As promised earlier, here is this week's update on city council activity. The biggest issues coming before the council this week are the same ones I discussed in last week's post, but here's an update on where they stand:
As expected, the Municipal Services committee made some modifications to a proposed exchange plans for new, smaller recycling bins.
The initial draft of the exchange policy called for a $100 exchange fee, but that fee will now be waived for anyone that hasn't already exchanged recycling bins once in the last 24 months. As such, anyone who wants to move to a smaller bin and qualifies will be able to do so for free once.
The phrase "and qualifies" is important because of the committee's second amendment: An addition to the policy stating residents can only move to a smaller recycling bin if they also have one of the city's small (roughly 35 gallon) or medium (60-65 gallon) sized garbage bins. This was designed to hopefully prevent residents from downsizing their recycling bin and throwing their overflow recycling into their oversized garbage.
After some discussion, the Finance Committee voted unanimously last week to approve the contract for the Regulatory Upgrades and Process Improvement Project at the Water Treatment Facility, and to make a budget adjustment to prepare for the possibility that the project could exceed its original budgeted figure.
Wednesday's vote will, if nothing else, be notable as a milestone in this project. After years of pre-design and design work and more, a two-thirds vote of council will give Staab Construction authorization to officially begin work on replacing microfiltration modules at the facility with ultraviolet light and making many other process improvements to help the facility remain compliant with DNR regulations.
Dogs in Parks
The Parks and Recreation Committee voted 3-2 last Wednesday to recommend approval of an amended set of park ordinances that include, among other things, the ability to bring dogs into city parks. I proposed the original amendment to allow dogs, and on Wednesday we amended that amendment to language the legal department was more comfortable with. Now, after months of debate, this issue is ready to come before the council for the first time.
I remain dedicated to opening up our parks for responsible pet owners, but it appears likely this is going to be a close vote. If you feel strongly about this issue I'd urge you to contact your alderman and let them know what you're thinking.
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.