Congratulations to all the new City Council members. My Hope is that you represent ALL of Eau Claire, and not personal agendas. Your success will be measured by the success of the whole city.
If you would like to serve on the Eau Claire City Council, I ask you to apply for this open position.
Eau Claire City Council Member Eric Larsen resigned earlier this month. On Tuesday the council voted to move ahead with plans to appoint someone to the vacant seat. That person will serve until April of 2018 when an election will be held.
Interested applicants are asked to submit a letter of interest to the city clerk. In it, the applicant should include the following:
Name a...nd address
Phone number and preferred method of contact
A brief statement, not more than one page, explaining why they seek the position
Outline any experience related to the position
The city council set the deadline for applications as March 23. All applicants will be asked to give a presentation at the council meeting on March 27. Once selected the appointed council member will take their seat on April 11.
Last night I ended my 3 year term as a City Council member. Following is the text of the message I delivered at the meeting.
"It is customary for Council members to say a few words about their time on the Council and thank the citizens of EC at their last meeting. I want to continue that tradition by first saying it has been an honor to work with my fellow Council members to represent the citizens of EC.
When I first ran I said I wanted to work on 3 things.
First, I wanted... to stop what I saw as reckless and non-prioritized spending without regard for costs versus benefits. On this issue, I believe the Council has made progress. We unearthed millions of dollars in unused accounts and created policies to keep funds from carrying over and building up like this again. We applied those "found millions" to keep taxes from going up this year. We also established debt policies so future Councils have to think carefully before they spend money.
Second, I wanted more focus on finishing what we start and repairing what we have. And, I believe we are doing a fair job. We are keeping up with the street resurfacing and maintenance on City buildings, but in maintaining some of our existing parks, I believe, we have fallen short. Lack of regular mowing and repairs to park facilities need to be remedied. In addition, Council has to address the future of our transit system. From the shameful lack of bathrooms at the transit center, to aging buses, to lack of funding, we can’t keep band aiding this very expensive City endeavor.
Thirdly, I wanted our city Council to not only listen to the citizens of EC, but to hear what they had to say. Our record is spotty on listening to the people of EC. We hold public hearings, but, for example, when the chance came to let the citizens have their voice heard on the biggest project in downtown, too many on this Council said there should be no referendum because the citizens of EC don’t know enough to vote on this issue. Considering the turn out, those Council members should know they were wrong, Citizens of EC understood the issues and knew what they were doing. They made their decision and it was their decision to make.
Quite frankly I give this Council a C- in listening. It is easy for some of the big business and developers in EC to get heard. But for the average citizen, Council could do a much better job. Oh, there are some incredibly collaborative and inclusive moments, but they often center on issues the majority on this Council already favor. It is not the same for all issues that come before this Council.
In closing, I want to applaud the hard work of the City Managers, both Russ and now Dale, and Staff. I wish to thank everyone who has ever stepped up to serve our Community and especially those in Chamber tonight that I have worked with.
We have a great City. I treasure my time serving the citizens of EC. Thank you for letting me take part in our governing process.
Good Night and Good Bye."
Today's Press Release:
I thank the voters of Eau Claire for electing me to the City Council three years ago. It has been an honor to represent the hardworking taxpayers of this community. I have learned a lot and accomplished what I set out to do.
When I decided to seek elected office, this community was faced with a runaway Confluence project that divided our City. I am happy that after 3 years of discussions, the items I said we should do were done.
1. A referendum was he...ld to allow citizens to vote on the project.
2. Questions were finally asked and answered.
3. An ownership model to protect citizens was put in place.
I am also happy that through examination of our debt policy and budget reporting, we closed the slush funds that had been built up over many years. This accounted for millions of dollars being put back in the general fund, one of the main reasons property taxes did not go up this year.
I have decided not to seek another term on the City Council. This decision has not been an easy one to make, but, as a business owner, I am needed to maintain and build the company that allows me to pay my taxes. I will be forever thankful for the opportunity to serve as a citizen legislator. I have learned more than I could have imagined.
Dorms for millenial non-students? With all the talk of student housing downtown, maybe this is another option.
Let the building begin. While my vote for this project might surprise some, I do support the Development Agreement for the Performing Arts Center. It took enormous efforts on many sides to be where we are today.
3 years ago the Confluence Project was an out of control train barreling down the track. We were asked to have faith that it would all work out. “Don’t worry about the details” was a comment made here in Council Chambers. Hope and faith are great for Packer game day -... but not for people elected to represent the taxpayers and Citizens of Eau Claire.
We needed to have the support of the Community. The citizens needed to vote on what they wanted, not just the Confluence Champions. I thank Larry Balow, Judy Olson and Mike Bollinger for heading the Referendum movement. The Citizens voted and voiced their support.
Second, I opposed the City owning a Performing Arts Center. Now we have an ownership and operating model that does not fall upon the City. Thanks to Jay Winzenz and Steve Nick for working the long hours to not only negotiate this Agreement but to answer all the questions – questions that needed to be asked and answered.
Third, I had a problem with the City providing an open checkbook to cover costs and losses. This agreement not only sets a limit, but has safeguards in front of taxpayer dollars. I really thank our City Manager for his diligence to protect the taxpayers of Eau Claire.
Now that the citizens have spoken, questions asked and answered, and taxpayers protected, I look forward to the construction and thank the companies and citizens who have stepped forward to fund and operate the Performing Arts Center.
Year round markets in the news. One interesting comment was that a few years ago, a University study said Omaha, with a population over 400,000 didn't have the business or population downtown for a year round market. Eau Claire has 65,000. Wonder what our study will say?
If you oppose the base rate electric increase, make sure you, your family and your friends who are served by Xcel (Northern States Power) register comments at the link below. Comments must be in by Oct 28. I think raising the base rate $10/month ($120/yr) on every residential meter and lowering the usage rate is not fair and sends the wrong message to those trying to conserve and use alternative energy sources.
While Eau Claire did not make this list, it is interesting that new Tech jobs and companies are looking to the Midwest instead of Silicon Valley on the west coast. It is nice that we already have some of these companies in the Chippewa Valley. Hope this means there are more to come.
This could be good news for some of our neighborhoods with older homes. Seems porches and character are the "in" thing for Millennials.
Our local State legislators are addressing the Chamber members' questions this morning. All agree the money for the Confluence project will remain in the budget. Not much good news for the Transportation budget.
Welcome our new Councilmember, Tim Tewalt, who replaces Dave Duax who passed away earlier this year.
What an amazing site. I was out for my morning run when the first marathoners passed me on Riverview. Saw this awesome display of color and energy from the Half Marathon runners when I got back home. This is a much better photo than I took!
Sad to hear that my fellow Council member Dave Duax passed away earlier this morning. Eau Claire has lost a valuable asset and many of us have lost a dear friend. Dave's commitment to our Community and knowledge of the history of our area is a huge loss. My sympathy goes out to the Duax family.
From this angle it looks like the whole college housing/mixed use building is sliding off the bank (it isn't). Engineers for the developer are working to correct the crumbling retaining wall.