#LocalGovMatters – Demographics

This week on #LocalGovMatters Gwyn is joined by Mark Freitag, City Manager for Janesville as well as a member of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Board, and Dale Knapp, Director of Research and Analytics for the Wisconsin Counties Association.

Dale and Mark start off the podcast by explaining what demographics are and why they are important for government officials (Hint: it’s about long-term planning for communities). Mark highlights that 51% of Janesville’s city budget is spent on public safety – police, fire and EMS. Dale emphasizes that Northern Wisconsin has a significant aging situation, and the lack of access to major highways and interstates along with broadband limitations isn’t helping when communities attempt to attract new business and millennials.

Both Mark and Dale discuss how a community budget plans, and how they address big changes – either increased building and population – like Foxconn, or decreased population and jobs – like when a plant like GM closes its operations.

The podcast closes with both Mark and Dale highlighting the need for the state to give locals more control over budgeting. Levy limits and limitations on how funds are spent are hurting communities abilities to plan for their community needs. Dale said there is a difference between the services offered by the counties and those offered by the municipalities (that’s a discussion for a future podcast – stay tuned) and their needs for revenue to provide services.

During the podcast, Mark talks about AriseNow and the work they are doing , it’s a private public partnership for the City of Janesville.

Thank you to Mark, Dale, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Wisconsin Counties Association, Jackie Johnson, and our partners in community radio: Rice Lake Radio, Sun Prairie Radio, and Waupaca Radio.