When I get back to work on Wednesday, here's what I'll be watching this week:
Board of Health, Wednesday, 7 am
The city's Board of Health meets bright and early on Wednesday morning and one of their two action items is my first resolution as an alderman, a request for this board to be expanded to include a pharmacist. State statute (251.04) requires that local boards of health shall:
- Assess public health needs and advocate for the provision of reasonable and necessary public health services.
- Develop policy and provide leadership that fosters local involvement and commitment, that emphasizes public health needs and that advocates for equitable distribution of public health resources and complementary private activities commensurate with public health needs.
- Assure that measures are taken to provide an environment in which individuals can be healthy.
- Coordinate the activities of any sanitarian employed by the governing body of the jurisdiction that the local board of health serves.
Appleton currently has seven members on its Board of Health, and state statute requires that a "good faith effort" be made to have a doctor and a registered nurse among them. In the past the city has also worked to have a dentist and mortician on the board.
As stated in my resolution, pharmacists play a key role in maintaining and improving the health of our citizens, and possess a unique area of expertise in the field of medicine. As such, I think the Board of Health would be improved by adding a practicing pharmacist to their membership and on Wednesday morning I'll pour my first cup of coffee extra early so I can go make the case for it.
The Board's recommendation on this matter will appear before the full council at their regularly scheduled 7 pm meeting on Wednesday night. At that time, the council will also consider these items:
Non-union compensation plan
The Human Resources Committee voted 4-0 on Monday to recommend approval of a new non-union worker compensation plan. This is one of the final steps in a long process to develop and implement a new system in the aftermath of Act 10.
This plan is one of the most challenging things I've had to attempt to wrap my brain around since getting elected, and it's also one of the most important. Establishing a fair and evolving pay structure is a critical step in the effort to attract and retain quality employees to our city while also being as responsible as we can be with tax dollars.
I've learned a lot about the process and this proposal by watching meeting video over the last few weeks, and I suspect I'll learn even more before casting my vote Wednesday night.
Bike lanes and road reconstruction
Last Tuesday the Municipal Services Committee voted 2-1 to approve a reconstruction plan for Glendale Avenue east of Ballard Road that calls for, among other things, the following changes to that road as it travels through the industrial park:
- The addition of bike lanes on both sides of the road.
- The addition of sidewalks on both sides of the road.
- The elimination of parking on the south side of the road.
At the meeting last week I encouraged members of the committee to consider two potential changes. First, it's my opinion that the on-street parking needs to be moved from the north to the south side of the street. There are several small businesses on the south side of the street that would be better served by having parking on their side of the road, and many of them will lose current parking space if sidewalks are installed.
Second, I think we need to have a real conversation about whether it's necessary to have sidewalks on both sides of this road. I think sidewalk on one side is a critical addition for pedestrian safety, but putting it on both sides will not necessarily make the street safer. Putting sidewalk on the south side will also create a certain level of hardship for the business owners on that side of the street. As you can see below, many of these buildings are very close to the street and a sidewalk would wipe out most of the parking in front of their businesses:
(click the photo to enlarge)
I think moving the parking from the north to the south side of the street and installing sidewalk on the north side allows us to maximize bicycle and pedestrian safety on this street while also minimizing the inconvenience to small business owners in this neighborhood. It's not a perfect scenario for anyone, but it's the closest thing to a fair compromise I think we're going to find.
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.