Finance committee approves CIP

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At the Finance Committee meeting on Monday night, which lasted almost five hours, the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was unanimously approved, with a few amendments.  At the beginning of the meeting, Chairman Daniel Prozanski stated that the review was going to be handled differently than it has in the past.  They were not going to go through the 302-page document page by page.  Committee members could instead make their amendments in an attempt to expedite the meeting.

Prozanski made motions for the following amendments:

  • Strawberry Creek Park – Add $402,220 to the 2013 CIP by adding $201,110 in outside funding from grants and $201,110 in park impact fees, for a net of zero.  Mayor Keith Bosman said that as soon as the drainage and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issues were taken care of, work would commence in 2013.
  • Southport Park – Add $181,000 to the contingency line and add $181,000 in outside funding from grants and lakefront park impact fees, for a net of zero.  This move makes $281,000 available for the Southport Park in 2013.  Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia wanted to know if this move would impact other parks, and the reply was no.

Prozanski also wanted the money kept in the CIP for the Joint Services software project.  The county removed their portion of the funding ($1.7 million) until such time that a final cost can be received for the project.  Once that final cost is received, the county said that they will then revisit the funding.  It’s not a question of “if” for the county portion, but “when.”  Police chief John Morrissey said that the upgrade is important and needs to be done, and he strongly urged the committee not to delete the $1.3 million in funding from the CIP.  He said that “it would put us in a lot of jeopardy.”

Alderperson David Bogdala had numerous questions for the city’s department heads and the administration.  He said that he understood the marketability factor of the airport runway extension, but he stated that he was not in favor of it because his constituents were against it.  He also made a motion to reduce the $650,000 proposed for the Fire Department’s relocation to $0, and to instead use the money to build a new westside fire station.  This motion was not seconded.  Bogdala also wanted to see the staffing level of the fire department increased.  Regarding the streetcar expansion, Bogdala was questioning the concept vs. the proposed plan that Ron Iwen, transit director, shared with the committee.  He wanted to see the plan extended to Carthage, and he was told that that might come in a future phase.

Bogdala also made a motion to lower the funding for the Redevelopment Authority to $250,000 from $400,000, but that motion also failed for lack of a second.  Prozanski said that he had full confidence in the people that are in place on the committee.  Bogdala requested a list of all street repairs, and Mike Lemens, public works director, said that it would be available Tuesday night.  Bogdala then proceeded to describe the need to add $100,000 for design and engineering for sidewalks, curbs, and gutters for 104th Avenue from 69th Street to 64th Street, and this motion was approved by the committee.  He questioned the mayor’s van, the salt brine de-icing system, the harbor dredging, the staffing level of the engineering department, and the funding for the Simmons Baseball Field.

Alderperson Tod Ohnstad then made a motion to approve the 2013-2017 plan, as amended.  Bogdala seemed surprised that he was cut off from asking any additional questions.  Prozanski said that they completed the book.

There was tension between the chairman and other members of the committee with Bogdala and Alderperson Kevin Mathewson, representing the 8th district, who was present at the meeting.  Mathewson kept waving around a rubber stamper, and he said that he was “disappointed with the committee that they wanted to end the discussion after almost five hours of questions and discussion.  You need to go through the budget in detail.  I see four alderpersons watching the discussion, and two asking questions.  We owe the taxpayers more.   We shouldn’t be ‘rubberstamping’ everything that’s provided.  We need to determine if it’s best for Kenosha or not.  Do what you were elected to do.  You’re better than this.”

Prozanski stated that “they spent five hours on the CIP, half a million dollars had been added to the Strawberry Creek park, $200,000 had been added into Southport Park, $100,000 had been added to Bogdala’s district for sidewalk work that he stated was needed.  No one can say that Bogdala didn’t get a chance to ask his questions.  These other gentlemen met with the mayor, called the department heads and other members of administration, and asked their questions ahead of time.”

At one point during the meeting, Prozanski even threatened to have Mathewson removed from the meeting.

Alderpersons Curt Wilson and Keith Rosenberg both stated that they talked to administration, attended other committee meetings where the CIP and budget was reviewed, and got their questions answered before the meeting.

The committee unanimously approved the CIP with the amendments mentioned above.

The review of the 2013 executive operating budget will be reviewed Tuesday night at 5:30 pm.

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