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Posted on: July 24, 2017

News in Brief

July 24th, 2017
Webster Park - A New Playground in September

Work is slated to begin at Webster Park shortly after Labor Day to install a new playground. The removals and installation will take a few weeks. An AstroTurf play surface, bike rack, picnic tables, and walkway between the parking lot and the new playground will be installed. 

Repair Status of Water Feature in the Village Damaged from Accident
You may have seen on the news recently that a car managed to drive across the pedestrian bridge in the Village and hit the water feature in between Cafe Hollander and Cafe Bavaria. We do not want this to occur again and as such, the Department of Public Works installed three large concrete planters into this area and planted them with grasses and flowers. 

The Engineering Division has been working with the contractor to determine the extent of the damage to the fountain. Most of the damage was sustained on the western half of the structure, which will be removed to determine the extent of the damage to the mechanical components. Engineering is working with the contractor to establish a safe pedestrian zone around the water feature while the rebuilding efforts take place.

Wauwatosa's YouTube Channel & the Drop Off Center on Walnut Road
Have you been to the drop off center on a Saturday in summer? If you have, you know how much activity there can be at the Public Works Yard, which is open Tuesdays from 7:30 am - 7:00 pm (extended hours until 7:00 pm in summer only) and Saturdays from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. If you haven't been recently, check out this video on the City of Wauwatosa's YouTube channel to see the activity from this past Saturday. Based on how quickly the dumpsters fill up, this is a highly utilized service offered by the City of Wauwatosa's Department of Public Works. 

Residents can purchase a $20 yard waste only permit or a $5/axle or vehicle one-time only permit to dispose of residential garbage, including bulky items like furniture and carpet. Learn more about the drop off center by visiting Wauwatosa's website.

West Nile Virus Confirmed 
in a Bird in Wauwatosa
The Health Department recently obtained a dead bird, which was sent to the state lab for testing, and has tested positive for West Nile Virus. You may have seen articles in the paper about mosquitoes in the City of Milwaukee testing positive for West Nile Virus. There have been no confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in humans. West Nile Virus symptoms include: fever, rash, headache, and joint pain. People with underlying medical conditions and over the age of 50 are most susceptible to the virus. Anyone with symptoms should contact their health care provider. 

Laura Conklin, Health Officer, has advised on a few precautionary measures that we can take: 

  • Limit outdoor time at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. 
  • Use an insect repellent with DEET, IR 3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. 
Remove standing or stagnant water on your property. The Health Department recently shared this photo on social media showing common locations of standing water on residential properties.

Public Works Department Participated in Story Time

The week of July 10 the Wauwatosa Public Library held construction themed story time events and Wauwatosa staff was thrilled to join in the fun. On July 12 the Department of Public Works represented the community by bringing 2 pieces of equipment down to the City Hall parking lot where kids of all ages were spotted excitedly climbing into a snow plow and a loader. Public Works even handed out child size play hard hats with the City's logo on them to each participant. Did you miss the event? Don't worry. Public Works will be handing them out at Tosa's Night Out on August 2 at the zoo. Operations Superintendent, Kevin Hurst, says, "Our team enjoys interacting with Wauwatosa residents outside of routine service delivery, like collecting trash and recycling. The kids had a great time seeing the equipment we use on construction projects and to keep the streets safely cleared of snow and ice during winter."  

July 9th, 2017

What to Do if a Bat Flies into Your Home
Bats are an important part of our ecosystem and we need them outside eating mosquitoes. It is not uncommon for them to find their way into homes. While the Wauwatosa Health Department cannot help a citizen capture a bat, they can help if a citizen comes into contact with a bat or has captured a bat and isn't sure what to do next. Call the Wauwatosa Health Department Information and Referral Nurse Line for help at 414-479-8939. Did you know that only 2 - 3% of the wild bat population carries the rabies virus? Bats can be removed from homes with towels, blankets, or boxes. The Health Department recommends you wear gloves. There are also several private animal control contractors that can help. 

City Earns $59,444 in Cash Back Rebates in 2016 for Use in 2017
A p-card is a credit card that provides cash back rebates. The City of Wauwatosa uses the p-card to pay for goods or services that would otherwise have been paid for by check. 

This year the City earned $59,444 in cash back for 2016 purchases made on the p-card. This reflects a 35% increase from the amount of rebates the City received in 2015. The rebate funds are split - 50% of the rebates are returned to each department as an incentive to utilize the p-card and the other 50% is allocated to the fund balance, going towards the year-end surplus. If the department does not use the funds, they are returned into the fund balance as well. 

The Department of Public Works has used these rebates to purchase tools that save staff time, allow more projects to be completed in-house, and in one notable case a tool that lowered on-the-job injury risks. Public Works has used their rebate to purchase a power screed, which is an automated tool that levels and smooths concrete slabs. This work used to be done by hand, which limited work efficiency and necessitated contracting out larger jobs. They also purchased a drill to put rebar into concrete slabs. This work was previously done by hand. These purchases not only allow Public Works to complete more work in-house, but also to be more efficient. What a great example of using p-card rebates to benefit the community.

Financial benefits include saving postage and also stronger fraud protection. Check fraud is one of the leading types of fraud and credit cards have more buyer fraud protections. 

Public Works Installs Solar Powered Pedestrian Crossing Beacons
As part of an internal granting program, Wauwatosa staff recently installed four solar powered rapid flashing pedestrian crossing beacons at 70th Street and Chestnut Street. These are push-button activated pedestrian crossing signals. Staff was able to complete the installation in-house before the kick-off to summer events in Hart Park and at the Rotary Stage.

What does new construction do for Wauwatosa?
Development is everything from a kitchen and bathroom remodel to construction of a hotel. Why develop at all? Just as costs go up in your household each year for basic items, such as utilities, gas, groceries and more, so do costs to run a municipality like Wauwatosa. The majority of a municipality's budget is funded by tax dollars. The state of Wisconsin sets a cap on how much money communities can gain from property taxes, therefore net new construction drives how much you can increase your budget in any given year to fund services. Without new construction, additional revenue doesn't come in and therefore as the cost of doing business goes up, services must be cut or other efficiencies found to pay for it. The costs to provide the same services we provide today increase each year. Why does construction matter? It can fund the cost increases we face to operate Wauwatosa on a daily basis and also fund improvements to the quality of life you enjoy today. How much new construction is needed to keep services the same as they are today?
  • 2% of annual new growth allows us to keep the status quo.
  • 2.5% annual new growth allows us to improve services and/or decrease taxes.

Since 2006, Wauwatosa has averaged 1% annual new growth (or net new construction). This means that each year Wauwatosa finds efficiencies to help maintain the status quo and in the long run this will become difficult to sustain.

Village Reconstruction: 30 More Trees to be Added by 2018
Vegetation was recently removed as part of the Village construction project from Root Common and Pocket Parks, as well as other areas in the construction limits. Overall, approximately 60 trees were removed from the project limits, a number of which were ash trees. Approximately 90 trees will be added back throughout the entire project limits. Landscaping is planned for spring of 2018. If possible, Engineering will work with the contractor to add trees to the project this fall, dependent on the construction schedule and weather. The Forestry Division has a goal in the 2017 budget to have a 1:1 ratio of new tree planted per tree removed. This is an excellent example of exceeding that goal.

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