Monday, December 17, 2012

What You May Not Know: Week of December 17

There's always a lot happening with the Appleton City Council, but frequently you wouldn't know if you didn't go looking for news yourself. There's a lot of information buried in the agendas and minutes of various meetings, but most voters probably don't have or make the time to slog through all of that looking for news that impacts their lives.

The Appleton Common Council will meet on Wednesday, December 19 at 7 pm to vote on issues including the following:
  • Approval of street narrowing in two locations on Ashbury Drive, at its intersections with Applecart Drive and Sourapple Drive. This passed 4-0 in the Municipal Services Committee last week, and residents of the area were informed of the plan by a letter several weeks ago.
  • The Appleton Fire Department's request to purchase thermal imaging cameras. This passed 5-0 in the Safety and Licensing Committee on Thursday.
  • The cancellation of the Appleton Police Department's Tactical Response Agreement with the Town of Grand Chute. Nick Penzenstadler of the Post Crescent had a note on this in Sunday's paper. Neither Grand Chute town chairman Dave Showalter nor Mayor Hanna want this to happen, but it was approved 5-0 in the Safety and Licensing Committee at the request of Appleton Police Chief Pete Helein.
The final issue here is easily the most interesting and also possibly the most problematic. The City of Appleton and Town of Grand Chute maintain an agreement for the use of Appleton's SWAT team, but following a recent call Grand Chute refused to pay $186 billed to the town for Chief Helein's time. Helein isn't a part of the SWAT team and doesn't command it, so they felt like it wasn't necessary for him to be there.

This seems like a minor issue but over the last couple of months it's blossomed into a full-blown dispute that could lead to the termination of the agreement. The issue was directed back to the Safety and Licensing Committee on December 5 to give the two sides more time to work out a resolution, but progress has not been made.

It'd be a shame to lose an agreement like this based on what amounts to a difference of opinion, but it seems likely that's what will happen.

The full agenda for the meeting can be seen here.

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