Common Council Extends Lakes Drawdown to Winter ’22; Other Highlights Noted

By Lisa Dawsey Smith
Whitewater Banner staff
whitewaterbanner@gmail.com

The Common Council met virtually on August 4 in an approximate 2.5 hour meeting, with about thirty citizens participating online or on the phone. Highlights include:

Lakes Drawdown Extended One Year
Eric Boettcher, Parks & Recreation Director, reported on the status of the lakes drawdown, including the installation of three siphons on Trippe Lake in an effort to reduce the depth to the 5-6 foot goal. Although dredging had been scheduled for this coming winter, Mr. Boettcher indicated that the State Department of Natural Resources personnel confirmed that there would be advantages to delaying that work for a year. Ecological benefits would include allowing both lakes more time to eliminate invasive vegetation, providing more head cutting of the channel, and possible increased depth from decomposition. Additionally, this would allow more time for shoreline restoration for land owners. Those attending a recent meeting of those residents were all in favor of the extension, and 76% of those responding to a city POLCO poll answered likewise. Council members voted unanimously to affirm the one year extension in the timeline.

City Manager’s Report
– Cameron Clapper provided a tutorial on how to utilize the state COVID-19 site to find the daily number of positive and negative cases in the Walworth County portion of the city. Positive results have been rapidly rising in recent weeks in Whitewater.
– The reconstruction of Milwaukee Street and of Elkhorn Road is essentially completed. The roundabout has been reconfigured with only one lane.
– Paving has been completed at the Dog Park and Moraine View Park.
– The Amphitheater at Cravath Lake Park is nearing completion, with a grand opening scheduled for September 17.
– Three siphons have been installed at Trippe Lake in an effort to reduce the depth to the 5-6 foot goal.
– The library building is closed; however, outside pickup is available, and residents are welcome to use the WIFI in the parking lot.
– The State Department of Transportation is currently completing the improvements at the Highway 12 and Walworth Avenue intersection.
– The city, the school district, and the university will be participating in an online community forum on Thursday, August 6 at 6 p.m.

Facial Covering Mandate Update
– The Police Chief indicated that after almost four days of the Governor’s emergency order requiring the wearing of facial coverings, although the dispatch center has answered a number of questions, there has not been a single complaint filed. Residents with a concern may call the non-emergency number, 262-473-0555 option 4, and non-urgent questions may be left as a message on the info line at 262-473-1398.
– The Council unanimously passed an amendment to the local ordinance which adopted the following state exemption: “While a single individual is giving a religious, political, media, educational, artistic, cultural, musical or theatrical presentation for an audience, the single speaker may remove the face covering when actively speaking. While the face covering is removed, the speaker must remain at least 6 feet away from all other individuals at all times.

Virtual Meetings
In view of the surge in positive COVID-19 cases in the community, consensus was that it was advisable to continue to hold all City meetings virtually. The subject will be revisited at alternate Council meetings.

Racial Justice and Equality Initiatives
A draft ordinance that would establish a new Equal Opportunities Commission was reviewed, with a finalized proposal to be brought to the August 18 meeting.

Upcoming Vacancy in Aldermanic District 5
McKinley Palmer, AD5 councilmember, announced that as a result of an impending move outside the district, his last meeting will be on September 1. Applications to fill the seat, which represents all residents who live in the Jefferson County portion of the city, will be accepted until September 10. Residents of the district who may be interested are encouraged to contact City Clerk Michele Smith, msmith@whitewater-wi.gov or 262-473-0102.

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