A few items from Tuesday’s South Milwaukee City Council meeting …
- The council gave final passage, by a 4-3 vote, to an ordinance allowing rain barrels in South Milwaukee — with restrictions, too many restrictions, actually. I voted no on this previously, and my vote didn’t change Tuesday. Nor did my rationale. In our effort to rewrite an outdated part of our city code and make rain barrels legal, we are essentially outlawing rain barrels for many people. If that sounds odd, it should. But that’s what we’re getting with the rules we have now enacted. For example, according to the new ordinance, homeowners can have no more than two on their property. And no rain barrel can be within 12 feet of a neighbor’s structure. And they can’t be located in front yards. And they need double screens. And they can only be elevated using concrete, brick or paver platforms. Those are just a few of the 13 detailed requirements we have now placed on rain barrels. I am for more sensible restrictions, something that encourages their use while still giving the city power to crack down on problem property owners. Restrictions like this and this. Instead, we’re going the other way — giving South Milwaukee what has to be one of the most restrictive rain barrel ordinances in the state.
- The council accepted the retirement letter of police officer Charles “Mick” Olson, who is leaving the department after more than 31 years. I wish Officer Olson, well known in the community, well.
- We also voted to fill his position, which will come open in March, as well as two vacant firefighter positions.
- The council also approved more than $297,0o0 in revolving fund requests for 2013, including funds for two new police cars.
- As a reminder, the next council meeting is Nov. 26, when final budget passage is expected. The budget public hearing is Nov. 25. I’ll have more details on the budget in a post later this week. There is no meeting on Nov. 19 or Dec. 3.