I received a call the other day from a resident saying the Lake Mills City Council is doing some funny stuff on the south end of town. I was told there were drawings and renderings that outlined what we were going to turn the south end of town into and no one knows what is going on. So, I listened to the person on the other end of the phone so I could understand where they were coming from. I was even told by the caller they were not really interested in most things going on around the city, but they were upset that the city was selling two properties and they were not notified. I told the caller that any renderings that have been made public as far as the improvement of properties in the south end of the city, were nothing more than recommendations that the city council requested from a planner.
Even if the properties sell, there are many more required public meetings that will occur before anything is built, so there is plenty of time for public input. Just be aware the city will not contact everyone in person to let them know there will be a meeting to discuss it, it is up to you to keep yourself informed as best that you can and in today’s fast paced world, it’s not easy.
As far as selling the properties, the requests for bid were correctly noticed, and the offer period was set. The city received multiple offers, so someone in the public saw the requests. We have not decided on selling them to any of the parties yet, but we will be discussing this at an upcoming city council meeting in open session.
It seems like there are quite a few misconceptions about the city council, so I wanted to share some facts. The city council cannot discuss any subject that has not been properly noticed. Our notice locations are the Lake Mills Municipal Building, L.D. Fargo Public Library and the Lake Mills Leader, if your are interested in what is occurring at the city level, you can find it noticed in one of those locations or you can go to the city web site and go to this site https://www.ci.lake-mills.wi.us/Council All of the upcoming meetings, prior meeting videos and agendas are available to you.
Even if we have a closed session, the council cannot make any decisions on an item unless we put it on the next agenda and place the public notice in at one of the locations. That way the public has time to come to the meeting or contact their council representative and provide feedback.
The city council cannot have more than two members present at any public appearance without the proper amount of notification to the public and that notice will be at all three locations. If we have more than two council members at one public appearance, that would be called a walking quorum and is a violation of the State of Wisconsin open meeting laws unless it was publicly noticed. To take it even further, all our conversations in our city email are public record and can be requested by the public at any time for any reason so we cannot send an email to more than one other council member on any topic. If we have discussed a topic with any other council member while we are not in public session, we cannot discuss that topic at anytime with any other Council member unless we are in public session and that topic has been placed on the agenda and noticed.
The last subject I wanted address, the city manager works for the council. The city manager does not set policy, the city manager does not steer the city. If you see the city manager requesting action, he is doing so based on the city council direction. This also includes all interactions with the Town of Lake Mills. The city manager is in place to make sure the direction of the council is carried out since your city council jobs are not full-time positions. We each get about $250 dollars a month to keep the city running in a direction that provides you with a safe, healthy and robust environment to raise your family and grow your businesses all while working a full 70-80 hours a week at another job to pay our bills and provide for our family.