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Monthly update - May 2: Police Chief search, Nehemiah update, San Damiano update, Bike Registration

Monona Farmer's Market is now open!

It feels a lot like summer around here! The Farmer's Market opened today and things are feeling a little more like life as usual now that people are getting vaccinated. Let's keep encouraging the vaccines so we can reach herd immunity. Try not to post publicly about not feeling well due to the vaccine. This can instill fear about the vaccine to those who are hesitant. Instead, post photos of you enjoying activities and enjoying life as a vaccinated American! The summer provides so many opportunities to do this.


The police chief search continues. Four finalists were announced last week. Brian Chaney Austin, Sara Deuman, Patrick Hoey and James MacGillis were named the four finalists at the Monona Police and Fire Commission (PFC) meeting on Wednesday.

A virtual engagement event on May 6 at 6:30 p.m. where the public can hear from the candidates and the public can submit questions. Due to time constraints, some questions may not be asked. The meeting will be recorded and posted on the City’s YouTube channel ( for anyone unable to attend the Zoom event.

Initial videos of the interviews for each candidate are also available. Each candidate answers the same three questions. Click the right arrow on the video to scroll through the three responses.

The Police and Fire Commission is asking for your input. Individuals attending the event or those watching later, can provide comments on the candidates to the Police and Fire Commission at The Police and Fire Commission asks for any feedback or comments on the candidates to be submitted by 5pm on Sunday, May 9th.


Nehemiah has released their initial community assessment work. Click here to their assessment report and update on progress to date. City Council will attend a session on Tuesday, May 4th, to meet with and talk with Nehemiah about their initial assessment and opportunities for growth and change. Staff that were interviewed also had an opportunity to have a similar discussion in late March. The intent of this session is for it to be a space for the Council to reflect and discuss the important racial equity issues that our community faces.


You may recall back in December I initiated the repeal of the City's mandatory bicycle registration. I'm happy to report that this has been approved by the Public Safety Committee and will be discussed at City Council on Monday, May 3rd. Click here to view the resolution. The following page includes the existing ordinance.

If you're asking why we should repeal this ordinance, here are just a few reasons (there are many!):

1) Registering requires one to go to City Hall and pay a fee

2) There is now a free national database that can search for your bike if it's stolen called Bike Index.

3) Having this mandatory requirement allows police officers to confiscate an unlicensed bicycle for up to 30 days. Some people use their bicycle as their main form of transportation.


Last week Dane County Parks Commission approved the County's contribution of up to $2 million towards the purchase of the San Damiano property. Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks Director states that the conservation easement would prevent any type of commercial development on the San Damiano property.

I asked about improvements being made to the home to run a cafe or any type of business in the home and he stated that a concession stand would be viewed as allowable. It's important to note that the financial contribution was outlined as "up to $2 million." The grant will be pro-rated if any portions of the property have commercial activity. I have requested the easement guidelines but have not yet received them. I'll post them on my Facebook page as soon as I do receive them.

On the May 3rd City Council meeting, we'll be reviewing the borrowing for the $8.6 million for the purchase of the property. We'll also be reviewing the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the Friends of San Damiano (FOSD). The MOU states that the Mayor will appoint a 10 person steering committee made up of four people from the City, four people from the Friends group, and the Mayor and President of FOSD will be ex-officio members.

The MOU states that the FOSD will hire a fundraising professional and they will hire a professional facilitator to design and implement a public visioning and master planning process.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please don't hesitate to send me an email. Stay well!

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