January 5, 2017
The Brillion News
The future of Brillion looks to be taking a positive step forward as 2017 opens up.
The RDA has met with city officials and business leaders in recent months to formulate a plan that would eventually lead to a new city hall, police station, fire station and revitalization of downtown businesses and parking.
The next RDA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31, at 2 p.m. where there will be further discussion of how to include business owners and raise money through different avenues, including grants.
The Brillion Community Center is already in the midst of receiving a major addition – the indoor splash pad. Construction for that is currently ongoing and when it opens, will be a major attraction for kids and families.
The closing of the Brillion Iron Works will be felt during the year with the loss on taxes and utilities for the city. The exact impacts of the losses are still unknown, as is what the future of the BIW property will be. The current owners of the property have not disclosed their plans.
The Brillion Elementary School STEM Center is continuing to go through their three building phases and will continue to be a major asset to the education system in Brillion. The school system will look to continue to balance the STEM program with other elements of their curriculum.
The Aurora Health Center in Reedsville remains vacant as the new year begins. It’s unknown when or if it will reopen, forcing residents of Reedsville and surrounding areas to look elsewhere for health coverage.
The Reedsville School District – which highlights the village – looks to continue strong test scores among students and maintain their high rate of graduates moving on to some form of college.
At this time, there are not any plans for new businesses in Reedsville but that could change as the year goes on.
The future of the Village of Hilbert is tied to growth and renewal.
The Hilbert Village Board wants to get a plan to guide residential, commercial and industrial growth, and all three seem intertwined. A retail business base would make the village more attractive as a place to live, and more people are needed to support retail growth.
The village has good industry in Sargento Foods and in growing small industries in the new industrial park on State 114 at 12th Street.
The School District of Hilbert completed construction that put all of the district’s programs on the same campus, at 11th and Milwaukee Streets, and under the same roof.
In order to keep current programs, voters approved a referendum allowing the school board to levy a school property tax of up to $400,000 per year above the state levy limit.
That authorization to levy in excess of the limit expires in the coming school year, so the district has to go back to voters for approval to exceed the levy limits again, only this time, more than $400,000 per year appears necessary.
Now that the village has a new comprehensive plan, the Wrightstown Village Board hopes to make moves to save and enhance the downtown business district, which has been ignored for decades.
Two blighted storefronts were demolished and now the village hopes to encourage new construction to infill gaps in the downtown.
In addition, the village is committed to growing its business and industry base along the County U corridor, including the annexation of agricultural land currently in the Town of Wrightstown along County U from I-41 to State 96 for future growth.
The village found that freight rail access is important for industrial growth when Country Visions Cooperative and CP Feeds agreed to build a new agronomy center and feed mill in the industrial park.
The housing starts in 2016 were significant, and with two of three public school buildings at or near capacity, the school district will have to watch demographic changes that may require new classroom space.
The biggest issue facing the State of Wisconsin and its legislature is the funding for highway construction and maintenance.
The governor and legislators appear to be divided over how to approach the transportation funding shortage, with no agreement on how to raise more funds for state and local roads.
The governor has also said that state funding for public schools is his top priority, trumping highways.
The state legislature also faces tough decisions on how it draws the lines for legislative districts, after a federal court ruled that the current districts were gerrymandered to the advantage of the Republican Party.
In another court case, the conviction of Brendan Dassey for the murder of Teresa Halbach is in limbo after a federal judge overturned it, saying that Dassey’s confession was coerced unconstitutionally. But that is on hold now, as the state asks a federal appeals court to restore the conviction and keep Dassey in prison.