On October 20 the Franklin Common Council will meet to vote on the proposed expansion of Strauss Brands. Expect opponents to launch a series of amendments to, if not kill the project, over-regulate and seriously hamper the facility’s operation.
Let’s handicap how the council members might vote on this important project that’s not a slam dunk. Franklin, rightfully so, has a well-known reputation of being hostile to businesses. Here’s how I see the voting going.
Alderman Mark Dandrea: The calm, thoughtful, well-reasoned Dandrea will vote YES. I’d call his vote a solid YES.
Alderman Dan Mayer: One of the two worst aldermen in Franklin. Mayer has done nothing to advance the city. Think about this. Mayer was a major obstructionist on two of Franklin’s historically most significant developments: Ballpark Commons and Kayla’s Playground. All Mayer needs to fight an idea is to have a few residents bitch and he’s done. A definite NO.
Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm: Worst council member in Franklin? Flip a coin between her and Mayer. She’s a wacko when it comes to the environment and despises any growth efforts by Mayor Steve Olson. An emphatic NO.
Alderwoman Shari Hanneman: YES.
Alderman Mike Barber: Not a solid YES, but in the end, YES.
Alderman John Nelson: The project is in his district. The fact he’s not shouting from the rooftops how critically important this expansion would be for the city is telling. Nelson seems to always want to please everybody which is impossible in the world of politics. The loud opponents, despite phony claims, will ultimately get to Nelson who will vote NO.
If my calculations are correct, that would mean 3 votes YES, 3 votes NO. Under the rules Mayor Olson would then break the tie and he will definitely in that scenario vote YES.
- The project is properly zoned
- The company has been in the community for nearly 50 years
- There have been no, none, zero complaints from neighbors
- There are no odors or noise from the existing plant
- The employees are union employees
- They are paid per union contract and work under union contract and conditions
- The project will put them into a state of the art facility and premium working conditions
- The company isn’t asking for a nickel of TIF assistance
- The company isn’t asking for a nickel of tax assistance
- The company is guaranteeing their own assessed value
- The entire operation is INSIDE the building
- The construction cost will be north of $74,000,000 which will make it one of the biggest projects of 2020 and probably 2021 in Southeast Wisconsin