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The purpose of Town Hall meetings is for elected officials to hear the community’s views on public issues. There are no specific rules or guidelines for holding a Town Hall meeting. The format of the meeting can vary. Usually, the elected officials, along with Village staff, will make opening remarks and presentations. Following the presentation and remarks, the floor is opened up to questions and comments from the audience. Attendees generally present ideas, voice their opinions, ask questions of the elected officials and Village Staff.
In contrast, the purpose of a Village Board meeting is to conduct business of the Village. It is a formal process with specific agenda items that must be followed and where motions are made and voted on. There are limited opportunities for the public to make comments during a Village Board meeting. It is not an open format like Town Hall meetings.
This is a very complex question. It requires the public to answer the following question. What level of risk are the citizens willing to take and how much should local government get involved in the private market?
Here are the ways the Village has tried to get involved in the private market.
Zoning laws regulate how land is used and how buildings are constructed. Zoning is a powerful tool but limited. Zoning can’t do everything, and it’s misused far too often.
Many community members think zoning legislation can be used to coax developers in a different direction and to address community complaints about lack of development.
Unfortunately, zoning codes are not a vehicle for forcing desired changes in a community. Here is a breakdown of what zoning can actually do well and what it can’t do.
The best way to explain this complex issue is with an example. Let’s suppose we create a Tax Incremental District (TID) of one property. This one property is currently assessed at $100,000. A developer proposes to develop this one property and build a new store. After they complete the project the new value on the property adds an additional $900,000 to the assessed value. This makes the assessed value on the newly developed property now worth $1,000,000. Who gets the taxes from the newly developed property? All the taxing entities (village, school, county, state, MMSD, etc.) would continue to receive taxes as if the property were assessed at $100,000. This is called the "tax base".
The new taxes that created an additional $900,000 in assessed value would stay within the TID. This is called the "increment". What does the municipality do with this new "increment" tax? The municipality can use the money to make additional improvements within the TID or it can help the developer. If the developer requests funding to help them complete the project, then state law allows a municipality to help developers using this new "increment" tax. The developer must sufficiently prove they would not be able to complete the project without TIF help because of higher than normal project costs. The state calls this the "but-for test". This new development would not occur ’but-for’ the use of TIF. The municipality then uses the new "increment" tax to help the developer over the course of the life of the TID. The maximum statutory life of a TID is 27 years. The "tax base" taxes would continue to go to all the taxing entities.
Roundabouts, rotaries, or traffic circles as they are called in other parts, are increasingly being constructed at U.S. intersections and are quickly becoming a major part of the American landscape, including here in Brown Deer. Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. tallied about 300 roundabouts nationwide. Now, the United States has about 9,000.
Wisconsin has fully embraced the roundabout concept. Our state has 495 roundabouts, behind only Florida, Indiana, and Washington in total number. Wisconsin ranks 2nd in the number of roundabouts per person, with Nebraska at Number 1, and ranks 8th in the number of roundabouts per mile, just behind Hawaii and ahead of North Carolina.
Vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians can all benefit from roundabouts. Vehicles can keep moving through traffic, reducing commute time, and easing driver aggravation. Also, the starts and stops and idling at traditional traffic intersections cause vehicles to emit more gas and diesel so roundabouts are more environmentally friendly. Roundabouts also always have a center island, which can be a place of refuge for pedestrians. This provides a place of safety when crossing a busy intersection.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, roundabouts have been shown to significantly decrease the number of crashes, particularly those with serious injuries. Roundabouts make violent and deadly T-bone and head-on collisions unlikely. The collisions that do occur tend to be minor.
Although roundabouts reduce the number of traffic accidents overall, many Americans are still unfamiliar with these types of intersections, and a lot of motorists have difficulty navigating them. In a roundabout, drivers are to yield at entry to traffic from the left, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.
Common Reasons for Collisions at Roundabout Intersections
Accidents at roundabouts usually happen because of reckless driving, a lack of understanding of the rules for navigating a roundabout intersection, and similar factors. Some of the main reasons that roundabout accidents occur include:
The presence of roundabouts is likely to continue to grow. Local municipalities, including Brown Deer, and the state Department of Transportation are always looking for ways to ease road congestion, improve safety, and lower maintenance and operational costs.
There are things you can do to stay safe in roundabouts such as avoiding lane changes, avoid passing other vehicles when there are multiple lanes, not stopping once in the traffic flow except for accident avoidance, using turn signals, and being cautious of bicyclists and pedestrians in the intersection. This can help make traffic circles safer for all.