Quest for Transparency - Happy New Year!
Happy New Year—there is great promise in the Council air with the candidates for the upcoming spring election! We have Jeff Vollenweider running for mayor, and our current soon to be ex-mayor is not running for re-election. Kathy Brown is the candidate for the 1st District, Jim Brewster is running in the 2nd, Janita Zimmerman in the 3rd and Eric Wisnicky is running in the 4th District. All candidates are running unopposed, so we can see what the new council will look like—and I’m excited.
But now on to other business. On Friday, I was having my hair done when my watch and phone started buzzing. I have the greatest hair stylist and I let the calls go until after she was finished doing her magic. Not only does she do a fabulous job with my hair, but she is wonderful to talk to as well. It’s a little slice of heaven in her shop. But afterwards, I checked my messages and learned that the council agenda and packet had come out—so I drove home and printed it out. You all can read it as well—it’s got over 90 pages of city information in it—just go on the city’s website.
In this packet you can see that we have a new interim city administrator named Steve Kubacki. I am looking forward to getting to know him better and really moving forward on city business in an upfront and transparent manner.
Another issue of note in the packet is Resolution 2008-2022: DECLARING INTENT TO LEVY SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS UNDER MUNICIPAL POLICE POWER PURSUANT TO SECTION 66.0703, WIS. STATS.
Police Power! Well that got my attention. It seems that, for the Scott Street project, we are resolving to use police power for the special assessment of the “benefitted properties” of this project. When I first heard of this project, it was justified by the city administrator that the adjacent landowners to the north and south wanted to improve their property, and needed a road built to connect Scott Street through the current farm field to achieve these improvements. But now the narrative seems to have changed. According to the previous City Administrator in his last Staff Report, this project will “loop the City’s Water and Sewer systems…” This may seem a grand idea, but it does put into question who benefits from the project. The way the resolution reads to me is that the adjacent property owners would not be the only beneficiaries of the project. Instead, all residents on the water loop might be considered beneficiaries and would be specially assessed in their property taxes under this resolution. That’s something I need to think about. Why has the narrative changed and why is the mayor pushing so hard to get this through? The property to the south is zoned R3, which means apartments could potentially be built—more cars, more sewage, lower water pressure for everyone on the loop. Is this really a benefit? I worry the city will try to argue that everyone on the loop should share the burden through their property taxes. So pay attention people on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Street! You might learn what police powers are in your next property tax bill.
Finally, we are discussing our previous Building Inspector’s bill for his contractual work with the city. I have always questioned the legality of his city contract, and we all remember Doug the Inspector. You can refer to my blog entitled “Charlie Brown Interviews” on this topic…My question is, who performed the 29 inspections that are on his bill and did they actually occur? Are these inspectors licensed/certified to inspect property in Kewaunee? The bill does not delineate who actually performed the inspections—in fact the bill is very bare bones. I’m not eager to pay out $23,925 until we get some more details on that bill.
As always, I invite you to our meetings. This next one is tonight, Monday, January 10th. And the public hearing for Scott Street is on January 24, 2022 to be held at City Chambers in City Hall at 6pm.
Thanks for listening,