City Update: A biweekly update with Steve Barg
By Kris Leonhardt
In our bi-weekly update, Marshfield City Administrator Steve Barg talks about Emerald Ash Borer discussion and authority granted to the police chief during the Aug. 10 city council meeting.
Emerald Ash Borer
“The first thing we had was a presentation on emerald ash borer. Now, if you’re like me you probably don’t know a lot about EAB, and I should know more than I do because I work here at city hall. I’ve heard that message for quite a while; it’s taking a toll on ash trees across Wisconsin and even into our area,” Barg said.
“Well, our city forester brought up the fact that in Braem Park…There has been some concern about the number and the denseness if you will of the ash trees, and so he discussed possible alternatives to try and address that and there’s not just one option; he came forward with various ideas but the main thrust of it is if we don’t do anything you know in five, seven, ten years we’re going to start seeing a pretty bad scenario out there. The trees are going to be slowly dying and it’s something we want to get out in front of.”
Police chief given authority to grant variances
“There was also approval of an ordinance that gave the chief of police the authority to grant variances from the city code related to open containers,” Barg added.
“Now, historically, the city of Marshfield, like most communities, have said for events – let’s say it’s Hub City Days or it’s name your favorite event – that if there’s going to be any outside open container and drinking if you will, it’s got to be in a roped off or sealed off area and not outside. You can’t just go walking down the sidewalk or down the street with open containers of alcoholic beverages.
“But, we’ve had some activities lately, including a downtown wine walk and several others that have been fairly limited in scope their daytime events. There doesn’t seem to be a great risk of public intoxication or other problems, and the acting police chief, Pat Zeps, has brought them to the council to see if they’d be willing to waive it for that event. The council has historically said ‘yes;’ it’s not been unanimous. There’s been some thought about whether this is a good thing or not to allow that, but it’s been a pretty solid response of positive by the council.
“So, what Acting Chief Zeps did was put together an ordinance and said ‘can you give me the authority to approve these administratively, and if for some reason I don’t find that they meet the criteria and it’s not something that demonstrated will be safe and appropriate, I can turn it down and it can be brought to the council to see if the council would be willing to consider overriding it.’
“That’ll probably take off the docket – a lot of these that we see on these agendas that are fairly routine approvals for the council.
“There was a lot of discussion on that, both at the first reading and the second reading but ultimately the council voted in favor of it.”