Possible Protection of Landmarks
The Whitewater City Council met on Tuesday, Oct. 2 for a regular meeting. During this meeting, ordinances were addressed and voted upon and some debates took place.
One hotly debated topic that the council has been faced with lately is a proposed increase in fines throughout the city. This was discussed at a previous meeting, but no decision has been made final.
These new fines have come with a new chief of police, Aaron Raap, in the city of Whitewater. These fines are targeted at crimes that are often committed by drunken college students. Being a college town, there are often issues that occur and often impact the citizens in town.
On the Oct. 2 meeting, the new fine that was proposed was due to recent damages to public landmarks. Some of these landmarks are protected by the city, and some people want to see an increase in these fines to prevent the damages.
Some citizens in Whitewater live in historic homes and hope to have their residence protected by this proposal. Right now, the person who damaged the property is required to pay for the damage but faces no additional fee. The proposed fine amount is in the upwards of one thousand dollars.
One idea to try to amend this problem was to create signage at these homes that have historic value. Jimmy Schulgit, a senior at UW-Whitewater and a Whitewater City Council member, did not see the value in signage at these homes. He said, “College students are going to do what they want to do. A sign isn’t going to stop them from vandalizing.”
At the end of this long-debated topic, all members, except for Schulgit, voted to table this topic. They decided to group it into the larger debate of increasing fines throughout the city.
2019 City Budget
Cameron Clapper, the Whitewater’s City Manager, presented the 2019 City Budget Proposal. The money primarily comes from intergovernmental revenue and taxes.
The proposed overall budget is just over $26.2 million dollars. This is a decrease from the previous year. The proposed general fund budget is about $9.6 million dollars, an increase from 2018.
These proposed budgets were broken down into operation and capital needs, the strategic plan and financial resources. Some ideas are more of a need than others
One of the goals addressed was to attract a grocery store. Right now, Whitewater only has a regular Wal-Mart, and many citizens drive to Fort Atkinson or Janesville to go elsewhere. If Whitewater can keep its people in Whitewater, the city has more of a chance to prosper.
Another need is to explore and initiate a lake rehabilitation. Cravath Lake has presented a lot of problems in the city, and the city plans to investigate the pros and cons of draining the lake versus rehabilitating it, as well as other similar ideas to find the best solution to the problem.
Another graph presented was, “Where does your tax dollar go?” This breakdown shows the differences in Walworth versus Jefferson County. There are differences in the taxes that residents in either county receives, and the budget reflects both respectively.
The finance committee will meet three times in October to look over the proposed budget. A final, revised budget will be presented in early November. This budget will be reviewed, and a decision will be made on Nov. 20 at a public hearing.