Update, 2 PM: Earlier today, in response to my email inquiry, I received kind messages in reply from City Manager Clapper and City Clerk Michele Smith, about posting online the documents I mentioned below. They’ve acted quickly and thoroughly to provide materials that others gave to them only at the last minute. It’s right to mention as much plainly.
I’ve one other comment, that requires mentioning, about the current municipal administration. Whitewater has had its share of challenges, and policy disagreements now and again, but it seems obvious to me that one should hope for the success of this city administration – Whitewater would very much benefit if her current municipal manager enjoys a long and successful career. Not every day can be an easy one, but I have never met anyone who wasn’t hoping for the best in this regard. I know I am; there’s reason to have optimism about our future.
Last night’s Common Council session continued budget presentations, but also saw a presentation from Downtown Whitewater and discussion of a possible 80% increase in funding for a transit bus that benefits, mostly, one big company.
There’s more to write about the budget, but I’ll do so after considering the city’s long and short-term fiscal prospects.
The Downtown Whitewater presentation was interesting, and I’ll follow up on it Thursday.
About the bus, though, there was about an hour’s discussion, and a decision to defer consideration while City Manger Clapper and Finance Director Doug Saubert look for other places within the budget to take money for 2014 funding. They’ll be back to Council with options they believe they’ll find.
The hour was a trove of information about the bus – in this, one could not have been happier. The more one hears, the more that’s said, the more telling is the situation.
The discussion, and the arguments presented, reminded me that there’s an opportunity to look at Council presentations on the bus, in the spring and fall of 2012, and now in 2013, and prepare posts that list each and every argument made for or against the project, and to assess them. One could include the actual statements made for or against, supplemented with clips of what those speaking once said, or promised, about the bus.
I’ll work out how to organize posts like that, but I’m curious: what will these presentations, from over a year and a half, look like? One could catalog 2012, then 2013, and then offer a separate assessment of the claims made over these eighteen months.
There’s a lot of discussion in Whitewater, but how much of what one reads in print is much more than a warmed-over press release or poorly-written account? Isn’t our city worth more than that?
I’m quite sure it is.
As the discussion began, City Manager Clapper mentioned documents that he’d received from Janesville’s transportation director, but too late to appear in the City of Whitewater’s online agenda packet about the meeting. This is the second time that some documents about the bus from Janesville’s representative have appeared late at Council; the same happened in 2012. There’s no emergency nature in any of these materials – Janesville’s representative could have provided them on time for all Whitewater’s residents to see.
I’ve written to City Manager Clapper, to request these documents that were mentioned and available at the meeting (including a marketing survey that Janesville’s representative mentioned last night), but that were too late to make Whitewater residents’ online packet.
One last point, for now, although no one should be surprised: multi-billion-dollar Generac sent no one to the meeting. They’ll gain from hundreds of thousands (in total public money) for a venture that benefits mostly them, but as for sending any representative to speak to our Common Council?
No, that’s just not on their agenda.