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Jan 31, 201407:26 AMIn Biz

with Bill Haight

More reasons to feel good about living in Madison

(page 1 of 2)

As I walked into the Radio Shack on Broadway, I had confidence I would be able to get what I needed: Some advice and a special cable for connecting a TV speaker system. I’ve always found Radio Shack to be a useful specialty store with knowledgeable salespeople. I wasn’t disappointed. The salesman knew exactly what I needed and explained my options for connecting it. And he was friendly as well as helpful.

I wasn’t sure what treatment to expect at my next stop, the Dane County Clean Sweep recycling center. The center’s website was informative, but more about rules and regulations than customer-friendliness. Sure enough, I was greeted with a sign informing me that they couldn’t (wouldn’t) accept any bill larger than a 20. I was expecting a scowling attendant to rummage through my drop-off of paint cans and insecticides and disallow certain items. But to my surprise (I’m now ashamed to admit) the attendant was informative and helpful. He helped me unload things and volunteered to lift an old battery for me so I wouldn’t get my shirt dirty.

On the way to the recycling center, I discovered my wipers were not up to the task of keeping a streak-free windshield, so I knew it was time to replace them. I was heading for an Octopus Car Wash, another establishment I have come to appreciate for its excellent customer service. Maybe they sell windshield wipers there, I thought. Sure enough, not only did I drive away with a clean vehicle but newly installed wipers as well. The folks at Octopus don’t have jobs that most of us would describe as “fun,” but they always seem to be friendly in an age when sullen looks are all too common from people who are paid to serve customers.


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Feb 5, 2014 08:18 am
 Posted by  John

Great people here (and throughout most of Wisconsin)! Imagine the smiles if the City/County would do something about those oversize property tax bills we just all got. Then we'd REALLY be able to feel good about living here without also feeling like it's breaking us financially to do so!

Feb 5, 2014 12:12 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Re: the comment-- The reason property taxes are so high is because of the state school tax formula which diverts millions of dollars in state income taxes to rural school districts where the voters basically sneer on Madison and Dane County while profitting from our successful economy. Sadly the state seems unable to realise that the economy is a joint not a partisan effort. Sadly the school tax formula is largely ignored in the broader discourse- and thus understood by only those of us who dig in and volunteer on some school committees.

Coming from Chicago 23 years we immediately noticed the quality of the workforce here down to the lowest paid worker- but then as a growth economy we attract a lot of pilgrims- people fleeing horrendous conditions in Chicago and sadly now Milwaukee's inner city. And given the effort to move here with virtually no resources we attract the most motivated for even our lowest wage jobs .

The sooner we treat low income people as pilgrims as opposed to liabilities the better we will be in solving a lot of our currently defined problems.

Feb 6, 2014 02:19 pm
 Posted by  John

I don't disagree about welcoming the WORKING pilgrims at all. And they'd feel even more welcome with lower property taxes! :)

Madison gets punished in the school state aid formula for two reasons: it has higher a than state average property to student ration courtesy of Madison businesses, and it spends much more than state average per student courtesy of the Madison School Board, although one would think that the opposite should be true, given economies of scale.

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