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Appleton City Council Update: February 18, 2024

Here we are, Neighbors…. already halfway through the longest month of the winter and it’s another Full Council Meeting Week here in City of Appleton local government. It is the one and only scheduled public meeting for the week so let’s get right into what will be discussed.

Wednesday, 02/21/2024

City of Appleton Common Council – 7pm In a shocking turn of events, there are no items in the “Business Presented by the Mayor” portion of this week’s agenda. So we will get right into the meat of the agenda with action items. Here are the highlights:

  • From the Municipal Services Committee: As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, there was a staff update regarding the resolution to close one of the city’s two yard waste sites, the Whitman Avenue location. In the committee meeting last week, the resolution was denied based upon the notice from staff that the Town of Grand Chute would essentially pull back or renegotiate the payment terms of their Memorandum of Understanding with the city to pay Appleton less for the use of the city’s yard waste sites by Town of Grand Chute residents. I believe that the full council will also deny the resolution. But I applaud the resolution and the efforts of city staff to investigate the potential for money savings with a closure of this site. I believe that, as a city, we should continue to look into ways to reduce duplication of services to determine better ways to employ taxpayer dollars.

  • Also from the Municipal Services Committee (and the Finance Committee): As a bit of a formality, the request for approval of the concrete paving project for Amethyst Drive (from Bluetopaz to Aquamarine) is on the table. This is the first step towards determining the special assessment calculations for the homeowners along the length of this project. We should soon know those assessment amounts so these homeowners can best prepare for that expense in their family budgets. Remember, though, that there is a special carve-out from the 100% assessment policy of 2024 for these homeowners due to the project being delayed by the city last year.

  • From the Parks and Recreation Committee: A contract for design and engineering for a shoreline redevelopment at Lutz Park in an amount that makes up 10% of the total budget for the project is on the table for full council approval. While I lament that this is an exceptionally large amount for design and engineering on a project ($88,400 plus a $5,000 contingency = $93,400), I also recognize that this shoreline redevelopment project will include a lot of planning, negotiation, and regular communications with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the Army Corps of Engineers which will undoubtedly cause a lot of red tape. And governmental red tape costs money… sadly.
  • Missing from this week’s agenda is an item from the Finance Committee regarding grant funds for a kayak launch program at Telulah Park. Last week, committee members (including your alderman) had too many unanswered questions from staff regarding how the program would work, what kind of liabilities the city would bear for the personal use of city-owned kayaks, how the program would be managed, how damages to city property would be managed, etc. As such, this item was held by the Finance Committee for further discussion in the next Committee Meetings Week.
  • There is a scheduled closed session at the end of this full council meeting. Here is the information provided in the agenda: “The Common Council will go into closed session according to State Statute ยง19.85(1)(e) for the purposes of deliberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties and the investing of public funds, regarding the U.S. Venture development project and then reconvene into open session.” My expectation is that we will hear more from the mayor and city staff regarding the 222 Building (news from December 2023). But I can only guess and unfortunately (due to the nature of closed sessions) can only share with you more when information is publicly released. I will of course let you know more when I can!

And with that, yet another Full Council Meeting Week will be in the books. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about any of the items noted above, please reach out to me. I would be happy to hear from you and glad to help answer any local government questions you might have.

Until next week when we’re back to committee meetings…. I wish you a spectacular February week (as best February in Wisconsin can manage)!

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