Representatives present for the June 29, 2021 Edgerton special meeting included Mayor Bob Day, Village Administrator Dawn Fitzcharles, Utility Clerk Colleen Hennessey and all but one Village Council members. (Chuck Wallace).
Park Board members Sara Huard and Camie Hicks as well as Tyler Perry were also present. The Village Parks were the topic of discussion and the meeting began at 7 p.m.
Mayor Day announced that the meeting was called by two council members, Roger Muehlfeld and Leslie VanAusdale. VanAusdale spoke first, saying that they were holding the meeting to discuss the Park Opinion Survey.
She stated that public opinion is valuable but the survey is not realistic because some ideas are not fiscally possible such as a community pool or splash pad.
She feels they cost too much to maintain with minimal funding. She mentioned multiple times that she previously requested to be a part of the process of developing the survey, but was not included.
Mayor Day asked why he was just now hearing of this. He said as he often has in the past that Communication is the most important thing. It was clarified that Fitzcharles originally drafted the survey and he (the mayor) condensed and simplified it to include Town Hall Park only.
He said that there were no comments or concerns reported back after it was circulated. The survey was based on what the public has vocally stated they want, “let them decide then tell them the costs.”
Councilman Jason Gruver said that VanAusdale wants to be involved and she expressed an interest to help develop the survey, so as transparency is repeatedly stressed, why was she not included? He also asked if there was an issue with delaying the survey until the next billing cycle.
Camie Hicks said that many years ago there were always four members, plus the Village Administrator, secretary and one council member present at the meetings.
She feels the problem now is not knowing what the rules are, who makes decisions, who has a vote, etc. Sara Huard added that the Park Board members are new for the most part and are all still learning. “This is a work in progress,” she said.
Huard recommended having Regular Park Board meetings and not making decisions through email due to the gap in communication or misinterpretation. She is also concerned about offering ideas up to the community that are not realistic or affordable for the Village.
Mayor Day spoke again about communication, saying that tif council has questions or concerns, they need to communicate.
“I relayed to Council when I took office that I want each member to find their passion, volunteer and get things done. I am all for a working Council, but communication is key,” he said.
Council member VanAusdale said that Council holds the purse strings and she wants to be involved with the Park Board and she wants to included when she asks to be included.
Hicks agreed that Council interaction is definitely encouraged and welcomed. Gruver added that having Council involved throughout the whole process from start to finish could benefit the Park Board and keep Council in the know.
Concerning the financial side of the discussion, Mayor Day said that there are other funding options available from other areas, not strictly Village funds.
He also said that he feels criticized about the process they’ve gone through to get the survey drafted. VanAusdale said that now one is criticizing, they just want to be involved.
Park Member Huard asked if it is possible for Park Board members to be elected instead of appointed as that would allow members to feel more confident about decisions made and maybe give them the ability to vote.
Hicks asked if Park Board member votes were considered currently and Mayor Day responded that there are three members plus the Mayor so the fifth member would have to be added to the Committee in the case of a possible tie.
There was some discussion held about safety concerns in putting the Downtown Park where it is in a busy traffic area. While some feel it is a dangerous area where small children should not play, the mayor pointed out the importance of drawing people downtown and the impact it could have on downtown business.
Huard asked if they could have an online survey. Council member Tom Karnes suggested speaking with Robert Steele to see if that is an option as online surveys would be quicker and a amore convenient way to get people to respond.
A decision was made to delay sending surveys to residents in utility bills going out on June 30 and the mayor suggested holding a Park Board Committee meeting soon to go through he survey and make adjustments if necessary. Then it could be sent out in the August utility bills.
With no further discussion or business, the meeting adjourned.