The Whitewater Community Foundation is now accepting applications for 2022 Fall Community Action Grants.
Grants will be awarded to local non-profit organizations actively working to support the greater Whitewater
community. Please spread the word to groups working to effect positive change in the Whitewater area.
Qualified projects should be intended for educational, cultural, charitable or benevolent purposes that will
benefit and improve the greater Whitewater community. Projects are expected to be accomplished within a specific period of time (generally not more than one year) and should be creative, innovative and address community needs. We
look forward to working with leaders who are striving to make our community a greater place to live, work, and learn.
Interested organizations can find more information and fill out an application at https://whitewatercommunityfoundation.org/community-action-grants/
The deadline for submitting applications is October 31, 2022.
About WCF: The Whitewater Community Foundation’s mission is to “Enhance the quality of life
in the Whitewater area via educational, cultural, charitable or benevolent expenditures” through
scholarships and community action grants. Donations can be made by sending a check made
payable to Whitewater Community Foundation to P.O. Box 428, Whitewater, WI, 53190, or
donate online at whitewatercommunityfoundation.org by hitting the “Donate” button on top of
the contact page. For tax purposes, the Whitewater Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3)
By Al Stanek
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) efforts that were initiated decades ago have broadened the City of
Whitewater’s tax base significantly and the result is anticipated generally lower property tax bills next
year even with the passage of two upcoming referendums and higher property assessments according
to recent information mailed to city residents.
“Most taxpayers will see a net reduction in (2022) tax bills thanks in large part to $75 million of growth
in the City’s tax base,” according to information recently provided by the city. A second information
piece goes as far as to predict that “Even with a yes vote, more than 81% of residential property owners
will see their tax bills decline.” A huge increase in taxable property responsible for the decrease is largely attributable to the recent closure of a TIF funded district that includes the city’s business park.
“It’s a story that needs to be told,” said former Community Development Authority member Jim
Caldwell when asked to comment on the predictions. “Years ago, we set a goal of having more
employees in our business park than we have at the university. Attracting more families with children
is the key to sustainable community growth for our community,” he added.
Taxes generated within a TIF district go toward infrastructure development and marketing efforts while
the district is under development. When the district is closed, taxes generated by the new development
go back on the city’s tax rolls benefitting all property owners.
Many Whitewater homeowners were shocked earlier this year by updated property assessed values that averaged an increase of nearly 8%. Commercial and industrial property assessments went up even higher. Generally, a property’s increased assessed value results in a higher annual individual property tax bill. That is, unless government expenses go down or total valuation of all city property goes up significantly.
The TIF closure has produced a scenario where the amount that each small piece of the overall
operating funding that the individual taxpayer is responsible for (“your slice of the pie”) goes down — as the overall size of the funding “pie” goes up. As long as increased annual operating costs don’t go up
significantly, each individual homeowner’s tax obligation goes down. The increased assessed values
citywide, along with large scale developments like the growing Prairie Village neighborhood are also
major contributing factors to the overall growth in the “size of the pie.”
The TIF benefit comes at a critical time with the City of Whitewater residents being asked if they are
willing to increase total city spending for modernization of fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS). City estimates are that updating fire and EMS services and putting money aside for Fire/EMS equipment replacement will cost $1.1 million per year in the future.
Earlier city predictions of the impact to homeowners of an approved EMS referendum ranged from a
$52 to a $67 dollar increase for a newly re-assessed home with a $100,000 value. Updated predictions,
as all the taxing entities’ spending plans were updated, are reportedly the reason for the more optimistic
Essentially, city homeowners are being given a choice between improved ambulance response times
with a modest average property tax bill reduction, or a larger reduction in their average property tax bill.
The numbers will vary depending on which county you live in. Tax rates are different for Whitewater
residents in Walworth County than for Whitewater residents in Jefferson. Property tax bills are mailed
out by the City of Whitewater, but the city’s share represents only approximately 30% of the total tax levy. The remaining tax revenue funds the school district, county and technical college budgets.
What happens if the EMS referendum fails? Interim Whitewater City Manager John Weidl, who was
appointed as permanent city manager by the Common Council on October 26, offered the following projection.
“Emergency Medical Service response times would dramatically increase as emergency medical response capability would be reduced to one ambulance” according to Weidl. “It is likely a waste/recycling fee would be enacted to increase the general fund’s ability to cover the costs of a (reduced) base-level on-site EMS staffing,” he added.
The news release also suggested that on top of a waste/recycling fee the city would have to continue
borrowing at high interest rates to purchase necessary fire and EMS equipment as opposed to
referendum-provided annual equipment replacement set-asides.
According to Wisconsin Public Radio, Whitewater is one of twenty municipalities in the state that are conducting public safety referendums on November 8. Seven of eight such referendums passed in the April general election. Many of these referendums are a result of small town fire departments being forced to move away from largely volunteer based service models.
The City of Whitewater’s Volunteer Fire Department was created in 1871 according to the Whitewater
Fire Department (WFD, Inc.) website. Ambulance service was added with the growth in the use of
automobiles in the early 1900s.
Earlier this year city leaders authorized the hiring of paid on-premise Emergency Medical Technicians
(EMTs) in response to difficulties in responding to the growing number of emergency calls combined
with the rapidly diminishing number of volunteer paid on-call volunteers. Call response times often
exceeded five minutes just for responders to travel to the fire station. A growing number of calls had to
be referred to surrounding communities, such as Jefferson, if a two-person crew could not be assembled.
That prolonged response times even further.
The city currently has on-premises EMTs stationed at the Fire Department 24 hours per day seven days
per week. Bunk facilities in the basement of the Municipal Building/Fire Department complex have been provided for years as volunteer EMT’s had the option of being at the station when on call.
The City of Whitewater is posting details on the need for improved EMS service and the impact it is
expected to have on homeowners at www.whitewater-wi.gov/582/referendum.
The American Red Cross is hosting a blood drive for students, staff, and community members of Whitewater. All are welcome, please make an appointment call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossBlood.org
Editor’s note: The following announcement was received from The Friends of Lorine Niedecker.
Hear The Solitary Plover
Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m.
The Friends of Lorine Niedecker invites you to this special poetry event. The poets published in the Summer 2022 issue of “The Solitary Plover” will join us for a reading of their work. This reading will be moderated by Plover poetry editor Tom Montag, who will also read from his latest work.
Poets who will be reading are:
Lauren Carlson, Margaret Coombs, Tyler Farrell, Donna Fleischer, Mary Fry, Ronnie Hess, Angela Hoffman, Jeffrey Leisgang, Stephen Manuel, John Martone, Marilyn K. Moody, Elizabeth Harmatys Park, Jean Preston, Mary Rowin, Jeanie Tomasko, and Michael Dylan Welch.
You can join us by clicking on this Zoom link at the time of the program.
The Solitary Plover is the newsletter of the Friends of Lorine Niedecker. It is issued twice each year, in winter and in summer. You can sign up to receive The Plover in your email, read the Summer 2022 issue and previous issues on the Friends of Lorine Niedecker website here.
VOTING BY ABSENTEE BALLOT
Any qualified elector who is unable or unwilling to appear at the polling place on Election Day may submit a request to vote an absentee ballot to their municipal clerk. A qualified elector is any U.S. citizen who:
- will be 18 years of age or older on Election Day.
- has resided in the ward or municipality where they wish to vote for at least 28 consecutive days before the election.
The elector must also be registered to vote to receive an absentee ballot. Proof of identification must be provided before an absentee ballot may be issued*.
Making application to receive an absentee ballot by mail
Contact your municipal clerk and request that an application for an absentee ballot be sent to you for the primary or election or both. You may make written application to your municipal clerk for an absentee ballot in person, by mail, by fax, by email or at MyVote.wi.gov.
Your written request must include:
- your voting address within the municipality where you wish to vote
- the address where the absentee ballot should be sent, if different from the address above
- your signature
- a copy of your photo identification*
The deadline for making application to receive an absentee ballot by mail is 5 pm on the fifth day before the election, November 3, 2022.
*Voters who are indefinitely confined due to age, illness, infirmity, or disability may not be required to provide photo ID. If this applies to you, contact the municipal clerk regarding deadlines for requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.
**Special absentee voting application provisions apply to electors who are indefinitely confined, in the military, hospitalized, or serving as a sequestered juror. If this applies to you, contact the municipal clerk regarding deadlines for requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.
Voting an absentee ballot in person
You may also request and vote an absentee ballot in the clerk’s office or other specified location during the days and hours specified for casting an absentee ballot in person.
CITY OF WHITEWATER
Michele R. Smith, Clerk
312 W. Whitewater St.
Whitewater, WI 53190
(Phone) 262 473-0102
Hours: Mon – Fri
8:30 am – 4:30 pm
TOWN OF COLD SPRING
Lisa Griep, Clerk
W3497 Vannoy Rd.
Whitewater, WI I 53190
Absentee Hours by Appt.
TOWN OF LAGRANGE
Crystal Hoffmann, Clerk
P.O. Box 359
Whitewater, WI 53190
Absentee Hours by Appt.
TOWN OF LIMA
Pam Hookstead, Clerk
11053 Willow Drive
Whitewater, WI 53190
Absentee Hours by Appt.
TOWN OF RICHMOND
Barb Ceas, Clerk
Mail: W8776 Territorial Rd.
Whitewater, WI 53190
Town Hall W9046 County Road A
Thursday, 11/3, 6 to 8 pm
Saturday, 11/5, 9 am to 12 pm
Or by appointment
TOWN OF WHITEWATER
(Also see the larger announcement at end of this article.)
Jorja Boiley, Clerk
W8590 Willis Ray Road
Whitewater, WI 53190
10/27/22: 10 am – 2 pm
10/29/22: 9 am – 12 pm
11/1/22: 12 pm – 3 pm
The first day to vote an absentee ballot in the clerk’s office is: October 25, 2022
The last day to vote an absentee ballot in the clerk’s office is: November 5, 2022
No in-person absentee voting may occur on the day before the election. The municipal clerk will deliver voted ballots returned on or before Election Day to the proper polling place or counting location before the polls close on November 8, 2022 Any ballots received after the polls close will not be counted.
Editor’s note: The following announcement was received from the City of Whitewater.
The City of Whitewater would like to remind everyone that winter parking hours go into effect on Tuesday, November 1, 2022.
It is unlawful for the operator or owner of any vehicle to park the vehicle on any street in the City between the
hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on any day from November 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023, except as hereinafter
• Physicians and surgeons shall be permitted to park vehicles at any time when the physician is on
• Parking shall be permitted in the downtown parking area after 5 a.m. of such period.
• By special advance arrangement with the Public Works Director.
Any person who violates the provisions of this ordinance shall be subject to the penalties and provisions set
forth in Sections 11.56.010(4) and 11.56.010(5) of the Municipal Code. [According to the code, the minimum fine is $20, besides the possibility of towing and storage charges.]
Director of Public Works
Editor’s Note: The following was submitted by Kiwanis Whitewater Breakfast Club.
One week ago, Kiwanians Patrick Taylor, Steve Ryan, Lynn Binnie, Al Stanek, Rosalinda Martinez and Marjorie Stoneman picked up garbage on Highway 12 near La Grange as part of the Adopt-A-Highway Program via the Whitewater Kiwanis Breakfast Club.
Whitewater Kiwanis is a group of dedicated volunteers who help both children of the Whitewater community and the world. Over the past five years the club raised funds to make possible the recent installation of the city’s first piece of inclusive playground equipment, a We-Go-Round, in Starin Park. Annual donations are also made to provide shoes and winter clothes for students, as well as support for organizations such as the Whitewater Food Pantry, Bethel House, The Community Space, and the Whitewater Youth Soccer Club.
If you have an interest in helping youth in Whitewater, you can check out Whitewater Kiwanis on Facebook and join our Club by contacting Patrick Taylor at Petaylor.email@example.com.
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.
It’s time once again for #FlashbackFriday with the Whitewater Historical Society.
Happy Halloween! On Halloween, walking near or in a cemetery is a spooky experience, so here’s a view that you can enjoy without getting scared.
This is one of the glass plate negatives in the Scholl Collection of images taken between 1890 and 1910. Henry Scholl was fascinated with Hillside Cemetery and there are about a dozen or more Hillside images in the Scholl collection, but only one of Oak Grove Cemetery and this is it. It shows the elaborate and beautiful cast iron fence that once graced the cemetery along with the large entrance arch. Today, only the arch and pillars are standing.
Join us next week for more from the Whitewater Historical Society.
(3981GP, Whitewater Historical Society)
By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
At a special meeting on October 26 the City of Whitewater Common Council voted unanimously after closed session deliberation to appoint John Weidl as city manager effective November 7. Councilmember Brienne Brown was absent. Weidl has served as interim city manager since this past August under a contract between the city and GovHR USA Temps, with a term that ends on November 4. Cameron Clapper, who had served as city manager since 2012, resigned in August to take the position of county administrator in Dodge County.
After a weeks’ long process that included the assistance of GovHR USA in conducting a national search, phone interviews and video interviews, the council presented three final candidates. Weidl was selected along with finalists David Porter and James Palenick for a full day interview Friday, October 21st. The day consisted of interviews with the city staff and city stakeholders along with a tour of the community and a meet and greet for citizens. The Common Council interviewed the candidates on Saturday, October 22nd and received information from other interview panels.
According to a press release, “His [Weidl’s] ability to begin in August and jump on board with many projects including the upcoming EMS staffing referendum was a great attribute when making the decision to bring him to Whitewater.”
“We welcome Mr. Weidl as the new City Manager for Whitewater,” Common Council President, Lisa Dawsey Smith stated. “The Council took this decision very seriously and feels that Mr. Weidl is the candidate best qualified for this role for the City of Whitewater. We trust that Mr. Weidl will bring his experience, abilities, and energy to work diligently and passionately for the City of Whitewater.”
“Like every community, Whitewater is facing a number of challenges, and we feel that Mr. Weidl has the drive to tackle projects head-on and a desire to get results for the betterment of the entire community,” stated Dawsey Smith. “His experience and knowledge in local government, especially economic development, should prove to be an asset to our city.”
The city’s Economic Development Director position has been vacant since Cathy Anderson’s departure in the summer. Dawsey Smith told the Banner that now that the manager position has been filled, she anticipates that a search will soon be commenced for the economic development role.
According to the employment agreement that the Council approved, Weidl’s annual salary will be $115,000, increasing by 4% to $119,600 effective January 1, 2023. Thereafter future increases “will be tied to performance reviews…If there is no action by the City Council on the City Manager’s salary, he shall receive the same percentage increase in base salary that is given across the board to other non-union City employees.” The agreement stipulates that the manager shall serve at pleasure to the Council, and may be terminated at any time without cause or for just cause. In the case of just cause, he would receive no severance. If he is removed without just cause after180 days of employment or thereafter, he will receive six months of salary and continuation of health insurance. If the manager resigns, he must provide 60 days’ written notice.
Weidl resides in the Town of LaFayette, located in the Elkhorn Area School District, and currently serves as a town supervisor. He previously was employed by the Village of Mukwonago for nearly eight years, initially as Village Administrator but ultimately also wearing the hat of Director of Economic Development. Prior to that he served as City Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer and Director of Public Works for the City of Princeton, Wisconsin. John is a decorated United States Air Force Combat Veteran with tours of duty in Europe and Middle East. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/European History, and from the same school with a Master of Public Administration.
On his LinkedIn page, John describes himself as a “transformational public-sector leader” and “economic development expert.” In Mukwonago he “established, facilitated, and managed development projects totaling over $350 million,” utilizing Tax Increment Financing.
When given the opportunity to respond to the council’s decision, Weidl shared the following comment. “Thank you to the community members, staff and elected officials that participated in the process of choosing the City’s next manager. I’ve enjoyed the previous two months serving as the Interim City Manager, particularly finding value touring the community and discussing the Fire & EMS referendum as an entryway to learning more about the needs and opportunities of Whitewater while meeting several hundred community members and dozens of local organizations.”
“I’m excited to bring my expertise in economic development, energy, and enthusiasm to Whitewater as we look to increase opportunities for public outreach, communication and collaboration with local partners,” Weidl continued. “On the morning of November 7th, I will be available at the SweetSpot, next to City Hall, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. as a first opportunity to re-introduce myself to the community as the permanent City Manager. Coffee and pastries will be provided for anyone who wishes to attend. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”
The press release concludes, “The Common Council extends gratitude to the various constituencies involved with the success of the hiring process including the community, members of staff, Lee Szymborski from GovHRUSA and Mike Earle from GovHRUSA Temps.”
Editor’s note: The following announcement was received from Whitewater High School.
Congratulations Kindyl Kilar for being selected by the Whitewater High School Faculty & Staff as the Class of 2023 Outstanding Citizen! Kindyl will be participating in the DAR Good Citizen Program and scholarship competition this fall. She will be honored with her parents at a Spring Awards Luncheon hosted by the Fort Atkinson-Eli Pierce DAR. WHS is so proud of you!!