Street commissioner position to be decided in November vote
Parking Commission laid to rest
Tuesday night, the Merrill Common Council voted 7-1 to repeal a section of city ordinance, eliminating the city’s parking commission.
“The last time the parking commission held a meeting was in 2004,” Mayor Bill Bialecki said, in explaining the reasoning behind the measure. “The original purpose of the commission was to be in charge of funds collected by parking meters. We got rid of the meters when I was on the council in the fall of 2002. We were having issues finding parts for them and to upgrade the digital meters would have cost the city around $250,000, so we just did away with them. With the meters being gone, the commission really served no purpose but due to it still being intact I have been appointing members as their terms expire – even though they haven’t met in 12 years. This is just a measure to take the commission off the books and save a little ink and paper.”
In other matters Tuesday, the council acknowledged a recent petition related to a charter ordinance eliminating the elected street commissioner position in favor of an appointed street superintendent. The ordinance was passed by the council in December and published Dec. 18, to go into effect 60 days later on Feb. 16. The petition with 277 signatures was submitted to the city on Feb. 15. The petition demands that the charter ordinance be submitted to a vote by the electors of the city of Merrill.
Of the signatures, 263 were verified as valid, and only 230 are required to submi the petition. The number of required signatures is equal to seven percent of the votes cast in the city during the most recent governor election. In the November 2014 election, 3,276 votes were cast in the city of Merrill.
The matter will now be placed on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The council also approved several street projects to commence this summer, including reconstruction of Blaine Street from East 5th Street north to the dead-end, reconstruction of East 6th Street from Blaine to North Mill Street, reconstruction of Hendricks Street from East 6th to East 8th streets and reconstruction of East 8th Street from Pier to Hendricks Street.