Monday, May 22, 2017

What you may not know: Week of May 22

Before I get to this week's (relatively light) update on the Appleton Common Council's Committee schedule, an update on an item we've discussed at great length previously:

Dogs in Parks

As you may have heard, last week the Appleton Common Council (with Mayor Hanna breaking a 7-7 tie) voted to approve a resolution amended to allow dogs on sidewalks and trails within our city parks. The resolution was amended down to include just the sidewalks and trails in parks, but will include the sidewalks and trails in all parks (as opposed to a previous amendment limiting the number of parks) once the final ordinance is adopted.

And there lies the point I want to emphasize: The current ordinance banning dogs in parks remains in place until the new ordinance is adopted. This will likely happen at our next full council meeting on June 7. Until then, please continue to follow the existing ordinance.

Now, on to this week's committee agendas:

Finance Committee, Monday, 5:30 pm
Safety & Licensing Committee, Wednesday, 5:30 pm

This week both of the committees listed above will be asked to make a recommendation on an intergovernmental agreement with Outagamie County that could lead to new voting equipment for the city's 2018 elections.

All told, Outagamie County has 33 municipalities conducting elections during each cycle, and they're using a wide array of voting and vote tabulating equipment on each election day. This creates significant challenges when the time comes to count the votes, so the county has a vested interest in making sure as many municipalities as possible are using the same equipment going forward. They've proposed a cost-sharing measure to help municipalities get on the same page.

Of course, trying to get all of the municipalities on the same page regarding what equipment is best creates a new set of challenges. For the city, this includes the following:

  • A seven-member procurement team for new voting equipment would include just one representative from the City of Appleton.
  • Outagamie County understandably has no interest in purchasing equipment for use in other counties, so the city could bear some additional expenses to purchase matching equipment for the portions of our jurisdiction in Winnebago and Calumet counties.
While I understand the county's motivations for pursuing this action, we have a responsibility to make sure the city's interests are protected to the fullest extent possible. I'll be interested in hearing more about how this could work for all parties.

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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