It's easily the busiest time of the year for the Appleton Common Council as our annual budget review is underway. Our regularly scheduled committee meetings are also taking place this week, including one meeting that will likely draw a fair amount of attention:
Safety & Licensing, Wednesday, 5:30 pm
A month ago this committee was asked to consider a resolution submitted by Alderpersons Vered Meltzer, Bob Baker and Patti Coenen discussing the role of the Appleton Police Department as it relates to the enforcement of federal immigration laws. At that time the item was referred to the City Attorney's office for further review of the legal ramifications of passing this resolution, which calls for the city to continue to not use local, discretionary resources to pursue undocumented immigrants except as necessary for public safety.
I've received a fair amount of feedback and questions on this resolution over the last six weeks or so. One of the pieces of information that I think is most important to know here, and which I've now discussed with a fair number of contacts, is that the actions called for in this resolution are no different from what the APD is already doing.
The APD's primary function is to promote and provide public safety. As such, any action they may take that causes potential witnesses or victims of a crime to be fearful of coming forward is detrimental to their ability to prevent and/or solve said crimes. The resolution before us was titled "Resolution Reaffirming the Public Safety Function of Local Law Enforcement," and that's effectively what we're being asked to do here: To ensure that discretionary actions we could take as related to immigration law don't impinge upon our ability to protect public safety.
Finance Committee, Saturday, 8 am
As I mentioned above, the process of setting the city's 2018 annual budget has moved on to the Common Council. One of our biggest annual meetings is this Saturday as the Finance Committee will come together to spend the full day reviewing the 660-page document and the $170 million in spending outlined therein.
This year it took me 15 days to read through the budget in its entirety and on Friday afternoon I pre-submitted 53 questions to the mayor and department heads. This weekend's session is our first opportunity to discuss the budget in its entirety (although many committees have already discussed their portions of it) and for the Finance Committee to propose amendments.
From here the budget moves on to a public hearing in front of the full council on November 1 and any final amendments and the final budget adoption are scheduled for November 8.
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.