Monday, December 14, 2015

What you may not know: Week of December 14

I hope everyone is staying safe and dry out there as rain continues into its third consecutive day here in Appleton. If the weather was about 20 degrees colder, I shudder to think about how much snow we'd have.

Meanwhile, the Appleton Common Council will have its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday at 7 pm or whenever our 6 pm organizational meeting wraps up. Here are some of the items I'll be watching:

District 8 vacancy

The council has gone a few weeks now without a representative from the city's eighth district after Polly Dalton resigned her seat at the end of November. Alderperson Dalton would have been up for re-election in April, and this week we'll consider three options for what to do regarding the remainder of her term:

  • First, we could elect to hold a special election. This is an unrealistic option, however: Minimum public notices would prevent us from holding said election until the first week in February, at which point a new alderperson would hold the job less than two full months before coming up for reelection.
  • We have the option of appointing a new representative for District 8 to fill the remainder of the term. We have done this on multiple occasions before, with Alderpersons Dalton, Coenen and former Alderperson Stueck all getting their seats for the first time this way. 
  • Finally, we could opt to simply leave the seat vacant until residents of the eighth district get to elect their own representative in April.
If you heard my Fox Cities Viewpoint from two weeks ago, you already know that I'm planning on pursuing the third option. As I mentioned above, the special election option is unrealistic due to the short amount of time remaining on the term. That leaves appointment as a possible option, but I don't support it for two reasons:
  1. I'm a firm believer that the residents of a district are the only ones qualified to select their representative. I don't think we should select one for them, and I don't think the challenges created by going one alderperson short for a few months are significant enough to merit taking that right for ourselves.
  2. Last Wednesday we learned that at least three candidates have taken out paperwork to run for this seat in April. Selecting one of them to be appointed to the seat early would be an implied endorsement of the candidate and could give them an unfair advantage in the upcoming election.
Beyond that issue, I introduced most of this week's most pressing topics in last week's update. Here are the items that could be acted upon on Wednesday:
  • Last week the Finance Committee voted to remove a previously-approved amendment that would have addressed an issue related to special assessments for properties transitioning from rural to urban status. That item goes before council this week, and I'm hoping to change it back.
Actually, I guess that's all. Here are updates on the items that will not be voted on this week:
  • The special use permit for a second expanded Community Living Arrangement (CLA) near the corner of Ballard Rd and Milestone Dr was approved by the City Plan Commission. A nearby rezoning request transitioning properties south of Glenhurst Dr to single-family zoning was recommended for approval and will go to council on January 20.
  • The Finance Committee opted to delay action on a resolution calling for alderpersons to be able to participate remotely when absent from meetings until after the first of the year. More technical research needs to happen before this item can proceed.
  • A proposed redesign of County Highway JJ north of North High School was sent back to staff to consider more options. I expect we'll likely discuss it again in late January.
  • A resolution calling for the city to change the ordinances related to secondhand dealers and holding periods for purchased items was held until January to allow time for potentially impacted parties to weigh in on any changes.
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. Good governance happens in the open, and I remain committed to raising awareness on the issues coming before us.

No comments:

Post a Comment