I was able to pass my resolution commemorating International Migratory Bird Day. However, it did not receive unanimous approval. Councilman Caflisch had a few concerns about the resolution and could not support it. His main concern was the recommendation to limit compost piles as part of the tips to improve the bird habitat in backyards. However, not having a compost pile will only increase the bird habitat and is not mandated in the resolution; therefore, if you want more bird in your backyard you should not have a compost pile as it will reduce the number of predators in your backyard. Another concern which was shared by other councilmen was the natural lawn mandate which was in the resolution and not the exhibit. There is a city ordinance in place which allows for “wild or natural lawns”, but approval is needed. They were confused with the application as all we had to do was to prove that we do not restrict those lawns and not promote it. Therefore, if they had read the application more carefully and analyzed the ordinances in place, I feel that there would not have been any dissent regarding the approval of IMBD resolution which completes the application for membership for “Bird City” Wisconsin.
It may sound surprising, but this was the hottest topic on the agenda last night as the other items discussed were not heavily debated as there were only 2 citizens in attendance. Scot had the first reading of the new street light tax, but it was more informative as the councilmen had not examined the new tax and presented Scot with questions about the tax itself to help them understand it to help them field questions from their constituents. The other item discussed, the rental unit fee amendment, had the only citizen speak; the new fee is $10 per unit rather than $25 per building. This is new fee is very fair as larger building with multiple rental units pay a higher tax than building with one or two units. Overall, the City Council meeting was “back to normal” as the previous meeting has the hot issues of the chicken ordinance and the cell phone tower dilemma.
For the rest of my time here, I will be profiling the inaugural “River Falls Bird of the Year” and sending in the application. Also, I will be researching additional programs of excellence for local governments to see if River Falls can bring home any additional awards. This internship has flown by, but I feel that I have significant accomplishments while I have been in River Falls.