Members of the Sun Prairie City Council approved the 2020-24 Capitol Improvement Plan (CIP) on a 5-3 vote.

City Council President and District 2 Alder Bill Connors sought a delay in consideration of the CIP so that staff can prepare a 10-year CIP. Other alders sought approval of the plan so the council can focus its efforts on the City of Sun Prairie 2020 Operating Budget.

But Mayor Paul Esser said the approval “pretty much means nothing” because alders requested city staff to prepare a 10-year CIP that included expenditures for the new $17.5 million Public Works Campus along Bailey Road and the expansion of the Sun Prairie Public Library broken out separately. Esser’s remarks were a reference to aldermanic reaction to reviewing the 10-year CIP.

One expense alders will not have to be concerned with: Paying for half of the salaries for new firefighters set to begin work on March 1, 2020.

That’s because Fire Chief Chris Garrison applied for, and obtained, a SAFER grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The three-year, $462,134 grant pays for half of the salaries of the five new hires over the next three fiscal years. The department’s 2020 budget request also includes additional Paid-on-Call/Volunteer personnel to staff the evening hours.

Garrison explained the grant allows for $150,000 this year, slightly more in 2020 and slightly less in 2021.

According to a memo to the council from Garrison, alders agreed to accept the 2017 initial increase of four operational full time employees to staff the Westside District. This operational company started mid-year 2017, and is currently staffing Station Two Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (in accordance with peak call volume and availability of volunteers) and additionally agreed to hire the additional full-time staffing to accommodate 24-hour coverage beginning fiscal year 2020.

This corresponded with the completion of the build-out of the Westside Community Services Building (Station Two). Weekend coverage at Station Two is provided 8 a.m.-4 p.m. through the use of Paid-on-Call/Volunteer personnel.

“Thank you very much, we’re grateful,” remarked District 4 Alder Al Guyant, referring to the grant. Alders unanimously approved the acceptance of the SAFER grant.

Garrison thanked Sun Prairie Fire Capt. Becky Gruber, who wrote most of the grant, and other staffers from the department and the city who assisted with the grant application and grant budget preparation.

Trust fund loan approved

Acting on a recommendation from city staff, alders approved a $650,000 State Trust Fund Loan to purchase properties at 117 Columbus St. and 402 Vine St. The city purchased the property at 402 E Vine Street and will be closing on the property at 117 Columbus Street prior to the end of the year. Staff recommended the property be purchased with a State Trust Fund Loan because the properties are located in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District 8, which is scheduled to close in 2025.

The State Trust Fund Loan allows for the flexibility of prepaying the loan prior to the TIF closure. The breakdown is $373,400 for 402 E. Vine St. and $276,600 for 117 Columbus St.

Proclamations presented

Esser presented proclamations for White Cane Safety Day and Public Power Week during the Oct. 1 council meeting. The proclamation noted blindness and severe visual impairment affect approximately 100,000 Wisconsin residents, with the majority using travel aids such as white canes or service animals to get around public streets, sidewalks and places of public accommodation. The document proclaims October 15, 2019 as White Cane Safety Day.

Adam Grassnickle of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired accepted the proclamation and thanked the mayor, noting that transportation is the biggest barrier to sight-impaired individuals (see his comments and the proclamation presentation online in the Videos section at

Rose Schulze, Finance Manager from Sun Prairie Utilities (SPU), accepted the Public Power Week proclamation, which noted Sun Prairie is a public power community with a municipally-owned electric utility. The week of Oct. 6-12, 2019, is designated Public Power Week in order to honor Sun Prairie Utilities for its contributions to the community and to make its consumer owners, policy makers, and employees more aware of its contributions to their well-being and how it makes their lives powerful.

Schulze said SPU is sponsoring all the elementary school fun runs and providing child participants with goody bags that contain energy-saving messages and tips.

Adults who sign up for the My Account customer portal on the SPU website will be entered into a drawing for a Smart Home Energy Efficiency Kit. Although just one winner will be drawn, SPU will conduct a personalized energy audit with customized tips on how to make the home more energy efficient.

Licenses approved

As part of the council’s consent agenda, alders approved fermented malt beverage, wine and liquor licenses, including:

• A Class “B” Fermented Malt and Class C Wine License for Mod Pizza, located at 485 S. Legacy Way, Suite 120. The new Mod Pizza will open next to Jersey Mike’s subs in the building near the corner of Hoepker Road and South Legacy Way. The building is in the parking lot where HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Five Below are located between Target and Marcus Palace Cinemas.

• A “Class A” Fermented Malt and Intoxicating Alcohol License for Windsor Street Liquor & Smoke, located at 900 Windsor St.

• A Class “B” Fermented Malt and Class C Wine License for Country Cafe, located at 1030 Emerald Terrace.

Fitness Court coming soon to Orfan Park

The Sun Prairie Parks and Recreation Department applied for a partnership grant with the National Fitness Campaign in May 2019. The Parks and Recreation Department has been notified that they were selected for a 2020 partnership grant.

The next step in the process to receive the funding from the National Fitness Campaign is to get a resolution from the Sun Prairie City Council stating its commitment to the project.

On Sept. 4, 2019, the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Commission unanimously approved the recommendation of this resolution to the council, which accepted the grant under its Consent Agenda. The National Fitness Campaign partnership grant will provide the City of Sun Prairie with $30,000 towards a 32’ x 35’ outdoor bodyweight circuit training system that will include 30 pieces of body weight training equipment for simultaneous use by 28 users at one time.

The total investment from the City of Sun Prairie’s Park Fund required to complete this project is $60,000.

There is a fundraising goal of $84,400 that must be met prior to beginning this project. The National Fitness Campaign (NFC) assists with development of sponsorships and donations through their fundraising and development team. The fundraising piece will be carried out by Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Kristin Grissom in partnership with the NFC fundraising team.

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