Gateway voted down - $49M referendum fails in three counties

2013-04-02T20:23:00Z 2013-12-11T13:10:39Z Gateway voted down - $49M referendum fails in three countiesLUKE FEUERHERM Journal Times

RACINE — On Tuesday, residents across three counties voted down a $49 million funding request from Gateway Technical College for a package of construction projects.

The college will now take a look at which pieces of that package can still be accomplished after the election day defeat of the referendum, according to Gateway president Bryan Albrecht.

“It’s disappointing that the referendum didn’t go our way but we continue to be strong advocates for Gateway and our students,” Albrecht said Tuesday night.

In order to pass, the Gateway referendum needed a majority of votes from Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties. Unofficial results show that the college was unable to gain a majority in any of the counties.

The referendum received a total of 35,928 votes against and 23,847 votes in support. Racine County had the largest margin between the two, with 17,097 votes against and 9,323 votes in support, unofficial results showed.

The $49 million package would have funded seven renovation and expansion projects at the college, including a $15.6 million public safety training facility and a $13.5 million expansion and renovation at the Elkhorn campus.

Albrecht said that the referendum’s defeat means those projects are no longer a reality for Gateway, which can only approve projects worth $1.5 million without placing an item in front of voters.

Smaller projects like energy-efficiency projects, however, could still be accomplished and will be discussed by school officials beginning today, said Albrecht.

Racine resident Lee Davis, 57, an ER technician, said Tuesday that he supports the college but now is not the time for a referendum.

“I’m not against them trying to do better,” Davis said, “but I think with the economy the way it is right now, I think it’s the wrong time to try and use any kind of taxes.”

The tax impact for the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would have been $9.73 annually. It would have been in effect for 20 years and not include operating costs.

Taxes also were an issue for Racine resident Chris Simonds, 28, a lawyer, who lives near Gateway’s Racine campus.

“My property taxes have gone up almost $1,500 since I moved to this city 2½ years ago — and it’s enough,” Simonds said. “I spend more on property taxes than I’ve ever spent purchasing an automobile. For them to get another $50 million is just insane.”

According to unofficial results, residents voted against the referendum 9,573 to 8,058 in Kenosha County and 9,258 to 6,466 in Walworth County.

Unofficial results on Gateway referendum

3 County Total

Yes – 23,847

No – 35,928

Racine County

Yes – 9,323

No – 17,097

Kenosha County

Yes - 8,058

No - 9,573

Walworth County

Yes - 6,466

No - 9,258

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(24) Comments

  1. Miller
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    Miller - April 12, 2013 9:47 am
    Odd to hear someone plug for Regency Mall over downtown. The downtown shops for the most part are local owners just trying to get by. Regency Mall is mostly corporate chains sending any money they make out of town.

    Why would anyone be anti small business?
  2. Kay Nine
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    Kay Nine - April 08, 2013 12:08 pm
    Gov. Walker ripped money away from education.... try blaming him first.

    AND, if Gateway wants a new, spectacular center to train cops in, then maybe the police agencies need to chip in to build it?

    The previous media reports on the new building were incorrect. They claim that Gateway had to recently make a shooting range out of a storage area. This was a lie. They have had a range for many years. They don't need a 24-person range as you wouldn't be training 24 people at once to shoot.... that would be dangerous and irresponsible. No instructor can keep track of 24 people at once.

    They already have plenty of room and options for a driving course. They do not need specially built intersections and driving lanes. They can easily use real world areas.... take them out into the real world and show them an actual intersection. Directing traffic isn't rocket science.

    Gateway's academy mainly serves area agencies to train their own new hires and current officers. It is very difficult to get into the academy on your own and would involve many hoops to jump through and a large chunk of money. Until they start serving the public with this idea, it is not for the public to pay for.....

    $15 million is an insane amount of money to pour into Gateway and expect no return to the public. We will not receive any benefit from helping Gateway expand. The money they make is poured back into the very large paychecks for the administrators. They do little for training the general public for job advancement. They continue to raise the prices while making an outrageous profit for themselves. They put very little back into the school. Extra revenue always means raises for the bosses.
  3. sizzlinginracine
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    sizzlinginracine - April 04, 2013 12:39 am
    Blind man, you now know your enemy. Get comfortable with it.
  4. Blindman
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    Blindman - April 03, 2013 6:26 pm
    That's their answer for everything...That's why our country is in the shape it's in.
  5. Blindman
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    Blindman - April 03, 2013 6:19 pm
    This is unrelated to this topic...I'm watching channel 6 news coverage of the city council about city officials being allowed to carry weapons where the rest of us are not...WHERE IS JT"S COVERAGE????...They are voting on this this evening.
  6. sbs
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    sbs - April 03, 2013 12:39 pm
    Maybe if the building rendering itself looked a little better than a junior high school project… Seriously.

    We've already witnessed Gateway pee away millions through their hillside / walkway renovation… which goes unused, pretty much all year long.

    And, expensive electronic signage is nice… when your institution actually has some event to promote.

    I don't think the voters were rejecting an investment in education; I think they were wise in rejecting an obvious, ongoing scam.
  7. Had enough
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    Had enough - April 03, 2013 10:40 am
    It's sad to know that liberals think the only way to improve education is to throw gobs of money at it. Mortgage be's for the kids. PLEASE!!!
  8. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - April 03, 2013 9:55 am
    You need to buy a clue about why businesses keep leaving Racine, Racine County, and why Racine can't compete in the 21st, C global economy.

    Why pay Albrecht the Charlatan big $$$ to educate students who will find jobs elsewhere?

    Racine is doomed to be a bedroom community with no businesses left - a high tax base, a crumbling infrastructure, and a welfare dependent Downtown Boater crowd that will put Regency Mall out of businesses with their tax demands.

    After decades of throwing tens of million of $$$ Downtown and into the Boater crowd - when do they grow up and pay their own way - or contribute more than they consume?


    I guess it's Jim Ladwig and the County's turn to throw endless Millions of $$$$ into the Downtown Black Hole.

    Sell that GD Marina for a $1 and get rid of the expense and collect the taxes! No one will buy it because it is a PROVEN MONEY LOSER that needs millions of $$$$ sunk in it.
  9. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - April 03, 2013 9:50 am
    Clueless... you are absolutely clueless.

    Business is in business to make money.

    Racine can't compete. The third world is becoming the first world, and Racine is becoming the third world. Why should Racine residents pay these additional taxes for the jobs and businesses that aren't coming to Racine?

    Bryan Albrecht is a charlatan with dreams of a Million $$$ salary. He's not qualified to run a Hot Dog stand in Downtown Racine!
  10. jeenious
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    jeenious - April 03, 2013 9:17 am
    So you want to sell Gateway to a private company and then have the private company just give back their profits - sounds like you should have voted yes, because you need to take some businesses classes at Gateway to learn about what keeps a business in business.
  11. guyinracine
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    guyinracine - April 03, 2013 8:27 am
    I wasn't informed at all about this referendum, maybe they should have communicated it better so that all could be more informed. That is the only reason I voted "no", didnt know what I was getting into. Maybe try again in a year and send out more literature.
  12. Say it ain't so
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    Say it ain't so - April 03, 2013 7:52 am
    PT I like my money. If your so worried about it just sign over your check. My last raise has been years. I can't afford to keep giving. All this will do is hurt those with very little. Taxes go up so does the rent. You don't think these slum lords are going to pay do you? They will pass it on and I don't blame them.
  13. PT Waitress at Webbs
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    PT Waitress at Webbs - April 03, 2013 7:39 am
    No, I'm not Bryan, but I support his vision for our three counties. The management at Gateway is just fine, and if you are ignorant enough to use that as an excuse, you truly don't have all the facts. Gateway provides a lot of services to the community and employers. Graduates actually get the jobs that are left in this town because of the training they received. It is also a major stepping stone to high school graduates that prosper to other major universities with training they get. Ironically, 100% of the graduates from police and fire are hired while still in school or right after they graduate. Gateway, if sold for profit would only hurt the tax payers in the long run, how, by increasing the tuition rates and hiking up the tax levy so students couldn't afford it let alone their parents and ironically, they giving back to the community would disappear. Gateway is one of the few tech colleges who's Tracy levy is under 5% and minimal management and yet you use these as an excuse. Let use the philosophy of an overhaul, ok, that means less services and teachers provided to the student, less course offerings when they are needed for employment and less federal funding so people can get financial aid services to attend training services.... Which means less graduates, less enrollment and gee, dare I say, less employment opportunities, which Racine hasn't had that issue ever, right? Wow look at the booming employment opportunities.
  14. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - April 03, 2013 7:02 am
    Bryan - is that you?

    Sweet Nom De Guerre
  15. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - April 03, 2013 7:00 am
    DING DING DING! We have a Winner!

  16. Joeboy5471
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    Joeboy5471 - April 03, 2013 6:57 am
    If Gateway had better management and provided better service to the area they might be able to get the monies necessary to expand.
  17. PT Waitress at Webbs
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    PT Waitress at Webbs - April 03, 2013 6:31 am
    It's sad that these counties didn't want to improve the one place they have turned to for years for training, re-training and education when a company leaves these three counties. It's a shame that people claim Gateway is supposedly increasing their taxes when actuality Gateway has maintained the tax levy in all three counties to help the community. So that a tax payer didn't feel the hit over the years and it's a shame that most of you felt under $15 dollars a year was too much to ask of the tax payer to help improve our educational needs of the state especially when speaking in regards to the public safety building and the improved training Gateway could have done with Fire and Police the two areas these counties count on day in day out. Such a shame that the support just isn't where it should be.
  18. kevinsmom68
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    kevinsmom68 - April 03, 2013 6:01 am
    " hmkb - 7 hours ago
    It's sad how the people of Racine don't seem to want to do anything to help improve education."

    throwing more money at gateway wont improve anything.
    gateway sucks. they need a total overhaul
  19. Youneedabibwiththat
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    Youneedabibwiththat - April 03, 2013 4:48 am
    The Racine taxpayer is doing all he can to improve education. In fact, when it comes to schools, Racine taxpayers have for decades been all for improving education.
    Crybaby liberals, however, don't want to improve education more than the want to control people. Too bad. That's where we are.
  20. ride2fast4me
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    ride2fast4me - April 03, 2013 4:45 am
    OK, that's a start. Now let's consider real reform. Gateway should be auctioned off to "for profit" education companies to run, and the proceeds used to fund property tax reductions. This this is a giant sucking sound that should not be funded by taxpayers...
  21. sizzlinginracine
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    sizzlinginracine - April 02, 2013 11:49 pm
  22. Say it ain't so
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    Say it ain't so - April 02, 2013 11:41 pm
    Cool glad I voted.
  23. paws1
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    paws1 - April 02, 2013 10:58 pm
    I voted no to this referendum for the simple reason that this is not the time to be asking strapped property owners for more money! The economy in this area has not turned itself around and to be asking for more money is just ridiculous! I am glad that people in Racine, Kensha and Walworth counties voted this down! It is itime for Gateway to realize that the property owners have had enough with these referendums and it is time to stop asking us for more money!
  24. hmkb
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    hmkb - April 02, 2013 10:36 pm
    It's sad how the people of Racine don't seem to want to do anything to help improve education.
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