Monday, August 25, 2014

What you may not know: Week of August 25

It's a busy committee week for the Appleton Common Council and two of the week's highlights happen later today (Monday), so let's get right to it:

City Plan Commission, Monday, 4 pm

Several weeks ago the Plan Commission and the common council approved a resolution calling for the city to review its policy on painted signs and murals. Today at 4 pm the Plan Commission will get our first opportunity to discuss the proposed changes.

Looking through the memo and the proposed changes, a couple of noteworthy items stick out to me:

  1. Having the word "mural" defined as part of the ordinance and clearly stating that murals are not signs, and as such are not regulated under the city's painted sign policy could open the door for a variety of new art to pop up around the city.
  2. Separating painted signs and murals (and exempting "ghost signs," historic signs from businesses that have since closed) should allow us to regulate and permit where we need to without this becoming a major issue.
City staff deserves a lot of credit here for working with us to see how other communities handle this issue. I'm looking forward to moving forward with this.

Library Building & Equipment Committee, Monday, 4:30 pm

Unfortunately, two of this week's most newsworthy meetings are likely to overlap as the public gets their first opportunity to see the architectural concepts for a possible new library at 4:30 on Monday. The common council voted on Wednesday to approve a resolution of necessity allowing the city to negotiate with the owners of two properties, Fox Banquets and Trinity Lutheran Church, to potentially make way for a new facility to be constructed in that space.

There's still a lot that needs to happen before we're ready to construct a new facility, but I'm excited to see things moving forward after five years of work to reach this point. It's time for us to come together and build the greatest library this city has ever known.

Finance Committee, Wednesday, 4:30 pm

Finally, if you've been following the news around the city you likely already know what's coming before the Finance Committee this week. Two weeks ago we voted 4-1 to recommend approval for a resolution calling for the city to implement a $20 per vehicle "wheel tax" to replace revenue the city currently collects via special assessments for street reconstruction. The resolution was referred back to committee, however, and we'll discuss it again on Wednesday.

I've written about this idea at length multiple times now. In fact, I dedicated last week's entire post to it. I continue to hear from constituents and others around the city that are strongly in favor or strongly opposed to this proposal. At the end of the day, though, I think asking our vehicle owners to make small, annual contributions to the city's ongoing upkeep of roads is a significantly better option than hitting property owners with an enormous bill at the time of reconstruction. 

You can see agendas for all of this week's meetings and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

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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