Monday, April 3, 2017

What you may not know: Week of April 3

Before I get to this week's council update, please allow me to remind you one final time that Wisconsin's 2017 spring elections are on Tuesday, so please make plans to get out and vote. If you live in Appleton's 13th district, your voting location is at Faith Lutheran Church at 3100 E Evergreen Drive. While you're there, I'd be honored if you'd consider voting for me.

Even if you don't live in the 13th district, there is a statewide race on the ballot for Superintendent of Schools and other local races. Visit for more information or to find your polling location.

Meanwhile, the Appleton Common Council will return from our week off to hold our regularly-scheduled full council meeting on Wednesday, and the notable items on the agenda are largely items we've discussed before:

Urban chickens

As I mentioned in my last update, our close vote on a resolution to allow the keeping of up to four hens on residential property in the city left the door open for an absent alderperson to request the item be reconsidered, and it's back on our agendas this week. Follow that last link for a recap of the events leading us to this point.

I remain supportive of allowing hens in the city, having witnessed first hand the successes and low impact experienced by other municipalities that have taken this step. Whether we pass it this week, two weeks from now or sometime further down the road, I'm hopeful we'll take steps to allow this and see the non-issue that it is for ourselves.

Diversity Coordinator position

Two weeks ago the Human Resources and Information Technology Committee voted 3-0 (with two members absent) to recommend approval of a staff request calling for our vacant Diversity Coordinator position to be moved from the Community & Economic Development Department to the direct supervision of the Mayor. This move better reflects the wide array of responsibilities for this position and I'm hopeful we'll approve the move so we can get back to searching for a candidate to fill this important role.

Reid Golf Course

Two weeks ago the Finance Committee voted 3-1 to recommend denial of a resolution calling for the city to forgive over $150,000 in general fund advances to Reid Golf Course and take on $575,000 of the course's outstanding debt.

If you watch video of the discussion you'll see some analysis of the course and associated enterprise fund's economic situation: It is currently making money but likely will not be able to finance some of the necessary improvements needed to improve or maintain the facility in years to come. While I'm not indifferent to this issue, I will not support measures calling for taxpayers to subsidize this facility.

You can see all of this week's meeting agendas 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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