Lake Levels Resolution, Budget Hearings, Affordable Grandfamily Housing Funding and other news

Dear Neighbors,
As we recover slowly from the historic flooding in Dane County, we need a scientific path forward to proper lake levels. In this update, I cover a resolution that I helped draft, a live streaming lake level presentation, money for grandfamily housing and lots of odds and ends.

Lake Level Resolution and Flood Recovery

 supervisor chawla, alder rummel, state rep taylor and superintendent evers survey water levels on the yahara river

supervisor chawla, alder rummel, state rep taylor and superintendent evers survey water levels on the yahara river

Dane County experienced unprecedented flooding that has kept our district on edge for a number of weeks, and we continue to see high lake levels and filled storm sewers.

Although we have gotten back to some semblance of normal, we need to look forward to the future. I have worked with my colleagues on the County Board, and we will be introducing a resolution that in the short term will direct Dane County to work towards managing lakes at their state allowed minimums.

In the long term, we will convene a panel of experts to look at different climate models versus different lake levels to assess what the flood risk is going forward. The purpose of this exercise is to petition the Wisconsin DNR, if the research supports it, to adjust lake levels to a more appropriate level. Please see this press release here for more details:

https://www.countyofdane.com/press/details.aspx?id=4358

I will post the resolution details as soon as it is in Legistar.
Here is some more relevant news about the flooding as it affects our district:

  • I was happy to work with many local officials and community leaders like alder Marsha Rummel to advocate for lifting the parking restrictions on Willy Street. I was also happy to see a crossing guard installed at Baldwin Street to help families safely get to Marquette/O’Keeffe school.

  • At the County Board meeting Sept. 20, John Reimer from Dane County Land and Water will give a detailed presentation about lake levels and flooding. I highly recommend attending the County Board meeting or streaming it at this link:
    http://www.cityofmadison.com/citychannel/Details.cfm?Id=6295

  • There was a very well attended neighborhood meeting at the Wil-Mar center where we talked about flooding and our path forward. There is another meeting being scheduled now. When the details are finalized, I will let you know.

Budget Hearings

 Packed house for budget hearings on September 12th.

Packed house for budget hearings on September 12th.

On September 12th and 13th, we held budget hearings. The hearing on September 12th focused on the Health and Human Needs budget. We heard hours of testimony from a variety of groups including supporters of Porchlight, Kajsiab House, Outreach Madison, and Legal Action of Wisconsin. The testimony was powerful, especially hearing from the patrons of the Kajsiab House. This article details the current situation:

https://madison.com/ct/news/local/neighborhoods/where-will-we-go-kajsiab-house-hmong-mental-health-program/article_ea66d04c-d2b1-524f-b2e9-e69ca8c945b5.html

I support providing these wrap-around mental health services for veterans and refugees in an environment that provides culturally- aware care and support.

On September 13th, department heads presented their budgets and also answered questions in regard to racial equity and sustainability in their respective departments. We will be having additional budget hearings going forward, and we will have opportunities to offer budget amendments to make sure our budget prioritizes the values of our community. I look forward to learning and advocating during my first budget cycle.

Grandfamily Housing

I am happy to be the lead sponsor of a resolution that will provide $525,000 of county funding for the Grandfamily housing in Union Corners. Grandfamily housing provides support to grandparents who are helping raise their grandchildren because parents need support due to economic hardship or health issues. With the rising cost of housing in our district, it is important for us to support housing for people from all different backgrounds and income levels.

Since statutes do not allow the County to make a grant directly to Gorman & Company for development costs, an alternative strategy was developed to allow the County to assist the project. This strategy involves the County purchasing a portion of the building using a condominium arrangement. The County will be purchasing an underground parking garage in one of the two buildings. The County will then lease the garage back to Gorman & Company for a nominal annual fee. The full resolution can be found here:

https://dane.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=6362890&GUID=0E7E1B15-A8AA-4FCD-8535-4F1CC04962ED

Quick updates

 We had lots of fun marching in the Willy St Fair parade and seeing all our friends and neighbors.

We had lots of fun marching in the Willy St Fair parade and seeing all our friends and neighbors.

  • Cap City Trail is open and complete. Sections that were washed out have been repaired and it is open for end-to- end use.

  • Here are the latest FEMA flood maps for our district: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1arRuLXD-qLT5GyEzABLxdInECtscVZAK

  • Willy Street fair was a blast and I was happy to march in it with my daughter Goldie and her friends. My wife Jodi has a sprained ankle so she was one of many people enjoying the parade.

  • On Wednesday, September 26th, I will be doing a presentation on Open Data and Community Impact at the Steenbock Library BioCommons (1st floor of the library, 550 Babcock Dr) from 1-2. I will talk about how open data is changing government, and the benefits and pitfalls going forward.

  • I have gotten to know a lot of you in the district better over the last year or so. If you want to learn more about me personally and what makes me tick, you can read a profile that Vicky Franchino did for her blog Caffiene Clarity:

    http://caffeineclarity.com/2018/08/yogesh-chawla/