Monday, February 25, 2013

What You May Not Know: Week Of February 25

The council has a full week of committee meetings this week, but two items stand out for me:

Human Resources, Monday @ 6 pm:

The HR Committee and the proposed new compensation plan for non-union workers remain the top story this week, although for the first time in a few weeks things are headed in a new direction. At Wednesday's full council meeting Alderman Konetzke proposed an amendment that would remove some controversial parts of the proposed plan but move forward with the wage data from that proposal and call for further study into the worker classification process.

This issue was debated strongly Wednesday night before the full council finally voted to allow the amendment, but send it back to the HR committee for more work. There are still several issues to be addressed here, including:
  • Issues with the math in the wage data.
  • A discussion on whether the city should offer starting wages at 80% (as proposed) of market value, or 83% (as currently done), 87.5% (as initially recommended), or some other value.
  • Establishing a framework for the "classification compensation study team." We don't know who would be on it, what their powers would be, the process for appealing their decisions, and more.
All that and more will likely be discussed on Monday night, so if you're heading out to this meeting I'd plan on being there a while.

Finance, Wednesday @ 5 pm:

It's still only listed as an "informational item," but the committee continues to work to reevaluate the interest rate tied to financing for special assessment projects for homeowners who opt to pay the additions to their property tax bills over five years. In 2012 the council voted to lower the interest rate from 9 to 6 percent, but now they're working to find a metric to tie that number to in an effort to avoid having to readjust it in the future.

There's a lot to be decided here, such as whether these loans should be qualified as "secured" or "unsecured" debt, what kinds of loans to compare them to and how rates charged by the city should compare to rates charged by private institutions. No binding action will be taken on this matter this week, but these conversations will help shape the discussion moving forward.

You can see this week's full committee schedule here and agendas for all of the meetings here.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as a candidate for and a potential member of Appleton's City Council. There's a lot going on and a lot of information out there, but I'm happy to do everything I can to make these decisions and the discussions around them as accessible as possible to as many people as are interested.

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