Whitewater City Council proposed plans to increase fines for damage to public landmarks. In the councils meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2, a debate sprouted discussing fines needing to be increased due to recent damages to public landmarks.
Jimmy Schulgit, Alderman of district 2, was the lead activist for the increase. Schulgit mentioned multiple times throughout the discussion, of a “certain demographic” doing damage to public landmarks within the city. The proposed fine increase by some of the council was near the one-thousand-dollar mark.
Historic home owners also cried out for something to be done to reprimand the vandals. Some of which claimed that the landmarks are marked and that they should be protected. Council member, Patrick Singer, however believed that if fines were increased for historical homes and land marks there could be larger issues at hand.
Singer stated during the meeting, “If we increase fines for historical homes, wouldn’t this create a second class of homes.” Singer, along with other council members, mentioned the idea to create better signage for these landmarks instead of increasing fines. The signage would help for an easier identification of a public landmark.
This motion was made only a few weeks after conversations of raising fines dramatically throughout the city were held. Council member, Stephanie Vander Pas, mentioned the idea that these fine increases seem to be targeted at the student population. Vander Pas brought forth the idea of lowering the fines, but having more rules and laws made to protect the landmarks.
However, after all the discussion no decision was made. The discussion of raising the fines was tabled for the next council meeting. Decisions on what, if any, increases to the fines will be made during the meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
2019 Budget Proposed: Homeowners to Pay More
The city of Whitewater released its budget proposal for the year of 2019 on Tuesday, Oct. 2. City manager, Cameron Clapper, addressed the budget in detail during the city council meeting. Clapper estimates the budget to be $26,259,403 for total expenditures. Clapper mentioned that the budgets are funded mainly through taxes and intergovernmental revenues.
Homeowners in the county will be expected to pay more taxes throughout the next year. The city has an expected increase of $344,000. That increase will be paid through a raise in property taxes. The taxes are expected to be raised as followed:
Home Value: Raise in Tax (From 18-19):
One of the big projects coming from the 2019 budget, is a new roof for the city’s waste water treatment plant. A leak in the roof covering main areas is a cause for concern, which is why the city council decided in a unanimous vote to replace the roof immediately. This construction is projected to cost thirty-eight thousand dollars. Other projects of concern are expected as followed:
-Milwaukee Street Repair
-Old Mill Dam Repairs
-Ann St. Water Main Replacement
-Lake Drawdown and Dredging
Some major concerns that the Clapper and council are considering, is the idea of Limited Funding Sources. Which is the idea to find other ways to fund projects outside of property taxes.
Another concern is to make sure that the city can offer competitive wages for employees. Clapper explained that the city wants to be competitive with surrounding cities to attract more people to live in Whitewater.
Clapper also stated during the meeting, “The city will use some of the budget to keep up on the debts we owe.” Clapper noted that the city has obligations towards debts that need to be paid as soon as possible to stay on schedule.
The budget was only proposed in Tuesdays meeting. The finance committee will meet Oct. 4, 11, and 18 to discuss the 2019 budget. A final budget will be released by the council on Nov. 8, with a public hearing and final approval of the budget scheduled for Nov. 20.