Common Council report

Below is a report on Monday night’s Common Council meeting:

  • Assistant Police Chief William Brydges received a commendation from the mayor on his upcoming retirement from the police force.  He spent 34 years as a loyal servant of the city of Kenosha since 1977.  The mayor wished him a successful and happy future.
  • Citizen comments came from Al Mameth, who discussed the announced retirement of Mike Higgins, city clerk/treasurer/assessor, and John Christiansen, who defended the work of his company in response to the June 30th storm.

The meeting included votes/discussions on the following items:

  • Eight operator’s (bartenders) licenses were approved; also one special beer and/or special wine license; and one taxi driver license.  These applications were approved per the list on file in the Office of the City Clerk.
  • Six new operator’s (bartenders) licenses were approved, all subject to demerit points being attached; and two others were denied due to material police record and false application.
  • Best Western Harborside Inn’s application for a beer/liquor license was approved, with acceptance of a conditional surrender of a similar license at the same location from Kenosha Hotel Development, Inc.  This license was to be effective yesterday, December 20, 2011.
  • Slice’s application for a 60-day extension to maintain their beer/liquor license was approved.  The reason for review was that they were not open for business within 90 days of receipt of their license.
  • Kemper Center’s application for a yearly cabaret license was, at first, denied due to non-appearance at the Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, but later approved.  Rush Street Lounge was also approved for their yearly cabaret license.
  • Four applications for amusement and recreation enterprise supervisor licenses were approved.  Two were for employees of Monkey Joe’s, and two were for employees of Finney’s Lounge.
  • Twelve renewal applications for secondhand articles dealer licenses were approved.  Another renewal application was approved, subject to a non-renewal revocation hearing.
  • One renewal application for a massage therapist license was approved after an hour-long discussion.  The applicant failed to attach the proper health documentation.  The final disposition was the council approved the application, subject to a non-renewal revocation hearing, by a vote of 14 to 2 (Alderpersons Ruffolo and Bostrom were the two dissenters).
  • Seven renewal applications for yearly kennel and pet shop licenses were approved, upon satisfactory submission of all required items.  Puppy Tub & Motel’s amended application for a kennel and pet shop license was also approved.
  • A pet financier permit was approved, with no adverse recommendations.
  • The proposal by Alderperson Steve Bostrom to repeal Chapter 28 of the Code of General Ordinances entitled “Vacant Building Code” was deferred for 30 days.  Community Development has made some progress in enforcement, the fee structure, and clarifying definitions.
  • The two proposed ordinance changes regarding the “Ethics Board” and the “Code of Ethics” were both tabled.  The first was proposed by Alderperson Patrick Juliana, and the second was proposed by Alderpersons David Bogdala and Anthony Nudo.  Bogdala stated that he felt that these two proposals were positive, but not complete.  The District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute; therefore, the city needs something on the books.  The vote was 11 to 5, with Alderpersons Jan Michalski, Rocco LaMacchia, Michael Orth, Patrick Juliana, and Anthony Kennedy voting against tabling.
  • The proposed ordinance change by Alderperson Michael Orth regarding correction of a wording error regarding the “Department of Community Development Inspections” was approved unanimously.
  • The proposed ordinance changes by the mayor regarding the merger of the Department of City Development and the Department of Neighborhood Services and Inspections into a new department called the Department of Community Development and Inspections was approved by a vote of 10 to 7.  Bogdala stated that he would not be supporting this item, nor the following item.  “Even though there was a definite savings to combine the departments ($500,000), it was done inadequately,” he said.  “It took a year, and operationally, it’s still not right.”  Others joining Bogdala with dissenting votes were Aldpersons Ted Ruffalo, G. John Ruffolo, Lawrence Green, Ray Misner, Jesse Downing, and Patrick Juliana.
  • The proposed reorganization by the mayor in regards to the item above was deferred for two weeks.  Alderperson Anthony Nudo wanted to amend Exhibit E to add the word “interim” in front of three position names.  He also wanted the positions of director and the two superintendents to be opened to the entire department and the public at large.  Ruffalo stated that he thought that the appointments mentioned in the exhibit with employees’ names written in was the mayor’s way of making appointments without going through the appointment process.  “Usually, the mayor issues appointment letters, and they appear in a completely different part of the agenda,” said Ruffalo.  Misner agreed.  “The appointment process has been set up the way it is to prevent against cronyism and in order to find the best qualified person,” he said.  A six-minute recess was taken to research the definition of the word “interim” (no longer than 120 days).  Steve Stanczak, human resources director, was questioned as to the cost for recruiting for these three jobs, and he estimated $1,000 for the department head, and $1,500 for the two superintendents.  At this time, Council President Jesse Downing requested that a public hearing be held.  Paula Blise then passed out packets to the entire council floor and proceeded to expound on all the reasons why she should be appointed director of the  new Department of Community Development and Inspections.  Misner appreciated Blise’s information.  “It’s no secret that there are a lot of concerns with the department over the past weeks and months.  There is a need to improve the department and the management of the department.  I’m not at ease confirming people for these roles.  A big concern of mine was the employees being at home on the clock.  I’m not sure it was addressed well enough.  A good cleaning is needed.  It’s our duty to the taxpayer to clean things up.”  Alderperson Althony Kennedy admired Blise’s tenacity, but didn’t feel that this was the appropriate forum for her in which to make her presentation for the job.
  • There was a request from Bob Munroe to rescind a special assessment in the amount of $280 against the property at 6814 – 39th Avenue.  Due to the length of time that has passed since the work was done (11 years), the Council voted unanimously to waive the $100 administrative fee, but not the $180 occupancy permit fee, which was never paid.  Munroe was given 30 days to pay.
  • The resolution by Downing to appoint Sergeant David Molinaro as the Humane Officer for the City of Kenosha was approved unanimously.
  • The resolution to modify the Table of Organization for the City of Kenosha by separating the position of City Clerk/Treasurer/Assessor and to re-establish the positions of City Clerk/Treasurer and City Assessor, and to establish the pay ranges for these new positions, was also approved unanimously.
  • The resolution by the Finance Committee to transfer funds totaling $166,000 from the 2011 Contingency Budget to 2011 Labor Negotiations, Personnel and Council Budgets was approved unanimously also.
  • The appointment of 180 election officials to serve a two-year term (2012-2013) per list on file in the Office of the City Clerk, was approved unanimously.
  • The proposed extension of the Intergovernmental Agreement executed by the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority, the City of Kenosha, and the County of Kenosha, was approved by a vote of 13 to 2.  The two dissenting votes came from Ruffalo and Bogdala.  To read more details about this item, click here:  Menominee IGA Extended Once More.
  • The lease between the City of Kenosha and RKJ3, LLC, was approved unanimously (airport).
  • The approval of the vacant land sale and leaseback agreement between the City of Kenosha and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, for property located at 1613 Washington Road, was deferred for 30 days, as was the lease between the City of Kenosha and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC.  The vote was 8 to 6 to defer.  To read more details about this item, click here:  Common Council Defers Cell Tower.
  • Disbursement Record #22 in the amount of $4,177,545.95 was approved unanimously.
  • The final acceptance of Project 10-1411 – Parks Field Office Building Painting (3607 and 3617 – 65th Street), completed by Nehl’s Painting (Kenosha) in the amount of $27,880, was approved unanimously also.
  • The conditional use permit for a contractor’s storage yard to be located at 3700 – 45th Street was deferred at the applicant’s request.

Aldermen’s Comments

Misner stated that he finds it difficult when the Licensing & Permit Committee reorganization that he proposed was vetoed, and when there’s not cooperation among the committee members.  “Now, two businesses must be addressed by the City Plan Commission due to the one mile and one-half mile radius requirement.  The two businesses have been instructed to write exemption letters to the Commission, then it will go back to the Licensing & Permit Committee for review, then on to the Common Council.  This adds months to the opening of these two new businesses.  It could have been addressed by the proposed changes I had made to the committee.  The ordinance has a lot of positive merits, but the review process is short-sighted.”  On another note, Misner said that he received his tax bill today.  He reminded everyone that he didn’t support the tax increase; he had voted against the mayor’s budget.

G. John Ruffolo’s comments had to do with the casino and the snow.  “The casino agreement keeps coming forward.  We have sought outside counsel in the past; we’ll  need to seek them out again to review this agreement.  The bill was picked up by the tribe in the past.”  Secondly, Ruffolo stated that last year, from early November and every weekend thereafter, the snow plows were on the streets.  “Thank you!”  He also offered his best to Bill Brydges.  Alderperson Eric Haugaard seconded Ruffolo’s congratulations to Brydges, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.  Kennedy voiced his appreciation to the good work by the police force on the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st Avenue break-in’s.  People were arrested.  “But, don’t stop your vigilance.  Call the police if you feel that something isn’t right in your neighborhood.  Or, call 911 for an emergency.  If you don’t feel comfortable calling the police yourself, call me, and I’ll call the police on your behalf.”

Have a merry Christmas, all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *