By Kathleen Ehley, City of Wauwatosa Mayor

I remember beginning each new school year reminding my children how to be safe on their way to elementary and middle school. I know as a parent how important it is to teach them to watch for cars, cross at intersections with signals or crossing guards and most of all — be alert to traffic. Through the Safe Routes to School program, the City continues to partner with the Wauwatosa School District making improvements to many of the routes children take to school; including installing flashing beacon signs at crosswalks and speed limiting monitoring signs and providing school traffic zone equipment. Tosa also participates with the School District in the national Walk to School Day in October and the Bike to School Day in May. We are committed to improving walking and biking safety for everyone in our community.

As I drive around Wauwatosa this summer, I am struck by the fact that construction zones are such a common occurrence – from the City’s to the Department of Transportation’s to Milwaukee’s projects —we are all digging and repairing our infrastructure. I have heard from many of you on this topic and I agree — we are all tired of driving through construction.
Why do we have so much construction going on? A lot of the work in the Tosa is the Department of Transportation completing projects for the Zoo Interchange freeway construction and I know you will join me with a sigh of relief when that project wraps up in the future.

As far as the City of Wauwatosa’s construction goes, we have a lot of work to do to keep our infrastructure — water pipes, sewer pipes, storm sewer pipes, roads and sidewalks— in good condition. Over the last several decades, for various reasons, these projects were delayed. We are now at a point where we cannot delay this important maintenance work any longer. We have to catch up in order to keep our infrastructure in good working order. Some of our water pipes are over 100 years old. While I know how frustrating it can be, please join me by looking forward to the finished product which we will all enjoy. Please use caution as you travel near these construction zones and schools.

This summer I’ve been in a decluttering mode. If you feel the need to get rid of unused items around the house, now is the time. I’m proclaiming Saturday, September 9 as Sustainable Wauwatosa Day. This is the day education and collection come together at City Hall. The free Tosa Green Summit will be inside the Civic Center at City Hall from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. There will be over 25 exhibitors providing information on sustainable practices and environmentally-friendly lifestyles regarding water and energy use, gardening, transportation, food and more. Collections for shredding, electronic recycling, medicine, hazardous waste and textiles will be open from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm in the City Hall Parking lot. Visit the Tosa Green Summit Facebook page or City of Wauwatosa website page, for more information. This is a great time of year to clean-up homes, garages and sheds.

As you’ve been enjoying life in Tosa this summer, I hope you submitted your photos to the City’s first Tosa Life Photo Contest. It ended on September 1st. Look for photos submitted in this issue of Tosa Connection or view all the amazing submissions at Winners will be selected in four categories — be sure to check and the City’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for the winner announcements in early September.

Every fall, I present the executive budget for the City to the Common Council for review and adoption. This is one of my most important responsibilities as mayor and I welcome your input. Budget review will occur Thursday evenings, October 5 through 26, at the Council’s Financial Affairs Committee meetings. You can attend in person, watch these meetings broadcast on government access channels or online from the City website. There will be a public hearing on the budget in early November.

Doing more with less has been a mantra for Wisconsin local governments, including Wauwatosa for many years. Adjusting for inflation, Tosa households paid less in property taxes for city services in 2017 ($1,884 on average) than they did in 2012 ($1,865 on average) and enjoy today’s services for $2 less than in 2009 (($1,886) on average.

In fact, residents pay less for trash and recycling collection and also for fire and emergency medical series today than they did in 2002. These are excellent examples of Tosa’s efficiency in service delivery. However, it will become more difficult to find ways to provide services through these types of efficiency measures. You can help us make important decision for Wauwatosa’s future through the budget process.

I hope to see you around town this fall. Please check out the community calendar for things to do and enjoy our colorful foliage in our parks and trails. Remember to be safe and have fun!

Wauwatosa Community Calendar

Saturdays through Oct. 27:  Tosa Farmers Market, The Village

Sept. 8-9 Tosafest, The Village

Sept. 10 Starving Artists’ Show, Mount Mary University

Sept. 11-20 Days in Tosa

Sept. 15-17 Fine Furnishings Show, Hart Park

Sept. 23 Classic Car Show, Hoyt Park

Oct. 7 Tour of Homes, Warren Avenue

Oct. 7 4th Annual Fall Fest Friends of Center Street Park

Oct. 29 City Trick-or-Treat (Check local neighborhood associations for nighttime activities.)

Nov. 3 – Dec. 25 Village Holiday Spirit, The Village

Nov. 14 NAC Cribbage Tournament, Women’s Club

Dec. 3 Kneeland-Walker Christmas Open House

Dec. 8 Tree Lighting and Holiday Merriment, The Village