Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 19:55
Annual meeting votes show desire for public input on board’s dealings with county, paving company
Although Marvin Hoffmann came up just short in his bid for the town chairman’s post in the April 7 election, he left his mark during last week’s Town of Saukville annual meeting.
Hoffmann, who is a member of the town’s Quarry Committee, introduced a pair of resolutions from the floor calling for full disclosure on all dealings with the gravel pits owned by Payne & Dolan and Ozaukee County.
Annual town meetings give residents the opportunity to introduce motions without having them included on a Town Board agenda, and gives them the final vote.
Hoffmann’s first motion was that the town conduct “all of its meetings and negotiations” relating to property owned by the paving company and the county in open session at Town Hall.
He said the status of Payne & Dolan gravel quarries is unclear, largely because past negotiations by town officials were not conducted at public meetings.
Hoffmann said there is great public interest in what will happen to its quarry property, as well as an undeveloped parcel the company owns on Highway 57.
He said the intention of his proposal was “to increase citizen information and enhance citizen involvement” on the issues.
Hoffmann said residents were suspicious of how past dealings with the paving company were handled.
“Previous agreements were negotiated without public input,” he said.
Although residents supported the sentiment of the motion, there was concern that mandating open sessions on all negotiations could hurt the town’s interests.
That thought was echoed by Town Chairman Don Hamm, who also said he backed keeping the public posted on all actions involving quarry properties.
“There is a lot of stuff here that took place before I took office. I feel my hands might be tied somewhat, but everything needs to be in the open,” Hamm said.
Supr. Mike Denzien noted that the state’s Open Meeting Law spells out the limited exceptions where government meetings can be held in closed session.
Hoffmann’s motion failed, but its intent was modified into a second motion that was approved, calling for a public hearing before the town can approve any agreements negotiated with Payne & Dolan.
Although such plan reviews typically fall under the power of the town’s Quarry Committee, it was also agreed that the Plan Commission should be involved as well as the Town Board.