Updated: Jan 10, 2021
Happy New Year! I hope you had a safe holiday season and were able to find ways to connect with family and friends. I loved the low stress nature of it and being able to stay in pajamas all day and watch my kids enjoy their presents. It really felt like the true meaning of Christmas was able to shine through.
If you're new to my email list, here is what's currently happening with our City, what's happened last month, and things you should know. Thank you for subscribing!
CITY NOW CELEBRATES MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
The City has made it official! We are now recognizing the third Monday in January every year in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This means that City Council will meet on Tuesday, January 19th and that City Hall will be closed on Monday, January 18th.
POLICE CHIEF JOB IS NOW POSTED
The City has contracted with a recruiting firm for the hire of our new police chief. GovHR has begun their work and will conduct a national search. By statute, the Police & Fire Commission (PFC) will lead the hiring for this position. This commission, by law, is made up entirely of residents and handles the hiring and disciplinary actions of our police and fire staff. The process is expected to take about 12 weeks.
SOUTH TOWNE MALL & SHOPKO SPACE
The City cannot control who purchases the property. The Plan Commission has to be neutral (by law) and can only make decisions based on our zoning code and comprehensive plan. That also goes for the City Council when/if it comes to us. If the City owned the property, then we could create parameters of what we would like to see there.
Public opposition will be noted on public record however and you are welcome to make an appearance on Monday, Jan. 11 to make a statement either for or against this use.
There is a similar facility in the old Shopko by Oscar Meyer. I have contacted the Alder for that district to learn more about the impacts it has had on neighboring retailers, crime, traffic, etc. I am still waiting for a reply.
Below are links to the agenda where you can see their plans and a link to register to make an appearance at the Jan. 11 meeting. I hope to see you there on Monday!
REGISTER TO MAKE A PUBLIC APPEARANCE
WATER METER UPDATES
The City has begun its long awaited process of updating water meters city wide. Residents will receive a letter explaining the process. Please note that the letter states that you can call HydroCorp and reschedule if you are uncomfortable with someone entering your home at this time. HydroCorp follows the safety protocols for Covid, and the program is similar to that of HVAC, plumbers, electricians, etc., entering homes.
The meter being installed is the true smart meter, whereas the meter installed 12 years ago had technology for drive-by reading. The new version can be read from the utility clerk’s computer. We have updated information on our website.
BIKE REGISTRATION ORDINANCE REPEAL
If you receive the Herald-Independent newspaper, then you probably saw the article about me initiating a discussion of repealing our mandatory bike registration ordinance. Mandatory bike registration became a thing for most cities in the 70's because a national program did not exist. The goal of the program was to return stolen bikes to their owners. A lot has changed since then and these programs are no longer useful. Enforcement is tricky, local registration has a fee, officer's time is required to log the data, and there's a cost of printing stickers. So it's probably a revenue loser if all factors are considered.
Two free national programs exists called Bike Index and 529 Garage. My organization, Free Bikes 4 Kidz, uses Bike Index as do most bike shops in our area. Bike Index allows a photo of the bike to be uploaded and can cross reference 529 Garage and is a nationwide service. So if your bike is stolen from Monona and shows up in New Mexico, it can still be tracked.
PARKING ORDINANCE ADJUSTMENT MADE DURING SNOW EMERGENCIES
If you followed along with the parking ordinance changes that took place this fall, you might remember me making a case about the apartment complexes on Valorie Lane and St. Theresa Terrace. I was the lone nay vote against the ordinance that restricted parking to alternate side only for numerous reasons.
First and foremost, was that the residents in this high density housing area are challenged with parking lots that do not provide enough parking for them. Each unit has one stall. So parking on the street is necessary but these streets also have overflow parking for Gunderson Funeral Home. And, there are pressures from the single family homes who are also parking on street. I could list several more reasons I opposed the change but the last one I'll state here is that these apartments are affordable and home to many of our BIPOC residents. They are already facing numerous barriers on a daily basis. Adding parking challenges to their lives was not something I could agree to.
While the ordinance is still in place, I do have a little good news to share. The City has made a concession so that during a snow emergency, the residents in this area will be excluded from the snow emergency. So they can continue to park on one side of the street. I am thrilled that there has been a cooperative solution during snow emergencies. While it doesn't help them on a daily basis while lugging groceries and babies for blocks, it does at least relieve a little pressure during snow storms. I had made a call to Nichols School to see if they could get permission to park in their lot during a snow emergency and the school district said no because they have to have their lots plowed as well. So please note, that if you see cars parked on the streets in this area, it could likely be the exception taking place. Shout out to the resident that continued to work with me and the City to make this happen!
JOIN IN THE SNOWMAN SHOW!
If you'd like to join in some winter fun, Monona Parks & Rec is hosting the Snowman Show with the support of Monona East Side Business Alliance and Jami Erickson Real Estate. They're hoping to get 100 participants which can be at homes or businesses. All entries will receive 1 top hat, 1 carrot, a scarf and 1 Snowman Show sign. A story of the snowman display and display title, along with your Snowman Show sign are required at each display. Snowpeople will be on display starting January 23 so register today.
NAMED A 2021 WOMAN TO WATCH
This week, Brava Magazine announced that I was included on their 2021 edition of Women 2 Watch. Each year, they choose 10 women in Dane County to highlight. I am truly honored and overwhelmed by the support and acknowledgement. I am included with an incredible cohort of amazing women. Sometimes I feel like it's a miracle that I am here, sitting at a table with the privilege of representing you on our City Council. I never in a million years would have dreamed this to be possible when I was growing up. Thank you for your belief in me!