The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will have a new look at today’s meeting. For the first time the council will be made up of more women than men, with new alderperson Kelly Avenson joining Barbara Allmann, Kelly Catarozoli, and Laurel Hauser on the council.
Avenson is one of three new guard alderpersons elected to office April 3. She is joined by Seth Wiederanders and David Hayes.
The influence of that change is already apparent on today’s meeting agenda. Public comment is back on the agenda for the first time since Mayor Tom Birmingham removed it at the end of 2017.
Also on today’s agenda are two topics that the Mayor’s opponents have sought to discuss for years. The first is the council’s standard noon meeting time. Many residents have begged the mayor to move meetings to evenings so working people can attend, but those pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
The second is discussion of dissolving the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority (WRA). The unelected WRA has been tasked with redeveloping Sturgeon Bay’s waterfront for more than 30 years. The Friends of Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront has argued that the WRA holds more sway than it should. In the summer of 2017, the Friends of Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the City of Sturgeon Bay reached an agreement on the Ordinary High Water Mark on the west side waterfront. That settlement would have ended a long-running lawsuit and stalled plans on the west side, but the WRA rejected the settlement.