Mayor clarifies coouncil vote

on farmers market

To the editor,

I am writing in response to Monona Alderperson Kristie Schilling’s recent letter to the editor regarding this year’s opening date of the Monona Farmers Market. In her letter, Alder Schilling stated that at the May 4 city council meeting, other members of the council demonstrated that they did not support the farmers market by voting to deny its request to open on May 17.

However, the issue of when the farmers market would open was not subject to any vote. Rather, the council was actually voting on approval of a five-year facilities agreement with the market so that it could continue to do business at Ahuska Park. The decision about when the market could open was up to Monona Parks & Recreation Director Jake Anderson. At the time, Director Anderson did not think the market would be ready to open before the 31st.

While farmers markets are considered an essential business under the safer-at-home order, they must still follow certain rules and meet specified requirements of both the city of Monona and the Dane County Public Health Department. For example, the market board had to provide proof of insurance and a plan for enforcing social distancing guidelines. At the time of the May 4 council meeting, the market board was working in close cooperation with Director Anderson on meeting these various requirements. The good news is that the board met the requirements in time to open on May 17.

The council has been, and remains, completely supportive of the market, and we all look forward to it having a productive 2020 season.

This is an unprecedented time in Monona. COVID-19 has disrupted all our lives. A major responsibility of Monona city government is making sure that the people of our community are safe. We are required to follow state and county orders and regulations to do so and cannot just ignore them when we choose to. We have a great city staff and council who are focused every day on helping Monona get through this difficult time. The best way to accomplish that is by working together.

Thanks to everyone in Monona who is working to keep us all safe. Hopefully we’ll be able to get back to some sense of normalcy soon.

Mary O’Connor, Mayor

City of Monona

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