Monday, February 2, 2015

What you may not know: Week of February 2

On Wednesday night the Appleton Common Council will come together for our first scheduled meeting in the month of February, and it should be a light one. Among the items likely to pass are the following:

  • A staff request to vacate a small portion of Douglas Street between Badger and Commercial when Badger Avenue is reconstructed this year.
  • A request to approve a "composite" (steel and concrete) conceptual design for the new water tower on the city's northeast side.
  • A request to allow alcoholic beverages to be sold at Reid Golf Course starting at 9 am, as opposed to 10 am in previous years.
  • The second annual request to hold a car show in the downtown parking ramp near the Performing Arts Center on July 25.
  • A rezoning request to allow continued development in the Emerald Valley subdivision (north of Highway JJ and west of French Road).
In addition, as I said last week, council is likely to consider and reject a resolution calling for the city to look into finding ways to reimburse property owners affected by special assessments in recent years. As I've written previously, there simply does not appear to be an effective way to compensate those who have paid in the past without major budgetary impact and without simply moving the line between who has paid and who has not.

Finally, one issue that may come up this week is not on the agenda yet. Over the last few days council has been under heavy pressure to reconsider our recent vote to put a roundabout on E. John St near Richmond Elementary. That item passed on a 10-4 vote at our last meeting, but reconsideration could bring it back for further deliberation. Here's how that process works:
  • Any alderperson who voted on the prevailing side of an action (in this case, someone who voted yes) or was absent from a council meeting can request council reconsider the item. A majority of council members present at the meeting have to vote to approve that reconsideration.
  • In an alderperson knows in advance they're planning to ask for reconsideration, they can notify the clerk's office and get it added to the agenda. This allows council to debate and vote on the item again immediately.
  • If the item is not on the council agenda, then open meetings laws prevent us from debating it because no public notice was given that a debate may take place. In that case, an item can still be reconsidered but would have to be returned to its original committee of jurisdiction.
As of this writing, no alderperson has requested the roundabout be added to the agenda. As such, the last bullet point remains in effect. I voted "no" the first time this project came up, so I'm not eligible to request reconsideration.

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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