Monday, August 21, 2017

What you may not know: Week of August 20

The Appleton Common Council has a relatively quiet committee week planned with one notable exception:

Finance Committee, Monday, 4:30 pm

As I mentioned two weeks ago and in last week's update, the Finance Committee has begun the work to make a recommendation for the city's 2018 policies for Special Assessments, As I noted two weeks ago, special assessments for street reconstructions were eliminated when the city's Vehicle Registration Fee (aka "Wheel Tax") was implemented three years ago, but assessments and the related policies remain for the construction of new streets and underground utility work.

The major sticking point in this year's discussions and the reason this item was held at Finance two weeks ago is a resolution by Alderman Bill Siebers calling for the city to assign special assessments to properties based on their usage and eliminate the current practice of basing their assessment on their zoning. This discussion began several months ago when council was asked to modify special assessments for properties along N. Fair Street that are residential in nature but received a higher assessment for utility work due to their commercial zoning. At Finance this week we will be asked to make a recommendation on whether we should change the policy for similar properties or continue to take up appeals on a case-by-case basis. I prefer the former, which I feel will allow us to be consistent and fair.

Additionally, this week the Finance Committee has an action item related to a pending Request for Proposals for mixed-use development plans incorporating the Appleton Public Library. This item would not be a commitment to proceed with a mixed-use project but approving it would be a clear indication that the city is on board with continuing to explore this option in conjunction with the Library Board.

Finally, the Finance Committee's agenda also includes requests for the committee to make recommendations on the following:

  • A budget adjustment to allow the Fire Department to move funds from a Training Tower improvement project to pay for additional personal protective equipment for firefighters to fulfill a need outlined in a recent Post Crescent story.
  • A proposed $300,000+ contract with Vinton Construction for trail and riverbank improvements at Lutz Park.
  • A proposed $150,000+ contract with Miron Construction to make additions to the skate park at Telulah Park.
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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