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Off the Mayor’s Desk – 10-23-2013

There seems to be a great deal of misinformation and/or misinterpretation regarding the frac-sand mine issue. The City Council has been accused by some of trying to rush the mine project thru, of not being transparent and of holding secret, illegal meetings. All of this is completely and totally false!

 The mine issue has been ongoing for nearly a year. Nobody is “rushing” anything! Numerous public meetings have been held. The City Council and Special Committee spent several months developing a non-metallic mining ordinance. All of those meetings were “Open” to the public.

Now that the ordinance has been approved, we can begin negotiations with Vista Sands to determine what exactly they’re asking from the City and what level of compensation might be anticipated. A “developer’s agreement” would spell this out, as well as exactly how Visa Sands will ensure that fugitive dust will be controlled and monitored; how they’ll ensure the water table and water quality will be protected and monitored; how they’ll minimize traffic congestion; property-value guarantees, etc.

To date, the City Council has held one “Closed Session” meeting. That occurred on September 16th and lasted less than an hour. The reason for a closed meeting is not to exclude information from the public but rather it’s to allow the City Council to deliberate/discuss/formulate a negotiation strategy without Vista Sands being privy to that discussion. It’s to exclude Vista Sands not the public! And only that portion of the meeting which involves developing the negotiation strategy is closed, not the entire proceeding. Indeed, the City and all Wisconsin municipalities are governed by Wisconsin’s Open Meeting Law. Developing a negotiation strategy is an example of what is contemplated by “whenever competitive bargaining reasons require a closed session” as per WIS STAT 19.85(1) (e).

Also, to date, the City HAS NOT received a petition for annexation from the owners of the proposed mine property.

And, if we should receive one, I WILL NOT ask the City Council to act on the request prior to the recall election. I’m confident that the majority of the City’s voters want and are in favor of the jobs and the additional revenues the mine will provide.

Once again, nobody is rushing anything thru!