The Whitewater City Common Council met on Tuesday, October 3 to consider the 2017-18 city budget, the Landmark Ordinance, and the removal of parking meters on Prince and Prairie Street.
Before the meeting began, a group of protestors, residents and members of the Landmark Commission, stood outside the Municipal building standing up for how they believed the landmarks should be handled. The ordinance would have given power to the Common Council to dismantle the status of a landmark for any reason they felt necessary.
With that ordinance, they would not need approval from the Landmarks Commission. This bothered a lot of Whitewater residents because they felt that the city was overstepping their boundaries.
“It doesn’t seem like the city has very good reasons to be able to just delist it without the Landmarks Commission being involved”, one protester explained.
Ald. Chris Grady (District 3) confirmed that the idea behind this ordinance was if a natural disaster were to happen, the city would have no choice but to pay to repair the landmarks if they were damaged.
“People have been fairly misinformed as to what the goal of this way”, Grady said. “The goal of this ordinance change was to treat city-owned landmarks the same as a private landmark”.
On the other side of the issue, Ald. Stephanie Goettl stated that the ordinance was written so that the council could remove the landmarks if they felt it was mandatory.
Ultimately, the ordinance died on the floor Tuesday during the meeting.
Last spring, UW-Whitewater removed all the parking meters on Prince and Prairie Street so now only students with parking passes would be allowed to park in those spots. Not only did this enrage students, but the university also did not have consent from the city to do this.
Chancellor Beverly Kopper, Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs Grace Crickett, and Campus Police Chief Matthew Kiederlen appeared and spoke at the common council meeting on Tuesday to explain their position on the issue.
“This change was made in part to address the shortage of parking that we see on the south end, the academic area of parking”, Chief Kiederlen said. He also mentioned that this change was set to help with the shortage of about 200 parking spots that the campus is going to lose once the new residence hall is built.
The city has a problem with this move not only because the university did not consult with them beforehand, but Ald. James Allen (At-Large) says that this is a form of “double taxation”. Allen also addressed the University for removing meters on streets that are owned by the city.
The cost of parking at the university did raise $20 and $50 for the north and south parking lots and are strictly reserved for parking permits only. Another change made was on-campus parking tickets went up from $15 to $25 and daily parking passes also went up to $5.
A former university employee, Pam Zarinnia, voiced her concerns, “I’m embarrassed to be part of the city that provides that”, regarding the parking issue.
This issue will be further discussed between the city and the university.
City Manager, Cameron Clapper, presented a PowerPoint on the city’s 2018 budget description. The budget dropped from 2017 by about $30,000 leaving the city’s 2018 budget at exactly $9,174,8466.
This budget is only a proposal and has yet to be approved by the council.
This money would primary come from taxes and intergovernmental revenues, and go to administration and public safety.
Three main notable changes to the budget are wage and health insurance changes, transportation aids reduced to about $715,000, and there would be a full-time Human Resources Coordinator for the city.
Clapper is considering the future in terms of this budget with some long-term financial planning. The council is expected to vote on the budget come November 21.