It's a committee week for the Appleton Common Council, but it's a relatively quiet one: three of our standing committees (Community and Economic Development, Human Resources and Parks and Recreation) have cancelled their scheduled gatherings. Here are some highlights from what's left:
Municipal Services, Tuesday, 5:30 pm
The challenges sometimes caused by parking downtown are an issue I hear about frequently. The city faces a difficult balance in trying to avoid inconveniencing users of downtown facilities any more than necessary while also maximizing the usefulness of limited space to park in the area.
At this week's meeting the committee will discuss a request from Appleton Downtown, Inc. to slightly loosen downtown parking restrictions. Their proposals call for meters downtown which are normally set for two-hour parking to be changed to three-hour parking between 6-9 pm. If approved, this rule would change on January 1, 2014.
As I mentioned above, the challenge of parking downtown is something I hear about a lot. I frequently hear it discussed as a reason people avoid going downtown, both to shop and to use facilities like the library. I know that an adjustment to meter hours isn't going to resolve all of those issues, but I do think it's a potential step in the right direction.
Finance, Wednesday, 4:30 pm
The Finance Committee has a couple of interesting items on their agenda, including a request to approve over $18 million in bond sales. It's my understanding that the bonds allow the city utilities to continue to operate while waiting for revenue to come in. I may be wrong on that, though, and I'm looking forward to learning more about it at the meeting.
Special session, Wednesday, 7 pm
Last week I mentioned that the council needed to make a decision on what to do with the District 1 seat being vacated by Alderman Teege Mettille. After much debate Wednesday night the council approved a plan to hold a special election on August 20 to select a successor. This comes with a cost of about $6000 (plus another potential $6000 if a primary is needed), but I feel like letting the voters select their own representative is well worth the cost.
Preparations have begun for an August election, though, and we've found that District 1's normal polling location will not be available to host a primary if needed. So the full council will meet in special session Wednesday night to consider alternative locations and presumably be updated on the preparation process for the election.
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.