Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Whitewater’s Arts Alliance is still up and running. Some changes were implemented in regards to when the gallery was open and how many people were allowed in the building at a time. The galleries were limited to 10 people at a time and were only
open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They also still went ahead with their members exhibit which took place virtually in November. Although Covid limited the gallery hours, it increased accessibility in other ways, which was a huge plus.
Vice President Megan Matthews said, “One of our major commitments this year was making sure we didn’t just shut down. There were a lot of organizations that had to, but because of the city’s help they gave us and our artists, we were able to stay open, and I’m so thankful for that.” You can take a look at their youtube content here, and what they have planned for the near future on their website.
The committee also revisited an ordinance which was rejected two years ago in regards to potentially prohibiting and vaping in Whitewater’s city parks. Smoking and vaping rates have been on the rise recently so the topic was discussed again. The Whitewater Parks and Recreation
overwhelmingly wanted this ordinance passed. Points were made that one person smoking won’t affect another who’s fifty plus feet away. This was countered with potential residue still being on park benches, which could potentially lead to youth coming in contact with it. The most
recurring point made was that this isn’t really an enforceable ordinance. Committee member James Allen said, “We’ve beat the horse to death twice now, and I am against smoking. I can’t stand the smell of cigarettes, but what are you gonna do, call the police when somebody’s smoking on you in the park?” The public hasn’t voiced any concern on this subject, and there wasn’t too much that changed from when they discussed it initially. The committee is open to the idea of discussing this in the future again, but nothing will be passed at this time.
The topic of scooters was also discussed in the meeting. Bird, is an electric powered scooter rental service that anyone can use with a credit card and an account.
● The committee discussed briefly what it would mean for the city of Whitewater to bring in these unique scooters, and there’s a lot of public opinion on both sides. There would have to be a minimum of 100 scooters brought in total to the city and obviously this would be a huge deal if it were passed.
● The council determined that this wasn’t something that was going to be decided in this meeting.
● City Manager Cameron Clapper said,
○ “We’d like to bring this back for further consideration, however, we discussed as a staff that we want to make sure we have all concerns resolved internally before something like this comes for a full discussion in action. Another topic discussed by the committee was the fund balance that is available for bonds from 2010.
● The bonds were scheduled to be paid out by 2029, but it was discussed whether or not the current debt should be retired early or not.
● A resolution was reached and the action passed to call the bonds which will save over $60,000 in interest.
On the subject of money, the committee also discussed a budget amendment resolution.
● They have a surplus of money and a resolution was proposed to manage how some of the money is being used.
● Finance Director Steve Hatton said,
○ “Because of good money management, we’re anticipating a general surplus of $205,000.”
● The resolution eventually carried and they agreed to set aside $110,000 to address specific revenue funds. The remaining funds will remain in the unassigned general fund to help improve liquidity and their credit profile.