Nov. 4 ballot includes municipal court referendum

Village of Brooklyn voters will get a chance to weigh in Nov. 4 on the future of the village’s municipal court system.

A set of three advisory referendum questions offer citizens the opportunity to give their opinion on the choices facing village officials: to continue the court as-is, merge it with another municipality or discontinue it altogether or leave administration to area circuit courts.

The village has been considering its options after some problems came up over the past few years, including the resignation of the village’s elected municipal court judge, an inability to hire a permanent court clerk and the cost of upgrading the court record system, according to a fact sheet from the village clerk.

A municipal court holds the power to enforce local ordinances, traffic code and state law.


Budget plan: slight increase, more roadwork

A slight increase in taxes and a bigger increase in road construction are among the notable items in the preliminary Oregon village budget.

The owner of an average-value home in Oregon would face an estimated $17.39 increase in the village portion of the property tax bill next year, similar to last year’s increase. That means the owner of a $220,000 home would pay $1,206.81 for the village portion of 2014 property taxes, vs. $1,189.42 in 2013.

On average, however, home values here increased 1.46 percent in the past year. A home that had been valued at $211,000 in 2013 is worth $220,000 this year.

Those were some of the key numbers revealed Monday, when village administrator Mike Gracz and the Village Board held their first of three scheduled 2015 budget meetings. Two more are planned for next week.


Realignment brings connection issues

Photo by Mark Ignatowski. People look over proposed plans for expanding and relocating Hwy. 14 between Oregon and Brooklyn Thursday, Oct. 9, at Oregon Middle School. Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials are looking for input on the propsed intersections with Hwy. A and Hwy. 92.

Transportation officials and residents along U.S. Hwy. 14 will have plenty to discuss about the relocation of the road during the next few years of planning.

One of the biggest issues will be how to connect existing neighborhoods and roadways to the realigned, divided highway.

The first public meeting in recent years about the corridor drew about 150 people to Oregon Middle School last week. Visitors looked at maps and asked questions after a short presentation about the relocation and expansion of the road between Oregon and Brooklyn. 

Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials say the expansion is needed because of increased traffic  volume, safety issues and aging road conditions. The plan is to realign Hwy. 14 to a straighter path that runs west of its current route, on land that was acquired in the 1960s.


Oregon plans to split OWI task force

Oregon’s high-visibility drunken-driving patrol this year was successful enough that the village is already making plans to continue with the program.

But rather than one overwhelming show of force, Oregon likely will have two smaller patrols next year.

On May 9, the village had more than a dozen police agencies from all over the county saturating its roads and warning drivers. The vast majority of the 101 traffic stops ended up as warnings, but it did yield two OWI arrests.

It was part of the Capital Area OWI Task Force, which started in 2012 and will begin its fourth run sometime next spring. The goal of the patrols isn’t to catch people driving drunk as much as it is to prevent it altogether.


Pool closed on health warning

The Madison and Dane County Public Health Department issued a statement Thursday alerting anyone who used the Oregon swimming pool between Oct. 1-8 that someone who swam in the pool those days later tested positive for cryptosporidium.

According to the department, if pool users swallowed any pool water during that time, an infection could occur. The most common symptom is “mild to profuse diarrhea, along with nausea, vomiting and cramping” and possibly a fever. People with these symptoms in the past two weeks are asked to not use the pools.

If people have further health questions, they can call the Dane County Public Health Nurse help line at 266-4821.


Local road, park projects part of 2015 budget

Public works projects, safety improvements and human services continue to top the list of county budget priorities for this coming year. 

Dane County executive Joe Parisi released his 2015 executive budget last Wednesday, with an emphasis on communication systems, road projects, personnel costs and county lands and lakes.

His proposed budget will be reviewed by county committees and eventually the full County Board. The budget is usually adopted by Thanksgiving, with discussions slated for this month.

Locally, specific projects include additional money for road projects and recreation improvements.

The proposed budget includes:

• $110,000 for joint repairs with the Village of Oregon on County Hwy. MM

• $25,000 for a well at Anderson Farm County Park

Taxpayer impact


Informational meeting on Town of Brooklyn referendums Oct. 11

Town of Brooklyn residents have a couple important decisions coming in early November, and town officials are hoping to get as much information to them as possible ahead of time.

Town board Chairman Jim Scrivner and Clerk Dan Meixelsperger hope the Oct. 11 information session from 1-3 p.m. at the Brooklyn Fire/EMS building will be more heavily attended than a similar session in September.

The first decision town residents will make is on the Nov. 4 ballot as a referendum to change the town clerk position from elected to appointed. Meixelsperger said an audit of the town from an outside agency determined the position should be appointed.


'One of the finest' leaves Rutland Board

Town of Rutland board chairman Dale Beske is leaving the township after serving as an official, in one capacity or another, for the past 28 years.

Beske began serving as town chairman in June 2000, but he was a Town Board and Planning Commission member for 14 years before being elected to lead the town.

His last day will be Oct. 15.

Beske said he enjoyed all the years of public service because it helped him keep in touch with what was happening in the township.

“It was always interesting, and I really met a lot of people in the town that I may not have otherwise met,” he told the Observer last week. “I just had more knowledge of what was going on in the town, as well as the three surrounding municipalities.”


Feedback sought on Hwy. 14 expansion

Officials are looking for public input on a future expansion of U.S. Hwy. 14 between Oregon and Brooklyn.

The project – slated for construction as early as 2018 – would make the road a four-lane divided highway between Hwy. 138 and Hwy. 92. New intersections and limited access to the new road are part of the preliminary plans that will be presented next week.

The meeting is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9,  in the Oregon Middle School cafeteria, 601 Pleasant Oak Drive. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will have staff on hand to answer questions.

“This will be an open house format meeting with a formal presentation at 5:30 p.m.,” the WisDOT said in a news release. “The public is encouraged to attend the meeting, provide input and ask questions concerning this project.”


Mile-long trail open at Anderson Farm County Park

Photos by Scott Girard. Roe Parker, president of Anderson Park Friends, a group established to help fundraise for the park’s growth, points down the mile-long walking trail.

A major Dane County park acquisition in the Town of Oregon that began taking shape more than five years ago is starting to come together as volunteers work on the land.

While the overall project to bring the 380-acre park to its ultimate use, which could include an agriculture center and campsites, will be years-long, volunteers are working to put it together one aspect at a time. First, a walking trail.

“We’re looking to get more and more of the community out,” said Roe Parker, president of the Friends of Anderson Park group.

“Some of this, it looks like it could come out of a Harry Potter movie,” he added with a laugh.

Volunteers from the Friends group worked much of the summer and fall on a few projects, and their efforts are showing as a mile-long trail is now open for walking.