Monday, July 25, 2016

What you may not know: Week of July 25

The last full week of July is also a committee week for the Appleton Common Council, and here are some of the items of interest on various agendas:

Finance Committee, Tuesday, 4:30 pm

As part of the city's annual budget process, the Finance Committee and Common Council are asked to approve the city's special assessment policies for the following year during the summer. It's important that we take this up as early as possible because any changes could have 2017 budgetary implications.

The number of people impacted and the depth of impact felt due to special assessments has greatly decreased in recent years with the implementation of Appleton's wheel tax, which replaced the revenue lost by the elimination of assessments for street repairs. However, some assessments remain and, if any alderperson would like to propose changes to the system this is the time to do so. Personally, I have no amendments planned.

Municipal Services Committee, Tuesday, 6:30 pm

Efforts to turn the City of Appleton into a "Railroad Quiet Zone" will take a step forward on Tuesday night as the Municipal Services Committee receives a study from SRF Consulting Group on what it would take to make this happen. While the railroad does not run through or significantly impact the 13th district, I still frequently receive complaints about the volume and timing of train horns in the city and can only imagine the number of complaints received by alderpersons in districts with tracks running through. I'm looking forward to seeing what it would take to alleviate this issue.

Community and Economic Development, Wednesday, 5 pm

Back in March the Common Council voted to approve a recommendation to allocate around $500,000 in federal dollars available through the Community Development Block Grant program based on the results of an extended application process and review. Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances are going to require us to reopen that discussion this week.

One of the measures the federal government uses to gauge the effective use of grant dollars is timely expenditure: Grant dollars are supposed to be given to projects that can start quickly and expend the money within a program year. In this case, that creates an issue for one subrecipient that is experiencing an unexpected delay in a program due to changing state regulations. On Wednesday the committee will be asked to recommend approval of a reallocation plan that reassigns that subrecipient's funds among four other organizations that did not receive their entire request. Here's a quick breakdown of the new allocations:

  • STEP Industries requested $30,000 and will now receive $24,398.50, up from $12,384.
  • Harbor House requested $27,500 and will now receive $22,383.50, up from $21,085.
  • Homeless Connections requested $20,000 and will now receive $16,758.50, up from $15,460.
  • LEAVEN requested $20,000 and will now receive $16,758.50, up from $15,460.
  • NAMI had previously requested $23,400 and was awarded $15,460, but has since rescinded their request.

This process is challenging because we receive so many worthwhile proposals for what to do with the money we have available, and we very rarely have the resources available to fund any of the Public Service requests in full. However, we remain grateful to the applicant organizations for their work in our community and do our best to distribute the funds available in an equitable fashion.

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.

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