Monday, January 22, 2018

What you may not know: Week of January 22

The Appleton Common Council has a busy committee week ahead, and here are some of the highlights:

Municipal Services Committee, Monday, 4:30 pm

On Monday afternoon the Municipal Services Committee will learn about and have their first opportunity to react to Outagamie County's plans for the expansion of their landfill site.

The agenda for this meeting includes a resolution designating the city's representatives for negotiations with the Village of Little Chute and Outagamie County regarding the placement of a new landfill next to the existing landfill between French and Holland Road. The resolution cites no timeline for how much longer the county expects to use their current landfill facility or how soon they'll need a new one. The new site, located near the southeast corner of Highway 41 and French Road, is within 1500 feet of the border with Appleton, making the city an impacted municipality.

Again, however, I will reiterate that the action item on the agenda is simply an acknowledgement of the proceeding and a formal action to appoint the city's negotiating representatives: City Attorney Jim Walsh and Director of Public Works Paula Vandehey. I anticipate we will learn a fair amount about the plans and procedures on Monday afternoon but no further formal actions will be taken.

Finance Committee, Monday, 5:30 pm

Last week the Finance Committee and Common Council voted to approve a recommendation that the final Fox Cities Exhibition Center borrowing happen via bond and not private placement of debt, as had been the previous plan. Now, the next step is determining what happens in response to the city's lost interest income while fronting the money for the project.

Initial plans for the Expo Center financing called for the project to have two borrowing phases, a construction loan to cover expenses incurred during the project and a final borrowing package once all of the final costs were known. The city never acquired the former loan, however, due to a misunderstanding on the timeline for the latter loan. Instead, the city paid bills for the construction of the facility out of its cash reserves.

Because those cash reserves were tapped for longer than we had previously expected, the city has lost some of its previously budgeted interest income. Recent estimates suggest that by March 1 that lost interest income will be about $237,500 and will continue to go up until the final bonding is in place around the first week in April. Last Wednesday Alderman Ed Baranowski introduced a resolution calling for the city to include lost interest income in the FCEC's final borrowing package with the intention of making the city whole for revenue lost.

I understand the premise of this resolution but I'll be curious to see if or how any of the partner municipalities in the FCEC project react to it. I think Alderman Baranowski's request is reasonable but I think we'll have to be careful in how we discuss it to make it clear that we're simply trying to recoup our losses, not attempting to make a profit because we loaned the money ourselves instead of getting it from a bank.

City Plan Commission, Tuesday, 4:30 pm

Last week the Common Council voted to approve a rezoning seeking to open the door for the creation of 13 new single family lots along the east side of Cherryvale Avenue south of Apple Creek. This week that process will take another step forward as the City Plan Commission will be asked to make a recommendation on the proposed final plat for this new subdivision.

There are no material changes between what has been previously proposed and what is in this final plat. The plans continue to call for 13 single-family lots along Cherryvale with an average of 11,600 square feet and an average width of 58 feet. The lots will be a little narrower than what is allowed under R1A zoning (hence their recent rezoning to R1B) but will be very deep and as a result will be larger than many R1A lots. The preliminary plat calls for a small sliver of property at the north end of the development to be dedicated to the public and a 16,000+ square foot outlot at the north end of the subdivision that will not be developed at this time.

Additionally, last week the Board of Zoning Appeals voted to deny this subdivision developer's request to install a six-foot berm along the rear of these properties near the Apple Creek Trail. The vote was split on this measure and I'm working to learn what happened. I'm hopeful the Board will reconsider this decision, as the berm would be beneficial for the privacy of both property owners in this new subdivision and owners of property across the creek.

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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