SunsetVillage Community Association
Madison, WI 53705
Date of Meeting: Nov 15, 2018
Meeting Location:Midtown Police Station
Sue Reynard, Bev Flanigan, Linda Fahy, Liz Vowles, Ulrike Dieterle, Leanne Bergstrom, Rich Kedzior, Arvina Marvin, William Needelman (neighborhood liaison officer)
Meeting Opening:The meeting was brought to order at 6:35. We introduced ourselves.
William Needelman, Neighborhood Liaison Officer
William was formerly based out of the West Police Station but is now based at Midtown. Lives on Tokay. As most people know, among the main crime issues around here are car thefts and thefts from vehicles—almost always because the car is left unlocked. Extra vigilance is needed. He doesn’t get involved much in traffic/speeding issues because he works nightshift. In response to a question, he said that the police can ticket people driving with loud mufflers.
Presentation by Michelle Drea, Esq. (new city assessor) and Nay Veng (property appraiser for our district)
Ms. Drea and Mr. Veng gave a 40-minute presentation on how property taxes are determined. They pointed out that their office is charged with implementing state statutes that are determined by the legislature. We citizens can challenge the process or property valuations made by the assessor but their office cannot affect the size of our tax burden (for those issues we should contact policymakers directly).
They talked in detail about how the assessment process works, the challenges involved in making sure that property valuations are the result of “apple to apple” comparisons. Trend data for Areas 89, 90, and 91 (which encompass the Sunset Village neighborhood) shows that over the past 10 years, our property values essentially remained steady through 2013 (with a slight dip in 2012), and from 2014 through 2018 increased between 2% to 10% per year. Re-valuations of individual properties do not happen often because there are only seven city assessors responsible for more than 50,000 householders.
A recent judicial ruling clarified City Assessors are subject to 4th Amendment provisions regarding privacy. So property owners have the right to refuse to allow assessors onto their property. The Assessor’s Office is trying to do more to explain to property owners why the data is important and make sure they can get the owner’s permission for viewing a property.
In response to an audience question, Mr. Veng said that new property evaluations following a sale usually make it to online records within two weeks.
There were a lot of topics we did not have time to cover, so Ms. Drea agreed to work with Alder Martin to arrange a neighborhood meeting in 2019 that would be solely dedicated to these issues.
Shawn Kapper, Sunset Garden Club, new garden at Midtown
The Sunset Garden Club (SGC), which established the pollinator garden at Fire Station #9, has been working with Capt. Lengfeld to help plan and plant new gardens at Midtown. They already put in a small “fall garden” along the sidewalk on Westmorland. Now thy want to establish a larger, more-welcoming, pollinator-friendly garden and are seeking one-time donations. They hope this garden will also be visited by school groups. Several participants had suggestions for fund raising sources. We then voted unanimously to have SVCA donate $250 towards this garden. If more funds are still needed next spring, we will revisit the topic and see if we can donate more.
Arvina Martin: Alder Report:
There are still people in our area dealing with the aftermath of the summer 2018 flooding. She is working with City Engineering and other groups in support of a comprehensive watershed study (in the last five years, the Madison area has had one 500-year event and three 100-year events) and a study of lake levels. It’s important to not do anything piecemeal, or we could end up simply shifting the impact from one area to another. The city was developing a website where people could report storm damage, but it was not ready at the time of this meeting.
Ms. Martin also discussed the need to develop a more comprehensive plan for residential “2 hr parking” areas. Residents should also be aware of the work being done to replace playground equipment at Lucia Crest.
- A handful of people responded to the online survey regarding the revised SVCA Bylaws. A few minor changes were made to clarify the language, and several suggestions were rejected because they were not consistent with SVCA’s reality (such as wanting to retain “standing committees” that in fact haven’t existed for years). The final vote for adoption will be made at the February 2019 meeting.
- MSCR asked if SVCA wanted to invite them to bring their Fit2Go opportunities to our neighborhood next year. The group agreed that it was a good idea.
- SVCA has donated towards the new Ice Rink in Sunset Park. It should open in early December.
- We discussed the reality of increased participation at our social events but low attendance at the quarterly meetings. The group agreed that we should investigate trying to have another social event sometime in late winter/spring, perhaps something especially targeted at newer residents and families with young children. Sue will push this effort forward in 2019.
Minutes submitted by:
Sue Reynard, SVCA President