Common Council Report
At Monday’s Common Council meeting, two of the city’s engineers, Shelley Billingsley and Kathy Huniaga, were called up to the podium by Mayor Keith Bosman and presented a proclamation recognizing the week of February 20th as National Engineers Week. Bosman stated that the city keeps its engineers quite busy with Public Works projects, the environmental issues with Chrysler, and the park plans.
Citizens spoke out about the nationwide “See Something, Say Something” campaign, graffiti, and flouride in the city’s water.
The following items were acted upon:
- Approval of the following applications per list on file in the Office of the City Clerk: eighteen operator’s (bartenders) licenses; six special Class “B” beer and/or special “Class B” wine licenses; and one taxi driver license.
- The special exception request from attorney Charlie Cousland, Dairyland Greyhound Park, to reverse orders issued by the zoning coordinator to remove abandoned/obsolete signs located at 5522 – 104th Avenue, was deferred for two weeks. The Finance Committee had deferred it at their meeting earlier that evening due to their request for additional information.
- The request for a special exception to the spacing requirements of a section of the zoning ordinance for a Class “A” liquor license at 2207 – 60th Street (Kenosha Gas Stop, Inc.), was approved.
- Six applications for new operator’s (bartender) licenses were approved, all with demerit points attached.
- The application of Jovan Roberts for a new taxi driver license was denied, based on material police record and false application.
- The application of Kenosha Midnight, Inc., Laurie Mueller, agent, for a Class “B” beer/”Class B” liquor license located at 5605 – 22nd Avenue (Kenosha Midnight), was approved. Alderperson Ray Misner expressed his well wishes to Johnny Ekornaas, who has been in business for forty years, and is now retiring.
- The application of PH Hospitality Group, LLC, Colleen Morowski, agent, for a Class “B” beer/”Class C” wine License located at 3905 – 52nd Street (Pizza Hut), was also approved.
- The application of Beverly Griffin and Maxine Chavours (a general partnership) for a secondhand article dealer license located at 6215 – 22nd Avenue (Patchez Ladies & Gent’s Co-signment Store), was approved.
- The applications for amusement and recreation enterprise supervisor licenses for Edward Wamboldt and Roberta (Robin) Wamboldt (both from Slice), was approved.
- The following zoning ordinances proposed by the mayor were unanimously approved for their first reading: to rezone a portion of the property at 3501 – 14th Avenue from M-1, Light Manufacturing District, to B-2, Community Business District; and to rezone properties at 5512 and 5602 Green Bay Road from RS-1, Single-Family Residential District, to B-2, Community Business District.
- The following zoning ordinances were also unanimously approved for their second reading: by the City Plan Commission – to create a subsection of the zoning ordinance to amend the Comprehensive Plan to remove a portion of 55th Street future right-of-way from the official map; and by the City Plan Commission – to create a subsection of the zoning ordinance to amend the comprehensive plan to adopt a new Kenosha County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update: 2011 – 2015.
- The following resolutions made by the Finance Committee were unanimously approved: a request from Angela Martinez to rescind a special assessment in the amount of $160 for unpaid permit fees against the property at 4703 – 40th Avenue; a request from Dezarrea Johnson to rescind a special assessment in the amount of $1,240 for unpaid permit fees against the property at 4056 – 31st Avenue; a request from Eric Kosterman and Leah Becherer to rescind a special assessment in the amount of $172 for erosion control re-inspection fees against the property at 15408 – 68th Street; to levy special assessments upon various parcels of property located in the city per the list on file in the Office of the City Clerk: property maintenance re-inspection fees of $7,078; costs for razing/pre-razing of structures, $68,750.85; boarding and securing fees in the amount of $1,064.12; trash & debris removal costs of $160; graffiti removal (miscellaneous assessments) in the amount of $300; and the repair/replacement of a fence in the amount of $8,946; to levy special assessments for hazardous walk and driveway approach repair for Project #10-1020, 39th Avenue Reconstruction – 39thAvenue – 67th Street to 75th Street, to be levied against the respective parcels of property as shown by a report of the city engineer and filed in the Office of the City Clerk, in the total amount of $22,424.21; and to levy special assessments for hazardous walk and driveway approach repair for Project #11-1015, Resurfacing Phase II 88th Place – 47th Avenue to 43rd Avenue, 81st Street – 25th Avenue to 22nd Avenue, to be levied against the respective parcels of property as shown by a report of the city engineer and filed in the Office of the City Clerk, in the total amount of $20,756.60.
- The resolution by the Public Works Committee was approved: for the Wisconsin Harbor Assistance Program for the Three-Year Harbor Development Statement of Intentions.
- The resolution by the Parks Commission to create the AFSCME permanent part-time position of golf course clubhouse manager and to establish its 2012 wage rate was deferred for two weeks.
- The resolution sponsored by Alderperson Steve Bostrom, and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Ray Misner and Theodore A. Ruffalo, to register the Common Council’s opposition to the elimination of the organized, interscholastic, competitive sports program in favor of an intramural program and its willingness to appoint several of its members as a committee, or to become part of a larger committee to assist the KUSD Board in reviewing the district’s budget, was approved by a vote of 10 to 5 (with two alderpersons abstaining). There was much discussion about this issue. (You can read the separate article about it by clicking here: Common Council Offers to Help KUSD.)
- The resolution by the mayor to amend the official map for the City of Kenosha, to rescind the designation of 55th Street from 47th Avenue to 49th Avenue as a future street, was approved by a vote of 16 to 0.
- The resolution by the mayor to adopt the Kenosha County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update: 2011 – 2015, was also approved.
- The appointment of Mark Modory to the Kenosha City/County Joint Services Board of Directors, for a term to expire May 1, 2014, was deferred for two weeks. Apparently, at the Finance Committee meeting earlier that night, Alderperson David Bogdala brought up the fact that Modory didn’t list his affiliation with Open & Honest Government on his disclosure form. This item was referred to the Public Safety & Welfare Committee for further discussion.
- The appointment of Mike Lemens to Director of Public Works was approved unanimously.
- The request for approval of conveyance of rights in land by Kenosha County for CTH “G” Reconstruction (30th Avenue), was approved. Also, the request for approval of conveyance of rights in land by Wisconsin DOT for STH 50 & I-94 Interchange (Project ID #1032-10-20), was approved.
- Disbursement Record #2 in the amount of $46,274,862.93, was approved.
- The request from Eric Kosterman and Leah Becherer to rescind erosion control re-inspection fees in the amount of $90 against the property at 15408 – 68th Street was approved.
- The request from Intisar Hasan, Sani Enterprises, to rescind building/zoning re-inspection fees in the amount of $342 for illegal display at 5616 – 75th Street was also approved.
- The request from Attorney Charlie Cousland, Dairyland Greyhound Park, Inc., to rescind building/zoning re-inspection fees in the amount of $2,502 for illegal signs at 5522 – 104th Avenue was deferred for two weeks. The Finance Committee had also deferred this item at their meeting earlier in the evening.
- The request from Anthony Garza, TGAR Properties, to rescind building/zoning re-inspection fees in the amount of $72 for illegal occupancy at 1213 – 55th Street was approved by a vote of 16 to 1 (Alderperson Anthony Kennedy was the sole dissenting voter).
- The request from James J. Madden, Winter Services, to rescind penalty fees in the amount of $720 for an occupancy permit at 5614 – 52nd Street was approved by a vote of 16 to 1 (Bogdala was the sole dissenting voter).
- The request from Mary A. Yonker to rescind penalty fees in the amount of $720 for an occupancy permit at 5535 – 6th Avenue was approved unanimously.
- The request from Christopher C. Olson, Hoernel Lock & Key, Inc., to rescind penalty fees in the amount of $720 for an occupancy permit at 711 Washington Road was approved by a vote of 14 to 0. Three alderpersons abstained from the vote (Alderpersons Eric Haugaard, Theodore Ruffalo, and Patrick Juliana).
- The Council approved the final acceptance of Project #10-1208, sidewalk and curb/gutter program (citywide locations) completed by AZAR, LLC (Racine, Wisconsin), in the amount of $410,501.39.
- The request to extend a conditional use permit for a 521 s.f. kitchen addition to the existing gas station/convenience store at 3920 Washington Road (Kwik Trip) was approved by a vote of 15 to 1 (Alderperson Katherine Marks was the sole dissenting voter).
The mayor reminded everyone of the elections the following day. He also informed everyone that they would be short-staffed in the building because most employees were going to be helping out at the polling places. He hoped for a good voter turnout.
Bogdala talked about the fact that people are always asking why the Common Council meetings take so long and why there are so many questions, etc. He looked at the clock; it read: 8:15 pm. “That’s not too bad,” he said. “On February 9th, the Kenosha News published an article about an out-of-court settlement on a possible dispute, possible deal. The County Board knows all about it; we don’t. Are they just blowing smoke? It said they were expecting something within 30 days. If things were brought up beforehand, we might be able to get out of the lawsuit. Also, on February 16th, another Kenosha News article was published about the new casino developers thinking big. There was a meeting here in town, but it was not for elected officials. The mayor was there. This is a monster issue. We should be brought in as soon as possible with those kinds of issues. At the last Common Council meeting, there was a discussion/debate on the closing of McKinley Middle School. The question was asked as to when the mayor knew about this. He had answered Friday night, Saturday morning. Nudo had been called on Friday night and told that there would be a meeting on Monday night. I sent an e-mail to the superintendent of schools, Michele Hancock, regarding the libraries, buses, etc. What are we doing with the schools? This information should be provided to us as partners. Her reply was that she appreciated the interest, but that it was not a finalized decision. Are they promising services with no budget? Why?”
Alderperson Anthony Nudo reminded everyone that on February 28th, the KUSD Board would be voting on the cost-saving recommendations. He encouraged and implored all to attend and ask their questions. He said, “I attended the meeting on February 14th. They handed out a few pages, showing that they needed to save $28 million. They were at $25 million with the two-page plan. (This document is attached to a prior article reporting on that meeting. Click here: KUSD Transformation/Budget Plan.) Other cost savings mentioned were printing costs, and taking the average class size to 32. Closing McKinley Middle School would save $1 million. We were not able to provide any input. I also emailed Hancock with my comments, line item by line item, and got no response. I emailed her again, and I got a reply that she was out of town. She would get back to me after February 24th. The meeting is on the 28th. Where are the dollars coming from, and where are they going?”
Alderperson Jan Michalski made a comment that “we are in election mode.” He also reminded everyone not to violate the rules regarding yard sign placement. They shouldn’t be placed on public parkways. “Also, make sure you get permission before placing signs on foreclosed properties.”
Misner expressed his disappointment with the Gateway forum. He stated that he was hoping for better exposure for the candidates running for office. “The Wal-Mart issue was not even raised,” he said. “So, I set up a forum for the 13th district candidates. Mr. Jensen attended. He was very gracious. Things won’t get any easier. The other candidates were notified. I know that they opened their emails. Also, the Kenosha News story stated that I was pushing for a city-wide referendum on an issue. That’s not correct. That had to do with only the 13th/14th districts.” He also stated that tomorrow was an important day, and he urged everyone to get out and vote.
Kennedy had a few comments about the candidate forum. “The candidates should be given a chance to give their opening remarks and closing remarks. Also, there should be some solicitation of questions from the audience.” Also, he stated that he was extremely disappointed that Madory wasn’t approved tonight. “He has shown his devotion to the city. Just because there was an association on there. It was a factual truth. Now, it’s going back to the committee to get some questions answered.” He also urged people to vote for him in the election. “Democracy only works when you participate,” he said. “You need to vote for the person who reflects your values.”
Alderperson G. John Ruffolo urged voters to be patient when voting. “Most are,” he said. He also mentioned that he read about a public housing project on the north side. “I would have liked to have been a part of that discussion,” Ruffolo stated.
Alderperson Eric Haugaard congratulated Mike Lemens on his appointment.
Council president Jesse Downing reminded people to take their ID’s with them when going to vote. Also, he stated that “tonight’s agenda contained many requests for the rescinding of fees for occupancy permits. The new Council needs to look at that. If the Council rescinds some and not others, it’s not being fair to everybody. We need to get the sign ordinance done. It’s only been four to six years.”