October 19, 2009

Update: Dickert's budget saves $683,000 per year; Mayor could have spent a lot more on 2010 budget

Mayor John Dickert bangs the gavel on his first budget address Monday night.

Update: There's a question of whether we reported the wrong number out of the city budget by focusing on the tax rate versus the property tax levy, which is the amount the city will raise in property taxes next year. We'll start with arguments on why we were wrong to focus on the 5.7 percent increase in the property tax rate:

1. The city's tax levy would increase $634,077, or 1.4 percent, under Dickert's budget proposal. Historically (see chart to right; click to enlarge), this is a remarkably small increase and backs up the mayor's claims that the city found significant savings in its 2010 budget.

Reiterating Dickert's comments from Monday night, City Administrator Tom Friedel said Tuesday morning city departments went through the budget and cut nearly every line item in an effort to reduce spending. The result: $683,000 in savings. To get an idea on that number, one alderman said Monday night they weren't sure how it was possible to cut that much out of the budget without cutting jobs.

2. That's a key part of Dickert's budget. His plan calls for no city layoffs, but still only increases the property tax levy 1.4 percent (just 1.1 percent more in its general fund). In these times, that's an impressive accomplishment. "You won't find another community in southeastern Wisconsin that reduced spending the way we did," Friedel said.

2.5. On that point, Friedel noted a number of expenses outside of the city's control increased significantly this year. Overtime costs in the police department increased $600,000 because of relatively little turnover in the department this year. (Turnover saves money because veteran officers make more money than new officers. When someone retires, the department saves money by hiring a new officer.) The city also had to budget for an additional $366,000 to rent fire hydrants from the water utility. The increase was approved by the Public Safety Commission.

2.75. Friedel also said the city expects to lose significant amounts of revenue next year. The state cut shared revenue to the city city by $400,000 and the city lost $600,000 in interest payments on its savings. It also expects to lose another $300,000 on decreases on fees and permits, bringing the projected total lost revenue to $2.3 million.

3. Focusing on the tax rate is not an indication of a government's fiscal responsibility. Under state law, the city could increase its levy 3 percent this year. Instead, Dickert's plan calls for less than half of that increase. (In other words, the city could spend another $700,000 next year and pass that amount on to taxpayers. ) The fact that the projected tax rate increase is 5.7 percent belies the fact that mayor and city department heads significantly cut spending, Friedel said.

4. As proof of the lack of correlation between the tax rate and tax levy, consider two charts in the budget. One shows the city's tax rate, which basically declined from 2001 to 2009. The other shows the city's tax levy, which increased from 2001 to 2009.

5. In short, a headline that reads a 5.7 percent increase in the property tax rate doesn't portray the lengths to which the city went to control spending and hold the line on property taxes, Friedel said. Typically most news sources focus on the tax levy as the more accurate indicator of government spending.

Here's why we disagree, to a degree:

1. At issue here is the relationship between assessed property value and the city's tax levy. In recent years, the city's property tax rate went down, but people's property taxes increased. That's because the assessment on their home increased. For example, consider a fictional home assessed at $100,000 in 2007 and $125,000 in 2008. Even though city property tax rate declined 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, the homeowner's city tax bill increased $262 because their assessment increased.

2. This year is a little different. Given the collapse of the housing market and the economy's overall slump, property assessments aren't increasing much, if at all, this year. Most homes saw no increase in their 2009 property assessment, though we couldn't find one home that saw a property tax decrease. (Friedel suggested most news stories focus on tax levy instead of property tax rate, which is true. But in a year where the assessed value of most homes is flat the tax rate is a relevant comparison. In years were assessed values change [typically increase], the tax rate is misleading because it doesn't factor in the change in property value. This year, the change in property value is more of a constant.)

3. That raises the (unanswered, and technical) question: If the city held the line on spending, why would the property tax rate increase? The unknown value here is the total property value of the city, which is multiplied by the tax rate to get the levy.

In other words, if the city's project tax rate in 2010 is $11.36 per $1,000 and the proposed tax levy is $45,015,267, how much is the total value of city land? Quick math suggests it's about $3.96 billion. No doubt the number is much, much more complicate than that, but if we do the same for previous years we see the city is assuming a 4.1 percent decline in its assessed value this year compared to last. (Explained! See the explanation of the erroneous number here.)

4. So what does this have to do with the property tax rate? It raises another question: If the city significantly cuts spending, as the mayor proposes, why will many homeowners see a property tax rate increase? It's not a major increase - a home valued at $125,000 will pay $77.50 more in city property taxes under Dickert's projected budget - but it's still an increase.

5. That brings us back to the unanswered question: Where is the city losing property value? And, more interestingly, who will save money on their property taxes because of it? Hopefully, we can find out.

Original post:

The big news in Mayor John Dickert's 2010 budget, released Monday night at City Hall, is found on Page 10 of its 260 pages:

The tax rate is going up.

After eight years of declines during the past decade (with only one 8-cent increase in 2004), Dickert's budget calls for an $11.36/$1,000 tax rate -- a 5.7%, 62-cent increase from this year's $10.74 rate. (Click graphic from the budget at right to enlarge.) All things being equal, that computes to an additional $62 in city property tax for every $100,000 in assessed valuation.

The levy -- the total amount to be raised -- is $45,015,267, an increase of about 1.4% from this year's $44,381,190.

Property taxes will provide 38% of the city's general fund revenue, up from 37% this year.

Total general fund expenditures will rise from $79.8 million to $82 million. Fire Department spending is flat, but Police see an increase of almost $700,000, from $27,733,007 to $28,421,846. Public Works spending goes up almost as much -- and a much higher percentage -- from $12.8 million to $13.45 million. Public Works personnel stays stable at 113.8 positions, but its capital improvements budget jumps $600,000.

Public Safety will get 56% of the budget; up from 54% in 2009. The Fire Department maintains its complement of 144. The Police Department goes from 199 to 202, with one additional Lieutenant and three more Patrolmen. The budget cuts police overtime by $100,000, from this year's $750,000. The expenditure for police salaries goes up only $150,000, but FICA and Wisconsin Retirement costs for police increase $400,000.

The city is accepting $246,551, this year's funding of a COPS Hiring Recovery Program Grant that will pay for three officers for three years with the fourth year's cost funded by the City. The city is levying taxes over the four years of the grant period "to minimize the fluctuation of tax levy in the fourth year." That amount comes to $77,586 this year.

City Council President Q.A. Shakoor and the rest of the City Council takes in Dickert's budget address.

The Parks Department budget is flat at $7,230,069, with personnel stable at 65.45 positions. But the big news is the inclusion of $330,000 in capital improvement funds to construct a Splash Pad to replace downtown's popular Laurel Clark fountain, which was not built to handle the chlorine state law now requires. The budget doesn't say where the new splash pad would be located but the mayor has mentioned Riverview, his term for the inner city. The budget also includes the addition of an "honor pay system or kiosk" for $12,500 to generate revenue from the boat launch. Funds for a mat system to provide access to the water's edge at North Beach for persons with disabilities are also proposed; the amount is $46,500. The budget includes a 2.5% increase for the Zoo and 3% more for the Wustum Museum; the total increase is $19,763.

City Administrative expenses -- the cost of the Mayor and City Administrator, City Council, City Attorney and Human Resources offices -- is increasing from $2 million to $2.1 million. One 32-hour position is being increased to fulltime; staffing will rise to 31. City Council salaries and benefits go from $115,000 to $123,700.

One area where costs are increasing substantially is Recycling. The city has budgeted $2 million in capital funds to implement a "recycling cart system." Operating expenses will go up $225,000 to $900,000 and a $10 yearly fee will be charged customers who receive recycling services.

The full budget -- warning: it's a big .pdf file -- is HERE. The Capital Improvement Plan details are HERE.


  1. Robert Burns10/19/2009 7:53 PM

    Fight The Power Fight Mayor Dickert!!! We are in a recession and he is going to raise taxes???!!
    Just like his guy in Madison did good to know what type of leader we have, one who does not care about the tax payer.
    Well he will have one term.

  2. You can have my house and shove it. Who do you think you are Mayor Dickert? You won't be back for a second term

  3. Guess he wanted to busy raising taxes to actually DOCUMENT HIS 10 YEAR PLAN. What a fool he is to think he's going to keep doing this and get re-elected, hopefully the housing market will pick up and he'll have a ton of houses to try to see after he isn't mayor anymore

  4. Wow....I gotta say I'm shocked as well! Raising my taxes, in a time like this?! You can take my house and shove also! I'm outta here!

  5. The buzz word is supposed to be about JOBS! However, there are no jobs added in the fire dept., only 3 added in the police dept. and none added in public works and yet big budget jumps in each. Added spending that does not include JOBS!

  6. Oh yeah and for his 10 year plan we all will find out in the budget? WHERE THE HELL IS IT! This guy is raping us!

  7. Point Blue
    River Bend

    Might that be part of the 9 TIF's that are doing badly? What other name goes with this?

  8. The Mayor should have:
    Fired the City Administrator
    Fired the City Grant Writer
    Ended all travel to any outside Racine events
    Fired Brian O'Connell is he not the one who oversees the Tif's that are failing?

    That's a start

  9. Raise our taxes so you can spend! Give our land to criminals so you can have your moment in front of TV cameras! You don't make cuts because you are affraid to offend your realatives ( Freidl)! You couldn't make it as a realtor so you became a lobbist, probably was an easy transformation because they are both good for sh$t! You have an uncle that screwed every contractor that ever worked for him (Heritage Homes Mr. Jim Dickert)! You said on the radio that you won't be bullied, Guess what "Johnny Boy" your nightmare has just begun! We the People of Racine will not forget your empty promises! Can you say, "one term of Dickert is one term to many!!!!"

  10. City Council salaries and benefits go from $115,000 to $123,700.


  11. Did Mason and Lehmen help him with his budget?

  12. Let's rally at City Hall on Friday noon and tell Dickert what we think of this!!

  13. "Dadado said...
    Point Blue
    River Bend

    Might that be part of the 9 TIF's that are doing badly? What other name goes with this?"

    No, dumbass. Point Blue never materialized and River Bend was not a TIF.

  14. Hey boneheads, you might want to check the budget and see if Dustin has his facts right before you become cheerleaders for the "Post."
    Just think of yourselves as anti-city leader cheerleaders for Dustin.

  15. God forbid any city employee have to take a pay cut or furlough. The rest of us have to, and we pay taxes. So even though our incomes are down, please know that the city employess will still be making money off of all of the people that work in the private sector. Thank you Mayor Dickert. You are a true Democrat. Tax the workers; they will figure out a way to pay thier bills and feed thier families, as well as pay large amounts of taxes.

  16. Raises for everyone! Who cares where the money comes from! It will just appear. Perhaps China will loan us a couple more Trillion! STOP SPENDING!!!!!

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. A levy increase of only 1.4%, yet a rate increase of 5.7%, indicates that there is a smaller pool of taxpayers from which to fund the levy and/or assessments have decreased. Not sure which it is in Racine's case, but can't really blame that all on Dickert - look to those that have been running Racine into the ground for some time.

    People and businesses leaving Racine? Can't imagine why. Might be time to loosen the regulations for letting businesses in?

  19. Where are all the Dickite's now? Where is Monte, Mick and the rest of his gang.

    Must be going for city jobs.

  20. Who is going to get the job Dickert is creating for the Mayor's office?

  21. Yes which job in City Administration is going from 32 hours to full time, and WHY???

  22. The article states City Administraton staff is increasing to 31 - what is it currently and what jobs are being added??

    In this day of people taking paycuts and losing their jobs, why would the city be increasing hours and increasing staff in the City Administration? SHAME!!!

  23. Obviously there are two people who sat and spit out continuous postings last night without reading the budget.

    Good budget Mr. Mayor. Tough going for sure but it could have been alot worse. Thanks for keeping the jobs stable.

    I don't understand the Monte thing. YOu people need to get over the fact that there are brighter people out there who see Racine as a place to live and do business in and try for the community to get better and better. The few of you who continually scratch your /////lls and whine just to whine are really old news. Sure, sell your house and move, try Caledonia and see what happens to ya there!

    Good job Mr.Mayor. Thanks.

  24. Colt sure is quiet these days.

    Hopefully Racine turns into a Gary Indiana, it would be hysterical. I am so fed up, I don't care anymore.

    Great job one-time mayor.

  25. If you don't care anymore, please shut up and go away.

  26. I voted for Dickert - he will not get my vote next time and I even know him personally.

  27. I see the Dickert Web team is awake this morning.
    Going to take more then them to stop the rage on new taxes.

  28. New taxes? No there are no NEW taxes. There is a tax increase and that is pretty much a get go from the beginning. Learn a little before you yap your mouth off. I see Jody is up and in her bathrobe this morning.

  29. I can't afford my home with this new tax increase, I will be selling my home thanks to Dickert. I'm shocked at a time like this he would be spending our money on an inner city splash pad? Who would be swimming at that sess pool? And how many shootings and crimes will happen there? Screw Dickert, and by the way has anyone picked up on the arrogance and rudeness at which he speaks to the people? Outrageous!

  30. Seriously? The tipping point for you was another $70-100 per year? You own a home and you are going broke if you lose another $6-8 per month?

    Get real. I get that you don't like taxes, but the city tax rate is $11.36. On a 120,000 house, you would pay roughly $1,360 a year to the city - or $115 per month if you escrow. I know people who pay more in condo association fees.

    The city plows the roads, collects the garbage, provides police, fire, and rescue, provides parks, builds and maintains roads and other infrastructure, and many other things. Not bad for $115 per month.

    You could move to Caledonia, where the mil rate is $5.54 and have less police, parks being shuttered, substandard fire and rescue, and other niceties. However, your $120,000 house would cost double in Caledonia and now your taxes are...about $1350 per year.

    Funny how things work out.

  31. Screw you, you rich bastard. I'm selling and moving to Vegas, not only because of the tax increase, but because I don't believe in this administration and this city has a whole bunch of NOTHING! This city & mayor stinks more then ever.....sorry?!

  32. Kim Young Sum10/20/2009 8:52 AM

    Dickert = massive failure and a ten year plan just like North Korea

  33. Oliver Wendell Holmes10/20/2009 9:19 AM

    I like paying taxes. With them, I buy civilzation.

  34. Anon 8:51 -

    Sure you are...

  35. What's up with new positions in the city admininistration and increase in people's hours? Is there anyone who can answer those questions? HELLO??

    Sure as heck better not be the woman who sits out front in the city attorney's office who is getting the increased hours. Last time I walked in there she was on the phone with an obvious personal call. Never bothered to look up and even acknowledge my existence.

    There are a lot of us without jobs and struggling to buy groceries. The city can't be giving out more hours and pay! I know the city employees already make good money compared to non-gov jobs and have great benefits. And now the rest of us are supposed to pay out even MORE to pay for extra hours and personnel???????!!!

    Mayor dickert - you need to rethink a couple of these ideas!

  36. You sure can tell that The Mayor is just one phone call away from Obama.
    Yes during his campaign Dickert said time and again how his business/government experience would help.
    Sure is! High unemployment followed by tax hikes we sure know how that is going to bring business to Racine.
    Note to Mayor: Drove around Main St/16 st area saw lots of houses for sale, is this part of the 10 year plan, driving people out of Racine?

  37. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Storm-Racine/2009/10/22/Mayor-John-Dickerts-budget-address

    9:00 AM Thursday.

    A real look vs the Post pap.

  38. So again, WHERE IS HIS 10 YEAR PLAN?

  39. Are the blue carts made in Racine ?? or even in Wisaonsin ?? How do I get a job there? $2 MILLION is a lot of money. Plastic bags cost how much ?
    What is legal to but on property tax ? another fee ??
    $330,000 For a splash pad. Are you nuts? This will be the LAST budget you have anything to do with.

  40. What kind of silly headline is "Mayor could have spent a lot more"?

  41. Anon 12:18 - Pete's been giving gruff about that all morning. My point was state law allows the levy to go up 3 percent, though Dickert only proposed a 1.4 percent increase. Legally, he could have proposed another $700,000 in spending.

    It's a pretty fluffy hed, I'll admit. Pete wins this one.

  42. A drunken sailor could spend more, too. And probably wouldn't lie about a 10 year plan.

    That's it? No one is going to hold Mr. Dickert to his statements concerning a 10 year plan? It was touted over and over before the election. When pressed about it after the election, Dickert said it would be in the budget. It clearly isn't. Our mayor blatantly lies to us and we just accept it?

    Party on!

  43. A splash pad in the ghetto?!!? Perfect! This mayor is such a fool he has frogotten about Lake Michigan? Oh and a 10 year plan? What a joke! How about a 1yr plan! Because thats all you got!

  44. Dickert is on the record saying the 10 year plan would be incorporated as part of the budget process.

    He just delivered the budget and yet there is no mention of a 10 year plan. That is, of course, unless his plan to make Racine a Top 10 city in 10 years is a splash pad.

    The simplist solutions tend to be the best after all.

    Dustin, I think a follow up interview is in order regarding the 10 year plan. Your article not that long ago addressed this issue and yet we see no progress on that front.

    This isn't a matter of being negative, it is a matter of expecting results and following through on your promises.

  45. Do you know what I find interesting. Bach goes to DC, comes back with a raise. Good for him.

  46. Seriously? The tipping point for you was another $70-100 per year? You own a home and you are going broke if you lose another $6-8 per month?

    Your grasp of tax policy is massively lacking.

    No, it is not the $70-100.

    Add that to the massive increase we'll get from the school district.

    Then start adding on all the various tax and fee increases passed in the horrible state budget.

    We are not having a recession in government, government continues to grow and not give a damn about the struggles of the people.

    No cut backs, no furloughs, no nothing and a nifty new $300,000 splash pad.

    This city is in a death spiral and the Mayor has done precisely nothing to help.

    Tell you what, I'll donate a hundred feet of hose and a nifty sprinkler and we can save the $300 grand.

    You lefties always try and frame this as one tax, just a 1/2 a point here, a point there, a fee there, etc.

    It never stops and it shows no sign of slowing down.

  47. By the way, did anyone else notice how many foreclosure notices there were in the paper this morning?

  48. Yes I did Real Debate - but yet our leaders are going to vote to INCREASE staff in the mayor's office? I think they can give up a little if the rest of us have to. Heck even the unions have given up their raises.

    Why should the city council be increasing people's hours in the city admininstration and increasing the number of positions?

  49. How can we even begin to address the many issues confronting us in Racine when our mayor lies to us? This is beyond the pale. Trust is vital to cooperation, but how can we cooperate when the man who leads us lies?

    I am not trying to be negative, either. I simply want to know what happened to the ten year plan that our mayor talked and talked about? He said it would be in the budget. It is not. How can we progress on anything when we are lied to? What is the point in voting, what is the point of trying to participate in the democratic process when it is subverted by a lie?

    Please, one of the Dickert supporters, please explain why we should let this lie pass? How can we work in good faith toward our future when the man leading us is dishonest to us?

  50. It is pretty obvious that the republicans are using the "10 year plan" slogan to try and degrade the Mayor. You guys are like flies. Get over the election. Jody lost, get it? LOST. I get a little tired of all the bitc hing over a few bucks and yes, it is a few bucks. Sell you house, go ahead. Love to see ya on the road. Racine is a good place to live. Some of you need to grow up here. the constant right wing wringing of damnation and everything is going to h e l l is rather old, worn out. Go listen to Rush some more will ya!

  51. Jody are you still doing personal business on CNH time? Did they let you go yet - Rich maybe you can let us know. You are use to speaking for her.

  52. > "It is pretty obvious that the republicans are using the '10 year plan' slogan to try and degrade the Mayor."

    I'm not a Republican. I'm not trying to "degrade" [the word is 'to,' not 'and'] the mayor. I simply want to know where is the ten year plan that the mayor promised would be in the budget? It was not a "slogan." It was a plan that he said he had for Racine, one in which he said he knew how every neighborhood in Racine would look in 10 years. that sounds like a wonderful idea that all Racineans could work toward.

    I don't care about the petty squabbles between your left and right - you are all the same.

    Again, if Mr. Dickert will not explain it himself, can anyone else who works for him or supports him please explain where the ten year plan is?

    How do we solve our problems when our mayor lies to us?

  53. A man who lies degrades himself.

  54. The Dickert Internet Nazi's are quickly losing support. Those tatics might have worked to slow down Turner but we are not them.

  55. Dickert and Friedel claim the 10 year plan "is in the Budget" only to find errors "after" it is submitted. Is this a Laurel & Hardy show? Not to be outdone, Dr. Shaw is working on his "budget dilemma" as Clem Kadidlehopper. Lets start with salary reductions at the top.

  56. Coney Island10/20/2009 5:02 PM

    Is Monte going be the new city employee that was created in this budget? What's next? A new granite facade on city hall from a certain granite shop?

  57. Dickert has really screwed himself over in my estimation. He spent the entire campaign hyping up the 10 year plan and used that as the base for his election.

    Now, many months and no details later he stated it would be in the budget. It wasn't.

    People are not just forgetting about this as he apparantly has banked on. The longer this goes, the worse it gets for him because the pressure builds and so does the expectations about what this plan will be. With all of the time it has taken to get this done, it better be really good! Nobody has seen it and it is already off to a very negative start because of this. What a shame.

    Go ahead Mayor, keep delaying on this and make it worse for yourself. If there is no plan, then say it. If there is a plan, then deliver it. Patience has worn out on this. If you ever put anything out there now, it will be far more scrutinized and torn apart than had you done it right away. This amounts to nothing more than a failure of leadership and vision - which was the hallmark of your campaign.

    This isn't a left or right wing issue. This is a do what you said you were going to do issue.

    How much time needs to pass without a timeline, goals, objectives, benchmarks or anticipated delivery date of the ten year plan before it goes from promise to outright lie? One month? Two? Three? How long Mayor? What is the timeline for continued excuses and dodging of this question?

    Enough is enough already. Lead by example and keep your word. Pretty simple. It isn't too late.

  58. This city and it's government "positively" SUCKS. Nothing more can be said. Wish I could say something hopeful for this town but not anymore. Our mayor doesn't have a clue or he has a very private agenda (can't figure out which) but well hopefully housing market with pick up because that's where he is going back to, and hopefully his administrator can be let go when a new mayor is elected.

  59. I want to hear an explanation from Dickert on where the 10 year plan is. The Racine Post and the Journal Times need to hold him accountable for his promises.

  60. John you just plain "SUCK"!

  61. My friends and I actually helped out with Dickert's campaign. Of course, we voted for him as well. Looking back on all of this "talk" and "promises", I must admit, we made a huge mistake. I am very disappointed to say the least. Thanks John.

  62. If JD is listening to MO.

    You need to CCAP MO.

    Look under MO.

    "O" Inc.

    And "O" Granite&Marble.

    Not such a success, as some here think?

  63. "Your grasp of tax policy is massively lacking.

    No, it is not the $70-100.

    Add that to the massive increase we'll get from the school district.

    Then start adding on all the various tax and fee increases passed in the horrible state budget."

    Oops, turns out the increase is actually a whole $12 per year on a $120,000 house. $1 more per month - better move out quick.

    You people are stuck on furloughs. Why should the city furlough people if it doesn't have to? I have a job and have not been furloughed. Should my private employer furlough me because others have to do it?

  64. 10:3

    No The City should never cut anything ever. How dare the public think in a time of meltdown government should be a good example of leadership or fiscal responsibly.
    No, John should follow the lead of his party in Madison more taxes, more fees, more spending, and look for way to make money for the good old boys. Well at least he is doing some of that well

  65. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Homes-About-to-get-much-cnnm-699910894.html?x=0

    Yes the housing market going to hell in a hand basket lets spend more

  66. Most of the first postings and some of the others,the one attacking Jody and Rich are all Colt or Wayne. He is even seeking attention by asking where he has been. sad.

  67. Anon 3:22, you still don't get it do you? Listen to me one more time you ignorant bimbo (and yes we know who you are and where you work at CNH), Jody DID NOT run her last campaign on CNH company time. Any extra time she needed during her lunch hours or to leave early was approved by her bosses, and even encouraged, and then she put in extra time later to compensate for it. Any days that she took off were vacation days. So, her campaign did not in any way detract from her job or cost CNH one single penny. We know who you are, we know that you are one of the leftist idiots that will support anything the liberals do, that you are just jealous of her and a pretty small-minded bimbette to continue criticizing her for doing nothing wrong. Why don't you just crawl back under your rock.

  68. I can't believe the foolishness of this mayor and city council. They raise our taxes by half of what they are allowed by the state and the try to sell it to us as a savings. This is the mentality used by the oil companies that continue to rape us year after year: they raise the price of gas from $2.00 per gallon to $3.00 per gallon and then back it off to $2.50 so that we accept it and feel like we're saving money.

    Mr. Dickert, do you want to really save some money? Want to turn your $683,000.00 "savings" into more than 1.5 million in savings? Then cancel the $500,000.00 bike path that is proposed and kill the $330,000.00 cost to the splash pad. These pork projects are not needed in this time of economic crisises for the citizens of Racine.

    And now it's time to cough up the 10 year plan that you don't have. We are beginning to see that it was just a phrase you thought would help you get elected. It's also the phrase that's going to get you fired! Liar!

  69. I second Rich's comment. Enough with the personal attacks on Jody Harding. Debate her ideas. Don't rehash long forgotten, and unsubstantiated, claims from the campaign.

  70. Rich Harding just called someone a bimbo several times and Dustin agreed with his comment.

    Thank God Jody didn't win the election with how Rich continues to act.

  71. Thank you Dustin, I have to agree with you. This hateful person that continues to attack other people from behind the mask of Anonymous should just shut up and go away or put their real name out there and backup what they say.

    Kudos to Rich for having the courage to standup for his wife and not hide behind the Anonymous screen like the coward that keeps attacking Jody.

    And saying, "Rich Harding just called someone a bimbo several times and Dustin agreed with his comment" just shows how thin skinned people can be. I don't know Rich, but you can bet that he was being kind in his description of this cowardly attacker. If this was my wife you were attacking with unsubstantiated allegations and lies, I hunt your ass down and deal with you directly.

  72. 9:57

    That is so untrue however anyone can sign any name they want.
    Colt thought Jody brought interesting ideas to the campaign and Wayne had her on his podcast.

  73. What is the real deal with the fountain? Is it just that they don't want the poor little kids playing in downtown? Too close to the tourists and their expensive toys?

    There is no way it makes sense that we would need a lifeguard for a sprinkler. There has got to be more to this.

  74. The reason that they don't want anyone using the fountain downtown is because it needs chemicals (chlorine) and the system cannot handle that. The people responsible for that fountain knew going into it that kids would play and they didn't plan right.

  75. Anon 5:31 is right, though it wasn't just poor planning. New state law required harsh chemicals the system wasn't capable of handling. The law also required lifeguards. City officials worked on a number of creative solutions, but they were illegal, expensive or impractical.

  76. The state legislature is illegal, expensive or impractical.

  77. JWax also does not like a bunch of African American kids playing across the street from their building. This is the real reason it was moved to the hood.

  78. What is this law about fountains? I would love to review it. Anyone have the actual law?

    I am not republican and I want to see the 10 year plan. It is beyond ludicrous how this slippery mayor keeps avoiding sharing the plan. I am thinking there never was a plan. Maybe he will release it as part of his next campaign?

    Someone start a Facebook group or website to embarrass him into finally writing and releasing it. Enough with the stall tactics already.

  79. As many times as DICKert has been asked for the 10 year plan and not come forth with it is proof positive that it does not exist.

  80. Pete and Dustin, "an ulterior" motive - this is misleading and a negative headline " You guys are a joke - sure Dickert said it, but to take it out of context and use it as a headline is ridiculous. Your Post is a joke.

  81. Anon 11:19, you can research the JT to find out what the laws are. When this story broke (I think it was last Spring), the JT printed the state requirements for community fountains. The crux of the story was that just chlorine wasn't good enough. There are chemicals that the state requires be used in all fountains and it happens that our fountain has parts in it that the required chemicals will be harmful to. This is another clear case of too much government. I guess the state feels that us at the city/town/village level are too stupid to work this stuff out for ourselves and that they have to "take care of us because we obviously can't do it."

    Pete, Dustin, I think Anon 3:11 is the joke.

  82. Here's a good summary of the fountain issue: