Whitewater Councilman James Allen was quite upset about the lack of changes made in the city of Whitewater at a Common Council meeting on Feb. 15, 2022.
There were many things that he wanted to happen, such as better code enforcement and a better transparency agreement, but it didn’t seem like everyone around him was very interested in what he had to say.
The first thing Allen brought up during the meeting was the lack of live broadcasting of the meetings to other cities. He said that the council needed a piece of equipment from Spectrum to allow a livestream of the meetings to be sent from Whitewater to Janesville. He stated that they ordered the piece over six months ago, and it has not been received yet.
“No fault on anyone here, but of Spectrum.” Allen stated frustratedly at the meeting.
Allen came up with the idea that they should send a form letter to the state representatives to pressure Spectrum to send the equipment. They will not listen to him, since he is only in Whitewater, a town he thinks Spectrum says, “is small and insignificant.” The group listened to the idea and said they will consider taking action.
The next thing discussed was the transparency ordinance, another thing Allen had a bone to pick with. He stated that people were not following protocol, where he was frustrated that the city staff was not getting information to the city clerk fast enough to create an agenda and was mad that some workers were forced to stay late on Friday nights. He was also frustrated that code enforcement was not being followed, which led to the lack of training of Neighborhood Service Officers and council members. He believes this stemmed from the lack of priority to make sure people followed the ordinance, which is something city manager Cameron Clapper said they would focus on a year ago.
“We have a transparency ordinance, and we should follow it. And it is awfully sad and ironic to have one of the items I asked to speak about transparency ordinance. It’s almost shameful,” exclaims Allen, who was frustrated on how things were going in the city. Council President Lynn Binnie stated that they have the appropriate materials to properly educate NSO’s and council members, so they will distribute the information for the newest arrivals.
There were also some events in the city that were discussed later on in the meeting, such as the possible development of a YouthBuild program building in Whitewater. Allen’s concern was that it would be built in Elkhorn instead and would draw students from Whitewater away. This is because Whitewater and Elkhorn have competition, and he wants students to attend a school in Whitewater. A grant was made but no agreements have come yet. The city said they were willing to buy a plot of land for the building to go on. Allen states that this is a “great program,” but wants it to be built in Whitewater for easy access for students here.
The last thing discussed was the development on Tratt Street. There is a water main that is being constructed at the intersection and has caused the street to go down to one lane, congesting traffic. Allen had wanted that to be discussed in public with city staff, as there were complaints from local developers. Allen wants all of the issues people have with the road to be discussed and wanted things to be “fair and equal.”
These concerns of Allen’s were met with lukewarm reception, as Binnie stated they would be elaborated on at a later date. Some of the items on the agenda have been on his mind for a while, but have been blown off because of lack of urgency, even delayed over five times. It is uncertain if these concerns will be acted upon by the council, but one thing Allen did was make sure his voice was heard.