The City has a committee known as the Economic Development Board. I participated on that Board as an aldermanic representative. A couple of years ago, after I left the Common Council, the Mayor appointed me to that Board.
In both the private and public sectors, many board members show up and follow the agenda, but add little more. I have always looked differently at participation on boards and in committees. I believe it is my obligation to add value.
On Tuesday, I tried to add value in at least two ways:
- Like most communities, the City has a fund called the Revolving Loan Fund. That fund is provided by the federal government for the City to use to make small loans to new businesses. At the meeting on Tuesday, the City proposed making a $50,000 loan to a great new business. However, that loan would have been effectively unsecured. I proposed, and the Board agreed, to make the loan subject to receiving a lien on some property owned by the applicant. That way, if the new business fails, the City has a path to repayment. Hopefully the Common Council will retain this new requirement. It is important to be a prudent steward of the public’s money.
- Mequon has a reputation of being less helpful than many other communities to businesses that want to locate here. Other communities are better at providing information to businesses, responding to their concerns, and making them feel welcome. I requested that the City perform a review of the structure and offerings of the planning departments of other communities. We should not be too proud to consider whether someone else is doing this better. Hopefully, we can get the City to do this over the next several months.
As your alderman, I will continue my history of respectfully but persistently challenging the way the City does things. Mequon is a great community, but we can be better.