WELCOME TO RIVER HILLS, WISCONSIN
November 9, 2023
Fellow Village Residents,
Greetings to all…as usual and as I try to get this newsletter out about once a quarter, I’d like to give you updates on actions taken by the Village Board and other things happening in the Village.
2024 Budget and Tax Levy: At its October meeting, the Village Board reviewed a proposed 2024 budget, which is projected to grow 3.7% compared to 2023, with an aggregate tax levy of $3,577,446 and projected 2024 revenue of $5,216,228. The tax rate in the Village will decrease from $7.33 per thousand dollars of assessed value to $6.33 per thousand dollars of assessed value. The Village’s annual revenue includes property taxes, shared revenue from the State, license and permit fees, lease payments from AT&T, T‑Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon for the two cell phone towers at Village Hall, civil forfeitures and proceeds from loans. There will be a public hearing on the 2024 budget during the November board meeting. Our ability to balance the budget this year, despite inflation and higher costs, was made easier this year because of the increase in the levy authorized by Village residents in November 2022.
Nuisance Trees: As many of you will recall, the Village Board adopted Ordinance No. 571 at its March meeting to address the issue of the plethora of dead and decaying ash trees throughout the Village, victims of the invasive emerald ash borer. These trees, almost all of which are standing dead, are threatening and continue to threaten power and communication lines, houses and other structures and access to roads and driveways when they fall. DPW Superintendent Craig Schroeder and his crew have been working their way through the Village since the ordinance was adopted to identify these nuisance trees and asking residents to have these trees taken down and removed. If a resident doesn’t have his or her own contractor to do the work, DPW will take down the trees and bill the resident for its costs. With over seven months of experience with the new ordinance, two issues have arisen that will be addressed in a proposed amendment to Ordinance 571. One, DPW has discovered that nuisance trees involve all species of trees, not just ash, so the proposed amendment will generically describe all nuisance trees, generally those that are standing dead. And second, removal of these trees will be further defined to mean in appropriate places the ability to leave the dead tree on the ground or forest floor, rather than requiring the tree to be chipped up and hauled away. The amendment to the ordinance will be taken up by the Board at its November 15th meeting.
North Shore Library: I’m sure you’re all aware that the North Shore Library (supported by our fellow North Shore communities of Glendale, Bayside and Fox Point) will be moving to a new home on Brown Deer Road, just east of I‑43 in the new One North Development in Bayside, which is under construction. The projected budget for the new library is $13 million, which includes $4 million for the shell and $9 million for the interior buildout. The developer of One North has made an in-kind donation for the building shell of $4 million and almost $5 million has been raised from individuals, foundations and businesses; about 70% of the fundraising goal. Thanks and appreciation should be extended to Village resident Marianne Lubar who is the Honorary Co‑Chair of the capital campaign with Bud Selig. The new library will be 24,000 square feet and will have a community room, smaller meeting rooms, a larger children’s section and a space dedicated to serving young adults and teens. I would urge you to support the library’s capital campaign, if you are able. Please consider making a donation at https://www.northshorelibrary.org/make-a-gift. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please contact: Rhonda Gould, Library Director, 414‑351‑3504 or [email protected].
The Grove: Construction continues on all aspects of The Grove at River Hills by Cornerstone Development. The water and sewer lines have been completed, grading for the new home sites is nearly complete (the big berm you see on Brown Deer Road is primarily topsoil that will be used for fill and landscaping), the curb cut across Brown Deer Road from River Road north into the development has been completed and the Building Board recently approved the plans for the clubhouse, which will be situated at the front entrance to The Grove. Site work for the clubhouse is in progress and residents should see the structure being built over the Winter months. In terms of access to the River Hills Conservancy, the Village Board authorized me to look into designing and constructing walkways throughout the Conservancy for Village residents who want to take a walk, snowshoe or otherwise enjoy the new prairie. I have begun working on that.
Stop Sign on Range Line: I wanted to give all Village residents a heads up that the temporary stop sign at the intersection of Fairy Chasm and Range Line Road will be permanent. The stop sign was initially placed there due to the water main construction along Fairy Chasm but proved to be very popular with residents and the University School community. Both the Police Department and the Department of Public Works recommended that the Village Board make the stop sign permanent, which was approved at our October meeting.
Village Meet & Greet: This annual event was held on September 14th at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center and was very well attended by more than 100 Village residents. This is a great opportunity to meet many of your neighbors and we hope to continue the tradition. A special thanks and a loud shout-out to Peggy Russo for planning this event and pouring her heart and soul into making it a success. She is a tireless worker on behalf of the Village. I’d also like to thank Chris and Alex Hawley and the River Hills Foundation for their sponsorship and support of the Meet & Greet.
Police Department Commendations: At our October meeting, Police Chief Mrozak presented commendations to Officers Sean Doughman and Brandon Keto for their actions in saving the lives of two people in the Village, one from the Milwaukee River and one from an overdose. We are fortunate to have such outstanding police officers in the Village and congratulations to both of them for the well‑deserved recognition.
My best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving and a joyous and family-filled holiday season. As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to reach out to me or any other Village Trustee.
Chris Noyes, Village President