Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What you may not know: Week of May 26

It's an abbreviated holiday week for the Appleton Common Council, but we'll still be busy with a partial slate of committees. Here are some of the items we'll be discussing:

Finance, Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.

Our first meeting of the week will likely draw a fair amount of attention, as the Finance Committee is expected to make a recommendation regarding a resolution calling for a referendum on the proposal to build a new Appleton Public Library.

The resolution is identical in language to one the council rejected in November: In fact, a council rule had to be changed to allow this resolution to be submitted again so soon. If it passes, voters would be asked the following question: "Should at least $30 million be spent by the taxpayers of the City of Appleton to construct a new municipal library?"

Council rejected this call for a referendum last fall at least partially because that question, as written, has some issues. The resubmittal of the resolution also creates some new problems:

  • Vague answer. If this question appears on the ballot and the voters choose to vote "no," we'll never know why. There are a large number of moving parts in this project, including but not limited to the site, the cost, perceptions related to need for the facility, etc. A simple "no" vote without any further information gathered would make it very difficult for us to move forward in any coherent way. 
  • Timing. The resolution calls for a referendum to be placed on the ballot at our next scheduled election in April of 2016. That's nearly a full year the project would have to spend in limbo while we wait to see what the voters think.
  • Fairness to involved parties. The city has been involved in discussions to purchase the two properties likely to hold a future library for some time now, and both sides have a strong interest in bringing this matter to a close so they know what their future holds. Adding another wrinkle to this process would leave both of the existing property owners hanging with an uncertain future for another year.
  • Expense. In a related note, sending this project to referendum would likely increase its final cost. Ongoing work to keep the project positioned to move forward if approved would have to continue, and rising municipal interest rates would likely increase the cost of the final result. 
For those reasons and others I've previously discussed, I think going to referendum represents a bad decision. 

Municipal Services, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

In each of my last two posts I've mentioned several proposed changes to the way the city enforces downtown parking, including ending parking enforcement at 6 p.m., reducing the cost of meters north of Washington Street and extending the time limit on those meters. Approval of those three changes has been delayed briefly and the committee will discuss the matter again this week 

The changes are still likely to pass eventually, but the delay was needed to address some questions about how these changes will impact the parking lot in front of the library. That discussion is expected to happen tonight and the full council should see this item again next week.

Appleton Redevelopment Authority and Community and Economic Development Committee, Wednesday, 4 and 5 p.m.

Finally, this week the efforts to build an exhibition center in downtown Appleton may take another step forward as both the Redevelopment Authority and Community and Economic Development Committees will be asked to recommend approval of a new contract with the consulting firm helping us with the project, Hinshaw and Culbertson.

The new contract calls for $160,000 for our consultants to work on building the coalition of neighboring communities necessary for the room tax to fund the project, working with the eventual lender on the borrowing element, negotiating the management agreement for the facility between the city and the hotel's new owners and creating governance policies for the ARA. In addition, the city could spend another $80,000 on closing costs and bond issuance, although those payments would come from the proceeds from the borrowing.

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What you may not know: Week of May 18

My apologies for the late post: I just got back in from four days out of town on Monday night. Nonetheless, the Appleton Common Council will meet for its regularly-scheduled session on Wednesday at 7, and here are some of the agenda items I'll be watching:

Parking changes

Last week the Municipal Services Committee voted 5-0 to recommend approval of parking changes for 2015 calling for Monday-Saturday enforcement to end at 6 p.m. (previously 9 p.m.), meters north of Washington Street to be reduced from $.75 to $.20 per hour and those meters to have their maximum time extended from two to 12 hours.

Last week I mentioned some unanswered questions about unintended consequences of these changes, but those questions have been answered to my satisfaction and I think we're ready to proceed here. I think the only challenge remaining will be finding a way to implement these changes in a timely fashion with minimal confusion.

Highview Park Tennis Courts

An effort to bring tennis courts to Highview Park hit a non-insignificant snag recently when we opened the construction bids for the project. $105,500 remained available out of the $120,000 budgeted for this item, but the city received just one bid for the remaining work and the contractor was asking for $136,390. Once $5000 for contingencies is added, the amount of money that may be required is $141,390, which is 34% over budget.

Unfortunately, receiving a single bid for a summer construction project is not unusual: It's the busy season for many area contractors and that causes many of them to pick and choose projects, especially when dealing with smaller or specialized items. The bigger challenge for me is the large budget overrun. I voted against awarding this contract at the Finance Committee last week and will continue to push for the city to try again at a later date.

Licensing changes

One of the primary tasks facing the city's Safety & Licensing Committee is the evaluation of applicants for operator's (bartender's), taxi, commercial solicitation and street vendor licenses, but that process could see a significant change following Wednesday's council meeting.

The Police Department conducts background checks on all applicants for licenses and, under the current policy, flags some cases where they have concerns for consideration of denial. Anyone with a felony on their record, recent convictions that could be considered related or other concerns may receive that designation and their specific case will be looked over by the committee. Frequently we concur with their recommendation, but the process is important to ensure everyone gets a fair shake and an opportunity to tell their side of the story.

Last Wednesday S&L voted 3-2 to recommend changes to the policy granting the Police Department the authority to deny licenses outright, with applicants that have been flagged for denial only appearing before the committee if they announce their intention to appeal that decision.

I was one of the dissenting votes on that item last week, and remain concerned that this change will lead to the city denying licenses we would have granted in the past. I think the current system works and provides due process to all applicants, not just those who "opt in." I'm hopeful we'll stick with the current procedure.

Elected official salaries

Finally, in last week's post I mentioned that the Human Resources Committee was meeting to discuss the mayoral and city attorney salaries for those positions' 2016-20 terms. Both of those items were held and will be brought back to council at a later date.

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

Monday, May 11, 2015

What you may not know: Week of May 10

The Appleton Common Council has a full slate of committee meetings planned this week in our first two-week cycle under our new schedule. Here are some of the agenda items I'll be watching:

Human Resources, Monday, 5 pm

Two of the city's highest-profile elected positions, mayor and city attorney, are up for re-election in April of 2016. One of the things that needs to happen before then will start this week, as the HR committee is expected to make recommendations on both positions' salaries for the next four years.

The starting point for discussion on the mayor will likely be the $94,686 he's receiving in 2015. That figure has gone up between 1 and 3.5 percent in ten of the last eleven years, climbing over $18,000 since 2003.

Appleton's somewhat unique municipal management structure complicates matters here, as many cities of comparable sizes either do not have full-time mayors or have a full-time mayor but also employ a city manager/administrator. Appleton's mayoral salary is significantly lower than what most comparable city managers or administrators are making, as Eau Claire, Fond Du Lac, Janesville, Kenosha and Oshkosh all pay theirs between $132,000 and $147,000 annually.

Mayoral salaries, however, tell a different story. Appleton pays its mayor significantly more than they make in Green Bay ($82,500), La Crosse ($77,200) and Wausau ($74,850). It's hard to compare apples to apples here, though, without knowing exactly how those mayors' job responsibilities compare to our own.

Earlier I mentioned that Appleton's mayoral salary has gone up over $18,000 in the last 12 years, but it's also worth noting that recent changes have been more modest, rising just $3,686 in the last four years. I'm looking forward to the discussion on how we should proceed here.

Meanwhile, our city attorney makes slightly more than $110,000 per year, a figure slightly below the average of 12 somewhat comparable municipalities polled for comparison purposes. Both of these offices will be assigned salaries for their next four-year term, commencing following the April 2016 election and running through April of 2020.

Parks and Recreation, Monday, 6 pm

No official action is likely to be taken, but a major northside park will take another step towards potential improvements on Monday when the Parks and Recreation Committee reviews a proposed updated master plan for Memorial Park.

A fair amount has changed at Memorial Park in recent years, including the construction of the Miracle League field and two stormwater ponds and the decision to return the Gardens of the Fox Cities to city control. More changes are on the horizon for the years to come, so this is a good time for the city to take a step back and look at the entire park at once. I attended an open house to discuss this plan several weeks ago and was impressed by the consideration of several options to better utilize the park's available space and work to improve its functionality going forward. I'm looking forward to seeing the resulting recommendations.

Municipal Services Committee, Tuesday, 6:30 pm

The Municipal Services Committee has 16 action items on their agenda for their now later-than-usual meeting, including approvals of proposed designs for six future street reconstruction projects. The day's big news, however, is likely to be some very significant changes to downtown parking enforcement starting in summer of 2015. These recommendations are some of the first responses to our recent parking study.

On Tuesday the committee will make recommendations regarding requests for the following changes:

  • All on-street meter hours of operation will change from 9a-9p Monday-Saturday to 9a-6p, creating 18 new hours of free parking weekly.
  • All meters north of Washington Street will change their parking limit from two hours to 12 hours and their rates from $.75/hour to $.20/hour.
I suspect these proposed changes will be popular, but I have some ongoing questions about potential unintended consequences as it relates to parking availability. I'll be curious to see where this debate goes.

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What you may not know: Week of April 27

This is the first committee week of the new council year, and with a new year comes a new set of appointments and schedule. You may already have seen this on my Twitter or Facebook pages, but here are my assignments for the year ahead:

  • I'm honored to have been selected by my colleagues to serve for the first time as Council Vice President. The position is a little light on official responsibilities but I'm looking forward to working with new president Jeff Jirschele to help improve our council processes and the way we share information with each other and our constituents.
  • I'm also honored to be a committee chair for the first time, having been selected by the Mayor to head the Safety & Licensing Committee. My first meeting as chair will be on Thursday.
  • Mayor Hanna also reappointed me to the Finance Committee for a second year, and to the Transit Commission for a third year.
And now, on to business. Here are some of the items I'll be watching this week:

City Plan Commission, Monday, 4 pm

Efforts to add on to the Emerald Valley subdivision will likely take another step forward on Monday evening when the City Plan Commission will be asked to recommend approval of a Final Plat calling for 27 lots to be subdivided between E Rubyred Dr and Providence Avenue, north and west of the intersection of County Highway JJ and French Road.

This is the third step in an extended process, as council approved a rezoning to move this property from agricultural to R-1B single family on February 4 and a preliminary plat for the subdivision was approved on March 4. The subject property was annexed into the city in 2004.

On top of adding to the city tax base, this subdivision addition also resolves a known safety issue in the already-developed area nearby. The current subdivision connects to French Road in two relatively nearby locations, but the fact that those exits are close together and power lines run overhead creates the risk that the subdivision could be completely closed off to the outside in the event of a major windstorm, which has already happened once. This plat calls for the subdivision to be connected to Providence Avenue on the south and should eliminate that concern. 

Municipal Services, Tuesday, 5:30 pm

The Municipal Services Committee will be busy on Tuesday with no less than eleven action items on their agenda, including a revision to one we've discussed previously.

Back in early March I mentioned a request to install a new sign outside Bazil's on College Avenue, a large beer bottle that extended out into the street right of way and made some of my colleagues uneasy. That request narrowly passed at the committee level, was referred back by council and was eventually held so a new proposal could be developed. The new proposal will come before the committee this week.

The new sign doesn't extend quite as far into the right of way as the previous proposal (five feet instead of 8.5), but little else appears to have changed. At this point I don't know if that adjustment will be enough to alleviate the concerns of some of my colleagues.

Finance, Wednesday, 4:30 pm

Tax Increment Financing (or TIF) is one of the powerful tools local governments have in their arsenals to help spur development in certain areas, improving the vibrancy of areas that may otherwise stagnate and helping increase the tax base over the long term. On Wednesday we'll celebrate the success of one such district as the Finance Committee is expected to recommend approval of a resolution closing TIF district #5, an area north of College Avenue between Gillett and Bennett streets.

For those interested, here's a very simplified crash course on how TIF districts work:

  • Areas that may otherwise become blighted or be left underdeveloped can be designated as a TIF district and targeted for improvements that will make them more likely to be improved going forward. To date the city has designated ten areas this way, and this district will be the fourth to successfully close.
  • Payments made to the four taxing entities (the city, county, school district and Fox Valley Technical College) by properties within a TIF district are held flat for a period of time. At the same time, money is borrowed to help finance the needed improvements that have been identified.
  • That debt is paid off using the "increment," which is the increase in tax revenue received as property values in the area improve. The hope is that new development in the area or a revitalization of existing development will create a relatively rapid improvement in assessed values.
  • A TIF district remains "open" as long as outstanding debt from the improvements is still being paid by the increment. Once the debt has been repaid the district is closed and the full value of the property returns to the tax rolls.
The final debt service payments on TIF district #5 were projected for April, so we're ready to close the books on this one. 

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What you may not know: Week of April 20

First and foremost, this is my first post since the April 7 spring elections and I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of the 357 voters who cast a ballot for me in District 13. It's been an honor and a privilege representing you for the past two years and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do it for two more. 

Due to a scheduling quirk involving the timing of the election, the common council was off last week but returns to action on Tuesday with the swearing in of our three new alderpersons and the official start of my new term. Following meetings to discuss and potentially amend our council rules on Tuesday and Wednesday, we'll have our normally scheduled full council meeting on Wednesday night. Our agenda is largely quiet, but does feature one item that will likely be of interest to many residents of the 13th district:

Evergreen/Lightning rezoning

Back on March 23 the City Plan Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of a proposal calling for 22 acres of vacant land at the northeast corner of the intersection of Evergreen and Lightning Drives to be rezoned. If approved, the portions of the property that border Evergreen would be zoned commercial (some of which is already zoned that way now) and the remainder would be changed to R3, which would allow multifamily housing to be developed there.

I briefly discussed this issue before it came before the Plan Commission, and I've heard a fair amount from neighboring property owners concerned about the impact this development may have on their quality of life and/or property values. Eighteen of them signed a petition against this proposed change. I supported the proposal at the Plan Commission and, in the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to share the letter I sent to the petition signers to explain why I did so. The letter is somewhat lengthy but, as you'll see, I had a lot to cover.

Dear (property owner),

My name is Kyle Lobner, and I’m the alderperson representing our district on the City of Appleton’s Common Council. I wanted to take a moment to write to you today in response to the petition you signed which was submitted to the City Plan Commission and council on March 23.

I understand that you and many of your neighbors are concerned about a proposed residential development across the Apple Creek corridor from your property. I heard from many of you in the days leading up to the Plan Commission meeting and have heard from more in the week since. I hope you’ll give me an opportunity to address some of the concerns I’ve heard in relation to this proposed rezoning and to tell you what the next steps will be.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the 22 acres across the creek from your homes are privately owned and a large portion of them (with the exception of the smaller parcel zoned as Temporary Agricultural) are zoned commercial. I understand the appeal of keeping that property as it is to maintain the view from your homes and/or habitat for wildlife, but as a city we cannot reasonably expect developers to buy developable property and simply allow it to sit vacant. The area we’re discussing is not a park. It’s a series of privately-owned parcels whose owner has a right to expect to be able to build on them.

If this property is not going to sit vacant, then the question becomes, “What should be allowed there?” As I mentioned above, the majority of the parcels being discussed are currently zoned as commercial property. If developed as commercial space, the 22-acre area in question could be used for an office building of an estimated 10,000 square feet with a requirement of nearly 500 parking spaces. A development of that magnitude would impact your view, traffic and quality of life in the neighborhood significantly more than anything currently being proposed.

I’ve also heard what I believe to be an unfair assumption that the proposed developments will be ugly or unsightly in some way and as such will damage the value of the neighborhood. I would encourage you to remember that another collection of properties near yours, the Villas at Apple Creek, are also zoned for multifamily use. I think that development has been a welcome addition to the city, and I would be surprised to discover it has negatively impacted property values. The proposed development here calls for market rate apartments, and in a competitive marketplace these apartments won’t be rented unless the space is attractive and well-maintained. The developers have not applied for any tax credits or housing subsidies.

In response to some of your concerns, I reached out to our City Assessor to see if she had any concerns about how this development may impact your property values. She told me that, “This is one location of which I have no concerns regarding the effect on neighboring property values.  I was happy to see this proposed multifamily use.  The 205 foot treed buffer to the north is adequate to protect the single family.  That buffer which is quite wooded contains the recreational trail is zoned Nature Conservancy and thus is not buildable.”

I’ve also heard concerns about how this development may impact traffic on Lightning Drive. I passed that question along to our city traffic engineers, who told me, “we don’t have any traffic-related concerns with this rezoning.  Lightning Drive and Evergreen Drive have been designed to safely handle the traffic that could be generated by the proposed rezoning.”

I absolutely understand the appeal of keeping the property across the creek from your homes vacant and wooded as it currently stands, but I hope you’ll understand why it’s simply not feasible to do so. In the absence of that option, I believe the proposed development represents a good opportunity to develop this space with minimal impact on your quality of life or property values. As such, I voted to recommend approval of the rezoning when it came before the City Plan Commission last week.

I also understand that many of you will disagree with my decision, and I wanted to make sure you’re aware of the opportunity to share your views. The Appleton Common Council will vote on the proposed rezoning at their April 22, 7 p.m. meeting at the sixth floor of the City Center (100 N Appleton St). You’re welcome to come and address the council, but if you plan to do so we ask that you please come a little early (6:45 or so is usually early enough) and sign up to speak on the sheet at the back of the room.

Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this issue, and also taking the time to read this lengthy letter explaining my rationale. I know it’s possible many of you will continue to disagree with my decision, but I hope at the very least you’ll understand why I feel this way.


Kyle Lobner 

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What you may not know: Week of April 6 - Get out and vote!

It's a committee week for the Appleton Common Council, but the week's most important event happens on Tuesday as the city holds its spring elections. On top of the race for State Supreme Court and a referendum seeking to change the way that court's chief justice is selected, there are also contested races for aldermanic seats in the city's 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 11th and 15th districts. Here in the 13th district, I am also up for reelection but running unopposed. Nonetheless, I would still encourage you to get out to the polls on Tuesday and would appreciate your support.

If you aren't sure which district you live in or where to vote, you can find that information by typing in your address on this page and going to the "voting" tab. If you live here in the 13th district you can vote at Faith Lutheran Church, located at 3100 E Evergreen Drive. Polls are open from 7 am until 8 pm on Tuesday.

Beyond that, this week's agendas are largely quiet. One item up for discussion today, however, may draw some interest on the city's north side:

Community and Economic Development Committee, Monday, 5 pm

One of a handful of items on this committee's agenda includes a request to waive the city's repurchase rights for a lot in the Northeast Business Park adjacent to the former Happy Joe's on Evergreen Drive. Here's a quick primer on what's happening here:

  • When the city sells lots in the industrial park, we retain the right to repurchase those lots from their buyer if they wait too long to develop them. We also hold the right of first refusal to repurchase the property if a developer tries to resell them.
  • The lot in question here and the adjacent Happy Joe's property were purchased from the city in 2006 and Happy Joe's was built in 2009, but the other lot has remained vacant all this time and was re-sold in late 2014 for roughly $66,500 per acre, over $30,000 below the assessed value. The city was not offered the opportunity to repurchase despite the requirement that it happen.
  • As such, tonight the committee is being asked to retroactively waive our repurchase rights to allow that sale to remain.
Procedure aside, the note that many people may find interesting is in the third paragraph of the memo attached to this page: The purchasing company, S & J Enterprises Fox Cities, LLC, has told staff they're interested in building an aquatics center on this site. There are no details or renderings to share at this time, but I suspected the possibility of a new aquatic facility near the sports park might be something many of you would be interested in hearing about.

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.

Monday, March 23, 2015

What you may not know: Week of March 23

The Appleton Common Council has our final committee week this week before the April 7 spring elections, and it'll be a busy one with several notable items appearing on agendas:

City Plan Commission, Monday, 4 pm

Our first meeting of the week will be of interest to many residents of the 13th district, as the City Plan Commission will be asked to consider a request to rezone 22 acres of currently vacant property near the corner of Lightning Drive and Evergreen Drive for proposed multifamily and commercial development.

The properties up for rezoning are currently approved for commercial or agricultural use, but have been vacant for some time. The proposal calls for the portion of the property near Evergreen to be zoned commercial for future use and the back portion of the space to be zoned "R3," which would allow multifamily development to occur there.

Over the course of the last week I've heard from several of this property's neighbors with questions and concerns about how this rezoning could impact the value and quality of life at their homes or offices. I was unable to attend, but I know the developers held an informational meeting on Thursday night to address some of those concerns.

I still have more to learn before I'm prepared to vote in favor of or in opposition to this particular rezoning, but from past experience I can say the decision on properties like this usually hinges around some variation of the following three questions:

  1. Is there reason to believe that proceeding with the rezoning will have a negative impact on the value, function or safety of the surrounding properties, and do we have any level of certainty that those concerns are real and substantial?
  2. For the opponents of a project: If the proposed rezoning is not an appropriate use of this space, then what should go there instead?
  3. For the prospective developer: What steps can you take or have you already taken to ensure your proposed development won't have a negative impact on its neighbors?
Regardless of the recommendation of the Plan Commission, this project will need to wait for a period of public notice to pass before coming before the full council in late April or early May.

Utilities, Tuesday, 4:30 pm

The Utilities Committee will meet as scheduled on Tuesday of this week and the primary news from their gathering will likely be an information item, as they're expected to discuss a discrepancy between the budgeted amount and a preliminary estimate for the cost of a proposed new water tower on the city's northeast side.

The tower would hold one million gallons of water and would replace the function of the current Oneida Street tower, which is nearing the end of its useful life. For 2015 we've budgeted $2.9 million to construct the facility, and a recent round of estimates suggest the cost will be closer to $3.4 million. 

No official action will be taken on this matter at this meeting, but at some point the committee and council will have to decide to either proceed with this project at a higher cost or pursue other options.

Finance, Wednesday, 4:30 pm

We're close to closing the books on the 2014 fiscal year, and the Finance Committee will take a step in that direction on Wednesday when we're asked to consider carryover requests for unspent funds in the budget.

Each year we approve the following year's budget in November and it includes a wide variety of projects we expect to complete in the year ahead, but for a variety of reasons sometimes we're unable to finish everything we planned to do. The remaining unspent funds are applied in the following way:
  1. Any unspent funds already committed to a contract for their budgeted use are spent as budgeted.
  2. Council has the opportunity to approve extending projects without an approved contract into another year.
  3. A large portion of the money left over after steps 1 and 2 is applied to debt service, which is a part of the reason the city is routinely able to pay off our debts early.
  4. Some of the money left over after steps 1 and 2 is available to be used on items flagged for "special consideration."
This year the most notable carryover request is almost certainly the money budgeted in 2014 for the land purchase for the exhibition center. In addition, this year we have slightly more than $500,000 requested under Step 4 above. The lion's share of that money is flagged for pay increases earned by employees under the city's pay-for-performance salary model, but there are some other projects here worth noting:
  • Over $48,000 for the IT department for a software license upgrade and email and council recording upgrades.
  • $30,000 for the purchase of additional body cameras for the Police Department.
  • $10,000 for upgrades to the Department of Public Works' conference room.
  • $5000 for an additional Aquos board for use at City Hall.
  • $5000 for additional training for new staff members in the City Attorney's office, where two of the four attorney positions have turned over in the last year.
In addition to all of those committee items and more, there are also two very significant community events on tap this week:

On Monday at 6:30 the League of Women Voters will host a forum on proposed developments downtown at the library. Panelists at the forum include representatives from the city, Appleton Downtown Incorporated and the YMCA who will come together to discuss the proposed new library, exhibition center and improvements to the YMCA. The event is scheduled to last 90 minutes and will be divided between comments from the panelists and a question-and-answer session.

Then on Wednesday the League will also host a candidate forum for the six contested aldermanic races in the upcoming spring election. I wasn't asked to participate in this event as I don't have a declared opponent for this spring, but I likely will attend to hear the 12 incumbents and candidates' thoughts on the issues facing the city. The forum begins at 6:30 pm and is expected to last until 8.

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Making the council's activity as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested is part of my goal to make it easier for more people to get involved with issues that matter to them.