The Bus Stops Here: A Tiff About TIFs

In an era in which the state has been strangling public transit agencies financially while prohibiting local areas from establishing regional transport authorities, there is a little-known existing state tax policy that could offer limited help called Tax Incremental Financing districts or TIFs. However, TIFs are most often used to further the car-centric urban sprawl that has been bleeding cities financially rather than bolstering them with socially and environmentally sustainable transit-oriented development. Instead of using TIFs to draw residents into Madison from nearby, it is being used to drive people away and to further weaken its tax base. That is not the intent of course, but it is what it is going on. Madison and other municipalities around Wisconsin are using TIF money to build expensive infrastructure – including parking lots and wide roads – that it cannot afford.

April 2018 Backyard Heroes

Community Shares, a partner of Madison Commons, recognizes two volunteers each month. The volunteers come from Community Shares' member groups and are selected for their service to the community and to community issues. 

Natalie Marshall, Midwest Environmental Advocates

Midwest Environmental Advocates is a nonprofit environmental law center that works for healthy water, air, land and government for this generation and the next. They believe that every citizen has the potential to make a difference. Natalie Marshall showed her talent for data management shortly after she began volunteering with Midwest Environmental Advocates. She is a graduating senior at UW-Madison and is now known as the database guru.

Statewide quarantine to fight emerald ash borer

In an announcement made last month, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced that starting Friday March 30th, the entire state will be placed under quarantine for the invasive emerald ash borer. The quarantine prohibits moving firewood from quarantined areas to non-quarantined areas, and will require that business handling ash wood and untreated ash products work with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to adhere to protocols that reduce the risk of transporting the insect to other areas. The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle species that feeds on ash trees, and has been destructive to American ash tree populations. The beetle was first found in Wisconsin in 2008 – now, it has been recorded in 48 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Emerald ash borer quarantines were previously enforced at the county level, but the growing extent of the infestation prompted the statewide quarantine.

Don’t be salty: The negative effect of road salts on water and Madison’s efforts to reduce it

When snow falls in Wisconsin, children may think about the snowmen they’re going to build, students may think of the school cancellations they’re going to enjoy and drivers may think about their safety on the road. When they hear the rumble of snow plows that clear the streets and scatter salt behind them, they likely feel peace of mind that actions are being taken to ensure safe driving. Wisconsin’s surfaces see more than 650,000 tons of salt dumped on them each year to ensure safety in winter. While spring is technically here, how Madison clears its roads in the winter has year-long effects. Road salts and de-icers melt ice to help prevent harm to drivers and pedestrians, but at a significant cost to the surrounding environment.

The Beacon provides care and services for families in need in Dane County

The Beacon, a local resource center for individuals experiencing homelessness in Dane County, is becoming an essential one-stop-shop for providing services s to the individuals experiencing homelessness. The Beacon is a comprehensive resource center for men, women and families in Dane County who are experiencing homelessness. Run by Catholic Charities of Madison, the Beacon offers both basic and rehabilitating services to those in need. Located near the corner of East Washington and Blair, the Beacon is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. “[We] welcome every single person here to the Beacon no matter what their history is,” Metzger said.

Madison Recycling System sets ambitious goals while educating public on services

Before the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, the City of Madison established the first curbside recycling collection in the nation when it began collecting newspapers in 1968. During the past half-century, the waste management program in Madison continues to grow and change, but there is still need for improvement. “Nearly 60 percent of all the waste we generate as a city is recycled, which is fantastic. But that also leaves plenty of room to get better,” said Bryan Johnson, the City of Madison Recycling Coordinator. According to the EPA, the United States recycles about 35 percent  of the waste it creates.

Media Digest April 4, 2018

Top Story

Madison public schools are considering a micro school for troubled and violent students. Education

High school students got national attention for their 50-mile hike from Madison to Rep. Paul Ryan’s office in support of legislation to keep schools safe from gun violence. Elementary and middle school students can explore the world around them at the Science Expo and Engineering Expo this weekend. Development

Plans are changing for the MATC Downtown Campus development. An office building that would have retail space and groceries has been scrapped for more hotel space.

Building for the Future on Monroe Street

Monroe Street is one of Madison’s little gems. It might not be high on a tourist’s lists to visit, but locals know it’s one of the most interesting and charming streets in the city. Locally-owned shops intertwine with charming homes, and nearby Edgewood College and Lake Wingra, to add a mix of beauty and business to this corridor. Starting last winter, the charm of this area will be put on pause. Beginning in early February, Madison Gas and Electric began updating the infrastructure by installing new underground gas lines, according to the City of Madison’s Engineering Department. The construction is expected to limit traffic and busses on the west end of Monroe.

What You Need to Know about the Spring Election

On April 3, Dane County will hold Spring Elections to elect state offices for Supreme Court Justice, Court of Appeals Judge, District IV, Circuit Court Judges, and two school board seats. Here is a brief overview of the positions and candidates voters will elect on Tuesday. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is the final judge for cases in the state. The seven justices receive thousands of requests for hearings each year. The Court's job is to check the actions of the Governor, state assembly, the state police, and other government officials to make sure they do not overstep their powers. A justice would help to resolve national issues that reach the court systems such as women’s right to abortion or means of U.S. Citizenship. Michael Screnock

Campaign Website:

Rebecca Dallet

Campaign Website:

Court of Appeals Judge, District IV

Appeals courts consist of three judges and do not use a jury.