Janesville City Council member Heather Miller
Council member Heather Miller

JANESVILLE — In a New Year’s Eve social media post, Janesville City Council member Heather Miller shared a list of questions she says need to be answered about the $50.3 million ice arena and convention center planned for the Uptown Janesville Mall.

The Janesville City Council is scheduled to vote on the project on Jan. 22, 2024.

“This full-speed-ahead idea needs to put the brakes on and get some answers first,” Miller wrote.

Miller and Paul Williams voted against a resolution last January authorizing the city to spend $17.3 million in tax money on the project.

Council members Paul Benson, Dave Marshick, Aaron Burdick and Michael Jackson voted to approve the resolution.

In her post, Miller listed seven questions that she says have yet to be answered about the project. They include:

1. Who will operate this new facility? At the end of the day, it’s a city-owned property. You don’t wait until it’s built to decide this.

2. Where is the capitol replacement fund? This was intentionally removed. We know that after the first two years, maintenance costs and expenses go up while revenue decreases. Where will this money come from, or rather what city services will suffer because of funding it from the general fund?

3. Who will work for $14.25/hr? Where are the living wages?

4. If a third party operates this facility, isn’t it true that they can determine rental rates and user fees? Will they also determine employment needs?

5. Do we have a contract with the Janesville Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for sales and marketing, or is this five years assumably done on a handshake?

6. Why was the maintenance and custodial underestimated for this facility? The recommendation was 5-6 full-time people and the plan proposed only one.

7. We know this will lose money and have to be supplemented. Why are we not partnering with financial business folks who can share ideas on how to not lose so much?

Miller has raised similar questions throughout the course of the planning that has gone into the project.

Most recently, JP Cullen came in as the low bidder for construction of the project.

According to the city of Janesville, funding will include $9 million in private donations, $17.3 million in city of Janesville tax bonding along with $2 million already spent by the city and roughly $20 million in state and federal funding.