Whitewater Common Council Meeting, 2.18.21: 6 Points

The Whitewater Common Council met on Thursday, 2.18.21. It will meet again tonight, 3.2.21.

The recording of the meeting is embedded above. The amended agenda for the meeting is available.

A few remarks, on selected items of the agenda — 

1. Amended AgendasA good rule of thumb for amendments within 72 hours of a meeting is time sensitivity, not mere importance. Many could reasonably contend that a given item was, of itself, important. The question for amendments should be urgency (Video, 1:24.)

2. The Library. The meeting saw a discussion about possibilities (can a library board lawfully decide on salaries or holidays?)  and practicalities (what’s good policy in these cases?). The twists and turns of the discussion – from what’s lawful, to what’s practical, to what’s budget neutral, to what will be done in the future – obscure this question: how uncomfortable are policy discussions in Whitewater? People are familiar with each other, and yet they seem uncomfortable all the same. (Video, 9:26.)

(On city policy, a unified approach is sensible. On the adoption of holidays, the city should align itself with the nation of which it is a part: the United States recognizes the King holiday, and so should the City of Whitewater.)

3. The Lakes in Town. The waters of Cravath and Tripp Lakes have deteriorated over the years, and to improve their condition, the lakes are being dredged. (The lake is Tripp, the park is called Trippe Lake Park.) This process is lengthy, but that length cannot be avoided. A faster process would only undermine the ecological and aesthetic goal behind the reclamation effort. (Video, 22:40.)

It’s worth noting that few people in the city, this last decade, advocated consistently for improving the condition of the lakes before that condition became intolerable. Many of the development men who pushed for a greater downtown presence long ignored the adjacent lakes’ condition, and those in opposition to those development men (as here at FREE WHITEWATER) ignored the lakes, too.

The project is overdue, yet not too late.

4. Water Towers. Whitewater plans a new water tower, with the old one in Starin Park likely to remain undisturbed as a local attraction.

5. Tax Incremental Financing. The city council heard a presentation on possibilities for extending a tax incremental district for a year, closing others, and thereafter opening new ones. (Video, 38:10.)

6. Asides.

Policy as personality is bad policy.

Watching a pitcher isn’t pitching.

What a shame that it’s too troublesome to invite the public to speak at each point on the agenda. Whitewater has few public comments because government tries too little. Perhaps the officials of the city have exhausted themselves on their own remarks, lacking afterward the energy even to ask for others’ opinions more than once.

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