seven miles away, and right now I can’t tell you if I’m legally allowed to have my handgun with me as I have for 30 years.

Another area of ​​concern in the new gun laws, raised by Simpson, is the concealment of carry in local businesses and how this appears to be affected in the future.

“…In New York State, a business has to declare whether or not firearms are okay, rather than someone (a business) stating that firearms are prohibited. To me, that really should be the opposite, otherwise you have to assume that every place you go, without a sign, is no guns allowed,” he said.

“We really need clarification and we need it immediately. There are too many people at risk here who have been law-abiding, law-abiding citizens and now…they don’t know where they stand.

No time for typing

Shawn Gilliland, vice president of AATV, said the newly enacted gun legislation should not have been drafted without receiving input from those who will be directly affected.

“The Legislature didn’t even give him time to comment publicly. So no one, no law-abiding citizen who has a concealed carry permit, or any gun owner in New York State, has had the opportunity to contribute to it,” Gilliland said.

“The state had…the redistricting commission that went around and talked statewide to its citizens about redistricting…and then you have another example (with) the Farmworkers Overtime Act, they’ve been all over the state talking to farming interests about it, but they haven’t given this particular law the courtesy of letting New Yorkers speak out.

“Well now we’re here to demand we can talk.”

Impacted “on a daily basis”

There are only two counties that reside entirely within the blue line of Adirondack Park: Essex and Hamilton counties.

Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Brian Wells was at the press conference to speak on behalf of Hamilton County and how residents will be affected when this bill takes effect.

“Hamilton County is in the park (Adirondack), given the geographic size of our school and our sparse population, if the law is enacted, we will be impacted every day,” says Wells.

“The possibility of having fundamental constitutional rights will be gone. From our hunting heritage to our ability to protect our loved ones…I would ask the Governor not to sign this flawed legislation, to go back to the drawing board and enact legislation that would be effective in ending gun violence and not persecute law-abiding citizens. ”

Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board Executive Director Jerry Delaney stressed that this gun legislation is not a bipartisan issue but a cultural one.

“I would like to point out (that) behind me are both Democrats and Republicans,” said Delaney.

“It’s not a political issue, it’s a cultural issue within the Adirondacks. The Adirondack people were born into a culture of hunting, fishing and the outdoors and this law, unfortunately, hits that culture directly. .

“We have citizens who honestly worry about whether or not they are going to commit a crime as they travel down the road.”

‘How do you handle this?’

Delaney raised several questions he still has regarding future trips to the Adirondacks Park and issues with private land.

“When you drive on a national road with forest reserves on both sides, you are in a forest reserve… which becomes a park. How do we deal with this problem? How do we deal with private lands that have conservation easements…? Is it a park or is it private land?

“Can the private landowner now continue to have their leases there that will allow the carrying of concealed weapons during the hunting season? Or is the state now taking away more economic benefits from these landowners, because it is partly run by the state? Does that mean it’s part of the park?

“There are so many questions for this unique area of ​​this region that have not been answered and, truth be told, unfortunately, again the state does not want to answer these questions. They want to impose legislation on culturally different people and expect us to agree and comply with it. But the state has a responsibility to tell us what the rules are, instead of letting us find out by mistake.



Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox






]]>
The cost of mixing culture wars with public finances https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/the-cost-of-mixing-culture-wars-with-public-finances/ Tue, 30 Aug 2022 05:07:08 +0000 https://milwaukeecountyfirst.com/the-cost-of-mixing-culture-wars-with-public-finances/ Given the nation’s deep political divisions these days, it’s no surprise that some state and local politicians on both sides of the aisle are looking to leverage the buying power of their governments to send messages to businesses. Americans and play their base while doing so. After all, it’s not their own money — it’s […]]]>

Given the nation’s deep political divisions these days, it’s no surprise that some state and local politicians on both sides of the aisle are looking to leverage the buying power of their governments to send messages to businesses. Americans and play their base while doing so. After all, it’s not their own money — it’s the public’s — so why not harness political power to advance his partisan posture?

The most common manifestations of these impulses to make political statements through public funds have historically been campaigns to divest public pensions, beginning with South Africa in the 1960s and then with Sudan in the early 1960s. 2000s and continuing through the wave of Russian divestment this year. Critics would say that pension policies focused on companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) profiles are the Liberals’ strategy to pressure companies to bend to their political will. The same could be said of pension funds that avoid investing in gun manufacturers.

The complaint — and it is valid in my opinion — has always been that these political statements rarely benefit pension funds and that the taxpayers of employers are ultimately left to foot the bill for investment underperformance. This grievance is now popular with 19 Republican attorneys general. However, many ESG advocates would counter that more sustainable and forward-looking corporate policies will produce better long-term returns on investment. This retirement land debate doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon; we really cannot properly assess the effectiveness of investments in less than a decade or even two.


What’s notable in recent years, however, is the tendency of some states and localities to pursue the same strategy with government funds, not their retirement assets. A great example of this is the Texas law that blacklists municipal bond underwriters who support ESG principles, which arguably goes against the state’s drill-baby-drill policy. rich in oil and its income structure dependent on oil. Whether viewed as a purely partisan exercise of power or as an economically self-serving action by a state government that knows where its bread is buttered, the result is the same: by excluding certain municipal bond dealers from appeals bidding for government bond issues and thereby limiting competition, it is the axiomatic view of a free market economist that the result will ultimately be higher borrowing costs for Texas taxpayers.

The West Virginia Legislature followed suit with similar legislation. Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have enacted similar laws, all focused on ESG and fossil fuel extraction. Notably, Kentucky ranks 21st and Tennessee 27th among oil-producing states, so one must conclude that their blackball actions are largely political, not fiscal.

The extent of any fiscal impact on Texans’ debt servicing costs is a matter of empirical research, which has already begun at Wharton. The subject will probably be the subject of an excellent doctoral thesis one day, but we will not know the precise figures anytime soon. With several states now involved, a fertile field for research has emerged.

Laying the base

It is clear that the tables have shifted from promoting policies favored by liberals to those of social conservatives who, just a decade ago, would have chastised their opponents for meddling in corporate policies and the efficiency of the free market. . It’s enough to make my head spin some days. Seemingly, all is fair in love, war and politics these days – as long as the partisan base is appeased and campaign contributions keep pouring in.

In Florida, we have the now notorious interference in public finances by state politicians who decided to punish Walt Disney World for the company’s public opposition to the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. of the state (in favor of its employees) by stripping the financial powers of five special districts to reprimand America’s most beloved family theme park.

Even local governments are getting involved, including on the left side of the political spectrum. In Pennsylvania, Lehigh County may become the first entity to divest its assets and operations to Wells Fargo due to the bank’s reported support for political candidates opposed to abortion rights.

Some of these retaliatory actions could potentially result in First Amendment lawsuits, especially since the Supreme Court’s decision United Citizens decision equated the right to freedom of expression of businesses with that of individuals. But given the growing divisions in the American body politic these days, it doesn’t take much imagination to expect political blacklists and similar financial boycotts to continue to proliferate.

I’m sure, for example, that we’ll see a few pro-abortion rights local governments adopt policies prohibiting reimbursement of travel expenses for attendance at professional conferences and training events in states that prohibit or restrict the procedure severely. Meanwhile, other governments may bar employees from traveling to conferences in states that provide safe haven for abortion seekers. What will prevent the emergence of similar internal policies regarding visiting states with open-carry gun laws? At least in the case of conference attendance, most government employees can find other professional development opportunities elsewhere, and some of those events now include virtual attendance options in this pandemic era. But for financial services firms serving the public sector, and the effective market competition they engender, there is no such workaround.

Proximity at state expense

The vengeful impulse to punish one’s enemies is not new. But doing so at the expense of one’s own constituents is a novelty in most modern pluralist democracies. It is petty, polarizing, punitive and, moreover, pointless to vilify political opponents as enemies of the body politic at state expense.

I do not claim to have all the answers or a universal solution to the dilemmas these examples present. But I’m pretty sure taxpayers will ultimately be ill-served when public sector investments and financial transactions are subject to political patronage, which is what these “rollback” policies really are. The problem, of course, is that in the short term there are very few political downsides to these interventions, and the financial costs will be diffuse and initially imperceptible. But that doesn’t make it fair – or smart.

The Big Seven state and local government political associations and their financial affiliates can all do us a favor by resisting such partisan demagoguery with policy advisories that highlight how misguided and ultimately costly such culture war retaliation is likely to be – and perhaps have already become.


GoverningThe opinion columns of reflect the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of Governingthe publishers or the management of.

]]>