Monday, August 26, 2013

What you may not know: Week of August 26

The Appleton Common Council has a full slate of committee meetings planned for this week, with some pretty important items on the agenda.

Human Resources, Monday, 6 pm

Longtime readers of this blog will remember that back in March the full council opted to reject a new non-union compensation plan proposed by Carlson Consulting and go back to the drawing board for an in-house solution. A new proposal will take center stage tonight as the HR Committee is expected to debate the new plan.

This process has been dragged out for months, but I'm ok with it taking as long as it needs to if the result is a fair compensation plan for our employees. I will be unable to attend tonight's meeting, but I've sent in several questions about the proposal and look forward to reviewing the discussion once the video is posted.

Municipal Services, Tuesday, 5:30 pm

Muni Services has no less than nine action items on their agenda this week, including a proposed street reconstruction plan for Glendale Avenue east of Ballard Road that calls for, among other things, the construction of new sidewalks and bike lanes and the elimination of parking on one side of the street. I've written about this issue previously, including laying out my concerns two weeks ago.

This committee held this action item at my request two weeks ago, giving me time to meet with staff and discuss some of my concerns with the plan. Together we discussed an alternate proposal which will be available for the committee to consider on Tuesday, which would move the on-street parking from the north to the south side of the street to better serve some of the small businesses most impacted by this reconstruction.

We also discussed the concerns I wrote about two weeks ago regarding the relative safety of encouraging bicyclists to travel down a street that's also heavily used by large vehicles. I proposed an alternate plan which would have removed the bike lanes from the street and the sidewalk from one side and replaced it it with a ten foot bike/pedestrian trail on one side of the street, but that idea was met with concern that there might actually be more bicycle accidents this way as vehicles exit driveways across a trail with bikes potentially coming from both directions. Given these assurances, I'm feeling better about the premise of on-street bike lanes in this case.

I'm still hoping to be able to convince the committee to accept a change to move the parking across the street. I'm also personally not sold on the need to further inconvenience businesses by putting sidewalks on both sides of the street when one side may be enough.

Parks and Rec, Wednesday, 6 pm

One of this week's Parks and Rec action items is a resolution proposed by Aldermen Croatt and Oswald calling for the city to install recycling bins in city parks and facilities with public access where trash receptacles are present. If you've ever walked by a trash can in a city park you probably understand the logic behind this movement: Recyclable items are ending up in our landfills because it's more convenient to dump them in our park trash cans than to haul them somewhere else.

The primary argument against installing recycling bins is cost, and on Wednesday we'll likely learn what that dollar figure is going to be. This is something we need to find a way to do, it's just a matter of determining the scope of the budgetary impact and finding a way to make it work.

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.

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