Common Council

Southport beach house resolution topic of contention

Street elevation (C. Cartwright photo, 2002)

The resolution that several alderpersons had drafted regarding requesting funding for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2012 was pulled from last night’s Common Council meeting agenda.  See our prior story on this topic:  Southport Beach House Total Restoration Could Cost $3 Million.  Copies of the draft resolution had been distributed at last Wednesday night’s meeting at the beach house.

On Friday morning, Alderperson David Bogdala met with the mayor, and on Friday afternoon, a press release was issued regarding the city’s funding a study for $30,000.  See our story on this as well:  City Proposing to Fund Plan for Southport Beach House.

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Citizens speak out at Common Council Meeting

At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, three citizens spoke out in favor of some important issues to the city of Kenosha.

Margaret Heller spoke on behalf of the effort to “Save the Southport Beach House.”  Sporting a pink t-shirt with those words emblazoned on the front, she walked up to the podium with two large boxes containing copies of the 1,350 petition signers in support of the effort.  She said, “99.8% of everyone we’ve talked to at the Harbor Market, the parade, and other events in and around Kenosha, are in favor of it.  At 5:00 pm today, the FaceBook page had 863 “likes.”  She said that they wanted each alderperson to have a copy of the 54 pages because she wanted them to see that support is coming from all over the city.

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City approves funds/loans/grants for Chrysler clean-up

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The Finance Committee and the Common Council met on Monday night to discuss three items having to do with the clean-up of the former Chrysler Kenosha Engine Plant.  The first was a proposed resolution by the mayor authorizing the borrowing of $1,342,826.17, providing for the issuance and sale of a note anticipation note therefor, and execution of a Ready for Reuse Program Loan Agreement.

The second and third items had to do with the approval of the Ready for Reuse Program loan and grant agreement between the city and the state of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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Short sale offer approved by the Common Council

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At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, the short sale offer for the property located at 6615 – 20th Avenue was approved unanimously.  This was a Tax Incremental District (TID) Rehabilitation Loan Program home sale.

Alderperson Steve Bostrom expressed his concern with how the American Motors Community Credit Union (AMCCU) administers their loans.  He reminded his colleagues that, two meetings ago, AMCCU granted a loan one year after a foreclosure action.  This particular property received a loan for $15,000 in 2008.  In 2005, the property was purchased for $125,000.  Bostrom further stated that there was no new siding on the house.  “What did they spend the $15,000 on?” Bostrom wanted to know whether it was the city or AMCCU that approved the loan.

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Rotary Foundation receives ok for softball wall of fame

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At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, the lender services agreement between the city of Kenosha and the Rotary Foundation of Kenosha West, Inc., was approved for a vote of 15 to 1 (Alderperson Kevin Mathewson was the sole dissenting vote).  A major discussion item was whether or not the softball wall of fame needed a public contract bid.  City attorney Ed Antaramian’s original ruling at the last meeting was that a public bidding process should be followed.  But, at this meeting, he said that, after consulting with five other attorneys, he was going to be changing his previous ruling.  Because the city was loaning the money to Rotary, and then Rotary was donating the monument to the city, that this arrangement fell under the specific exemption for donations.

Under the agreement, the Rotary Foundation will receive a loan of $30,000 from the city to build a brick patio and plaques in Lincoln Park, honoring former players.  Dr. Jim Fullmer spoke during the public hearing, urging the Council to deny the amendment to approve the agreement only if a request for quote public bid were to be placed.  Fullmer said that he was afraid that the monument and plaques wouldn’t get built otherwise.

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Social hosting stays at 100 points

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At tonight’s Common Council meeting, the 100-point demerit point assessment for social hosting was approved by a vote of 14 to 2.  Alderpersons G. John Ruffolo and Steve Bostrom voted against, not because they’re against the social hosting ordinance having more points assessed, but because the 100 points was equal to that of a felony.  They thought it was “too harsh.”

Ruffolo said, “I’m in favor of increasing the points for social hosting, but to make it equal to a felony (in the demerit point system)?  Courts don’t look at it as a felony.  It seems severe.”  Bostrom agreed.  “The number of points should be significantly increased, but immediately disqualifying them?  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not against this.  I’m against the number of points being assessed at 100.  If someone would like to make an amendment to lower it to 80 points, I’d support that.”

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Various committees consider casual dress code

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A proposed ordinance change for Kenosha regarding the dress code for members of the Common Council is being considered by several committees over the next two weeks.  The agenda item appeared on the Public Safety & Welfare Committee  agenda yesterday, and is also being considered by the Finance Committee, the Public Works Committee, and the Licensing and Permit Committee.  Here’s what the alderpersons had to say:

At the Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting last evening, Alderperson Anthony Kennedy thanked Alderperson Patrick Juliana for bringing this ordinance change forward.  However, Kennedy wanted to amend the wording a bit.  He made a motion to add that “business casual would be an acceptable option during the summer months, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.”  Juliana said that he sees the whole ordinance dress optional.  He also would like to see dress denim included.  “Some will say why?  Well, you can’t buy tact, diplomacy, and integrity from the clothing store.”  He agreed with Kennedy.  The amendment will be sent to the city attorney, and will appear as a first reading at the next Common Council meeting, which will take place on Monday, June 18th.

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KMart again approved for beer license

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This past Monday night, the Kenosha Common Council met for almost three hours.  One of the agenda items had to do with the approval of the renewal application of KMart Corporation, 4100 – 52nd Street, Maureen Madory, Agent, for a Class “A” retail beer license, subject to 40 demerit points.  The roll call vote was 15 to 2, with Alderpersons Anthony Kennedy (the alderperson of the district) and Jesse Downing voting against.

Kennedy made his sentiments known.  He stated that he felt that KMart shouldn’t have a liquor license at all, but he then made the motion that they be approved with the 40 demerit points attached.  He stated further, “I feel that Maureen Madory is the best qualified agent.  But promises were not kept.  There was an incident of selling to a minor.  I was told that the liquor would be kept in a different location, I was told that it would be under lock; it was not.  The controls that were promised were not put in place.  I believe Madory is the right person for the job.”

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Common Council approves flood maps, even though inaccurate

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At last night’s Common Council meeting, there was a roll call vote of 14 to 3 in favor of approving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain maps, even though all acknowledged they were not accurate.  The three dissenters were Alderpersons G. John Ruffolo, Jesse Downing and David Bogdala.  Downing and Bogdala’s districts are in the flood plain area affected by these inaccurate maps.

If the Council had not approved the maps by the June 19th deadline imposed by FEMA, it would have left the city vulnerable.  They would not have been eligible for access to any federal flood insurance and disaster relief.

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Common Council defers FEMA flood plain maps for 2 more weeks

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At tonight’s Common Council meeting, the vote was unanimous to defer the issue of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain maps for another two weeks to allow time for Congressman Paul Ryan and the city staff to work with FEMA on the issue of the flood plain maps, which everyone agrees are wrong.

Frank Pacetti, city administrator, gave a brief synopsis of the issues and the timeline as it unfolded.  Pacetti said that “this was a very complex issue.  FEMA performs this routine process every 10 years.  It takes them 15 years to do it, but . . . this is a typical Federal project.  The process is more important than the issues.”  The last time the maps were updated was back in 1995-1996.

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Mayoral appointments

The following mayoral appointments/reappointments were approved unanimously at the city’s Common Council meeting on Monday night:

  • James D. Hawkins and Lena Cooksey reappointed to the Museum Board for terms to expire on May 1, 2015;
  • Alderpersons Chris Schwartz and Jan Michalski appointed to the Museum Board for terms to expire on May 1, 2014;
  • Robert Griffith appointed to the Mayor’s Youth Commission for a term to expire on November 1, 2012;

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City approves agreement for realtor

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At Monday night’s Finance Committee and Common Council meetings, both bodies approved the agreement between the city and Michelle Volkmar and Realtors of Kenosha, LLC, d/b/a Re/Max Elite, for the realtor to market the city’s 21 properties.  The council at first voted to defer the approval of the agreement, but then voted again to approve the agreement.  The first vote was 4 to 13 to defer, with Alderpersons G. John Ruffolo, Steve Bostrom, Jesse Downing, and David Bogdala voting to defer.  And, the second vote was 14 to 3 to approve, with Bostrom, Downing, and Bogdala voting against.

Bostrom started off his comments with a statement.  “This is no reflection on the appraiser or the firm she works for, but this agreement troubles me.  I’m surprised by the lack of participation from the real estate community.  I can’t believe that we put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for real estate appraisal services and we received only one response?  Could someone from the staff please explain the RFP process that was used?”

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Bartender applicant denied due to social hosting

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At last night’s Common Council meeting, the alderpersons made it very clear that they think that a person found social hosting should not be allowed to serve alcohol in a bar or tavern.  Eric Kramer had applied for a bartender’s license.  Even though he did not appear at the Licensing & Permit Committee meeting, that committee approved him for a license, but added on 40 demerit points.  (Once a bartender has accumulated 100 demerit points, he/she must appear before the committee for a review.)  However, at the Common Council meeting, there was much discussion on this issue, and the council voted to deny the license by a vote of 14 to 3.  (Alderpersons G. John Ruffolo, Anthony Kennedy, and Steve Bostrom voted against the denial).

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Marina dredging to be done, but at a much higher cost

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The Public Works Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Common Council all gave their unanimous approval to have the marina dredging work done by Shoreline Builders (Pleasant Prairie) in the amount of $381,500.  The city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2012 and 2013 had to be amended to fund the work, though.  The 2013 authorization was moved to 2012 for a net change of $0.  The Public Works Committee also approved the professional services agreement with Ruekert Mielke for construction management of the project.

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Last common council meeting for five alderpersons

Monday was the last Common Council meeting for five Kenosha alderpersons.  The five are:

  • Theodore Ruffalo – 2nd District;
  • Katherine Marks – 8th District, decided not to run again after having served on the Council for 20 years;
  • Lawrence Green – 9th District, served on the Council for 2 years; and
  • Anthony Nudo – 11th District, served on the Council for 4 years; and
  • Raymond Misner – 13th District – served on the Council for 6 years.

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Common Council installation ceremony

This evening, the mayor and Common Council members were sworn in.  The following committee appointments were also announced:

Finance Committee – David Bogdala, Tod Ohnstad, Keith Rosenberg, Rocco LaMacchia, Daniel Prozanski, and Curt Wilson

Public Works, Water Commission, and Storm Water Utility – Steve Bostrom, Eric Haugaard, Jan Michalski, Scott Gordon, Patrick Juliana, and G. John Ruffolo

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Three liquor licenses approved

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At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, the following establishments were approved for beer/liquor licenses:

  • Cento Anni, LLC, John Louis Pasquali, agent, for a license located at 2901 – 60th Street (Pasquali’s Bar), with acceptance of a conditional surrender of a similar license at the same location from Aces 1, LLC, with no adverse recommendations.
  • Frankie D’s Vino & Pizzeria, LLC, for a license located at 6316 – 52nd Street, with no adverse recommendations.
  • Tuscany Bistro Bar and Grill Kenosha, LLC, for a reserve liquor license located at 7410 – 118th Avenue, Unit E (Tuscany Bistro Bar and Grill), with no adverse recommendations.  The reserve liquor license costs $10,000.

With these three approvals, the city has now reached its quota of 153 beer/liquor licenses.

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Common Council approves Dunkin Donuts plan

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The conditional use permit for a 1,920 square foot Dunkin Donuts restaurant with drive-thru to be located at 4028 – 75th Street was approved by the Common Council tonight.  John Clark from Dunkin Donuts presented three alternatives:

Alternative #1) The original plan, approved by Dunkin Donuts standards, meets all of the city’s criteria.

Alternative # 2) The City Plan Commission recommended enclosing the entire walk-in cooler with brick all the way up.

Alternative # 3) The third alternative was to brick around the back of the walk-in cooler only half way up.

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Common Council report

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At the beginning of Monday night’s Common Council meeting, Mayor Keith Bosman called to the podium Alderperson Michael Orth, Mike Lemens, public works director, and Shelley Billingsley, director of engineering.  He recognized them for their work on the receipt of $750,000 in grant monies to implement the Comprehensive Outdoor Recreational Plan (CORP).  This money will be spent in six of Kenosha’s parks.

The city, in conjunction with the project designers, SAA Design Group, received recognition for their work on the plan by receiving the American Society of Landscape Architects annual award.  (To read more about this award, click here:  Kenosha Receives Park Grants and ASLA Award.)  Orth stated, “A lot of cities can put a plan together.  The challenge is implementing the plan.  I believe that three years ago, the consolidation of the Parks and Public Works Departments helped us in our endeavors.”  Billingsley stated that “the CORP is a well-drafted document that will be useful for the budget years to come.”

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Common Council approves harbor silt solutions

On Monday night, the Common Council unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Theodore Ruffalo and Tod Ohnstad to place a request for proposal (RFP) for engineering services to discover a long-term solution to eliminate silt deposition in the Kenosha harbor mouth.  “The short-term solution is in the pipeline,” stated Matt Knight, deputy city attorney, when questioned by Alderperson Michael Orth.  “Money has been budgeted in this year’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).”

Two citizens spoke on this subject during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting.  Walter Kreuser is passionate about the Kenosha harbor.  He stated that it’s been neglected the last seven or eight years as far as maintenance and upkeep are concerned.  “Dredging the harbor is definitely needed.  There is five feet of water in the center of the harbor and eight feet at the edges.  It’s a severe problem.  It needs to be done tomorrow, or next week.  The “tidal surge” is preventing slips and docks from being built.  We need to get rid of the silt.  The harbor was designed for international freighters, not small boaters.  The Army Corps of Engineers has never done a study.  For $100,000, they’ll give us the process steps to fix the problem.  No one does weekly harbor cleanings of debris.  We’ve got big events coming this summer with no slips and no docks to put them in,” stated Kreuser.

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Harbor Market main topic of discussion at Common Council meeting

At last night’s Common Council meeting, the subject of Kenosha’s Harbor Market predominated the discussion both during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting and when the item came up on the agenda.  The agenda item dealt with a proposed ordinance change sponsored by Alderpersons Theodore Ruffalo and Tod Ohnstad regarding the temporary closing of a city street.  It simply clarified in what instances a city street may be closed for a civic event.  With the incredibly high turnout at the meeting, one might have thought that the ordinance change dealt specifically with the Harbor Market, but this was not the case.  The ordinance change passed with a roll call vote of 16 to 0.

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Common Council report

The Common Council meeting held on Monday night started off with the mayor presenting Youth Commission Awards to approximately twelve youth.  Citizen comments dealt with the harbor dredging and the Harbor Market lawsuit.  Yolanda Adams spoke about the waiver request for the re-inspection fee for her organization, the Urban League, which was on the agenda.  She also urged the council to break up organizations by size when dealing with funding.  Deborah Paulsen spoke about experimentation on human subjects.

The following items were acted upon:

  • Approval of eighteen operator’s (bartender’s) licenses; and four special Class “B” beer and/or special “Class B” wine licenses.  These are on file in the Office of the City Clerk.

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Mark Modory receives approval for mayoral appointment

County Supervisor, Mark Modory/Photo Taken from FaceBook

At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, Mark Modory was approved for his mayoral appointment to the Kenosha City/County Joint Services Board of Directors.  His term would expire on May 1, 2014.  This item had been deferred from the previous meeting which was held on February 20, 2012.  The issue at that meeting was the fact that Modory had failed to mention that he served on the Ethics Board of the organization, Kenoshans for Open & Honest Government, when he completed his economic disclosure statement.  Last month, the council wanted the issue to be delved into; therefore, the item was sent back to the Public Safety & Welfare Committee for further review.  (To read about the Public Safety & Welfare Committee’s review, click here:  Dredging is a Topic on the Public Safety & Welfare Committee Agenda.)

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AT&T cell phone tower lease approved

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At last night’s Finance Committee and Common Council meetings, the amended lease agreement between the city of Kenosha and New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC, for property located at 1613 Washington Road, was approved.  The Finance Committee approved the agreement unanimously, and the vote at the Common Council meeting was 13 to 2, with Alderpersons G. John Ruffolo and Steve Bostrom voting against.

At the Finance Committee meeting, Jim Kremers, a citizen, made the comment, “If this will solve carrying around an expensive paperweight, I’m all for it.”  Tricia Conway, a representative from AT&T, and Bill Richardson, assistant city attorney, were present at the Finance Committee meeting.  Chairman David Bogdala asked Richardson to give a synopsis of the changes from the last lease agreement.  The major changes are:

  • The prior agreement outlined that the city had no obligation to AT&T if they left the leased premises.  In the redevelopment agreement, “no further obligation is owed to the city” if AT&T leaves before the rent abatement credit is used up.

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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.

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Common Council primary results

Here are final unofficial results from the Kenosha alderman primaries.  The top two vote-getters in each district will face-off on April 3:

District 8:  Paul Trombino 202, Kevin Mathewson 154, Bobby Nash 109.

District 10:  Anthony Kennedy 122, Alex Shehadeh 89, Andy Berg 86.

District 11:  Scott N. Gordon 217, Anthony Nudo 203, Aimee Crucianelli 90.

District 12:  Mary Magdalen Moser 341, Steve G. Bostrom 299,  Kim M. Bell 88.

District 13:  Curt Wilson 455, Robert Jensen 377, Ray Misner 174, Laura A. Rozzoni 97.

Common Council offers to help KUSD

At last night’s Common Council meeting, a rather lengthy discussion surrounded the resolution sponsored by Alderperson Steve Bostrom and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Ray Misner and Theodore Ruffalo, to register the Council’s opposition to the Kenosha Unified School District’s (KUSD’s) elimination of the organized, interscholastic, competitive middle school sports program in favor of an intramural program.  Bostrom mentioned the strong grass-roots effort organized by parents Traci Griffin and Diane Carlin.  Alderpersons David Bogdala and G. John Ruffolo also recognized the many volunteers who combated this.  Apparently, the issue is now “off the table” due to the loud and clear parents’ and students’ response.  KUSD has stated, and it was previously reported, that they will find the proposed savings of $270,000 in other ways.  The lack of funds still exists.  Click here to read that article:  KUSD Transformation/Budget Plan.

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Common Council report

At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, five citizens spoke during the Citizens’ Comments portion of the meeting.  Doug Williams (running for alderperson in the 9th district against Keith Rosenberg) admonished the council body for not having met with Alderperson Patrick Juliana to discuss his ethics board proposal.  Linda Horton was disappointed that the city turned down the AT&T proposal for a cell tower at the Washington Bowl/Velodrome.  Al Nameth exhorted the council to fight to not tear down the newest building on the old Chrysler plant property.  Andy Berg encouraged the council members to shave their heads in honor of St. Baldrick on March 3, at the Brat Stop.  The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.  Lou Rugani urged the council to save the Heritage House by allowing a developer to purchase it for $1 and renovate it, similar to what the city did with the old Orpheum Theater many years ago.

The following actions were taken:

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Common Council passes ethics board ordinance amendment

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The Common Council unanimously approved an amended ethics board ordinance at tonight’s meeting.  This, after citizen Doug Williams (who’s running for alderperson of the 9th district against Keith Rosenberg) admonished the council during the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, for not having met with Alderperson Patrick Juliana to discuss his proposal.  Alderperson G. John Ruffolo distributed an amendment whereby the city may enter into an agreement to exchange services to create an ethics board if a case should arise.  Click here to read the entire draft ordinance:  “Ethics Board” and “Code of Ethics.”

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Common Council report

The Common Council met on Wednesday night.  Present were about ten members of Boy Scout Troop 551 from the Wesley United Methodist Church, earning merit badges for observing city government at work.  Lou Rugani spoke on the planned demolition of Heritage House.  His suggestion was to offer the property to a developer for $1, who would then “bring it back to historical standards.  It’s called “adaptive re-use.”  This would put the property back on the tax rolls.  “Maybe a developer would have a vision in mind more than the city has shown to date.”  He urged the council to “act upon this yesterday.”

The following issues were discussed and acted upon at the meeting:

  • Nineteen operator’s (bartender) licenses, two special Class “B” Beer and/or special “Class B” Wine licenses, and one taxi driver license was approved.  These are on file in the Office of the City Clerk.

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