The Whitewater Common Council met at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Whitewater City Hall, in a regular council meeting.
Many topics were discussed, but the major point of interest was the debate about fines for historical landmark sites. A discussion that comes after multiple changes to fines of other offenses.
Due to previous destruction of historical sites around Whitewater, the council members discussed the topic of implementing a harsh fine to deter people from damaging historical property.
The current fines for damage to historical landmarks are $450 to $700. The new proposed amount for the fines is $1,000, in addition to costs of property damages.
All landmarks are considered in this ordinance, including public and privately-owned landmarks with proper signage. Each privately-owned historical house is marked with a boulder and plaque, dubbing it a landmark—thus, including them in the fines—according to a Landmark Committee member.
The ordinance was moved in attempt to deter future vandalism of property, based on events that happened earlier this year. However, it was agreed that all landmarks need to be marked in order to differentiate the historical properties from others.
“Not all of the historical sites are marked,” says Stephanie Vander Pas, councilman. “We need to discuss signage before we discuss fines.”
Vander Pas explains that there needs to be a clear and prominent sign stating that the land, private or publicly-owned, is a landmark site.
A question still stood regarding the proposed ordinance. How will people be made aware of this fine change?
Councilman Jim Schulgit argues that people will commit vandalism whether there is a landmark sign, or not. “Someone committing vandalism is not looking for a sign,” says Schulgit.
The audience was assured that, if the ordinance passed, the news of the fine changes would be made public and posted accordingly. The matter will be handled in the same manner as the previous fine changes.
Ultimately, the matter was deemed unsettled and tabled to discuss at a later meeting. The councilmembers will continue to research the matter and make a decision on the final amount for fines.
City Council Budget 2019
On Tuesday, Oct. 2 City Manager Cameron Clapper discussed the proposed 2019 city budget.
The expected Whitewater budget is $26,259,403, along with a general funding amount of $9,658,650.
The city of Whitewater is expecting to see a decrease in funding from the state, due to the shared services between the City of Whitewater and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Clapper expects to only receive 38% of the $281,417 expected state payment.
This funding decrease is contributing to the increase in city taxes.
Additional news from the Oct. 2 Common Council Meeting includes:
- The great officer turnout at the Pick a Day, Come and Play event at Washington Elementary, Sept. 27.
- Coffee with a Cop at Jessica’s from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Oct. 3.
- Whitewater’s fall Food Truck Fest on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be food, fun, pumpkin painting and pumpkin catapulting. Donations are encouraged for the new library.
- Whitewater’s 28th CROP Hunger Walk raised $186,243.94 over the last 25 years. The organizers hope to continue to raise money to end hunger.
- The Discover Whitewater Series run/walk/fun welcomed 749 participants this year. There are hopes to grow the event and highlight what Whitewater has to offer.